Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Wembley Stadium, London

My Joachim Löw Pages
"The fact that we won here at this time-honoured place is a source of joy for us,"
Per Mertesacker 39'

In front of 85,934 spectators, myself among them, Germany finish the season on a winning note with a 1-0 victory over England!

Germany, Mertesacker frustrate England at Wembley to claim 1-0 win
England beaten 1-0 by Germany at Wembley as Per Mertesacker scores only goal

"Big f***ing German" knockt England aus
'Wembley is now German' - media reaction to Germany's 1-0 victory over England - German media reaction to the victory

Joachim Löw's support act leaves Roy Hodgson green with envy at Wembley Stadium
Joachim Löw drops Germany down a gear but power is still there

"I can approach 2014 with quiet confidence." he said. "The players I tried can gain from this win. Our thoughts are already geared towards what we can achieve next year. There is only one game left to prepare for the World Cup but we know what the sticking points are. We will address them."
German experiment successful
"I think the team had a good performance after eight changes from the Italy game so I am quite satisfied," Löw, whose team cruised to the World Cup with nine wins and a draw in the qualifiers, told reporters.
br>"I go to the World Cup draw with a mix of excitement and curiosity, waiting to discover who we are playing and where, and it's the same with the players," Löw added.
(Inclusion of Roman Weidenfeller) "We wanted to see how he gelled in training, how he worked with the other players and he is very good, mature and self-confident and athletically outstanding," said Löw. "We don't have to decide yet about our goalkeepers."
Germany coach Joachim Low happy with deserved win over England
"Over the 90 minutes we deserved to win this game. We had a good grip on the game. What we missed was converting a few chances on the break, especially in the second half, to seal the game earlier than we did."
"I was annoyed at times because we really squandered our chances, many of them when we should have extended our lead much earlier. Especially when England were open in defence, we should have scored that second goal."
Low also singled out match-winner Mertesacker for special praise describing the defender as a "pillar of strength".
"Per definitely organised our defence, he has turned out to be a pillar of strength literally speaking in terms of his height," Low added.
The British press lead with their usual puns - ranging from Roy hit by Low Blow to 'Per Pressure' and 'It's all gone Per-Shaped for England'. My favourite headline of all, though, had to be the Times and their "Mind The Gap: Löw's second string travel in style", no doubt a reference to the team's underground adventure the previous day, as well as a comment on the two sides!

Mertesacker and Germany Still Large Steps Ahead of England - from Bundesliga Fanatic
Germany edge out England - match page and highlights from thefa.com
Player ratings and match statistics from goal.com

Löw: "We've taken a step forward in 2013" - Jogi speaks to dfb.de. He talks about the England match, the year as a whole, and looks forward to the World Cup Group draw:

"I'm going there with a lot of anticipation, with huge curiosity. That's the moment when things get really serious. It's nerve-racking when you walk in there. We've already talked through how the groups could pan out. It's always good when you finally know who you'll be playing and where. Things really take shape then, it all becomes a lot more real."
And let's not forget that tonight's match was Hansi 100th as Assistant! Congratulations, Hansi!

Löw bedauert Verletzungen von BVB-Profis Hummels und Schmelzer
Jogi has spoken of his regret at the injuries suffered to Mats Hummels and Marcel Schmelzer during the game. "If players are injured in international games, it is always unfortunate, for the players, the national team and the clubs", and said he could not remember when last they had such injuries in so short a space of time. He wished them luck in their treatment and a swift return to the pitch.

Match highlights from tv.dfb.de

Post-match interview on ARD

Post-match press conference

Starting Line-Up:
Roman Weidenfeller, Marcel Schmelzer (Marcell Jansen), Jerome Boateng (Mats Hummels (Benedikt Höwedes)), Per Mertesacker, Heiko Westermann (Julian Draxler), Sven Bender, Lars Bender, Marco Reus (Andre Schürrle), Toni Kroos, Mario Götze, Max Kruse (Sidney Sam)

An interview with Joachim Löw published in the Match Day Programme

Training, Wembley Stadium, 18 November 2013

German football team goes underground

After apparently suffering a nightmare journey back from their Barnet training ground on Sunday night, late on Monday afternoon London rush-hour commuters were amazed to find the whole German team and management travelling through London on the 'tube', from their hotel near Embankment to Wembley Park stadium (Bakerloo line, change at Baker Street!). This naturally prompted much media amusement!

Mit der U-Bahn nach Wembley

By some strange coincidence I was also making the same journey, but in the opposite direction, having popped up to Wembley to do a spot of photography and making the journey back into the city centre to eat!

