Germany will play their final test match before the World Cup this Friday against Armenia in Mainz. The next day the staff and the 23 players will get on a plane and take off to Brazil.
Ahead of the friendly and the tournament itself coach Joachim Löw touched on the team’s preparation, the fitness of key players, his system and what to expect going into their first game against Portugal.
On the friendly against Armenia: “With the friendly against Armenia we want to be able to take off to Brazil with a smile on our face and have some momentum going in. Armenia are similar to Portugal and strong in the counter attack. That’s why we said to ourselves that Armenia are the best opponents for us at this moment.”
On the fitness of Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger: “Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger have both been training with the ball and are feeling better. They will both participate in the final training tonight and both will definitely feature against Armenia.”
On the fitness of Manuel Neuer: “Roman Weidenfeller will start in goal against Armenia so Manuel Neuer will not be playing as we don’t want to take any risks. As soon as we get to Brazil Manuel Neuer will be able to play according to the doctors. He will be ready in time for the World Cup but this Friday is coming a bit too early. He has already been excercising his arm and shoulder and he himself said it would take three or four days for him to find his rhythm again.”
On the criticism of Mesut Özil: “Mesut has been voted by the fans in the last couple of years as the national team player of the year. Yes, he has some games here and there were he doesn’t reach his own high standards, but I am sure that Özil will be at his absolute best against Portugal, Ghana and the USA.”
On the formation with a ‘False 9’: “The topic of a “false” or “traditional 9″ have been discussed quite a lot in Germany. I won’t be taking that discussion to Brazil though. In Marco Reus, Lukas Podolski, Thomas Muller, Andrew Schurrle and Miroslav Klose players who have trained and developed to score goals. The striker-type has changed significantly over the years. He must be technically good to be able to utilize the space up front. And we have enough players in our squad who can play as a striker.”
On the special preparation for Brazil’s conditions: “We’re playing at noon local time. This means we have to adapt. The players have to wake up earlier, go to bed earlier and we have to change our meal time. The planning was a little more demanding than previous tournaments but we will be well prepared.”
On the first opponent, Portugal: “We’ve played the Portuguese a couple of times already at these tournaments. We have monitored and analyzed them intensively. Portugal thrive on a strong Cristiano Ronaldo. If he plays, we’ll have means to stop him. But we’ve already experienced that Portugal have very strong defensive players. They’re a very strong side. They were in the semifinals in 2012 and are always around the top ten teams.”
The expectations in Germany: “Germany travel to a tournament and the expectations are always high. That’s always the case. Regardless of the expectations, every Germany fan wants to see a good game and celebrate victories. We ourselves have big expectations too.”
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