Germany, Spain can rival Brazil


In 1990, you won the World Cup as Germany's team manager.

What are your memories of the tournament?

Naturally, the World Cup is what remains in your memory the longest.

And, in 1990, we managed to become world champions in Italy, a wonderful country with a huge passion for football.

Fortunately, Argentina beat the hosts in the semi-finals, because it would certainly have been more difficult against the home team and favourites in the final.

Beating Argentina was an easier task. It was an experience I'll never forget.


Brazil laid down the marker at the Confederations Cup 2013 by winning the tournament.

What are you expecting from the host nation?

If you can believe the record books, the Confederations Cup winners have never gone on to win the World Cup the following year.

So, in that respect, it's not looking good for Brazil (laughs).

But the World Cup is in their own country, Brazil showed what they're capable of at the Confederations Cup, and I think they can do it at the World Cup as well.

Given their home advantage, they start as big favourites.


Germany are looking good, with a strong squad. How far do you think they can go?

When he took over in 2006, Joachim Loew continued the process he set in motion when he was Juergen Klinsmann's assistant.

He has followed the same unwavering path, and it's led to success, thanks in part to a host of talented newcomers.

There are a few survivors from the 2006 World Cup squad, but the rest are young players who are still developing, who are products of youth academies.

These academies aren't just a goldmine for the clubs, but also for the national team.

There's a new style to Germany now, young and fresh, and Loew played his part in that. If there's one team capable of neutralising Brazil, I think it's Germany.


Due to the reservoir of talent, is it easier for Loew now than it was for you in 1990?

If you have the full range to choose from, and that's what Loew has at the moment, it definitely makes the job easier.

He's also fortunate in that we have two outstanding teams, as we saw last season when Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund both made it to the Champions League final.

The national team will basically be formed of players from these two clubs.

Obviously, you have a couple of others such as Mesut Oezil and Sami Khedira as well, but players from Bayern and Dortmund will form the spine, and that's always an advantage.


Some commentators are concerned about the bitter rivalry between Bayern and Dortmund. Could that hurt the national team?

I was in the same position myself as a player.

Obviously, you had your personal rivals such as Berti Vogts, Gunter Netzer, Hacki Wimmer or Jupp Heynckes from Borussia Monchengladbach.

And, naturally, we fought it out on the field of play but, as soon as we were together for the national team, we always sought unity.

It's not any different now.


How would you rate the chances of the other South American nations at a World Cup on their home continent?

The South Americans naturally regard themselves as co-hosts. The World Cup isn't just in Brazil, it's in South America, so the teams from the continent are especially motivated.

But I can't think of any who are genuine contenders for the trophy.

Argentina are the same as always and totally dependent on (Lionel) Messi. I don't know enough about the others.


Franck Ribery was named Best Player in Europe recently. Is he in fact the best player in the world at the moment, in your opinion?

Looking over the shortlist of three, Ribery was the most successful.

He's one of the best in any case, and this year he was the best.

Without him, Bayern wouldn't have won the Treble - one or two trophies perhaps, but not all three, and Ribery made a huge contribution.


As honorary president of Bayern Munich, do you think your club can repeat last season's Treble triumph this term?

For sure, if their rivals let them, but I fear they won't.

Dortmund are stronger now, and they certainly won't allow Bayern to run away with it by such a huge margin again.

They'll be aiming to win trophies, and they're strong enough. I think it's entirely up to Bayern.

It'll take time for Bayern to completely adapt to the style of play Pep Guardiola wants.

Whatever, I'm looking forward to an exciting season and I think it'll end the way it did last time, with a two horse race for the title between Dortmund and Bayern.

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