Despite the storms, low is sticking to his title goal

Despite the storms, Low is sticking to his title goal

"As things stand today, we’re completely ahead of the game," was the national coach’s initial response in sardinia to the question of whether he was currently scaling back his expectations. Of course i was just kidding. "No," he continued in a firm voice, "i don’t constantly change my expectations."He is "absolutely relaxed," the 52-year-old even cheated in his first address to the soccer nation during the training camp on the italian vacation island, where he can now work with 17 players. "The preparation will ultimately work out quite well with all the hurdles we have," low promised the fans at home: "our team will go into the tournament well prepared."

With 24 days to go before the first group game against superstar cristiano ronaldo’s portugal, low reiterated his young team’s "world-class performances" in several recent internationals, and spoke of their top performances in terms of running and ball contact times. Only problem: schweinsteiger, klose, podolski& co. Must be ready for the first tournament game on 9. June to be back in their best condition. "If you want to go far in the tournament, you need a top performance six times – from everyone," low stressed.

The arrival of the five dortmund double winners in sardinia and the imminent arrival of spanish champions mesut ozil and sami khedira on sunday at the second camp in southern france has brightened the mood of the national coach. With mats hummels, marcel schmelzer, mario gotze, ilkay gundogan and sven bender, he had individual talks in the morning. "They have noticed that the celebrations can be very exhausting," low reported afterwards, laughing.

The BVB quintet arrived "without any injuries" and are looking forward to the new tasks ahead of them. "They are already showing motivation again to step on the gas here in training," reported low. On wednesday, the DFB squad also received an uninformed visit from doping control officers at the team hotel, who tested five players.

Low called for a "slowly building competition" with the arrival of dortmunders. Performance in the national league or cup no longer played a role for him: "what matters now is what a player shows here on the spot."Highly stressed borussians like hummels and schmelzer are to exercise in doses at first, while mario gotze and sven bender, who have been injured for a long time, have to get right to work immediately. "You have to pack on now," low announced. This also applies to per mertesacker and miroslav klose, who were out for a long time in the second half of the season.

A special program is also intended to restore lukas podolski after muscular problems and the bitter bundesliga relegation with 1. FC koln. Low has firm plans for the polish-born player in his team of choice for the european championships: "we need a strong lukas podolski, just like at the 2010 world cup." After the move from sardinia to the south of france on friday, the aubensturmer is expected to enter team training.

Low becomes a pragmatist. He has said goodbye to being able to "go all the way" with all the planned training content. The intensive practice of standards, for example, will have to be cancelled: "we will still score one or two standard goals," he believes. Low also revealed his first tactical thoughts: he considers the agile and ball-playing marco reus from gladbach, "one of the players of the season," to be an alternative at center forward, "when it’s really tight in the penalty area. He is playable in the last line."

Flexibility is needed. Since low only after the arrival of the bayern players on 25. May be able to work with the entire team, he ventures, in southern france or even after moving into the european championship headquarters in poland on 4. June still to play practice matches against junior teams. The national games are fixed for 26. May in basel against switzerland as well as on 31. May in leipzig against israel. "An official game does not come into it," explained low.