After weeks of preparation, the German national team are about to get down to business at Euro 2016 in France. Coach Löw and his charges appear quietly confident heading into the opening match against Ukraine.
Joachim Löw and his coaching staff put the "Nationalmannschaft" through their paces in their final pre-game training session at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille on Saturday evening. It's the venue for Germany's opening match against Ukraineat 9PM local time on sunday.
As usual, the reporters on hand were granted a 15-minute photo op to get the shots and footage they needed to keep their editors happy, before being whisked away so that Löw could get down to the real work behind closed doors.
The training session followed a press conference, in which Löw surprised nobody by playing his cards close to the chest.
Schweinsteiger still not 100 percent
Asked who would wear the captain's armband, Löw told the reporters that he would only inform the team of his decision shortly before kick-off. This made it pretty clear that it would not be Bastian Schweinsteiger, who remains the official captain and, according to Löw, will "play his part in the tournament at some stage." Schweinsteiger is still recovering from a knee injury suffered back in March and is not ready for a full 90 minutes yet.
Sunday's match also comes too soon for central defender Mats Hummels, although Löw said he had "100 percent" recovered from his calf injury.
Beyond that, Löw revealed precious little about who would be in his starting 11, although few, if any surprises are expected. He also refused to answer a question that has been on reporters minds in Evian all week: Will he play a three- or four-man back line.
"We don't want to give everything away to the opponents," he said.
One thing Löw did givde away was that it "goes without saying that (Mesut) Özil will play."
Not taking Ukraine lightly
As for Germany's opponent, Ukraine, Löw warned that they were physically strong team that could maintain a high tempo for the full 90 minutes, with wide players that could be particularly dangerous on the counter.
Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos, who also appeared at the press conference, warned that Ukraine have some good players, and he expected a tough match.
Both agreed, though, that it wastime to finally get that first game
under their belts.
"The excitement is building for all of us by the hour. After three weeks, you're really happy when the starting shot is fired," Löw said.
"Everybody is glad that it is finally starting. That's the reason we are here," Kroos said.