Marbella (dpa) – The last word under a bright blue sky was given by the smile of the national team president.
When Oliver Bierhoff at Marbella Football Center reached a positive all-round conclusion to their scheduled training camp ahead of the Nations League, the 26 candidates Hansi Flick were battling for returning Joshua Kimmich, star Kai Havertz and young Jamal, who was Musiala Chelseaa once again. So evident on the training ground in a desperate wait for victory in a small field championship.
National team coach Flick Werhoff sees the most important goal of the five-day trip to southern Spain fully achieved. “Our goal was to take the players off leave before the important Nations League. That means dealing with the national team this week, which is actually a week off for the players,” Bierhoff explained.
Intensive training was done four times in the morning. After lunch, players can relax on the golf course or poolside, for example. Many of them had their partners, and Kimmich and Marco Reus had their own children as well. “It was a very positive period, including when the players relaxed with their families,” Bierhoff said. As a side effect, the feeling of the group was also enhanced. “We continued to grow together,” said the German Football Association director.
A touch of holiday feeling
Ideally, shortly before Christmas, it would mean that the cornerstone of a successful World Cup had been laid months earlier on the Costa del Sol. Anyway, the athletic director About Flick rates the short camp in the warmth with a touch of holiday feel as an important staple for the tournament, which kicks off November 21. “We have big goals this year, the World Cup is coming,” Bierhoff said. “And we have to do our best there.”
Flick enjoyed the extra time with the team. All 26 reps can be loaded fine. Leon Goretzka also featured in full after suffering a minor ankle injury on the final day. The battles for positions began. Notably, Flick repeatedly singled out 19-year-old Moses. Young Bayern are becoming a growing challenge to established and well-known specialists Kimmich, Goretzka and Ilkay Gündogan in midfield. “If you see Jamal here, how he solves certain things in a playful way, even under pressure on the pitch, that’s very good,” Flick praised.
Things will only get worse from Monday when the team moves to the ‘pitch’ of German Football Association (DFB) adidas in Herzogenaurach. According to Flick, it’s all about “fine tuning.” And about 11 main positions in the first match of the Nations League on Saturday in Bologna against European champions Italy. “Now the players have two and a half days off where they can catch their breath. After that, the competition phase really begins,” Bierhoff explained.
The League of Nations must be taken more seriously under Flick than under his predecessor Joachim Loew in the first two failed editions. “One thing or another has changed under Hansi Flick, and it’s essential,” Bierhoff said plainly. “He has an absolute claim to performance.”
In Italy and then in Munich against England (June 7), in Hungary (June 11) and again against Italy at the end in Mönchengladbach, ideally, “winning self-confidence” should be built, as Thomas Muller put it: “If you must We win and play very convincingly, and then of course we still have the feeling at the World Cup in November: “Hey, we can do something!”
Bierhoff also penned his predictions for the last four games of Flick’s first year before the DFB convoy travels from Spain in different flight groups to Munich, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf: “The Nations League is the first degree of solidity towards the World Cup.” Flick with the national team is undefeated after nine international matches – eight wins and one draw.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220527-99-451744 / 4