Preparations for the World Cup in Russia are running at full speed for the Germany national team. Aside from Toni Kroos, who will look to secure another Champions League title with Real Madrid later tonight, and Jerome Boateng, who is training individually, all players are taking a full part in the training camp in South Tyrol. Joachim Löw’s assistant coach Marcus Sorg gives an update on how things are going in Eppan, while Sami Khedira and Leon Goretzka shed light on their respective fitness levels.
... Jerome Boateng and Toni Kroos: Jerome trained individually this week. I have to take this moment to really applaud the work which the medical staff have been doing with him and how he’s already at a very good level. Right now, I can’t say exactly when Jerome will rejoin team training. The important thing is that he is ready for the start of the World Cup. It’s not about when he comes back to training as long as that happens. Toni Kroos obviously has the Champions League final tonight, so we are expecting him to be with us from next week.
... training in South Tyrol: It’s great that we’re now almost at full strength. It really benefits the atmosphere in and around the squad. In the first few days of the camp, it was about bringing all the players on to the same level after going through varying levels of strain throughout the domestic season. Over the next few days, it will be about maintaining that level so that we can start to implement tactical elements.
... the possibility of coaching from the stands: I think that introducing headsets is a good idea that will help to improve what we do as coaches. The crux of it is that we are always looking for ways to innovate and improve what we do. This World Cup will be the first time that we have the chance to communicate directly to the dugout from the stands via headset. It means that we can have a big influence on the game. The main time that we can really get across how we want our tactical approach to change will still be in the changing rooms at half time, however. It’s there that we can give the players clear instructions.
... how he’s feeling after the domestic season: My body feels in good shape. It wasn’t long ago that the Italian season ended, so my level of fitness is high. It was really good to have a few days off in between. I used the time to really get away from football. But now I’m glad to be here at the training camp preparing for what’s to come. It’s a special feeling to play at a World Cup. We want to achieve something special. The day-to-day life on and off the training pitches with the boys and the rest of the training team is a lot of fun. My training camp was a lot different four years ago, because I was coming back from my ACL tear. Now I need to not just focus on myself, but also look to lead by example for the younger lads.
... the experienced group of players in the team: For the players like me who are 30 or older, this is our third World Cup. I think that we can use our experience to really benefit the younger players and be a role model. It’s a big advantage for us.
... Italy: It was a big shock to the world of football when Italy didn’t manage to qualify for the World Cup. I’ve experienced firsthand how it’s taken the Italians a long time to pick themselves up from that disappointment. A case in point is my teammate at Juventus, Gianluigi Buffon. It now seems that they’ve come to terms with the fact that they won’t be there. Nevertheless, it’s still a weird feeling to know that one of the world’s football giants won’t be in Russia.
... his fitness level: I feel like I’m in good shape. It’s been intense over the first few days at the training camp, but I’m at a good level and I’m ready for the upcoming challenges. My previous knee injury isn’t giving me any issues any more.
... his role within the team: There are a lot of young players in this squad. I’m one of them at 23-years-old, but I’ve already had the chance to gain a lot of experience in my career. I want to give my all in every training session.