Day three in Hamburg: Following their intensive training session at the Millerntorstadion in preparation for their upcoming European Championship qualifiers against the Netherlands on Friday and in Northern Ireland on Monday, Niklas Süle and Marco Reus spoke about their opponents, their current physical condition and the mood around the camp.
...the game against the Netherlands: There is a huge rivalry between us. It’s a game that fans from all around the world will be looking forward to. It’s a fantastic feeling for us to play at home in front of a sold-out crowd. We will do our best to implement the game plan that the coach sets out for us, to create an exciting game for the fans and to get the all important three points. It’s always a huge game when you walk out onto the pitch and just think: wow! You always want to play as well as you can when you represent your country. In these games there’s no better feeling than leaving the pitch victorious.
...the mood around the camp: The mood has always been great, but of course it’s hugely affected by the result. When we don’t win the game we start to question things, and this can have a negative effect. The young players have been a breath of fresh air for the team; they’re very easy-going. During games it’s important to have players that go about things a bit differently – these players help us make progress in the long run.
...his role in the upheaval of the squad: It’s important to give the young players a chance, and to help them improve. New players are always given a warm welcome into the side, so they shouldn’t have any problems integrating with the rest of the team.
...the highly discussed upheaval: It doesn’t have anything to do with results. Of course, results are important, but it’s more about constantly finding ways to improve the side so that we can develop as a team. We haven’t quite finished our development, but we are in a good position and we want to keep this going. We’re not far away from where we want to be. We are still in a transition period, and both highs and lows are to be expected.
...Leroy Sané’s injury: We still have lots of quality in the squad, and we’ve shown that in our past few games. Leroy is very talented in both one-on-one and one-on-two situations; he’s a very important part of our team and we can’t wait till he’s back in action.
...the game against the Netherlands: It’s always special when we play against Holland, you could see that in our past three matches against them. The game in Amsterdam was a highlight for all of us as we managed to steal the victory right at the end. We are determined to get the three points, but we also know how difficult it will be.
...the advantage of having experience against the Netherlands: Personally, I haven’t made many international appearances, but I have been able to gain a lot of experience. In Amsterdam there were a number of other players who have only played in two or three international fixtures before. We need to be the more determined team to pick up the victory.
...the home advantage: For me, the Volksparkstadion is one of the most beautiful stadiums in Germany; the people live and breathe football. I really hope that we will be able to get the crowd on our side. Games like this are always touch and go, so hopefully the crowd can give us that extra percent to push us over the line.
...his role in the team: I have started all of our last few matches, and I try to bring stability to the team. I feel I have earned the coach’s trust, but there are still a lot of areas that I can improve in. Off the pitch, I am very good at communicating, but on the pitch that is perhaps lacking a bit. I need to improve this aspect of my game so that I can start to really command the defence.
...the mood around the dressing room: We have a fantastic team spirit, there’s a great mixture of youngsters as well as experienced players. Small training sessions such as today help us to bond more as a team.
...playing in a three- or four-man defence: In the last few national team games, I played in the middle of a three-man defence. I really enjoy playing this way; it makes you more adaptable when building out from the back and it gives you an extra man in defence so you can be more compact. But we’ve shown that we can also play well with a back four.
...Virgil van Dijk: I’ve played against him a few times before. He has an incredible physical presence. I have learnt a lot from watching him play, particularly the way he attacks the ball as that’s something I want to improve.