Since Sunday, Die Mannschaft have been preparing for their two upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers in Belarus on Saturday (20:45 CEST) and at home against Estonia on 11th June (20:45 CEST). On the second day of the team’s short training camp in Venlo, captain Manuel Neuer and defender Jonathan Tah spoke to the media about the upcoming matches.
…concentration levels at the end of the season: Personally, the season still hasn’t ended yet and it will conclude following these two matches. We made the first good step towards European qualification in the Netherlands and now want to take all six points on offer in these two upcoming matches.
…recovering from his recent injury: Injuries are always difficult. I think I managed to get through this reason relatively well. I managed to play in the DFB-Pokal final and am fully participating in training. Support from the head coach is important for every player and you play better football and develop better as a result of this trust.
…changes in the national team: We’ve spoken about how many players from our squad should still be able to play for the U21s. We came to the conclusion that seven players could still play for Stefan Kuntz’s side. This shows we have an increase of young talent who are playing on the international level. I think we are well prepared for the future. Naturally, we need to find ourselves as a team. Our aim is to look ahead to Euro 2020 and to get to know each other as a team. Yesterday’s team building exercise was a good example of this. When we are on the football pitch together, it doesn’t matter what car someone is driving or what jacket someone is wearing. Consequently, we have to bring all of our power onto the pitch. It is great that Marcus Sorg already knows many of the younger players from the youth teams. You know which club each player plays for and what role they play for their respective clubs. We hope we continue to quickly develop as a team and know that the younger players have to take over the responsibilities. Everyone is very motivated in training and communication will be important on the pitch.
…Die Mannschaft head coach Joachim Löw: We want to show the head coach that he can rely on the players that he has called up to represent his country.
…the goalkeepers in Germany: Fundamentally, we haven’t had a problem at the goalkeeping position in Germany. You can look at the current younger goalkeepers in Germany and some of them are between 22 and 25 years of age. We don’t need to worry about future German goalkeepers right now.
…the training match in Aachen: We are really excited to be able to give something back to the fans. It is a normal training session but it will be something very special to train in front of a sold out 30,000 capacity stadium.
…competing with Marc-André ter Stegen: The head coach always makes the final decision. As an athlete, of course I always want to be on the pitch playing but we will see what happens over the course of the next twelve months.
…the match in Belarus: We have to be concentrated for the task at hand and approach the match in the right manner. It won’t be easy to win this match but it necessary for us to secure all three points. This would be progress following our victory in the Netherlands in our opening European qualifier. We want to bring onto the pitch everything we have learnt in training.
…his nomination to the senior squad and the U21s: In the moment, I’m here 100 per cent, and am really happy to be back. Obviously, the U21 Euros are something I have in the back of my mind. But, we have a task to accomplish here, which I’m entirely focused on.
…interim coach Marcus Sorg: It’s an unusual situation for him as well. He has known the players for a long time, especially the youngsters, and is very meticulous, something he brings to training as well.
…Bayer teammate Kai Havertz: I hope that he continues to work on himself, the way he has up to now. He reached the top level early on, quickly became a starter, and made his way into the national team. It’s important that he doesn’t let himself be influenced by what’s happening around him and that he knows what he has to work on.
…the new central defence: We’re obviously all very young, when you look and see that Jérôme Boateng and Mats Hummels are no longer here. I think that we have the responsibility to take the reins. I want to get as much playing time as I can, in order to prove myself.
…the U21 Euros: I wasn’t able to experience it the last time, due to an injury. I’m excited and would love to defend our title. I will try to do my job and to deliver strong performances.