Saturday, 29 November 2014

UEFA Technician, November 2014


Success can bathe a coaching career in so much dazzling golden light that it can obscure long, arduous and mentally demanding routes to the peak of the profession. This applies to a professional player – an Under-21 international – whose interest in the technical aspects of the game ushered him into youth coaching while his playing boots were still getting muddy. He made the transition into full-time coaching as assistant at VfB Stuttgart and, stepping up to the role of head coach, won the German cup in 1997 and led the club into the final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup a year later. Sandwiched between two spells in Turkey, he then led Karlsruher SC before moving to Austria to take charge of FC Tirol and FK Austria Wien. In the meantime, he had found affinities with Jürgen Klinsmann at a coaching course and when the latter took the helm of the German national team in 2004, he was invited to jump on board as assistant. When Klinsmann departed after the FIFA World Cup on home soil in 2006, he stepped up to No. 1 spot with firm views on pathways towards a modern, attack-minded playing philosophy. The rest, as they say, is history. At the age of 54, he took centre stage at the FIFA-UEFA conference for national coaches and technical directors to receive acclaim from his coaching colleagues and, in an interview with UEFA’s chief technical officer, Ioan Lupescu, to discuss Germany’s ultimate success at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He is, of course…


The obvious opening question is what qualities a coach needs to become world champion?

Well, from my point of view it is not the coach who becomes world champion, but it is a team. Not just the players who actually played, but the whole squad, and also the team behind the team. Because if you want to achieve success, the whole team has to work perfectly, like a machine, and all the pieces of the puzzle need to fit together into one picture. I think the core job of a coach is to select the right players for a tournament. You need players who are mentally and physically fit, who are able to deal with difficult moments. I think the characters of the players plays an important role. A coach needs to be a psychologist, because during a tournament The interview you’re looking after a team of players which is being watched closely and put under a lot of pressure. A coach needs, as well as specific abilities, a philosophy and a pathway that he tries to implement and communicate to the players. That is something I have learned: today’s players want explanations and to understand criticism by the coach. So you need to be able to make yourself understood. So I think the psychological aspect and good communication are, as well as football-specific abilities, fundamental for a coach.

Do the same principles apply for your ‘team behind the team’?

It’s important nowadays that a coach works with people who are specialists in their domains. You shouldn’t be scared of putting a team together made up of experts who are better than the coach in some aspects. It’s an important requirement. The coach is an educator, a leader, a psychologist, a communicator. He is representing the federation, so the coach must continuously communicate with the media. Coaches cannot do all of that perfectly. So, for me personally, it was important to have people in my environment who discuss things with me, who give me their opinions, but who are loyal to me and who are reliable. They are experts in their domains, and I trust their opinion. Secondly, I am convinced that the different characters must add up. Especially in a tournament like this. It’s not just about football skills but also about interpersonal relationships. How tolerant are the players? What is their tolerance to frustration? How disciplined is a player if he doesn’t play? How does he blend into the team? How much respect does he show the others? These are important aspects. Characters and values are important to achieve such a success.

Ten years with the national team, including the two as assistant to Jürgen Klinsmann. Has your coaching style changed during this time?

You certainly learn and gain experience through all those years. That is obvious and important for a coach, as it makes you develop further. But I don’t think I have changed my style much over the last few years. I’ve remained faithful to myself, representing and teaching certain values to the players. Today all players are very mature and know how to take on responsibilities. That’s why it is important for a coach to set certain rules and to implement them continuously, as you need discipline in the group. But I don’t think I have changed my style of coaching.

Was there a moment in Brazil when you thought Germany could go all the way to the title?

Honestly, there wasn’t a moment to think ‘now we will win the World Cup’. You shouldn’t forget that at that level, every opponent is unpredictable. And the smallest mistakes are immediately punished by your opponent. So you don’t really have that feeling that you will win the title. You have to focus match by match. But what gave us the last kick was the 7-1 against Brazil. Beating the hosts, of course, gave us more confidence for the final. And I watched the reactions in the dressing room from the coach’s perspective. And I realised that

You mean there was no euphoria?

There was no euphoria. Everybody was able to evaluate that match the right way. The Brazilian team was in shock after we scored the second and third goals; you could really feel that on the pitch. But my players were all very focused the next day and very calm. A good sign for me, especially after losing the final in 2008 and the semi-final in 2010, that maybe this time we had the right mentality and the boundless ambition to win the tournament and to reach the end of the path we had taken. The example was Bastian Schweinsteiger, who wasn’t really 100% but what he showed in the final, especially the mental strength, and what he gave to the team… he and the others showed that they didn’t want to miss that chance again.

You mention those previous results – and there was also the 2012 semi-final against Italy. Did they add up to a lot of pressure on the coach?

Well, it is normal that the pressure is high for the big nations. If Germany go to play a tournament then everybody, the country and all football fans, just expect the team to win it. But I have learned to deal with the media and to ignore criticism. Most coaches know this anyway, but it’s important to focus on your job as coach and not on what is happening around you. You need to go your way. We do the same among the coaching staff. We reflect on things and discuss among ourselves. You manage to accept whatever comes from outside, but you have to be convinced about your path and follow it despite any criticism.

