September 26, 2017

Löw: “We can play better, we haven’t reached our best yet”

Germany booked their place in the Round of 16 with their 1-0 win over the US on Thursday and now face a determined Algeria side on Monday in Porto Alegre.

Algeria are one of the few teams Germany have yet to win against, losing both of their matches.  One of those was the notoriou ls loss in their World Cup opener in 1982, which remains their only loss in the tournament’s first game.

Ahead of the game, coach Jogi Löw addressed the press about the dangers posed by Algeria, the keys to the game and tournament as a whole.

On Algeria…...”We’ll be up against a very very compact, tireless and extremely aggressive team. I haven’t seen a team defend an opponent so vehemently but also be able to attack so quickly. Algeria are a very dangerous opponent.  I’m irritated to hear all this about “revenge”- our players weren’t even born then. For our players that’s not even on their minds. But Algeria will be highly motivated either way.”

On Algeria’s key players….”Algeria don’t just have one good player but many. Some play in Spain, England and France. The team functions well as a unit, everyone works for each other and they can counter ridiculously quick.”

On the tournament so far...”We won the game against the US and won the group. That was our primary goal. But we are also self-critical. We can play better, we haven’t reached our limit yet. And that’s a good thing. Now the knockout rounds begin. We don’t need any major changes to our system, we just need to improve the details.”

Thoughts going into the Round of 16…..“Our team is eager about this game. Games like this have a special feel. Games like this mean a lot to us, the team is focused and we’re going into it with a lot of confidence. If anyone thinks that we’re going into this game against an easy opponent then they’re making a big mistake. Concentration is key, every mistake will be punished.”

Potential things to improve…“The homework is: our game in the final third, efficiency in front of goal and more activity in the opponent’s sixteen. Our finishing can be better. If we want to reach the final it’s important to want to be at your best even early in games like this. The World Cup is a marathon, not a 100-meter sprint where you have to be at your absolute best at the beginning. Even at the last tournament we saw that teams that won their first three games can lose in their fourth. It is about making progress along the way.”

The mood within the team….“The togetherness of the team is very very good. Everyone understands and has seen the potential we have here and the options between the games. That’s very important during a tournament, to concentrate and be able to recover.”

The mild climate in Porto Alegre…. “Whether it’s an advantage I don’t know. Both teams are coming from hot climates to cooler ones, it’s easier than the other way around. But we handled the heat very well and now we’re playing in cooler temperatures. That’s easier for both teams. For us it was clear from the start that we had to adjust to these temperatures rather than lament them.”

The short rest after the USA match…“We’re not bothered about it. We already knew beforehand how the games would be scheduled. With the selection of our camp we made the right decision in the case we needed to make an extra long trip.”

On Bastian Schweinsteiger…. “Bastian started again for the first time in weeks. Considering that he did his job very well. Regardless of whether Sami or Bastian play, after their injuries more than seven games would be unrealistic for both. But they are both extremely important for the team. Sami needed a break after the first two games. Now we have to see how things will look for the next game. Who plays on Monday will depend on the situation, both are making a good impression in training.”

Comparison of Thomas Muller to Neymar and Messi….”Thomas Muller maybe isn’t under the spotlight as much in Germany. But abroad I hear his name in every stadium. He has a great reputation internationally. He is also a different player than Messi or Neymar but in terms of being a goal threat he is on the same level.”

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Cristian Nyari

Cristian is a football writer and analyst living in New York City, fascinated with the history and study of the beautiful game and all it entails. Follow Cristian on twitter @Cnyari

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