Press Conference, Royal Horseguards Hotel, London, 18 November 2013

Resting players is not disrespectful to England
"It was clear for me that these two matches against Italy and England, I would use them to try out new players in key positions and what better test for these up-and-coming players than to play in front of a partisan crowd of 80,000 fans spurring their own team on," he said.
"It was clear to me that I needed to experiment a bit and send home some of the players who are firmly established. It was a deliberate acid test for these young players and it's definitely not the case that we're fielding a B team or that there's any lack of respect to our hosts."
The goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller, midfielder Sven Bender, left-back Marcel Schmelzer and centre-backs Jérome Boateng and Mats Hummels will be given the chance to impress against England, in a team Löw believes still has significant room for improvement.
"Against Italy we lacked efficiency in the final third and we have to be more efficient, more to the point," he said. "Maybe we were missing the kind of clinical precision that is needed at that level.
"Defensively speaking, I think the game against Italy was a very good performance: very compact, we closed our opponents down, our forwards were pressing the Italian midfielders, so they didn't have any time on their hands. But we need quicker transitions, picking up the rebounds... we could get better there."
While Germany's shortcomings are probably the inadequacies of Hodgson's dreams, Löw does not subscribe to the view that Tuesday night's opponents are international also-rans. "England have been, always will be and still are one of the big footballing nations," he said, naming Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney as elite game-changers, before citing the team's "tremendous force" and "tackling power" as ticks on the ledger's credit side.
"Roy Hodgson is a fantastic coach," he added. "Wherever he's gone, he's left the most positive of marks. He's a man of the world who's gone to Sweden and a host of other countries, where he's learned about the local culture, the people and the styles of football played there.
"As a person, he comes across as a gentleman, perfect manners and always an open ear for young coaches."Speaking of the horrific knee injury that has threatened to derail the World Cup hopes of one of his key midfielders, Löw was cautiously optimistic with his prognosis. "The doctors have assured us that the operation went well," he said of the surgery on Khedira's knee."If anyone's capable of coming back from such a serious injury and playing in a World Cup, then that player would be Sami Khedira. He is a natural-born fighter, it's in his spirit, so let's see what happens. We just have to be optimistic, like he is."
Joachim Löw takes on the Dortmund conspiracy theories as well as England
"The truth is we were not exactly looking for goalkeepers as we have goalkeepers aplenty," said Löw, looking characteristically dapper in a tight navy V-neck pullover (with no visible sign of shirt) and grey slacks that had quite obviously made the very recent acquaintance of his room's Corby Trouser Press.
"Manuel Neuer is definitely our No1 keeper, René Adler is coming back from injury and played a vital part in our victories over Russia and France, so we know his worth. I think Roman just deserves his place in the squad after all those fantastic league performances for Dortmund. With a World Cup coming up next year we've got to be prepared and play several alternatives, too. I think Roman's made a fantastic impression both in training and in the League. He is a mature personality. He displays composure, is cool, calm and collected and his goalkeeping abilities are beyond any doubt."
"I have always wanted to check him out and see how he fares in training, see what makes him tick. His training is excellent and as a man, as a personality, I have no concerns about him being a valuable addition to the squad. He has assumed the role of a leading player for Dortmund and he could do the same thing for Germany."
(On Dortmund conspiracy theories) "These tests are important. I need these tests and Dortmund v Bayern is just not my province. It's not something I deal with deliberately, just ask the players... they all want to play. Neither do I think that [Jürgen] Klopp or [Pep] Guardiola would ever dictate to me; maybe the odd club official or representative, but to me honest it really isn't that important to me. Of course I will make sure that the same player won't play the full 90 minutes twice but I think it's still a media issue."
"The media are constantly adding oil to the fire when it's not really necessary to do so. And again, I think it would be really weak or lazy of you to do that, because people in their mid-20s or early 30s... there's simply no way that these guys are over-burdened or over-stretched when they play two matches in the space of four days."
"The truth is we have really stepped up our talent promotion scheme in Germany," explained Löw. "We've improved our technical skills across the board, we have great strength in depth and that is our great advantage at the moment."
"You referred to the special style of Dortmund, of quick transitions after winning back possession of the ball," he told his inquisitor. "Yes, it's true, but if you look at Arsenal and Dortmund, they are both shaped in a very special way, not necessarily by English or German players, but by foreign players. I don't think we should compare club teams with international teams because they are different cups of tea. Having said that, I think England are very good. If you look at [Wayne] Rooney dropping deep, [Daniel] Sturridge and [Theo] Walcott ... they're all very good on the counter-attack so, yes, it would suit England. Why not?"
"All of us have a very high level of expectation on ourselves, so we will do everything we can to be as good as we can for the tournament," he said, before adding an interesting caveat. "At this stage, though, the players simply have other things on their minds. There's the Champions League, the German championship, the German Cup, so it's probably too early to put Brazil on the agenda for them at this stage. Rest assured that we'll be placing every ounce of our ambitions to go to Brazil as well prepared as possible."
Joachim Löw backs France to reach World Cup
"I was very surprised that a star-studded team such as France with the likes of (Karim) Benzema, (Samir) Nasri and (Franck) Ribery had such difficulties against Ukraine and actually lost the game," he said.
"If Ukraine get a good result from France, then they`ve deserved that ticket to Brazil, but my gut feeling is that at the end of the day, France will be able to turn things around.
"There`s obviously a huge level of expectation in France and I can imagine that the French players, the coach and public are going through incredibly tense days, because not qualifying for the tournament would be akin to a national catastrophe.
"But I think France will go out very aggressively and do their level best to make it to Brazil."
Joachim Löw admits he likes the look of Arsenal's Serge Gnabry
He said: "The boy is really good. He has exceptional qualities."
"I'm still open [to him making the World Cup squad]. We have an eye on him."
Miki-nochwas: Löws Schwarz-Gelb Blackout - and even Jogi can occasionally forget a difficult name!