Were there moments when you didn’t think you were good enough to win the title?

Of course there are difficult moments. The whole tournament is difficult – and not just adapting to the climate or early kick-off times. You had to be aware of the flexibility of your opponents. You could see that there were many different systems and playing styles. I don’t think there are any small nations any more. Just look at Costa Rica, who managed to play at a high level. We certainly had to overcome difficult moments, especially against Algeria, where we had problems in defence at times. We were just set up wrongly at the back when we were attacking. We weren’t well positioned. Algeria had nothing to lose and were hoping to be successful with their quick counterattacks. So that was certainly a difficult match, also because it went into extra time. But it was maybe also thanks to us for wearing our opponent down with our performance in the second half and in extra time. We managed to put pressure on our opponent until the end. But I have to say that Algeria played very well in defence too.

Did you see the victory in Brazil as a reward for work done over many years – building up high-performance centres, for example?

That is also a success, that’s for sure. Being eliminated in the group stages at the EUROs in 2000 and 2004 put the German national team a bit on the floor. But new structures were introduced, along with academies, specific school cooperation projects and, importantly, training content. Before, there was a huge focus on physical fitness and a physical style of play. But the focus moved on to technical aspects, on to coordination, and now, after 10 or 15 years, you can reap the benefits. In 2006, we still had a lot of difficulty finding centre-backs with strong footballing skills. And in midfield or on the wings, much the same. But now we have players of 19, 20, 21 or 22 who have great technical skills. That is also the result of the work being done at the clubs and of the structures which were changed and of course, thanks to great coaching education, because the coaches are educated and work very well. So all that helps you become a world champion.

How did you translate all this into success for the national team?

Firstly, it was definitely about better youth development. That was an important aspect. Jürgen Klinsmann arrived in 2004 and managed to implant a new structure within the federation. We added a sports psychologist; we added a fitness coach; we had Oliver Bierhoff who dealt with everything on the sporting side and who gave us some breathing space. In 2006, we lived on our emotions during the World Cup, because the team was not as strong as today in terms of technical aspects. After 2008, I had the impression that we needed to change certain things, even though we had reached the final. We couldn’t compete with Spain in terms of football. Spain were and are models for us in terms of player development as well. The integrated philosophy from the bottom up within their federation, the fact that all teams follow the same philosophy… that wasn’t the case in Germany, where the youth teams sometimes played differently than at A level. So it was important to integrate the same philosophy in all categories. I think that at the World Cup in 2010, we developed further in our football and it was an important step. Of course you need physical requirements and you need other things. But nowadays, if you are not playing good football, you will not be able to become world champions or win a major title

How important is experience? You had 10 or 11 players who had played World Cups or EUROs or Champions League finals and even the younger ones had been successful in Germany’s youth teams…

Experience is certainly very important, especially at tournaments like these, having players on board who can handle and find solutions to difficult situations and know what to expect. Neuer, Hummels, Boateng, Höwedes, Özil... six or seven players had been European Under-21 champions in Sweden in 2009 and it was very important for players at that age for their development, to experience a success and to gain confidence in their ability to win a tournament like that. But I think the quality of the players is the decisive factor. We had a lot of young players, like Schürrle, Kroos and Götze. They all have great quality. I think that was important. Then I guess another factor in Brazil was physical fitness. There were many matches played at high tempo. I didn’t really expect that beforehand – to see the players perform so well especially at such a high temperature. We played three matches in the group stage at over 30 degrees and with high humidity and we played right in the heat of midday. Many teams really tried to invest a lot, especially in attack, so physical fitness played an important role.

What trends did you see among the other teams in Brazil? What can you see coming up in the future?

Well, at this World Cup there was definitely one noticeable trend and that was the variety you saw. In the past, most teams played a 4-2- 3-1 system, but that has changed a bit. Some nations played with three at the back or even with five. That is nothing new. It is something we already saw in the past. But today you face opponents who are a lot more flexible with their tactical possibilities. Teams are able to change the basic structure in the team like, for example, Chile who do it very well. They can play with lots of varieties. They can play with two attackers or only one, and then they play with a numerical advantage in midfield and can use the players in attack or in defence. Then, secondly, the physical fitness has maybe improved a bit compared with 2010. When I saw that pace in such conditions… it was just enormous. And in terms of development in general, I think there can be changes and modifications so that you can improve and further develop the individual quality of the players, especially in the youth teams. I think that team tactics are well trained and well taught, but there can be work to do regarding individual job descriptions, looking at, for example, how a centre-back plays, what a wing-back needs to be able to do, what to expect from an attacker today, or from a midfielder. We need to promote that individual development because we have problems in certain positions in Germany, also in the youth sector. We only have a few wing-backs and, of course, Philipp Lahm has now retired from the national team. We also don’t have such a large number of strikers now that Miroslav Klose has left, so we need to look for forwards who can perform well in the penalty box. We have room to improve in individual positions.

