Head coach Joachim Löw has said that Germany will finish top of Group C, despite their setback against Poland. However, he also said he could make the odd change to his lineup for Germany’s last group-stage game.
Coach Löw appeared to be particularly at ease as he faced reporters at Saturday morning's press conference at Germany's base camp at Evian-les-Bains on the shores of Lake Geneva - almost surprisingly so in view of “La Mannschaft's” somewhat disappointing draw against Poland less than 48 hours earlier.
While the coach acknowledged that things had not gone according to plan, he rejected the notion that Germany may have serious, deep rooted problems in their attack.
The Poland match was "just one game," he stressed.
He also dismissed the notion that it might have been better to start Mario Gomez as an out-and-out striker, rather than playing Mario Götze as a false 9.
"I was happy with how Götze played against Poland. He is an important player," Löw said, before noting that the real problem had been that Germany had failed to get enough players forward on crosses into the 18-yard-box.
Löw also expressed his ongoing confidence in Thomas Müller, who has so far failed to score in France, as well as Mesut Özil who provided Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski with his only real test of Thursday's contest.
"I believe in their capabilities," Löw said.
Small adjustments in the offing?
At the same time, the coach conceded that he could tweak his lineup for what has now become an all-important final group stage match against Northern Ireland, but indicated that there would be no major changes.
"I am thinking about various possibilities. We still have two training sessions. I will make up my mind after these," he said, with out giving much away.
Löw was happy with Mario Götze's performance against Poland, despite the lack of scoring chances created
Asked whether national team rookies Leroy Sane, Julian Weigl or Joshua Kimmich could be options, Löw indicated that he preferred to stick with more experienced players in a match in which "everything is on the line."
The only think he was specific about, was that there was no question in his mind about going to three men in the back.
"A three-man back line is not an option against Northern Ireland," the coach said.
On a day that the players have been given off to recharge their batteries ahead of their final Group C game, Löw said he and the rest of his coaching staff would be going back to the tapes to do more analysis of the Poland game, with a view to fine-tuning things for the Northern Irish, whom he described as one of the "pleasant surprises" of Euro 2016 so far.
No reason to feel aggrieved
Coach Löw also rejected the notion put forward by some German media that “La Mannschaft” was suffering from a lack of leadership on the pitch. At the same time, he came to the defense of one of these perceived leaders, Jerome Boateng, who criticized Germany's offense after the Poland match.
"His criticism was not directed at any single player in particular. What Jerome pointed out was clear for everyone to see. So why should anybody feel aggrieved?" Löw asked, before denying that Boateng's words had created a rift in the team.
"The spirit in the team is good, everybody is focused," he said.
Finally, the coach stressed that Thursday's draw was nothing more than a minor setback.
"We intend to win against Northern Ireland and we will win. We will win the group."