Die Mannschaft’s training camp in Venlo has come to a close and the team have trained in front of 30,000 fans in Aachen. Atttentions now turn to Saturday’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Belarus in Borisov (20:45 CEST). Marcus Sorg is standing in as Die Mannschaft head coach as Joachim Löw continues to recover from a sporting accident and Sorg will also lead Germany against Estonia in Mainz on Tuesday (20:45 CEST). In the team’s final press conference ahead of the trip to Belarus, Sorg and FC Bayern München midfielder Leon Goretzka spoke to the media about the previous week and the targets for Saturday’s qualifier.
…his state of mind: Despite the unusual situation we find ourselves in (in Joachim Löw’s absence), we are well prepared for tomorrow. A lot of work has been placed on my shoulders but I have understood my duties of stepping in as head coach. So far, it has been good. Since I have known the squad for such a long time, we have a lot of faith in each other for fully carrying out our duties.
…training update: Everyone has trained really well. We have be able to fully complete the programme we had in place. The players have actively participated and my hopes now solely rest on us putting in a concentrated performance tomorrow. If we do that, we will get into the match well and will have a successful evening.
…his personal preparations for the match: The daily routine is always the same. This is the case regardless of whether I’m leading the team or if Joachim Löw is leading the team. The closing meeting ahead of the match was delivered by myself on this occasion, but apart from that it is a usual matchday routine for myself and the team.
…the defensive line: We have to be in the position where we can play in multiple systems. The use of the pitch is decisive in football matches. We are very flexible in this regard and can easily change our system during the match if necessary. We haven’t yet made the final decision as to whether we will play with a back-three or a back-four tomorrow evening.
…the overall starting XI: I have phoned Joachim Löw each evening this week and we have spoken about the starting line-up together. It remains the case that Joachim has the last word on the starting lineup and we haven’t reached a full conclusion yet.
…replacing the injured Toni Kroos: We haven’t spoken to anyone about any potential starting line-up yet and will make a decision tomorrow morning. This squad gives us a lot of options to play in multiple formations and systems. That is a very good feeling to have going into the match. We have kept faith with this approach during our meetings on Friday and will continue to carry this strategy into tomorrow.
…the importance of tomorrow’s match: The simple fact is tomorrow’s match is a qualifier and it doesn’t matter who is the opposition is. It doesn’t matter whether we are facing Belarus or the Netherlands and this shouldn’t make any difference to the players either. Of course there is the danger that we don’t start the match at our best. Therefore, we have worked on getting into our rhythm to start the match on top of our game. We will certainly not underestimate Belarus.
…a potential step up to permanent Die Mannschaft head coach: I’m not commenting on this topic. I have been a full-time head coach for 20 years and you cannot predict anything in this rapidly changing world. I will simply do my job then I can be happy.
…the week of training: The aim of this week has been to get everybody back to the same level. We have all had breaks of differing lengths since the end of the club season. The first days in Venlo were there for us all to get back into the flow and get a feel of playing football again. We managed that very well. We are ready to go tomorrow night.
…playing as a defender: I have helped out as a left-back or the right-back in the past. I am fundamentally open to new things and playing in new positions. Certainly one of my strengths is being able to play in multiple positions.
…his current health situation: After my injury at the end of the club season, I have been able to return to full training. I have used this time to cautiously return to full fitness. Not everyone in the team was able to perform at 100% at the start of the week, but I was integrated back into full training relatively quickly and am fit for tomorrow’s match.
…changes in the national team: Everyone is well aware that we are in a rebuilding stage. A few new faces have joined the team and have got to know the new players from the youth setup very well. This is something we want to retain for the future.
…his favoured position: We have changed the system in which we play in recent matches. I have played further forward in those matches. However, I believe my strongest position is in the centre of midfield as a number eight. I can use my strengths best in this role. However, the important thing is that the team is successful and I am also ready for any other tasks asked of me.
…going again after the end of the club season: As a result of my injury, I missed part of the end of the season. Some of the other players had already gone on their summer holidays. On the one hand, it simply isn’t easy to switch off at the end of a season. At the same time, however, you cannot completely shut down for summer because your A-game is needed for two more Germany matches. We have used this week to raise each other’s fitness levels back up to a good level.
…upcoming opponents Belarus: We will focus on how we play our own game and aim to be the better side through defensive stability and staying compact. We then want to build our game by using a lot of possession and quick, short passes to tire the opposition.
…Marcus Sorg: Marcus is a meticulous coach with attention to every last detail. I value his work highly and you learn a lot in every training session as a result of his attention to detail. Marcus has got exceptional tactical awareness.
…the 2018/19 season: It was a very intensive season and it fortunately ended with a lot of success for me and for FC Bayern. In a season like this, you invest a lot of effort and it is great to see that paid off by winning two trophies.