How difficult was it to re-motivate your team when it came to getting back into qualifying games for UEFA EURO 2016?

Well, despite all the happiness that a tournament like that brings, it also brings a lot of issues and problems in the aftermath. You can and should enjoy the success for a couple of weeks, but then when it all starts again you can see that there are issues. It is not very easy for the players, after having been together for eight extra weeks after the league had finished, continuing to play at such a high level at such a big tournament. It is not easy to focus on new tasks. And we had to cope with the departures of three major players like Lahm, Klose and Mertesacker, plus four or five players who were injured. The other players had only a short time to recover before the domestic league started again and over years this is a problem for the players. So, when we started, the players who had been at the World Cup weren’t really fully there physically and mentally. So we didn’t have the pace, the dynamics or the security that we had had a few weeks earlier

UEFA Technician, November 2014
Original available on Uploaded here to prevent loss if removed from that site.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Löw: "Successful end to a sensational year", 19.11.2014

A win in a classic, a win in a game between European Champions and World Champions, a win to end the World Cup winning year of 2014. Germany manager Joachim Löw spoke to us after the 1-0 win over Spain in Vigo about the successful end to the year, the defensive performance of the team and the break until March 2015.

Question: What was your assessment of the World Champions’ final game of the year?

Joachim Löw: I think that we couldn’t have dreamed of having a better end to the year. We haven’t been very convincing in our matches recently and aren’t quite where we want to be in the European qualifying campaign. Therefore, it’s nice to end this sensational year with a positive result against a top team. The game was played in tough conditions and the pitch wasn’t in good condition. It was a successful evening.

Question: You were very solid at the back. How happy were you with your defence?

Löw: I was very happy with our defensive performance. The three centre-backs did their job very well and both wing-backs did well on the wings. We knew that Spain would play high balls into the box and therefore we had to be solid in the centre of defence, and we did that well.

Question: Did it appear to you that you were more organised going forward than in the 4-0 win over Gibraltar?

Löw: We didn’t do that very well against Gibraltar and therefore we were unhappy with our performance. Against Spain, we were better going forward, especially in the second half. We have to continue to work on that and get better at a few other things. Today was a good start and therefore I’m happy overall.

Question: You beat the European Champions 1-0. What does it mean to you to get your first win against Spain?

Löw: It’s only a side note, even though it’s obviously nice to beat the European Champions. I would have been happy with a 0-0 because even despite us missing some players, we did a lot of things well tactically. And we did it in a game between two sides, who have dominated world football over the last few years.

Question: Why did Ron-Robert Zieler get the nod ahead of Roman Weidenfeller? And what did you think of the Hannover goalkeeper’s performance?

Löw: Robert played simply because Roman Weidenfeller played a game before the World Cup. I am very happy with Robert. He made two or three great saves and made sure that we didn’t go behind. But what particularly impressed me was that he played well and in the opening stages he remained composed, so that we could safely play out from the back.

Question: How do you assess both your team and Spain ahead of EURO 2016 in France?

Löw: Both teams will play a big role at the European Championships in 2016. Spain still have some superb players, and so do we.

Question: You could have made six changes, but you only used three. What was the reason for that?

Löw: I wanted to give a few players the chance to play for 90 minutes. That’s why I only made three substitutions, although I planned to do things differently before the game.

Question: Your next game will be in March 2015. How do you plan to use the long break?

Löw: I have a few appointments but after such an amazing and exciting year, it’s nice if we can all have some rest over the winter break. In January and February, the coaching staff will meet back up with the individual players and as a coaching team, we will talk about what new approaches we will take next year.

Question: Six Germany players are among the list of 23 players nominated for World Footballer of the Year: Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, Mario Götze and Toni Kroos. Who do you think is the favourite?

Löw: I can’t say. But I hope that World Footballer of the Year will come from Germany.

19 November 2014
Orignally on Uploaded here to prevent loss once moved.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Löw: "Das kann noch mal einen Schub geben"

Der deutschen Nationalmannschaft ist am Freitagabend eine gelungene WM-Generalprobe geglückt. Beim 6:1 (0:0) gegen Armenien überzeugte das deutsche Team zehn Tage vor dem ersten Gruppenspiel in Brasilien gegen Portugal (16. Juni, ab 18 Uhr, live in der ARD) mit guten Kombinationen und schönen Toren.

Vor allem in der zweiten Halbzeit spielte sich das Team von Bundestrainer Joachim Löw Chance um Chance heraus. Insbesondere die Einwechselspieler um Lukas Podolski und Miroslav Klose, der den "ewigen" Torrekord von Gerd Müller (68) mit seinem 69. Treffer übertraf, wussten zu überzeugen.

