...the importance of the France game: We know we have something to make up for, so we want to play good football against the world champions. We want to enjoy playing football again. It’s a tough ask, but we do want to win at home. Being able to compete with such opponents is the best thing that can happen to us. We can show what we’re about.
...the 2018 World Cup: We’re looking ahead of course, but we’ve still got to ask questions about how we played. Every player’s done that and had a good look at themselves. Individual players and the coaching staff are taking accountability. There was substantial analysis of our performances. Ultimately, it’s important to draw conclusions to help see where we can improve.
...Joachim Löw: [Thomas Müller and I] have known him for a very long time and probably the best out of anyone. He was certainly very down after the World Cup, but now he’s very focused. He has a clear plan that he wants to follow. We noticed at the first meeting that he wants to get us back to winning ways, more than anything else. He’s very hungry for success – just like the players.
...the sold-out Allianz Arena: We’re pleased that the match is sold-out. It’s a good sign that people want to see us play. We’re up against a great team, of course, but we want to give something back to the fans and will do everything to make them happy. We have our own ambitions first and foremost, and we’ll reflect on them afterwards. If we’re satisfied, then the fans normally are as well.
...changes after the World Cup in Russia: We’ve worked on a lot of things, both on the pitch and with Oliver Bierhoff. The analysis has not only looked at tactical details, but the team’s behaviour as well. We want to be more open with people and the fans. We still want to play to our strengths on the field. For example, we had to defend the goal while playing a man down for the whole training session yesterday. That was definitely a sign that we want to shift our focus a bit. Our defence will play more of a role now than it did before. It essentially depends on who we’re playing against, but we still want to be able to change it up. We have so much quality when we’re on the ball, but we need to have the ball in order to show it.
...the coach: He’s said what he wants to prepare for. Ultimately, we’re judged by our results, which we want to and need to get as a team. We’ll go with the coach’s changes and then see what the results are like. I’m excited that we can compete against the best team in the world at the moment on Thursday.
...criticism about squad selection: It wasn’t easy for the coach to pick the World Cup squad, but he was convinced that the best players were in it. You’re not going to have 20 better players all of a sudden three months later. But after such a massive disappointment we’re all really motivated to prove to both ourselves and others that we can do better.
...Mesut Özil: The coach has got to find someone of his type to fill his boots. He’s a distributor of the ball who enjoyed playing it forwards. We have a lot of people who can play positive football. Each one has his own strengths and weaknesses, and depending on the opposition there’s always someone else on the bench who might be better suited.
...the match against France: The game is a good opportunity for us. There’s a palpable feeling in the team that this is a great chance to put in a good performance. It’s good fun as well to be welcoming the world champions into our backyard.
...the Nations League: Of course there’s criticism that this is the next step of commercialisation in football. I really like the format though. It’s better for us as athletes to be able to play our internationals in a tournament format. The fact that you can be relegated presents a great challenge and even more pressure to perform. We have two exciting opponents in France and the Netherlands. Thursday's game has a certain amount of symbolism, and we want to do it justice. After that, we’ll focus on our position in the table.
…the significance of the France game: They are the best possible opponent that we could have come up against. You don’t get many better games, especially playing in front of a sold-out stadium in Munich. We are all really looking forward to it.
…being handed the number 10 shirt: I did not have a big say in the decision. I was asked and gladly accepted. This number carries great significance in football, as well in the national team. I will try to take on the responsibility and represent the number as well as possible. I believe I am the right person to wear this shirt.
…the playmaker position: We have numerous attacking players, who can play in different positions. Thomas Müller and I can play in the number ten role, as well as out wide. It is all dependent on who the opponent is and what the coach wants. We are all quite versatile players, which is a feature of the team.