The tension was high, the relief after the last-second win against Sweden was huge. The Germany had more than earned a day off. Now, however, concentration levels have been ramped up again as the focus switches to the game against South Korea on Wednesday (16:00 CEST).
Before Monday’s training session on the grounds of CSKA Moscow, Marco Reus and Timo Werner answered the media’s questions.
... the effect of the dramatic win: You could see how everyone celebrated. It was no different for us as players - it was a special moment. A winner in the last minute with a man down to stop us from probably going home. It brought the team closer together. We had to deal with a lot of negative messages about us lacking team spirit. The game proved that we are a team and are ready to fight for each other until the end.
... the winner against Sweden: The final minute was very emotional. The free-kick was our last hope. I didn’t quite make it to the heart of the celebrations at the end, because I basically just collapsed from a mixture of relief and tiredness.
... the number of World Cup winners in the starting XI: Every player in our team has their own particular strengths. Everyone can play a decisive role in our success. I don’t think you should reduce it to who won what and when.
... his runs down the wings: I’m a striker, so I prefer playing as centrally. Against teams like Sweden it’s often a bit easier if I run a bit more and utilise my pace from a wider position.
... Manuel Neuer’s speech after conceding: He’s a type of player that you don’t really see anymore. What he does in goal alone makes him one of a kind, but he’s also a huge part of our defence when he’s needed the most.
... Mario Gomez: He supports me a lot. He’s the first person to come to me with tips on how to improve. He’s a role model for me and showed me how to be patient when things weren’t going well for me.
... Marco Reus: His ability speaks for itself. I get along really well with him and we link up well.
... his World Cup dream being fulfilled: It’s a relief for me to finally be a part of a major tournament and also get to play. My aim is to try and help the team as much as I can in whatever way I can.
... the game against Sweden: We knew that a draw wouldn’t be enough. We wanted to win at all costs and we had to as well. Even when we went down a man we still believed in ourselves. You need a bit of luck sometimes, but we fought until the end.
... the stipulations to get through to the next round: We have to our job and win against South Korea - not just 1-0, but ideally with a better goal difference. We can’t worry about things out of our control.
... the high amount of changes within the team: Coach Löw said before the tournament that we have 23 players who all have a huge amount of ability. We showed that against Sweden. The players who didn’t play in the first game were eager to prove themselves and wanted to show how they could help the side.
... the winner in the last minute: I hope that it’s the start of a turnaround for us and allows us to play with more confidence and freedom in our next game.
... possibly crashing out of the tournament as reigning champions: You can be sure that we will do everything in our power to ensure that doesn’t happen. The South Koreans will try to exploit us on the counter, as they have a bit more pace than Sweden do. But I’m certain that the coach will put together a good plan to react to it.
... Mario Gomez: He is an important figure on and off the pitch. His presence up front really helped us against Sweden.###more###