Für Löw gab es allerdings auch eine Schattenseite. Kurz vor der Pause musste Mittelfeldspieler Marco Reus verletzt ausgewechselt werden. Die Diagnose ergab einen Teilriss des vorderen Syndesmosebandes oberhalb des linken Sprunggelenks. Ob der Dortmunder mit zur WM fliegen kann, steht zurzeit noch nicht fest.

Nach der Partie stellte sich der Bundestrainer den Fragen der Jorunalisten und spricht über den Auftritt seines Teams, die Verletzung von Reus, Klose, Philipp Lahm und seine Wechselmöglichkeiten.

Frage: Herr Löw, mit welchen Gefühlen gehen Sie die WM nach der gelungenen Generalprobe nun an?

Joachim Löw: Wir haben das Ziel erreicht. Wir wollten das Spiel gewinnen, uns einen guten Rhythmus holen, um mit einer guten Stimmung nach Brasilien zu fliegen. Wenn man das Ergebnis sieht, können wir zufrieden sein. Die Mannschaft ist mit Beifall verabschiedet worden. Ich glaube, das tut jedem gut, dieses Positivgefühl mitzunehmen. Das kann noch mal einen Schub geben.

Frage: Wie bewerten Sie den Auftritt Ihrer Mannschaft?

Löw: In der ersten Halbzeit hatten wir wahnsinnig viel Ballbesitz, aber es nicht geschafft, aus den drei, vier guten Chancen ein Tor zu erzielen. In der zweiten Hälfte konnten wir das Tempo noch mal erhöhen. Nach dem 2:1 haben wir den Gegner auch ein bisschen weich gespielt. Er ist auch ein bisschen auseinander gefallen. Dadurch sind dann auch die Tore gefallen.

Frage: Wie haben Sie das Aus von Marco Reus erlebt?

Löw: Ich habe den unmittelbaren Zweikampf nicht gesehen. Er ist liegen geblieben und hat sich an den Kopf gefasst. Da habe ich mir schon vorstellen können, dass es nicht nur eine kleine Verdrehung war. Er ist dann rausgehumpelt. In der Halbzeit habe ich gesehen, dass der Außenknöchel angeschwollen war.

Frage: Machen Sie dem Gegner einen Vorwurf?

Löw: Es gab keine Schuld vom Gegner. Das war ein normaler Zweikampf, wie er immer wieder mal passiert im Spiel. Marco ist hängen geblieben.

Frage: Philipp Lahm hat im Mittelfeld gespielt. Wird dies auch bei der WM so sein?

Löw: Das ist immer eine Variante. Beides ist möglich, das werden wir nächste Woche endgültig entscheiden. Es war wichtig, dass Philipp im Mittelfeld spielt. Bastian Schweinsteiger und Sami Khedira sind noch nicht im Vollbesitz ihrer Kräfte. Da mussten wir ein bisschen aufteilen. Jerome Boateng kann das auch rechts.

Frage: Sie haben die Viererkette mit vier Innenverteidigern besetzt. Ist dies auch eine Variante?

Löw: Das ist sicher auch denkbar. In Brasilien ist es manchmal nicht erforderlich, dass die Außenverteidiger ständig offensiv werden müssen und ganz nach vorne gehen. Da ist eine gewisse Absicherung vonnöten. Die Innenverteidiger bringen auch eine Verantwortung mit, im Zentrum gut zu stehen. Vielleicht ist das auch eine gute Variante, um das dort bei diesen Temperaturen so zu machen.

Frage: Miroslav Klose hat sein 69. Länderspieltor erzielt. Wie bewerten Sie diese Marke?

Löw: Diese Marke ist sensationell, das ist eine tolle Sache, das hat er ganz einfach verdient.

Frage: Wie sehen Sie seine Rolle bei der WM?

Löw: Miro ist, was seine Leistungsfähigkeit anbelangt, noch nicht ganz bei 100 Prozent. Er hat viel gearbeitet. Am Ende des Trainingslagers hat man ihm seine Müdigkeit angemerkt. Miro ist aber ein Turnierspieler, er weiß, was zu tun ist. Meistens, wenn es darauf ankommt, ist er auf den Punkt genau fit.

Frage: Können Sie sich Klose auch in der Jokerrolle vorstellen?

Löw: Joker oder nicht Joker gibt es für mich in diesem Sinne nicht. Ich glaube, dass wir in Brasilien bei diesen Bedingungen sowieso das Wechselkontingent ausschöpfen müssen. Miro wird für uns ganz wichtig sein. Da bin ich mir sicher.

Frage: Gerade in der Offensive haben Sie viele Möglichkeiten...

Löw: Was wichtig sein wird, dass wir immer Spieler bringen können, die Akzente setzen können. Die etwas bewegen, Frische ins Spiel bringen und die körperlich stark sind. Man wird nicht mit elf Spielern Weltmeister, sondern man braucht viel, viel mehr. Das ist gerade in der Offensive ein kleines Plus, dass alle so langsam gut in Form kommen. Da habe ich die Situation, dass ich den ein oder anderen von der Bank bringe.

