Mesut Özil and Ilkay Gündogan paused their holidays to meet personally with DFB president, Reinhard Grindel, general secretary, Friedrich Curtius, Germany national team head coach, Joachim Löw, and general manager, Oliver Bierhoff.
The reason for the meeting was due to the ongoing discussion concerning the photographs that were taken of the pair in London alongside Turkey’s head of state, Recep Erdogan.
After the meeting, DFB President, Reinhard Grindel, said: “Mesut Özil and Ilkay Gündogan deserve respect and recognition for the fact that they personally wanted to clear the air. I have to say too that speaking with our players openly and honestly is important for us as a governing body. We both agreed that we didn’t want these actions to send a political message. At the same time, the players emphasised that they believe in our values on and off the pitch. The DFB have values which we have continually stressed and we believe our players have a duty to be role models for the youth in Germany. I hope that Die Mannschaft can now focus on preparing for the World Cup and we can talk about the players due to their performances on the pitch once more.”
Germany national team manager, Oliver Bierhoff, said: “I have known these players for many years and know how much they value the team and our values in Germany. Mesut and Ilkay do not only want to play for Germany but want to be good ambassadors for integration in this country. Off the pitch, they have passionately supported numerous projects – especially those with a focus on integration.”
Ilkay Gündogan: “Thank you to the DFB President and the DFB as a whole for meeting with us today. After all the reports this week, I’m glad that we could personally share our concerns. I told them how I belong to Germany and the Germany national team but have a Turkish side due to my family. Now, we need to focus on what we do best again: football! Not on politics.”