Thomas Tuchel has arrived in Abu Dhabi, with 24 hours to spare until tomorrow’s Club World Cup final, and perhaps his presence will help motivate the squad into a more coherent performance than on Wednesday — which will certainly be needed given Palmeiras’ quality and their strong desire to repeat what Corinthians did to us in 2012.
That said, assistant coach Zsolt Lőw, who once again took pre-match press conference duties with Tuchel still in transit, has assured that we’ll be approaching this game with a better, more confident mindset as well.
“We expect a very difficult game, a good opponent. [We] expect a lot of [their fans] there tomorrow. It can be like an away game for us but we’re well prepared. We know the opponent. They are strong but we are also strong.
“[We] want to have the feeling of favourites as the champions of Europe. We’ll be confident in this game. We felt and talked already about the players being nervous in the first game. The nerves are now gone and we’ll play with a good attitude.”
The big question of course is whether we go with Édouard Mendy, now back with the team after winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal, or Kepa Arrizabalaga, who’s been outstanding in his absence. While sentiment would seem to strongly favor the latter, the final decision has not been made yet (not that it would be revealed even if it had been, probably).
“[Mendy] was a little tired the first day, needed recovery and a good sleep, but he is fully involved in training. We’re very happy that he’s healthy and absolutely in good shape with good experience behind him. He’s ready to play the game.”
“[We] have to take the decision tonight. We talk to Thomas about it. The final decision will be some hours before the game but if we decide for one or the other the one on the bench has nothing to be worried or sad about. Both goalkeepers had a big performance in the last weeks. This is why it’s a question just for this game. Tonight or latest tomorrow.”
-Zsolt Lőw; source: Football.London
Clearly it’s all set up to be Marcus Bettinelli!