6 June 2014
Originally on Uploaded here to prevent loss once moved.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Volland and Rüdiger to feature against Spain, 17.11.2014

The DFB-Team will be looking to end their year as World Champions positively on Tuesday when they take on Spain in Vigo (20:45 CET). Germany manager Joachim Löw and Toni Kroos took part in a press conference today and has summarised the most important quotes.

Joachim Löw on…

…the game against Spain: On the one hand, I’m excited that we have come to Spain because we’re going to be playing against a technically gifted team. But on the other hand, it’s unfortunate that some good players will be missing for both teams for this prestigious game. It’s also the chance to find out a few more things that we can take into next year. I expect a good performance and the players to be ready mentally as I will be judging every single one of them.

…players that will come into the line-up for tomorrow: I assume that everyone is able to play. I’ll decide who’ll start tonight. I can say that Kevin Volland will start tomorrow and Antonio Rüdiger will also make an appearance.

…the captaincy: Sami Khedira will lead the team out tomorrow. I haven’t decided who will start in goal.

…Vigo as the venue: Of course, it would be nice to play in Barcelona or Madrid. I think that Spain choose to play in smaller cities more often than not and that’s completely fine.

…tactics: I don’t think that we’ll have more of the possession tomorrow. I expect us to be compact and solid against a well organised team. We’ll have players such as Toni Kroos, Benedkit Höwedes and Thomas Müller, who all have experience and can lead the team.

…the influence of Spain’s game: To be honest, when I started, I had watched a lot of Spanish football, with Jürgen Klinsmann too. I shadowed a club manager in Spain and I found it impressive that you could almost lay a stencil over the pitch and there was a disciplined approach. We have definitely been influenced by Spain’s game, but we have also tried to apply our own style.

…a possible defeat against Spain: Obviously, it wouldn’t be good to end the year with a loss. But it certainly won’t play a role next year or in at the EUROs in 2016. If you draw 2-2 with Cameroon in May, it doesn’t affect the team for weeks. I hope that we can have a good preparation for the tournament in 2015, qualify and the players can remain injury free.

German language summary (slightly different)

Joachim Löw über...

... die freien Tage nach dem Gibraltar-Spiel: Ich habe gemerkt, dass nach dem Gibraltar-Spiel im Training kein richtiger Akzent zu setzen ist. Das hängt natürlich auch mit diesem sehr Kräfte zehrenden Jahr zusammen. Ich merke aber schon, dass die Spieler Lust haben, gegen Spanien zu spielen. Und ich denke auch, dass wir mit der nötigen Motivation ins Spiel gehen.

... die Startelf gegen Spanien: Ich gehe mal davon aus, dass alle einsatzfähig sind. Die Entscheidung, welche Elf beginnt, fälle ich heute Abend. Ich kann mir gut vorstellen, dass Kevin Volland von Beginn an spielt. Auch Antonio Rüdiger wird seinen Einsatz erhalten. Für die Torhüterposition habe ich noch keine Entscheidung getroffen.

... die Kapitänsfrage: In Spanien wird Sami Khedira die Mannschaft aufs Feld führen.

... den Klassiker zum Jahresabschluss: Auf der einen Seite freue ich mich, hier nach Spanien zu fliegen, denn es ist gewährleistet, dass wir gegen eine technisch hervorragende Mannschaft spielen. Schade ist natürlich, dass bei diesem prestigeträchtigem Duell auf beiden Seiten gute Spieler fehlen. Und natürlich gibt es zum Ende des Jahres noch einmal wichtige Erkenntnisse, die wir im nächsten Jahr gebrauchen können. Ich erwarte eine läuferisch ansprechende Leistung - und dass die geistige Bereitschaft vorhanden ist. Danach beurteile ich jeden einzelnen Spieler.

... die taktische Ausrichtung: Ich denke nicht, dass wir in dieser Zusammensetzung mehr Ballbesitz als Spanien haben werden. Ich erwarte Kompaktheit und Stabilität gegen einen richtig gut organisierten Gegner. Da kommt es natürlich auch auf Spieler wie Toni Kroos, Benedikt Höwedes oder Thomas Müller an, die eine gewisse Erfahrung haben und vorangehen.

... eine mögliche Niederlage gegen Spanien Klar, es wäre nicht schön, am Ende mit einer Niederlage aus dem Jahr zu gehen. Aber es würde keine Rolle für das kommende Jahr und schon gar nicht für die EM 2016 spielen. Ich hoffe einfach, dass wir uns 2015 qualifizieren, eine gute Vorbereitung auf das Turnier haben und die Spieler möglichst verletzungsfrei bleiben.

... die Lücke, die Lahm, Klose und Mertesacker gerissen haben: Sicher hinterlassen solche Spieler eine Lücke, aber wir müssen versuchen, sie zu füllen. Dass es da ein paar Schwierigkeiten nach der WM gibt, habe ich schon erwartet. Aber auch anderen Mannschaften, die bei der WM weit gekommen sind - Holland etwa -, ist ein Kräfteverschleiß in der EM-Qualifikation anzusehen. Im Moment gibt es viele Veränderungen, das tut unserer Mannschaft sicher nicht so gut. Und dennoch wird dieses Jahr, unabhängig vom Spiel gegen Spanien, in die Geschichte eingehen und immer herausragen.

