Question: Your team has qualified for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil with a match to spare. What’s your overall assessment of the campaign?
Joachim Löw: It's been a very good qualifying campaign, and the team has done exactly what had to be done. Right from the start, we led our group from the front. Eight victories and one draw from nine matches is an impressive record, especially when you consider we had the ninth game in the bag as well.
Question: But it was still dour and tough against Ireland for long spells...
Löw: We wanted to wrap it up against Ireland, and we gave a performance to match. We had the game under control and the victory was fully merited. Yet again, we showed that we set the standards in this group. But obviously, it's difficult against a team that basically pulls ten men back to the edge of their own penalty area. However, we were patient and we found good solutions.
Question: Prior to the final group match against Sweden, a game where you have said there's a score to settle, why have you given your squad the weekend off?
Löw: The players deserve a break after the convincing display against the Irish and our overall extremely comfortable qualifying success. We're also well aware of the heavy burden on the players at their clubs at this stage of the season, especially in European competition.
Question: Is the match in Stockholm now no more than a warm-up for the World Cup? Löw: No, because the qualifying campaign isn’t over yet. A ticket to Brazil is no longer at stake when we play Sweden, but we'll be taking the match completely seriously. Our target was and still is not to lose any group matches. And after the 4-4 draw in the reverse fixture, we definitely have a score to settle, given that Sweden scored four goals in the second half.
Question: Will you still be experimenting in a couple of positions in Stockholm?
Löw: I'll wait for the start of the new week and then decide whether to make a few changes from the Ireland match. We have complete faith in all our players, and we know they’ll go into the final match as motivated as ever.
Question: Could Mesut Özil play as the lone striker in Stockholm, like he did against the Irish?
Löw: It's possible, because he did a good job. His instructions were to keep dropping deep and create space for Thomas Müller, Toni Kroos or André Schürrle. It worked out very well, but we have other options too.
Question: Despite qualifying comfortably for the World Cup, it's not all been sweetness and light with your team over the last few months. Where do you want to see improvement in the build-up to the World Cup?
Löw: Obviously, a few things still need to happen. We need to improve in defence for example, although once again, we didn’t concede a goal against Ireland. And overall, we can still improve in certain match situations, especially in the final third. We need to be more focused.
13 October 2013
Originally on dfb.de. Uploaded here to prevent loss once removed from or moved on that site.