In the absence of Die Mannschaft head coach Joachim Löw, who is currently recovering from a sporting accident, Marcus Sorg will take charge of Germany for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers away in Belarus on Saturday (20:45 CEST) and at home against Estonia in Mainz on 11th June (20:45 CEST). Following the team’s first training session together in Venlo ahead of the trip to Borisov, the 53 year-old spoke to the media about the upcoming qualifiers alongside goalkeeping coach, Andreas Köpke, and director of the national team and DFB Academy, Oliver Bierhoff.
…Joachim Löw’s absence: It is somewhat unusual that Jogi isn’t currently with us. We'd planned this short training camp together to the last detail. It is reassuring to know that the Die Mannschaft head coach has faith in me. I’m in comfortable surroundings here as I’ve been involved in the national team setup since 2016 and I now know every procedure we undergo here. I am positive we will be able to implement Joachim Löw's instructions to his full satisfaction. I don’t see myself in the role of head coach of Die Mannschaft. I’m certainly not thinking about that. My focus is on working with the team. As always, the head coach has the final word regarding the starting lineup.
…Die Mannschaft’s aims: We want to continue promoting the changes that have occurred in the national team – we want to bring the team closer together and bring them closer towards our desired style of play. We want to use all the power we have to qualify comfortably and in style. To achieve this, we need to secure six points in these two qualifiers to go into the summer break with nine points on the board. Sitting top of our qualifying group is our main aim and we will work hard to achieve this.
…the match in Belarus: I know what the conditions are like in Borisov. It is clear that Belarus will attempt everything possible to try to take the fight out of our hands. They will create chances by winning the ball quickly, turning defence into attack and through set-pieces. As a result it will be very important for us to be alert from the first minute and force them to adapt to our style of play, thereby avoiding unnecessary challenges and punishing our opponent’s mistakes by using the space on the pitch to our advantage. The players will have to increase their motivation and concentration if we want to achieve our target.
…the current situation that the club football season has ended: The players are currently not in the same regular rhythm which they would’ve been if these matches were taking place during the club season. However, the job profile of an international footballer requires you to remain concentrated and motivated even after the season has ended.
…the goalkeeping situation: It is a new situation to have two national team goalkeepers miss out through injury at the same time. After Bernd Leno was forced to withdraw from the squad with a thumb ligament injury, it was clear we had to have three goalkeepers in the squad for these two qualifiers. Initially, we thought about calling up a goalkeeper from our provisional U21s squad for the European Championship. However, we then quickly changed our minds and chose to call up Sven Ulreich. Ahead of the 2018 World Cup, he was already in contention to be called up to the squad. I’m now pleased he is in the squad and here in Venlo so that I can get to know him. He has deserved his first call up to the Die Mannschaft squad. If he is needed to play, he is able to step in.
…the development of the next generation of German goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer will play against Belarus. He is our captain and our number one goalkeeper. Florian Müller and Alexander Nübel are first choice goalkeepers for their clubs and we are monitoring their development equally. The players will continue to develop at a major tournament such as the U21s European Championship this month. I’m glad that there are some young German goalkeepers playing regularly in the Bundesliga for their respective clubs again.
…the short training camp in Venlo: We’re pleased we are back together as a squad after a while apart. We have the clear target to continue our positive trend and to continue to promote the team’s development. We are taking these matches very seriously, even if they are taking place just before the summer break. We will become close as a squad once again and train at a high concentration. We have a short window of time during which we want to work intensively hard together.
…Joachim Löw’s absence: Naturally we are sad Jogi is unable to be with us for these matches. However, we are still constantly in contact with him and I share the same trust in Marcus Sorg as he does. Marcus is a head coach by nature who has helped to promote the team’s positive development. He also offers a huge amount of experience as a head coach in Jogi’s absence.
…the public training session and match in Aachen on Wednesday: We’re delighted to be participating in this session. It is also amazing that 30,000 fans will be in attendance too. The player will use this opportunity to write some autographs and to build up a close friendship with the fans.
…the Women’s World Cup and the U21s European Championship: We are in close contact with Martina Voss-Tecklenburg and Stefan Kuntz. We will certainly be following the Women’s World Cup and U21s European Championship and wish both teams all the best of luck!