... den Einfluss des spanischen Spielstils auf sein Team: Ganz ehrlich, ich habe gerade am Anfang, auch zusammen mit Jürgen Klinsmann, schon auf den spanischen Fußball geschaut. Ich habe als Vereinstrainer in Spanien hospitiert und fand es beeindruckend, dass man im Training quasi eine Schablone über das Feld legen konnte, wie diszipliniert agiert wurde. Wir haben sicherlich Einfluss von Spanien gehabt, aber auch versucht, unseren eigenen Stil zu prägen.

17 November 2014
Originally on, uploaded here to prevent loss once moved.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Löw: "I expected more", 15.11.2014

The Germany national team won their fourth qualifying game on their way to EURO 2016 in France yesterday evening. The reigning World Champions ran out 4-0 winners over UEFA new boys Gibraltar.

Joachim Löw was far from satisfied at the press conference at Nürnberg’s Grundig-Stadion though. The national team head coach spoke about the game, the opponents, critique of his players, the match in Spain on Tuesday and changes.

Question: Mr Lӧw, what do you make of the 4-0 win over Gibraltar?

Joachim Löw: I can’t be happy with the team’s performance and the scoreline. 4-0 just isn’t enough, we didn’t score enough. I expected more from the side, especially after the break. We managed to at least create some chances in the first half and score three goals. We didn’t create that many chances in the second half though. We didn’t play at the same tempo and were no longer on the path which we had to be on.

Question: Were you impressed by Gibraltar’s fighting strength?

Löw: No, I wasn’t. They always have to defend and will gradually improve the more they play together. But we would have scored more should we have played our game the way it should have been played.

Question: Who are you criticising in particular?

Löw: Especially those who sometimes had a chance, and those who I expected more conviction from. More shots, more threat in front of goal.

Question: Is that also the case with Lukas Podolski?

Löw: I’m also aware that it’s tough for him to play 90 minutes at a high tempo, that’s the way it is. Lukas just needs lots of game time, he has the quality. He hasn’t had that game time in the last six months. He didn’t play enough at the World Cup and after that too. For this reason, I can’t throw any criticism at him. But we and he have to think about what next year will bring for him.

Question: Is it a psychological issue for him and with other World Cup winners?

Löw: There are lots of memories and festivities, but we have to let these go at the end of this year and draw a line under it. Some players will be happy when this World Cup year is done with. It will be a bit too expected that excitement drops somewhat after this massive success and the players will get a little tired in their heads. I previously expected that this would happen. Players will be physically and mentally fresher in the New Year after the winter break and three weeks of preparation, I’m convinced.

Question: Will there be any fear or concern for the game in Spain?

Löw: We want to show what we have in us and win one more time before the end of the year. It’s certainly not revenge for the matches in 2008 or 2010, when we lost. Those games play no role for both sides. We don’t have one or two players with us, Spain too. From that point of view, it’s a game with different conditions.

Question: You have announced that there will be changes in the New Year. Do you stick by this?

Löw: One or two players have to come in in the New Year, something which is important for me and crucial for the team.

15 November 2014
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Thursday, 13 November 2014

Löw, "I plan on starting Podolski", 13.11.2014

The last two games of the year are approaching. The World Champions will take on Gibraltar on Friday (20:45 CET) in Nuremburg and will be expecting nothing less than a win. There should be a “positive end to the year” on Tuesday when the DFB-Team take on European Champions Spain (20:45 CET) in Vigo. has summarised the most important quotes from the Germany manager.

Joachim Löw on...

…the situation in the group: We didn’t pick up enough points in October. The euphoria from the World Cup was huge. Then reality began to set in. There are a lot of reasons behind it, but we weren’t good enough to pick up six points against Poland and Ireland.

…Lukas Podolski’s chances of starting: I already plan on starting Lukas. But I also can see that he hasn’t had much match practice this season. Podolski has a good foundation but I’m concerned as to whether he’ll be able to last the 90 minutes. It’s important for him to play regularly. I still have confidence in him. But he needs a good physique because then he’s hard to stop.

…the form of Sami Khedira: Sami Khedira also hasn’t had much match practice. But nevertheless, he is a player that can be used in a variety of ways. We could possibly use him in a more attacking role because I saw in the semi-final against Brazil at the World Cup that he got forward quite often.

…the missing André Schürrle: Schürrle has been ill over the last few weeks with flu. He has tried to train as much as possible. But he said that he is knackered and therefore we decided over the phone that André should stay in London to get better as his health is more important.

…opponents Gibraltar: We expect Gibraltar to be defensive and therefore we won’t play too many defensive players. If we play with tempo and if we have fun then we can achieve our aims, even if Gibraltar are organised at the back. Against Poland (when they lost 7-0), they were only 1-0 down at half-time. But it’s also evident that we have a lot of options going forward.

