World Cup 2018 Qualifying Campaign Index


Saturday, 8 October 2016

Volksparkstadion, Hamburg
World Cup 2018 Group C Qualifier

"The team were always in control."

Thomas Müller 13', 65', Toni Kroos 49'

Another convincing win for Germany, as Joachim Löw moves second, behind Sepp Herberger, in matches coached as Bundestrainer.

Confident Germany cruise past Czech Republic
Thomas Müller strikes twice as Germany down Czech Republic
Müller at the double as hosts ease to win

A Walk in the Volkspark for Germany as they sweep aside poor Czech Republic - with live ticker from schwarzundweiss

"It was great to play in front of the Hamburg crowd. We played very well out of the back and knew that we would have to use diagonal balls to break down this Czech team. We certainly made the most of our good link-up play and didn't give our opponents any chances on the counter either."

Joachim Low: Germany gave Czech Republic no chance after an hour

Germany coach Joachim Low said his side had run the Czech Republic into the ground after an hour of their World Cup qualifier in Hamburg.
The defending world champions prevailed 3-0 and Low said he knew two thirds of the way in -- when his side led 2-0 -- that it was already game, set and match.
"You could see after an hour that we had run our opponents ragged," he said. "They had no chance then."
Löw delighted with Germany win
"From the back we played very well," he said. "The Czechs started by hitting us with consistent diagonal balls, but we defended and repeatedly broke.
"Then you noticed that, after 60 minutes, the opposition were dead. They were tired and then they had no chance."
"[Mario Götze] worked hard and had a great chance in the first half," he added. "One time or another, he was offside. He is still improving."
Löw: Muller's Euro 2016 displays hard to explain
"I don't think we have to look for a specific reason," he said.
"A striker has phases, where he doesn't score goals and is a bit unlucky. And that was the case for Thomas Muller at the Euros.
"But he is a player, who can always score goals and he showed that today. It is hard to find an explanation.
"Since the 2010 World Cup, Thomas Muller is scoring in the Bundesliga and with the national team at a very high rate. It is normal that you then go through a phase like he did at the Euros."
Joachim Löw: "Faultless" - post-match interview on
Jogi spoke about the cross-field passes out from defence, saying "We realised that they are easily cut open by cross field balls and a shift in the game because their defence generally stays very tight and central. The diagonal balls helped us to get in behind their defence and cause them problems. Our two centre backs were excellent in this respect and faultless in defence."
Asked to describe the game in more detail, he elaborated "Our full backs pushed up high and were almost on the halfway line, which was a conscious decision. The aim is always to take as many opposition players out of the game with just one pass and we were very successful at doing just that. Whether Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels or Toni Kroos, the three played out from the back superbly. It was good that with those three and Sami Khedira we only had four players left deeper and the others could all push forward in order to force the opposition back and make runs to open up and exploit their defence."

On the knock suffered by Jerome Boateng, and the substitution of Jonas Hector, he explained that Jerome had taken a knock while Jonas has a slight muscle injury. He does however assume that it's not too serious. Jonas' substitution was simply a precautionary measure.

Jogi also spoke of his satisfaction of the number of players Germany had had in the opposition's penalty area "I'm certainly satisfied with that. It was previously noted that in some games we didn't have as many players as possible in the opposition box. Especially when it comes to playing against teams with a similar style to Czech Republic, it is necessary and essential that midfielders and wingers make their way into the centre. That's where you can pose and danger and where goals are scored."

Bundestrainer Löw überholt Schön - Jogi personal milestone on the night.

Five thoughts from Germany 3:0 Czech Republic
Löw und seine Weltmeister - das passt - Jogi's decision to give the players an extra day off proved correct, says
Fabelhafter Jogi! Erst die Gala, dann der Vertrag... - more praise for Jogi!

Match highlights from

Post-match interview with RTL

DFB post-match press conference

Starting Line-Up:
Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Jonas Hector (Benedikt Höwedes), Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos (Ilkay Gündogan), Thomas Müller, Mesut Ozil, Julian Draxler (Julian Brandt), Mario Götze

Jogi made one change from the Norway qualifier, with Jerome Boateng replacing Benedikt Höwedes

The pre-match interview on RTL - 8 October 2016

Training, Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, 7 October 2016

Abschlusstraining im Volksparkstadion

Press Conference, Hamburg, 7 October 2016, with Sami Khedira

"I expect us to come away with three points in both games. The team appear to be very fresh and concentrated. Czech Republic are probably the strongest opposition side in the group, but we are well prepared. The objective is clear: six points from the two games. The Czechs always have well-trained players. They can defend well and counter very quickly. I believe that the Czech Republic are the most challenging opposition in the group."

