Mesut Ozil & The DFB
No sooner had the Germans arrived in Frankfurt to prepare for their Qualifiers against Kazakhstan and the DFB website (the official organ of the German National Team) seized at the opportunity to interview Mesut Ozil.
I have translated the highlights regarding Madrid, Mesut's memories of his debut for Madrid, adapting to Spain, thoughts on how he wants to improve his game and the tie against Galatasaray. The longer interview covers National team matters.
Remembering his debut against Mallorca in 2010:
I remember I was very nervous. That was out of character for me actually, but to debut for Real was something special. I sat next to Sami on the bench and after an hour I was substituted into the game. We played to 0:0, but for me it was a tiny victory to have been able to have played my first game for Real in the league. It's my third season now and it's strange how quickly time passes.
On "cultural differences" and adapting to life in Spain:
With age, and with new opportunities, you gain maturity. I've learned a lot about Spanish and Madrileno culture. The new language also helped me. It was hard in the beginning because I didn't have my family with me as I do now. But that was a good experience too since the team helped me and everyone was there for me, especially Sami Khedira...
There are cliches but they are true...Germans are disciplined and meticulous...In Spain things are more relaxed. When we have a team event and have a specific time we should meet some people arrive 10 minutes late. Some even arrive 15 minutes late...
On whether it is hard going back to be being punctual!
Not at all. I was raised that way my whole life long [in Germany]...
On what he thinks about his development as a player:
I'm fully aware that there are aspects of my game that need improvement...My finishing needs work because my goal-scoring rate isn't high enough. I should shoot more. I'm a playmaker and so my job is to set up goals; it's my first priority. But that doesn't mean I can't score more.
I'm physically stronger than I was and more consistent in my performances. I still have fun when I play.
On meeting Galatasaray in the Champions League:
I used to watch the big Turkish derbies with my friends. They were fun. I'm excited to be playing in Istanbul because I have friends there and a part of my Turkish family is in Istanbul...our goal is to get to the next round even though this will disappoint people in Turkey.
The full interview in German is here.
Sami Khedira & Marca
Marca's cover this morning features a smiling Sami Khedira balancing a ball on his index finger.
Marca's English language website provides the following excerpts:
We've put aside our little egocentricities...
It's difficult to say what happened. We started really badly, very slowly. However, at the beginning of this year we started remembering what we're good at, playing like a true team and not hanging our heads when we concede goals. If you aren't a team you can't beat Barcelona in two consecutive games and knock Manchester United out of the Champions League. Now I can say that Real Madrid is a real team once again...
I’m really happy as one of Mourinho's players and I feel very much at home at Real Madrid. Mourinho was a great choice by Real Madrid, fantastic for the club. He’s an outstanding coach and a great person. If it were my decision, Mou would stay. I want him to stay...
Our Germans are on the way to Astana, where they will play Kazakhstan tomorrow at 19:30. They have posted a photograph to that effect on their Instagram accounts. Khedira is expected to feature, as the knock to his ankle has had no long-term effects.