We continue our build-up to the World Cup by hearing from Andre Schurrle. Germany have an impressive record at major tournaments, often reaching the latter stages, but having not lifted the trophy for 24 years, they are determined to end their wait this time around…
Andre Schurrle can look back on his first season as a Chelsea player with much satisfaction, and the versatile attacker hopes to build on some impressive performances at club level for the national side when Germany head to Brazil for the World Cup.
The 23-year-old grew in stature as the season progressed, turning in impressive displays against the likes of Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain, as well as scoring a hat-trick in our 3-1 win at Fulham.
His attention now turns to the World Cup finals where, for Germany, as Schurrle explains, the objective is simple.
‘Our target must be the title,’ he tells the official Chelsea website. ‘We have no other target in Germany. That’s what the fans expect, they want us to win and it’s 24 years without a title now, so that’s what everybody wants.
‘I’m very excited. It’s going to be a big event in a football-crazy country. We have a good team and can do something big.’
The tournament will be Schurrle’s second appearance at a major international competition after he was part of the Germany squad at Euro’ 2012, where he featured in the group match against Demark and quarter-final against Greece.
Schurrle featured regularly in World Cup qualifying, netting a hat-trick in a 5-3 win against Sweden, and he believes a mixture of youth and experience will serve Joachim Low’s side well in South America.
‘I’ve played a long time for Germany now, I’m 23 and I think I can handle this,’ says Schurrle. ‘It’s my first World Cup, I’ve played in the European Championships and I think I’m ready.
‘We have good, talented players, some young guys who I have known now for three or four years in the national team, but big players who have played a long time like Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger, big characters, so we have a good team and we have to use our qualities to do something big.
‘Of course I am still learning from these guys, at Chelsea it is the same, you watch how they play in training, they have done everything and seen everything, so it’s very helpful.
‘I want to play, the manager told me he likes the way I play and he needs me, so I want to show him I can play on the right, the left or the middle. I am flexible and am looking forward to helping the team.’
Germany have been drawn in a strong group, alongside the USA, Portugal and Ghana, with Schurrle stressing the importance of their opening game.
‘They’re very good sides, especially Portugal, who I think are the biggest opponent,’ he says.
‘We play them in the first match and it’s important to win. You never know what to expect from the others, the Africans can be very strong and are maybe more used to the heat than us or America.
‘We played against the USA one year ago and lost, so we have some work to do but we think we can do it.’
Historically, Germany tend to fare well in the major tournaments, often progressing to the latter stages of both the World Cup and European Championships.
They last won the World Cup in 1990, beating Argentina 1-0 in the final, and four years ago they reached the semi-finals, losing 1-0 to Spain. Schurrle attempts to explain why they have such a good record.
‘For me of course it’s not easy to say. I only played the Euros when we got to the semi-final, but we are mentally strong and always very fit,’ he says.
‘We have hard training sessions and everyone knows what will come. I don’t want to tell you too many secrets!
‘We practice penalties when the knockout stages come, after training, but not all the time.’