Four days before the Mannschaft debut in the Eurocup, Madridista Toni Kroos appeared at a press conference to share their feelings before the start of the championship. The white midfielder, a key piece in the German scheme, was excited about the challenge of facing a group in which he will face France, Portugal and Hungary. He spoke about the following topics:
Videochat with Merkel: His figure impresses me. We had the honor of chatting with her before other championships we participated in. This time it will be the last time as Chancellor, but we are always very excited to exchange views with her.
Bouquets: We do not have to talk about Sergio in general and the importance he has for our team, throughout the last years until today. I don't know how things are with the club, but it seems that he has 20 days left on his contract. He is a top teammate, I have really enjoyed the years that I have played with him. I hope there are many more, but there is nothing I can do about it. He is a great teammate and the best captain I have had in my career.
Benzema: I don't know what the nomination meant for him. I know that his exclusion was not for sporting reasons, because he is simply too good not to have been called up previously. It is very nice to be on the pitch with him, now we will be rivals, but I trust our defense. Although we will have to stop him as a team.
Moment: We are very excited to play the next game. We still have to work on some other details, but I am convinced that we have taken a step forward. After the game it will be seen if I am right, but the feelings are good. Of course, taking into account the rival we faced in his debut, it is clear that everything has to work from the beginning.
Challenge: There were difficult moments after the 2018 World Cup, but three years have passed and I believe in this group. There are many players who are putting the spotlight on the team and that is what, from my point of view, really matters in a championship of this magnitude.
Leadership: You say that I exercised leadership in the past, therefore you already assume that this is not the case in the present. But I have not changed my style from previous dates. Nor do I plan to.
Line of three back and double pivot: I don't want to confirm any kind of tactical scheme, but it will always depend on our work as a team. You can go for a solid defense, but the bet will not come out if all the players do not take care of the spaces. Considering our rival, these types of aspects will be crucial. Avoid losses too, as they are very good at counterattacking. If Mbappé enters the race, it is always difficult to stop him, regardless of who crosses his path. We have to function perfectly as a team.
Löw: We are in permanent contact. He is the one who makes the decisions and has to be very convinced of them. Of course, he always tries to do it in line with the players, since it has to be a group and an idea that everyone is convinced of. You can always adapt the odd nuance and he is always open to this type of proposal from the players.
Kimmich / Gündogan as a partner in the double pivot: It doesn't change much for me. Kimmich is terrific, both in midfield and winger, unlike Gündogan and me. The truth is that I do not see myself from the side. It is important to express the qualities of each player based on what we are looking for as a team. The coach has been thinking about these kinds of things for a long time. If not, we won't get far.
Duel against France at EURO 2016: I don't think we started as favorites, it was 50:50. France is stronger than back then and we have changed things that, after the fact, have changed again (laughs). They are favorites and we may be one step behind. But I also remember that we started as favorites in Russia, something with which I did not entirely agree. We will see, we have to put the favoritism to the test on the field of play.
Goals: The first is to survive in this group.
Kante: He is a great player, he was seen in the Champions League semis and in the final. He works a lot for the team, he never gets tired and he covers a lot of the field. I do not know if he is a candidate for the ballon d'or, nor is it that I am too interested in these types of individual awards. He or any other good player will win it, of which there are a few.
Covered:It is important to be realistic and to underline that we are not two steps above France. However, I also do not like to start a championship saying that I would only like to scratch the odd point. I will never say that it is okay to lose a game by the minimum. The goal is to go out and win every game.
Merkel encourages her Mannschaft
The European Championship will not only be Joachim Löw's last championship as German coach, but also Angela Merkel's as Chancellor of the Federal Republic. After 16 years in office, one more than Löw on the Mannschaft bench, the world's most powerful woman will take a step back in late 2021, at which point she will hand over the reins of Germany to her successor. For this reason, and as usual before the big football events, Merkel did not miss the opportunity to encourage her Mannschaft.
This time, as a result of the Pandemic, it could not be in person, so the entire staff met on Thursday in front of a screen to chat with Merkel by videoconference. “I am very excited to follow their games. It will not be an easy start (Germany starts against the world champion of France), but I will cross my fingers so that they go as far as possible, “the 66-year-old politician was quoted by her spokesperson Steffen Seibert.
In the photo shared on the networks, the entire Mannschaft staff can be seen in front of a screen in which a smiling Merkel appears. Madridista Toni Kroos also shows a shirt signed by the members of the Mannschaft with the number 10 and Merkel's name. “Thank you very much for your support and your wishes, dear Mrs. Chancellor”, thanked the Mannschaft for the gesture of a Merkel who, moments after the conquest of the World Cup in 2014, left a photo to remember when celebrating the title with yours in the German locker room.