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Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates the goal against Turkey
© dpa - Report
Germany: We will enjoy the finals

June 27, 2008

Germany have reached their sixth European Championships final. For Joachim Löw, it is his first final as national coach. As assistant coach under Jürgen Klinsmann, Löw took Germany twice to the semi-final stage, in the Confederation Cup and FIFA World Cup 2006. Excerpts from an interview:

The German team has reached the final. What's your evaluation of the last-gasp win against Turkey?

First off, we're all very happy to have won the semi-final. Extremely happy. But we've not attained our goal yet. We aim to take the final step now, and win the title.

Luck was on your side against Turkey - or do you see that differently?

It was a hell of a contest, all-or-nothing, unbelievably dramatic right down to the last second. But even after they equalised we wanted to keep pressing forward, to get the result. We succeeded, and that speaks volumes for the spirit of the team, even if the game didn't by any means go the way we'd envisioned it. Our tournament experience puts us in the position of always being potentially capable of securing a result.

What was the key to the win, in your eyes, and what do you anticipate in the final?

We maintained our self-belief right to the very end. The team have shown they can never be written off. We want to win the final, no doubt about it, and we have the necessary winner's mentality. The pressure is off us now. We've reached the final, and we want to enjoy it, to savour the experience. We didn't take the game to Turkey, physically, the way we intended. But over the piece, efficiency gets results. We scored three goals - that's what counts in the end. The fact that we bounced back after they made it 2-2 says a lot about the players' will-to-win and their mental strength.

What was going wrong for your team for so long against Turkey?

We lost possession a few times right at the start of the game, and that put us out our rythmn. We stood off our opponents too often and left the Turks too much room to play in -which they did very well.

Could a change of tactics not have revitalised the German game?

As the second half wore on, a second forward would certainly have done us good, giving us an extra option to play off up front. But the Turkish midfield were getting a lot of good ball to their forwards, and I felt the risk was too great in this game, especially as our own midfield was not as compact as it had been against Portugal. For that reason, we didn't want to compromise the defensive variant with five midfielders - without it, we might not have won. If it had gone to extra time, I would have brought on another striker - we didn't want it to go to penalties.

Torsten Frings, having recovered from his broken rib, started on the bench. What led you to leave such an experienced man out of the starting line-up?

Torsten is back to 90 or 95 percent of his peak condition. A broken rib is no laughing matter. I wasn't sure he could last 90 or maybe even 120 minutes. But we'd agreed that he'd go on at some point. He was disappointed at first when I broke the news. But afterwards, he knocked on my door and said, if he'd been coach, he'd have come to the same decision. That says a lot for his character.

What can you still do to influence the team before the final?

We can't start doing new stuff in training. What's important now is regeneration, on top of which there will be one or two training sessions focussing on technical matters. Reviews and analysis are no use at this stage, we're just looking forward to enjoying and making the most of the final.

What does reaching the final mean for you personally, given also that you'd be only the second national coach, after Jupp Derwall, to win a tournament at the first attempt?

For me it's a very special and great moment, of course, to get to the final of my first tournament in charge. As assistant, I've gone out twice at the semi-final stage, in the Confederations Cup and the World Cup. It's nice to have got a step further. I'm enjoying the situation.

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© 2008 DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH
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