Joachim Low wants six-point haul from Germany's two home qualifiers

"Six points are our goal," Low told his prematch news conference in Hamburg on Friday.
However, he warned that Germany would need to be on their guard against Czech Republic, adding: "They can defend really, really well and are strong on counterattacks."
Low said former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Gundogan, who has returned to the national team for the first time in almost a year, is "coming out of a long injury layoff."
"He had a good start at Manchester City, but he's still a few games away from his best form," Low said, adding that Gundogan "will be extremely important" in the future.
However, the coach played down comparisons made in some sections of the German media between Gundogan and former captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has now retired from international football.
"Bastian was a leader, took on responsibility," he said. "Ilkay plays a bit further up the field, Bastian dropped behind the defence. You should not compare them."
Squad news, summarised on

- more on Ilkay Gündogan: Ilkay had a long time out but he is putting that behind him. He has had a good start to life in Manchester, and he is a player who can always have a really positive influence on games. I hope that he can stay injury free in the months and years ahead. We really felt his absence in France and I am delighted that he is back. I think that he will be an important player for us.

- the quality in midfield: In a two year period, players can always have problems with injuries. It is of course best for me when I have a lot of competition for players in every position. It is definitely possible that Gündogan and Khedira could play together, but against the Czech Republic it will be Khedira and Toni Kroos in midfield. During these games we will see what we need. I could see Ilkay starting against Northern Ireland but you have to keep every possibility in mind.

- the roles of Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Müller: Both play a number of different positions for Bayern. I think that we will play Kimmich at right back. He was excellent at the Euros. Kimmich and Müller both have a very good understanding of how to play their roles depending on the games. Kimmich can adapt to any position very quickly. Müller had a tough Euros but scored twice against Norway in our last game, and I think that he will keep scoring for us.

- Leroy Sane, Jonathan Tah and Niklas Sule: Bringing through as many young players as possible is our biggest aim, but it is a process that takes one or two years. There is an arrangement in place with U21 head coach Stefan Kuntz and sporting director Hansi Flick and we believe that it is possibly better for those players to play with the U21s as they will get to play the full 90 minutes and take on a higher level of responsibility. We will have a completely different situation in November when a few of the younger players could well be back in the senior team.

- Gonzalo Castro: Castro has been playing very well for Dortmund of late. I think that in the last few months he has definitely become a better, much more dynamic and flexible player. He is playing at a good level but we have a lot of players for his position. His development has been very good. I do not rule out that he may be called up for the national team again in the future.

Regarding meeting up on Wednesday, a day later than usual, he said "We had a situation in which I felt that a few players needed more than a day's break, so I decided against one day of training. I felt it necessary. The team will be well-prepared."

Joachim Löw was also asked about Uwe Seeler who celebrated his eightieth birthday this week. He replied that Owe is a legend in Germany but above all in Hamburg. He never played for another club but HSV. Jogi added that he never heard Uwe say anything negative about others and that he always had interesting stories to tell. Staying with Hamburg, he dclared that he did not believe their recent problems would have any adverse effect on the national team.

Low contemplating return to club football abroad

He told reporters: "There will be [contract] talks with the association at some point leading up to the tournament in Russia, but the qualifiers have only just begun, and in due time we will sit down and think forward.
"But it's no problem to go into the tournament with an expiring contract.
"It could be tempting for me at one point to work as a club coach abroad. I love working with the team, but I know everything in the Bundesliga."
In addition, lucky winners of a DFB Fan Club competition got to ask Jogi a question at the end of the press conference. He was asked whether sometimes he was annoyed by the journalists' questions, Jogi asked if he had appeared annoyed today, and then replied, laughing, "Sometimes, but not today".

From the DFB press conference with Manuel Neuer, Ilkay Gundogan and Shkodran Mustafi, 6 October 2016
Neuer also had his say on Joachim Low's future as Germany coach following the latter's comments that he is not interested in coaching in the Bundesliga if he ever leaves his current position.
"It is the coach's decision what he will do in the future," Neuer added.
"But it is clear that we all like him as the national team coach. He has a lot of experience and keeps adapting his style depending on how the game changes.
"He has really taken the national team to another level. He is a successful and modern coach. A lot of coaches don't change, but he always has new ideas." - from

Hier kommt Jogging-Jogi - meanwhile the subject of the praise did a spot of midday jogging!

