Joachim Löw in BOSS suitJoachim Löw in BOSS suit
9 questions with Joachim Löw
"As defending champions, we are the hunted"

An exclusive interview with German national soccer team coach Joachim Löw, as he prepares his players for another high-stakes world championship tournament.

Jogi Löw in BOSSJogi Löw in BOSS
  • What does soccer mean to you?
    Obviously soccer means a lot to me - since I was a child, I've only ever been interested in soccer. However, it is also important to pay attention to the bigger picture and there are phases when I consciously seek, and need, distance, especially after big tournaments. During those periods I need time and space to process my thoughts and organize myself. I'm conscious I need to stay objective about what I do.
  • What advice would you give to young talents, who are hoping to get to the top?
    It's hard to give an across-the-board answer here. The most important thing is to have the perseverance and the will to improve yourself every day without fail. This will require you to give up many other things. At the same time you cannot, under any circumstances, turn your back on the fun and the joy of playing soccer. Only this will lead to success.
  • Has your definition of success changed since the last World Cup?
    You are always measured by your victories and titles, especially when you're at the top. There is no question that these things are important, but for me success means continuously developing a player or a team to make them even better. That is what drives me now, just as it did before we won the world title.
  • How have you used failure to set you up for future success?
    Setbacks and disappointments are inevitable. We use our mistakes to gain insight and to draw the correct conclusions. We embolden players to take risks and to take responsibility on and off the pitch. That's the only way their personalities will develop. I believe that, on the whole, the disappointments we have experienced over the past years have only made us stronger. In 2014, after suffering bitter losses in the semi-finals of previous tournaments, we were motivated to give it our all in the final. Our will was so strong and we were extremely focused.
  • Germany is always tipped as a favorite in tournaments - is it more difficult to remain at the top or to go in and attack as an underdog?
    That is true - Germany is always tipped as a favorite and has never been seen as an underdog. Nonetheless, it takes almost superhuman ability to successfully win a World Cup title twice in a row. Only two nations have achieved this in the past - the last time it was Brazil in 1958 and 1962. More often than not, the defending champions are knocked out in the early stages of the World Cup. This was the case for Spain in 2014, for Italy in South Africa in 2010, and for France in 2002. As the defending champions, we are the hunted ones. The opponents can only win the tournament if we lose. It is, however, important to note that I see this particular constellation as a huge incentive.
  • Do you have a pre-match routine or a talisman that you keep by you for every match?
    I don't personally have any specific ritual. However, when the players and the trainers leave the changing rooms before kick-off, we stand in front of the door and high-five each other to show our team spirit, as well as our solidarity. This creates a special energy between us all that we like to take onto the field. We demonstrate that we're a team and that we want to win together.
  • Is there added pressure going into this World Cup as the reigning champions?
    Of course we are all conscious of the expectations placed upon us, especially as we're going to this tournament as world champions. But we also want to enjoy the tournament. There's nothing more powerful than being among the top players in the world. Every single person, who is able to experience a World Cup, is part of something special. That's what we want the players to take with them, in particular those who haven't taken part very often. They should have fun and be happy, and they should show it too.
  • How will you and the team stay motivated in the face of a defeat during the upcoming tournament when the next opponent is already waiting?
    This tournament set-up hardly allows for defeats - that's the allure of it. You can maybe allow yourself a small defeat in the group stages , but in the final stages a small mistake or an act of carelessness can mean relegation. That is what makes the set-up special. If we want to become world champions, we need to push ourselves to the limit in every single game; we need to give our very best performance. That's the only way we'll have a chance.
  • How do you and the team dress for success on and off the pitch? How would you describe the team's look?
    We are very aware that we our representing our country, both on and off the pitch. In my experience, the best thing is to remain authentic, and not to put on an act. Our players all have big personalities that come over well on their own. (laughs)