Sorg setting the standard for holders Germany

Having won the 2014 title, Marcus Sorg believes "great quality" gives Germany a chance of retaining the trophy but warns: "Nobody expects it to be easy."

Germany coach Marcus Sorg during qualification
Germany coach Marcus Sorg during qualification ©Getty Images

Question: You are the holders but you will face quite a struggle to defend your title…

Marcus Sorg: It's the European Championship and nobody expects it to be easy. Either in the group stage or later, you come up against the best teams. For us it was important to get here and be able to defend our title. We will go at it one match at a time and see how we fare.

Question: Do you often think back to last year's win in Hungary?

Sorg: I do, from time to time, and I'm always looking to help the boys develop further. I'm really happy with the steps Joshua Kimmich has made [signing for FC Bayern München], for example. As a sportsman you're always thinking of the next challenge, creating new goals for yourself and working out how to achieve them. Therefore my focus quickly switched from the 2014 championship to the current team and how we could qualify for Greece.

Question: How do you look at qualification?

Under-19s highlights German youth success
Under-19s highlights German youth success

Sorg: Only one of four strong teams progresses from the elite round, which turns every game into a final. In our last game against the Czech Republic, we had to win by a big margin to go through. The way the team dealt with the pressure during that game was remarkable, and the fact that they didn't ease off says a lot about their mentality. By winning 6-0 we can honestly say we've earned our ticket to Greece.

Question: Most of your players have considerable experience in the Bundesliga, and some have also played in the UEFA Champions League. Is that useful?

Sorg: Talent, consistency and fighting spirit are important in such tournaments. These are players ready to make their mark and spread their wings further. This year we've got great quality in the squad. The players have all had a really good footballing education and when they also have Bundesliga experience it can only help. Individual class only helps further if everyone works for each other. Only then can we be successful as a team.

Question: Did the finals draw change your preparations?

Sorg on 2014 triumph
Sorg on 2014 triumph

Sorg: No draw outcome would have taken us off our path. We are ready and looking forward to our time in Greece in defence of our title. Our opponents are all top teams and every player will have to be at their best. It will be tight up until the end. We'll go into the games full of respect – and confidence.

Question: Can you retain the trophy?

Sorg: Of course it's possible. That's still a long way off, however. We've already achieved one goal by qualifying for the competition. The next three steps are Spain, the Netherlands and Russia. After that we'll see where we are.

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