…the possibility of a new goal scoring record: We haven’t spoken about the record as a team. If the team play like I imagine, then we can set a new record. We want to have a good result and show that we are worthy World Champions. But what’s important is how the team plays and not by how many goals we can win.

…the award in Berlin on Monday: It was a nice event on Monday with the Federal President (the team were awarded the Silver Laurel Leaf at Bellevue Palace.) But the past stays in the past, we must live in the here and now. We realise that we must make progress over the next few months.

…the development of football: Football is constantly being developed and we have to also develop at the same time. We were strong in our ideas at the World Cup as to how we wanted to play football. But we have to incorporate a few things into our game to help us develop, especially in the direction of EURO 2016. We want to be challenging for the title there too. But obviously, we’ll have to qualify first.

13 November 2014
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Monday, 10 November 2014

Bild-am-Sonntag, 9 November 2014

Jogi Löw exklusiv über BVB-Trainer Jürgen Klopp, Marco Reus und SpielerfrauenJetzt spricht der Weltmeister-Trainer

Sein größter Triumph ist knapp vier Monate her: Am 13. Juli holte Jogi Löw (54) mit der Nationalmannschaft in Brasilien den WM-Titel. Der Bundestrainer hat die Zeit zum Reflektieren genutzt, spricht im großen Interview mit BILD am Sonntag über die BVB-Krise, den WM-Film und ehemalige Spielerfrauen.

BILD am SONNTAG: Herr Löw, Dortmund kämpft heute gegen Gladbach gegen den Absturz. Muss Borussia für die lange WM jetzt die Rechnung zahlen??

JOACHIM LÖW: „Nein, das glaube ich nicht. Beim FC Bayern fehlen auch viele Spieler. Aber Dortmund hatte ja unabhängig von der WM ein wenig Verletzungs-Pech.?“

Muss man Angst haben um Dortmund??

Löw: "Vielleicht gehört es auch mal ein bisschen dazu, dass eine Mannschaft nach so überragenden Phasen und erfolgreichen Jahren auch einmal in ein Tal kommt. Aber Borussia hat in der Champions League sehr stark gespielt. Ich bin mir absolut sicher, dass Jürgen Klopp das alles im Griff hat und die Mannschaft wieder nach oben führt, er ist ein hervorragender Trainer.?"

Der FC Bayern marschiert wie erwartet. Befürchten Sie, dass die Liga langweilig wird??

Löw: "Die Liga und auch die Nationalmannschaft profitieren ja von einem starken FC Bayern. Dahinter sind die Plätze hart umkämpft, auch unten – da stelle ich nicht fest, dass es eine Langeweile geben könnte.?"

Aber jetzt gibt es Anzeichen, dass die Bayern auch noch Dortmunds Marco Reus kaufen wollen.?

Löw: "Ich werde auch mal mit ihm reden, um zu hören: Wie sind seine Gedankengänge, wie plant er? Bei einem überragenden Spieler wie ihm, ist es doch logisch, dass es Begehrlichkeiten gibt. Aber ich werde mich generell nicht zu möglichen Transfers äußern, das ist ja Sache der Vereine und aller Beteiligten.?"

Es gab zuletzt Beschwerden über die zu große Belastung vieler Spieler. Sind die gerechtfertigt??

Löw: "Für Nationalspieler gilt das schon, gerade nach Turnieren. Aber es gibt auch viele Möglichkeiten der körperlichen und der geistigen Regeneration. Die muss ich als Spieler heutzutage schon alle nutzen. Es geht darum, total professionell zu leben, da darf ich mir keine Nachlässigkeiten erlauben. Und dann kann ich mit den Belastungen schon umgehen. Ich kenne keinen Spieler, der nicht auch bei uns in der Nationalmannschaft dabei sein möchte. Aber ich sage auch: Mehr Termine darf es nicht geben, sonst überdrehen wir das Rad.?"

Morgen gibt es in Berlin die Premiere des WM-Films „Die Mannschaft“. Haben Sie den Film schon gesehen??

Löw: "Ich hätte das gekonnt, aber ich wollte nicht.?"

Warum nicht??

Löw: "Ich lasse mich gerne überraschen. Ich freue mich auf einen schönen Kino-Abend.?"

Es werden nach einigen Trennungen nicht mehr alle Spielerfrauen dabei sein, die Sie bei der WM noch getroffen haben. Werden Sie die Damen vermissen??

Löw: "Wahrscheinlich werde ich die eine oder andere schon vermissen, das kann schon sein. Es gab ja einige Beziehungen von längerer Dauer, natürlich haben wir uns da öfters auch gesehen. Aber generell ist dies die Privatangelegenheit eines jeden einzelnen, das sollte jeder respektieren, daran halte auch ich mich.?"

Haben Sie noch unter der WM zu leiden wie einige Ihrer Spieler??