Training, Millerntor-Stadion, Hamburg, 6 October 2016

Sane in good hands with Guardiola - Low - 6 October 2016
"With Pep Guardiola we know that he has taken care of young players," he told RND.
"He does not burn them out and operates with them with clear analysis.
"There is a clear plan for Leroy."

"We have [Castro] back in the spotlight," he added.
"He wasn't for a while because he seemed to stop in his development, but now he is doing what is needed at the highest level.
"He always gets into attack and often has a decisive say in the conclusion [of attacks]. But the competition is enormous."

Training, Millerntor-Stadion, Hamburg, 5 October 2016

Erstes Training im Millerntor-Stadion - from

Ankunft der Nationalspieler - 5 October 2016

Interviews on arrival:
Eine WM mit 48 Mannschaften? - with Sky Sports
Löw zur Tuchel Kritik "Verstehe auch nicht alle Trainer Entscheidungen" - from Bild
Interviewed on arrival at the team hotel in Hamburg, Joachim Löw was asked about the non-selection of Gonzalo Castro and perceived criticism from Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel who expressed his disappointment in his player's omission. Jogi explained that although he understood Tuchel's disappointment and that Castro has played well. He added that sometimes he himself doesn't understand all the decisons made by other coaches!

Löw: "Sind in fast allen Bereichen besser als 2014" - 4 October 2016
After a workshop held in Düsseldorf last week, Jogi says the management team have reached the conclusion that they are in all ways better than in 2014, apart from needing to convert more shots into goals, currently needing 12/13 attempts per goal.

Mario Gomez has pulled out of the squad for Germany's upcoming matches against Czech Republic and Northern Ireland. The 31-year-old VfL Wolfsburg striker has been unable to train for the past few days due to a gluteal injury.
Head coach Joachim Löw will call up a replacement and will meet his 21-man squad in Hamburg on Wednesday, from - 4 October 2016

Löw jagt die Herberger-Rekorde - 4 October 2016

Jogi approaches a major milestone, as a victory against the Czech Republic will mean he equals Sepp Herberger's total of 94 victories as Bundestrainer.

Gündogan returns to national team - 30 September 2016
Joachim Löw had this to say about his squad and the upcoming games: "These two home games are very important for us. After starting qualification well in Norway we also want to win the next games and maintain our position at the top of the table. The players who are in the squad have found their rhythm again with their club teams over the past few weeks. These are the players we're banking on right now and they know what's expected of them. We want to build on our performance in Oslo."
He continued: "I'm particularly happy that Ilkay Gündogan, Jerome Boateng and Mario Gomez are back. Also, we never forgot about Sebastian Rudy and the same will apply to Jonathan Tah, Niklas Süle and Stefan Kuntz, who this time are with the U21s."
Joachim Löw on the Czech Republic: "Although the Czechs didn't make it past the group stages of the Euros, they played particularly well against Spain and Croatia. After the Championships, they made some big changes; they've brought in a new coach, who in turn has brought in some new young players. This could give them a boost so against us they'll be particularly motivated. Therefore, we'll have to be fully concentrated from the beginning. "

There are no new names in Joachim Löw's squad, announced today. Jerome Boateng, Ilkay Gündogan and Mario Gomez all return, having been previously missing due to injury. There is also a recall for Sebastian Rudy. - 30 September 2016.

The full squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-André ter Stegen (Barcelona)
Defenders: Sebastian Rudy (Hoffenheim)Jonas Hector (Köln), Benedikt Höwedes (Schalke), Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich (both Bayern Munich), Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal)
Midfield: Julian Brandt, (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (Wolfsburg), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Max Meyer (Schalke), Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Özil (Arsenal), Julian Weigl (Borussia Dortmund)Ilkay Gündogan (Manchester City)
Forwards: Mario Gomez (Wolfsburg), Mario Götze (Borussia Dortmund), Kevin Volland (Bayer Leverkusen)

Last updated 12 October 2016
With thanks to everyone, especially Sarah, Silke, Lucille, Susanne and Delmy.
Anything else you think I should include on this page? Let me know!