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World Cup Interview: German Football Commentator Tom Bartels

Tom Bartels World Cup Interview South Korea Vs Germany
Tom Bartels is a well-known and respected commentator and broadcaster for ARD in Germany and became infamous with his descriptive commentary following the full time whistle in the 2014 World Cup Final in Rio, describing the moment as the "return to football heaven" for Die Mannschaft. Four years on, however, Germany's World Cup chances aren't looking quite so assured. A defeat to Mexico in the opening group game has left Joachim Löw's team needing a win against South Korea tonight. K League United spoke with Tom to assess how the media in Germany are looking at the game and how he thinks the team will be preparing for such a decisive match.
(Image via Dennis Brosda)

Paul Neat: Germany didn't get off to the start that they would have wanted in this World Cup with the defeat to Mexico, and it looked as though the Sweden game was going to end in a draw until Toni Kroos scored that dramatic late winner. You commentated on the 2014 Final in Rio that had a dramatic late winning goal, do you see that same fighting spirit within this squad?

Tom Bartels: I don't see the same fighting spirit in the time like 2014. Then they were hungry to win the title. My impression in the first game was that a lot of players thought 90% was enough. This was better in the Sweden match but after a good start, 122:6 passes in the first 10 minutes, but suddenly after mistakes made by Rüdiger and Reus before it was 1-0 to Sweden, the confidence was gone. The fighting spirit came back, a late goal can change a lot.

PN: The Korean media are hopeful but not very optimistic about qualifying for the Round of 16, it was all very emotional after the Mexico game with Son Heungmin in tears with President Moon Jae-in consoling him which I think helped to endear the team to the Korean supporters again. What is the feeling like amongst the German media? Is it positive?

TB: The German media were very critical after the first match but after the goal by Kroos things are now seen as more positive. The mood is better but it has a long way to go. The discussions amongst the media are; Is Hummels quick enough? Is Khedira in the right shape or could Goretzka or Rudy play? What about Müller - why doesn't he take his chances? Özil and Gündoğan, are they in the right frame of mind to play after their much-discussed photograph with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan?

PN: Korea head into this game needing a win, Germany are in a very similar situation. Do you think the team and the media will be seeing tonight's game as an easy win given how Korea's first two games went? Do you think Son Heungmin or Koo Jacheol, who have Bundesliga experience, could be a threat to Germany's chances?

TB: Korea are not a big theme in the German media, everyone thinks "okay, we will win two or three-nil", but I think it will be a very tough game. Urs Siegenthaler, Germany's Chief Scout, is warning the players that Korea are a hard-working team. Koo and Son can cause problems for any team and if Germany are not ready to put in 100% it could be very, very open.

PN: Finally, do you have a score prediction?

TB: South Korea 1-2 Germany

Tom Bartels' Predicted Starting Lineup

Tom Bartels' Predicted Starting Lineup for Germany Vs South Korea in World Cup Group F
Tom Bartels' Predicted Starting XI but suggests that Rüdiger could play instead of Süle

Tom Bartel: "Deutschland ist zurück im Fußballhimmel!" (Germany are back in football heaven!)


K League Coach World Cup Scout Report: Germany here

Full Preview: here

Alexander Baumjohann Interview: here


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