The majority of Germany’s squad has arrived in Cologne ahead of a triple header of international games. The team will face Turkey in a friendly on Wednesday (20:45 CEST) before their two Nations League matches against Ukraine (10th October, 20:45 CEST) and Switzerland (13th October, 20:45 CEST). In a press conference on Monday, DFB director Oliver Bierhoff and assistant coach Marcus Sorg spoke about the upcoming matches.
…the squad: Suat Serdar has unfortunately been ruled out. Timo Werner has a slight cold and will not join up with the team today. But, I’m expecting he’ll be here soon. Everyone else that’s in the squad is here. We will talk with the players and take it step by step. We will start slowly into training so that we’re physically and mentally prepared for the games. We have our final training session tomorrow with all the players who are arriving today. Tomorrow evening is when the rest of the players arrive. They’ll train on Wednesday morning, after their tests are complete. That’s when we’ll begin to prepare to face Ukraine and Switzerland. I’m confident that we have a strong team.
…the goals of the coaching staff: The head coach doesn’t always focus on the upcoming game, but keeps a broad focus. The current focus in on next summer’s European Championship, and we want the team to be fully up to speed in terms of tactics, their physicality and their mentality. Games like the one against Turkey give us a chance to experiment a bit. We need to do well in our competitive games. Good results are also vital for the team’s development. We want the team to grow off the pitch as well. We will have group discussions, as well as with individual players. We will use this time together wisely, so that no one is bored.
…the friendly against Turkey: We will find a good mix of players who are in form. We can also give players the opportunity to prove themselves. I think that we have room to play around with our tactics or the squad, in a way that we really can’t do during competitive games. We will line up with a well-structured team.
…the upcoming triple header: Of course, it’s always about drawing insights from the games. We want to ignite a fire on two levels. The first is within the team itself. Whenever we get together, the players are happy to be there; they really love being with the national team. Even if the consecutive draws from our last two games aren’t the results we would have hoped for, you can’t accuse the players of not being switched on. The fans can also often have an impact on the result. If I think of last year, when we had a new squad that managed to top a difficult group in qualifying, or of the game against Northern Ireland in front of 50,000 fans, then it’s hard for me to say that the results are the only thing that matters.
…two potential debutants: We have the chance to experiment a bit with our starting line-up. They both definitely stand a chance at making their senior debuts.
…the impact of the Coronavirus: These are strange and unusual times. We will be faced with several exceptional challenges over the next weeks and months. It is also not easy for us. We need to react spontaneously and quickly, that’s something we’re aware of. We want to come out of this difficult situation stronger. It’s important that we are successful and play good football, and that we bond as a team. It’s crucial to have success, in order to grow as a team. These games are important, not just because of the prestige that they have. We always want to win tournaments like the Nations League, and we want to get out of our group.
…the arrival and the measures in place: We arrived yesterday with the support staff. Today, the players will arrive in waves and will be tested straight away. We are very disciplined and are following the rules. That’s the approach with which we’re tackling the challenge of flying to the Ukraine, and we’re expecting it to work as planned again.
…the importance of the games: It’s important for us to continue to develop as a team and get excited about being here. We have players from Bayern München and Leipzig with us once again, which will help strengthen us. We need these games, and are looking to be successful. These games make sense. It’s very important that we have these international games. Of course, it’s tough for the coaches to have so little time together. But, we all have to deal with that. It’s a challenge to field a team that plays well and with passion. The game against Turkey doesn’t have the same importance as the Nations League matches. But, it’s still an important game because it’s a good test for the players. For them, it’s a rare opportunity to show what they can do.
…the rebuild: We underwent a lot of changes and have made the decision to give young players a chance. Nations such as the Netherlands, Italy and France needed an average of about six years. We did extremely well in qualifying with a young team, which is a great result for such a young team in the midst of a rebuild. We didn’t lose against Spain or Switzerland, despite missing several key players. Of course there’s the frustration that comes from knowing that we could have won, and we have had several games recently where we haven’t been able to see things through. Nothing is better than winning and scoring great goals. That kind of success helps the team grow together, gain confidence and gets the fans on board as well.
…the current squad: We have high-quality players. Several know each other from the youth sides already. Even if they play for different clubs, they have fun together and work well on the pitch.
…free tickets for the game against Turkey: We wanted to say ‘thank you.’ But, it’s not solely in our hands. The number of cases continues to rise. That’s why I’m not entirely hopeful that we’ll be playing in front of the fans. The decision will be made a day before the match, so we will have to wait and see.
…the situation in Ukraine: There are exceptions for professional footballers. I’m assuming that the Ukraine will respect this. The responsibility we owe to the clubs is important to us. We will continue to be extremely careful in Ukraine.
…planning for the upcoming tasks: We can only operate on a day-by-day basis. All we can do is wait and see what happens. We can’t predict what will happen in November. But, we’re continuing as if everything will go as planned.
…preparing for the EUROs next year: It remains to be seen whether the players will be able to take part in training camp like in previous years. Spending time together before a major tournament is important, also so that the players learn the tactics well. That’s why, for now, we’ll be sticking to our plans.