Jogi arrives at the Press Conference, 18 November 2013.
Another routine day for the media journalists present, but for me a very special moment.

Training, The Hive, London, 17 November 2013

Tag Eins in London - from tv.dfb.de

Germany's Joachim Löw relishes chance to experiment against England
Löw to try new midfield in London - 17 November 2013

"We have the Benders, Lars and Sven, who can play this position, and we have Toni Kroos. We also have Mario Götze, who can play in midfield. We definitely have options," he told ARD television. Those options may only be used as emergency solutions this week, though, with Löw convinced he will be able to name his strongest squad next May.
"We've practically got three important players out injured," said the tactician, including Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gündogan in that equation. "I think that Bastian will be back soon after the operation went well and I'm sure we'll have Ilkay back again too."

Jogi talks to tv.dfb.de
on Sami Khedira's injury and his reason for resting three players.
Joachim Löw has announced that Philipp Lahm, Manuel Neuer and Mesut Özil will be rested for the match against England. - 16 November 2013
"The game against England is one of the last opportunities to test some tactical and personnel ideas before the World Cup," Löw said.
"(Germany captain) Lahm, Neuer and Ozil are absolutely the best (in their positions) so, for me, it is now important to see how other players in key positions fare against a good team like England.
"They will have a chance to prove themselves." from eurosport
Khedira faces six months out - 16 November 2013
After he had to leave the field in the match against Italy last night, tests have shown the midfielder has suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
"This is a huge blow for Sami and the rest of the team. He's a real fighter, though, and always remains optimistic. That will help him," Germany coach Joachim Low commented."I am optimistic that he will be ready in time for the World Cup in Brazil."

The German secret: power is nothing without control - 13 November 2013
One-to-one interviews with Jogi are rare in the British media, so it was a delight to read a conversation with him in The Times. Jogi had spoken to their deputy football correspondent Matt Hughes in Freiburg, and excerpts quickly appeared online.

Joachim Löw says England need to follow Germany's example
Germany manager Joachim Löw believes that the Football Association should follow the German model if they want to win major international tournaments.
Ahead of next Tuesday's match at Wembley between the two sides, Löw suggests that the English FA should follow the German blueprint if they want to become an international force.
"A few years ago changes took place in Germany to focus on the education of youth players at the clubs," he told The Times.
"The work that was done developing the young lads helped to bring through a new generation of players. The DFB and the clubs showed them faith, gave them trust and let them play. This is what has been missing in England a little bit."
"The co-operation between the clubs and the DFB has been great, which is why this development has taken place in a very positive way."
He also played down Germany's chances of winning the World Cup next year, believing that the hosts Brazil are most likely to lift the trophy.
He added: "We have a good team of course, and may be among the favourites, but I don't really like it when people say Germany are the top favourites."
"There's only one top favourite - Brazil. They are a good team and there's a lot of energy in the country. There's unbelievable power inside this country."

Roy Hodgson's Swiss legacy a lasting lesson for Joachim Löw
Jogi also praised his England counterpart, Roy Hodgson, Swiss national coach at the time he was coming to the end of his playing days in the country.

"England have a great coach in Hodgson, who I know very well from the past," Löw says. "I was tehre when he was working in Switzerland and he brought a lot of good things to Swiss football. He explained a lot of tactical things, which became the basis of Swiss football. He treated it like an elementary school, bringing the basic elements and they are still benefiting from the good work he did 20 years later."
Speaking of the 4-1 defeat of England in the 2010 World Cup he called the match "closer than the result" and admitted that if Frank Lampard's goal had been allowed "who knows how the match would have developed then?". He also expressed his belief that many of his squad have benefitted from playing in England, particularly Per Mertesacker. "I must say he has taken a real step forward. All these players are enchanted by English football."

While not wishing to sound immodest, it looks as there may be a reference to us here at "A Whole Lotta Löw" in Matt's article!

"Roy Hodgson is unlikely to ever attain Joachim Löw's level of popular acclaim - the Germany coach has several tribute websites in his honour.."
The full interview can be read through the Times paywall on the links above.

Löw's line-up for London - from thefa.com, 11 November 2013

"Wembley is legendary," said Löw. "Playing there is a great experience for any player.
"It's the kind of atmosphere we can expect to encounter in Brazil and any game against our English friends is always exciting.
"It will be an emotional end to an eventful year, in which we've qualified for the World Cup and we're looking forward to the coming weeks and months and to getting stuck in to our planning for Brazil."
For more on the squad selection and team news prior to the two November friendlies, see my Italy page

Look back at the last time Jogi went to Wembley, Germany's 2-1 win in 2007.

Last updated 25 November 2013
With thanks to everyone on their group, especially Lucille, Silke, Magda, Sonia and Susanne.
Anything else you think I should include on this page? Let me know!