Löw: "Ich merke, dass Erfolg genauso viel Zeit braucht wie ein Misserfolg, um alles zu verarbeiten. Aber ich bin auch froh, wenn das Jahr vorbei ist.?"

Warum das? Es war doch das schönste Jahr Ihrer Karriere.?

Löw: "Ja, aber es geht jetzt darum, weiterzumachen, nach vorn zu blicken, die Lücke zu schließen, die andere Spieler hinterlassen haben. Und mit der EM 2016 neue Reizpunkte zu setzen.?"

Wenn Sie jetzt essen gehen, müssen Sie dann eigentlich noch zahlen??

Löw: "Aber selbstverständlich muss, werde und will ich immer bezahlen, wobei mich mein Stamm-Italiener auch mal auf eine Pasta einlädt. Bei ihm aber revanchiere ich mich dann natürlich auch.?"

Und können Sie Selfies noch ertragen??

Löw: "Es gibt schon Tage oder Momente, in denen man sich gerne auch mal ungestört bewegen möchte, da bin ich ehrlich. Weil ich ja auch mal meine Ruhephasen brauche. Andererseits empfinde ich es natürlich auch als Anerkennung, dass die Leute mich ansprechen und schätzen, was wir geleistet haben. Es ist schön, zu spüren, dass wir den Fans eine große Freude mache. Und wenn ich dann das Lächeln sehe, besonders bei den Kindern, dann freue ich mich auch.?"

Christoph Kramer hat sich beim DFB eine Kopie des WM-Pokals anfertigen lassen. Wo steht Ihre Kopie??

Löw: "So weit geht meine Liebe zum WM-Pokal dann doch nicht. Ich will mich auch davon frei machen, ich habe solche Erinnerungen lieber im Herzen. Ich brauche keinen Pokal im Wohnzimmer oder muss ständig meine Medaille angucken. Für mich sind die Bilder, die ich im Kopf habe, und die damit verbundenen Emotionen, die schönsten Erinnerungen.?"

Und welche sind das??

Löw: "Es gibt nicht den einen Moment, sondern viele. Manchmal vom harten Kampf beim Algerien-Spiel, vom Sieg über Brasilien und vor allem den herzlichen Bekundungen der Menschen dort, die uns danach an den Straßen zugejubelt haben. Oder vom Sieg-Tor durch Mario Götze und vom Abpfiff. Diese Momente sind sehr fest verankert. Aber ich denke auch an schwere Momente.?"

Und welche waren das??

Löw: "Gespräche mit den Spielern, in denen ich Entscheidungen fällen musste. Es war schwer, als ich Per Mertesacker auf die Bank setzen musste. Ich habe ungeheuren Respekt vor Per, wie er das hingenommen und gesagt hat: "Trainer, ich weiß, dass das schwer ist für Sie. Aber ich weiß, wie ich die Mannschaft trotzdem unterstützen kann – und das werde ich tun!""

Es war eben "Die Mannschaft".?

Löw: "Ganz genau! Das war unsere Stärke, für einen Moment, für ein Ziel alle Eigeninteressen hinten anzustellen. Ich habe gelernt, dass es für einen Trainer entscheidend ist, welche Spieler-Charaktere ich aussuche. Die Mischung hat dieses Mal perfekt gestimmt. Der Teamgeist wurde gelebt – wie wohl nie zuvor.?"

Haben Sie das Finale eigentlich jetzt mal in kompletter Länge gesehen??

Löw: "In großen Teilen ja, aber nie komplett. Ich habe immer wieder vor- und zurückgespult. Nach und nach habe ich mir das Endspiel und andere Spiele angeschaut.?"

Haben Sie Kontakt zu Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ihrem Final-Helden??

Löw: "Selbstverständlich, wir haben uns auch in München getroffen. Er hat mir seinen Zeitplan erklärt, wann er wieder einsatzfähig sein möchte.?"

Sehen wir ihn noch 2014 auf dem Platz??

Löw: "Es sieht ganz gut aus, und ich hoffe es. Aber das können nur die Verantwortlichen des FC Bayern entscheiden. Ich würde mich freuen."?

Am Freitag geht es in Nürnberg gegen den Giganten Gibraltar. Wie werden Sie Ihre Spieler auf den Gegner vorbereiten??

Löw: "Ich werde kein Wort über Gibraltar verlieren, diese Zeit werde ich für andere Dinge nutzen.?"

Zum Beispiel??

Löw: "Für unser Defensiv-Verhalten! Zuletzt haben wir einiges unbeachtet gelassen, waren einfach nicht richtig konzentriert. Die Nachlässigkeiten müssen wir abstellen.?"

Wenn Sie wieder ein Stürmer-Problem haben, könnten Sie doch eigentlich auch noch mal Oliver Bierhoff aufstellen. Für Gibraltar sollt es reichen.?

Löw (lacht): "Da wir uns möglicherweise häufig im gegnerischen Strafraum aufhalten, könnte Oliver schon wertvoll sein. Nur beim Konterspiel würde er dann Probleme bekommen.?"

Von Mathias Sonnenberg

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