With the World Cup so close, I got in touch with a close friend of mine in Germany and got his thoughts on the German team and the tournament.
Tell us a little about yourself: Name/Age/Profession/Hobbies
Arne Schepker / 25 years / Marketing Manager / Sports (triathlon, outdoor), traveling, movies
Well, we are almost there. How much pressure is the team under to win the cup as the host country? What do you think are the chances? Realistically.
The pressure has been enormous throughout the past 2 years and rising! Especially since the German team did not play any “serious” games without the qualifiers, there is always doubt about where we stand. I believe, the pressure will mount even higher during the world cup but so far – thanks to Klinsmann – it has been very positive pressure which will help the team more than harm it. Our chances are very good – we are playing at home, have the whole country of 82 million supporting the national team, have a young & hungry team, none of the favorites are in incredible form (except Brazil maybe) and in the world cup anything is possible.
We will win it all! (quite realistically)
A lot of people say Germany doesn’t play attractive football. Moreover it isn’t that effective anymore. What do you say about that?
That is the old prejudice… but wrong and outdated. 1.) Looking at 2002, we were highly effective and advanced to the finals and played quite attractive soccer in the final against Brazil. Germany simply does not show it all until the world cup games. 2.) Klinsmann has the team playing more offensively than his predecessors. The ConFed cup games showed where this is leading – fast, direct & offensive soccer mixed with the traditional tactical & physical German strengths.
Germany always had a great team at world cups. They have been lucky in the last couple. Will we see a team like we did back in 1990?
No, the current team is completely different. It is much more “team” than a number of stars (Matthäus, Völler, Brehme, etc.). They are also much younger and thus more “hungry”. I believe, they could be THE surprising team in the world cup.
Germany won in ’74 and then in ’90 after 16 years. Its 16 years from then. Fancy your chances mate?
Any host country has increased odds to win the cup – with the incredible fan support, the comfortable climate, accustomed stadiums/grass/balls, etc. I am looking forward to it already…!
Is Klinsmann the man? How would you compare him to the erstwhile world cup managers for Germany?
Klinsmann is the man! Absolutely. He managed to turn around the atmosphere not only in the team but the whole country with his vision & positive thinking. It has been a while since the Germans where so strongly rooting for their team.
His training methods are state-of-the-art and he brings in experts from outside football frequently. He has a good team of professional assistants in Löw (ass. coach) & Köppke (goalkeeper coach) and works well with Bierhoff (team manager). Slowly but surely, he has kicked all the old “buddies” out of the DFB structures (from the event manager to the cook). It was about time… This will pay large dividends in the long run – we now have capable U21 & U19 coaches and an experienced technical director in Matthias Sammer.
A large number of the German players are from the Bundesliga? Is that good or bad?
Generally, that is good – it shows that the good German players can stay at home in a strong league (unlike the Dutch & French). On the other hand, the German league does not have the same structural financials & ultimately (at the very top) not the same level that the Spanish & English leagues have.
We think of Germany and we think of Ballack. Who is the unsung player in the squad according to you?
Miroslav Klose – one of the best strikers in Europe (see the Golden Shoe standings), when Bremen played Juve Fabio Capello was afraid of only one player… guess who.
Have you got the squad to take on the rest of the world? Are you one of them who wants Scholl to come out of retirement and play in the world cup (your manager doesn’t want him)?
Yes, the team is young, strong & hungry.
Scholl is still a good player but well past his prime. With the small world cup rosters, we cannot afford to bring along players that cannot play 90-120 minutes. I am sorry, but this time the BILD magazine will not be successful in “pressuring” the coaches into bringing a dinosaur on-board for the world cup (see Matthäus in 2000).
What would the perfect starting 11 for the German team?
Lehmann – Janssen, Metzelder, Mertesacker, Owomoyela – Kehl, Frings, Borowski, Ballack – Klose, Podolski
Is Lehmann the better choice than Kahn?
Yes, he is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world right now. Simply look at how many games with 0 goals against Arsenal played this season in the Champions League (with a couple of 20-year old interior defenders). Don’t get me wrong, Kahn is still a world class goalkeeper and would play in any other national team. Germany has always had world class keepers throughout the history. This is a decision for who is in better shape.
I wouldn’t ask you who would win the Cup as chances are you will tell me it would be Germany. So let me ask you who do you think would be the four teams in the semi-finals?
Brazil, Netherlands, Italy, Germany
Would a Japan or a Korea or Serbia do the unthinkable?
Not even close.
Who would be the three players to watch out for?
Germany: Klose, Podolski, Borowski
Young players: Robben, Fabregas, Messi
Overall: Ronaldinho, Henry, Lampard
Which would be your ideal match of the tournament?
(Brazil-Netherlands would be OK as well… seeing the Dutch get their asses kicked.)
Being a German how frustrating is the ticket lottery? If you don’t end up getting a few, where would you be watching the matches?
The lottery is/was unbelievably frustrating – a lot of my friends got tickets, I did not. The tickets on the open market are either crappy games or (see eBay) prices are sky high!
Tell me something I didn’t ask but you wanted to talk about it anyways.
Did I already say that Germany will win the cup!! :) Cross posted at BlogFC and Welcometotheballgame