Germany will face Romania, Iceland, North Macedonia, Armenia and Liechtenstein in qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, as decided by Monday evening’s draw in Zurich. DFB president Fritz Keller followed the draw and spoke to DFB media about Germany’s chances at next year’s UEFA Euro’s and in FIFA World Cup qualifying. Keller emphasised the importance of unity within German football.
Fritz Keller, we now know who the national team’s opponents will be in World Cup qualifying. How confident are you that Germany will progress from Group J?
I’m optimistic looking ahead to 2021, both in terms of atmosphere, as I hope and believe that fans will return to stadiums soon when the vaccines are rolled out, and from a sporting point of view, because our team has a crazy amount of talent and potential – a lot more than they were able to show in 2020, which was a difficult year with the coronavirus pandemic.
From your point of view, what is needed to achieve good results in both competitions?
What we need now is trust and unity. Only then can we achieve the success that we all want, the success that is necessary for us to improve German football right down to the grassroots level. Our head coach Joachim Löw will keep developing the team until the Euros next summer, which will be really exciting, I’m sure. We will keep working to form a shared identity between the team, the fans and the wider public – we are missing that at the moment. For that, though, we need to stick together at all levels.
That’s why you made an urgent appeal for unity at the start of the DFB meetings last Friday.
Important decisions have to be made in those discussions, and so we can’t restrict our thinking. We are footballers, so it can get emotional just like it does on the pitch. But when a decision is backed by a majority, we should all go out and get behind it, like a team, because our decisions today affect football tomorrow. I took this job on to help make the DFB and German football more sustainable, to build a positive outlook for the future. That’s why I was chosen by the DFB. My goal is to protect German football.