Created on 22-06-2010 at 00:00 AM
Wednesday’s World Cup Group D meeting between Germany and Ghana is a win-or-bust affair for the Europeans. Bayern’s Bastian Schweinsteiger has emerged as a leading figure in the team coached by Joachim Löw: the Bavarian native is vice-captain and the midfield string-puller in an attack-minded side. Before earning his 77th senior cap, the player answered questions about the crunch clash.
Interview: Bastian Schweinsteiger
The Germany camp appears confident ahead of meeting Ghana. Why is that?
We played well against Serbia, even with ten men, so that was a boost. And feeling sorry for ourselves won’t help. We need to think positively and believe in ourselves. It should be obvious that every player wants to win. That needs to be obvious when you look at the dugout and the staff too.
You’ve been in a similar position before, at the EUROs in 2004 and 2008. What are the key factors?
You mustn’t be passive, you have to be proactive. You need to be smart and ruthless. We’re a footballing side, so we need to play our passes and take our chances.
How will the younger players cope with the pressure?
I think we have a good blend of intelligence and composure. You also have to aim for a result. We might win without playing pretty football. People should sense our determination to win.
How are the likes of Mesut Özil, Thomas Müller and Holger Badstuber approaching the match?
The young players don’t let the pressure get to them. Mesut Özil needs the ball at his feet, he just goes out and plays. Holger Badstuber hasn’t been affected by the Serbia game. We can be delighted to have such talented players. Who’d have though it a year ago? People would have said: Müller? Badstuber? No-one had heard of them. They’ve come a very long way.
How are the senior players planning to deal with Ghana?
I’ll be trying to play my best game. I make a lot of passes, set the pace and the approach. We have to be organised, so I get through plenty of defensive work and talk a lot. I’d obviously like to score, but that’s not the important thing. The strikers are there to score the goals. My job is to play incisive passes and feed the strikers.
What do you feel about facing Kevin-Prince Boateng?
He may have made mistakes in the past, but he’s a good player and one of Ghana’s best, so we’ll try and contain him. However, we’ll not be looking to avenge his foul on Michael Ballack.
What would winning mean to Germany?
We’d be even more confident. It would be a huge boost. It would mean we’d hit our target of reaching the last sixteen, but no more than that. We’ve not achieved anything yet.
Germany have never failed to survive the first stage at a World Cup…
There’s a lot riding on it for Ghana too. The whole of Africa wants them to get through, because it’s not looking good for the African teams at the World Cup. Ghana are under more pressure than we are.
Will it be a cautious game?
That's not our philosophy. It should be obvious we want to attack. Everything we do should show we’re determined to win. And we need to erect an impenetrable wall at the back.
How will things change with Cacau up front in place of Klose?
Cacau is a more natural footballer. He likes the ball at his feet, he’S not so good in the air. That could be good for the game. He seems fresh to me. I hope he scores. That would be good for us.