During the German national team’s media day at their training camp in Eppan, South Tyrol, Jerome Boateng has been answering questions from dozens of journalists. DFB.de was there to jot down his responses. The World Champion discusses the Bayern horde, his role in the team and his rap video with Jack Whitehall.
Question: At the World Cup in Brazil, you, Manuel Neuer and Mats Hummels were a concrete feature in the team, an almost impregnable concrete feature. In 2018, both you and Neuer have had fitness problems. Are the fans right to believe that you can produce the same kind of performances in Russia?
Jerome Boateng: Manu has shown that he’s well on the way to being back to his best by making a very good impression in training. He is fit for selection. I myself haven’t missed out on too much since my injury. However, this is going to be a totally different tournament to Brazil in 2014.
Q: Your abductor-injury is not too serious. Has your time in rehabilitation helped you recover?
Boateng: Absolutely. I know my body very well. The physios always say, “Jerome, you do the analysis”. I often predict what they’re going to say. It’s an advantage on one hand. On the other, it’s a shame that I’ve become such an expert. In any case, I’m very happy that it looks like I’ll be able to play in the World Cup. But there’s a lot of work to be done, I have only just returned to team training.
Q: The role of World Champions, where everyone wants to hunt you down, must be a massive challenge?
Boateng: You’re not wrong. We need to adjust to that idea. Also crucially, we need to prepare ourselves for any outcome. There will be teams, who look to attack us immediately and pile on the pressure in the first 15 minutes. So we need to calm our nerves, not make silly mistakes and resist them.
Q: What does the squad’s horde of seven FC Bayern players do for the team?
Boateng: We know each other well at both a club and international level, so it’s nothing but positive for the team.
Q: What are your thoughts on the replacements, so Niklas Süle, Antonio Rüdiger and Matthias Ginter?
Boateng: They’re great players. We’re in good hands if one of them has to play. I don’t see those players as backups. If they get their chance, they’ll take it and play well.
Q: Germany has gone five games without a win. Granted, they were friendlies. However, does this run of defeats have a negative impact in your view?
Boateng: Not particularly. We wanted to try out a few things in these games; playing in different formations with different players, who haven’t necessarily played together before. The results are not what’s important. We have played top teams like Spain and Brazil in March and realised exactly what we need to work on.
Q: Bayern’s have had two big losses: in the Pokal final against Eintracht and in the Champions League against Real Madrid. How did they affect the team? Did it get you down? Mats Hummels said that the Champions League is for him, the biggest title. How’s he coping?
Boateng: Unlike Mats, I’ve already won the Champions League. So it’s a bit different for me. I have always openly said that I want to win everything within range, everything I compete in. To win the World Cup twice would be something extraordinary. Of course at Bayern, we hoped for more from the season. One title is not enough, considering the chances were there for the taking. But now our focus is firmly fixed on the World Cup.
Q: In Brazil, you were at the heart of the team. Do you think you’ve lost some ground in the national team due to your injuries?
Boateng: I am exactly the same as before. I don’t think I’ve lost my place or position. So such an assessment comes from somewhere outside the squad. I have complete confidence in my ability and I will continue to do so. I’m one of the leaders in the national team and will take on that responsibility during the World Cup.
Q: To round things off; you’ve been doing some rapping recently.
Boateng: That’s right, with the comedian, Jack Whitehall. It was a lot of fun.
Q: You subsequently posted, “Hopefully Jay Z won’t see this”. Did he get in touch?
Boateng: No, and I don’t even know if he’s seen it. I hope not.