Germany’s preparation for the upcoming Nations League fixtures with the Netherlands (Saturday, 20:45) and France (Tuesday, 20:45 CEST) is well underway. The squad will fly to Amsterdam on Friday afternoon. Beforehand, Timo Werner and Toni Kroos answered questions from the media. DFB.de has summarised the interviews.
...the mood in the squad: We are full of excitement. We know that we will have to play well due to the nature of our opponents. We need to be together and united on the pitch; otherwise we won’t stand a chance. We are motivated and are aiming to get all six points on offer. We always want to win every game, regardless of the three games we lost at the World Cup.
...facing the Netherlands: Of course there is some kind of rivalry between us. But we are only interested in winning Saturday’s game. It doesn’t matter that we are considered favourites for the game. They are a better side than in previous years and are on the up. We want to try and get back to our old stature, and good results are the best way to do that.
...his role: My role hasn’t changed much in the past few years. My success at club level has given me a little bit more self-confidence. My role is to have a certain influence on and off the pitch, which I have done in previous years and hopefully can carry on doing.
...the criticism of Jogi Löw: People are always going to have different opinions. I’m certain that we will turn a corner with Joachim Löw and I believe that he is ready to develop himself further as a coach too. He trains us a lot more differently than in 2010. Of course that is partly down to that setbacks we’ve had. I think he has deserved the chance to show that he can carry on improving and sort out this situation. The focus should now be on what needs to be changed on the pitch, not off it. Jögi gave the best speeches we’ve ever heard between the Mexico and Sweden games, and we still went out.
...Joshua Kimmich’s role as a midfielder: “Jo” worked well in that position in the last two games. It is a tactic which I’m sure will work in the future.
...breathing space after the World Cup: After the World Cup it’s important to turn a corner and start getting better results again. We will have the opportunities to do so in the next two years, which for me is a real must. It will be a tough balancing act though, as we if things go badly and we don’t get the results we need, we could quite quickly be criticised again.
...looking forward to the international games: The two teams which we are playing are both super. It will be also be good fun to play football in those two stadiums. Everybody is looking forward to these matches, including myself. We want to win both games.
...the Netherlands: Everybody remembers the kind of games that Germany and the Netherlands have had in the past. Holland are still a massive footballing nation. They still have good players, and it is always special to play against a neighbouring country. It probably won’t be a “battle” like it used to be, but it will still be an explosive game, which we want to win.
...his relationship with the coach: Joachim Löw spoke to us players a lot at the World Cup. I found his style of management very good. I never had the feeling that I was being ignored or neglected by him. I always knew what he wanted me to do on the pitch. What’s done is done and things can’t always be positive. We’re not just going to throw away all of our tactics after a bad run of form. Löw now communicates even more with the players and has placed more value on our defence. He is still developing as a coach, but hasn’t changed his approach considerably.
...a supposed attacking problem: The main focus against France and Peru was on our defensive game, which we did well. We had a plethora of chances in both games too, but missed a little of bit of luck against Peru, thus we only got the two goals. It’s not like we aren’t making any chances for ourselves. Perhaps we just need to be a bit more clinical. The most important thing is that we are actually making chances though. That’s better than having none at all.