Before the big test in Bologna, Hansi Flick was baffled over his squad for the opening match of the Nations League against European champions Italy. Personal presentation makes the national coach “happy”.
With a red whistle around his neck, Hansi Flick left nothing to chance. The national coach even carefully examined the warm-up program of the national footballers at a nearby stadium.
However, its merits made it easy for him when it came to his personal recommendation of Italy. “We can see that everyone is really excited,” Flick reported before facing the European champions on Saturday (8:45pm / RTL) in hot Bologna. Everyone wants to play – but who is allowed to?
“At the end of the day, that’s a good sign,” Flick said when the coach was confused. The last training didn’t help either, “we can see things more clearly”. The tanned national coach obviously loves high-end competition less than six months before the World Cup finals in Qatar, especially in attack.
With the all-inclusive package “We are happy”
“We are just happy because of the flexibility and diversity we have in the team,” said Flick. “This is exactly what we envision as a coach.” Because of the increased supply up front with top players such as Timo Werner, Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, Kai Havertz and Thomas Muller, “we don’t need to hide”. “We have a package deal in attack mode, we’re happy there,” Flick spoke of.
After a year of qualifiers against the second and third rounds of European football, the matches were against the flamboyant Squadra Azzurra, on June 7 in Munich Against England, in Budapest against Hungary (June 11) and in Mönchengladbach again against Italy (June 14) determine the true location. “These are not friendly matches,” said return Joshua Kimmich, who has secured his midfield spot alongside Leon Goretzka. “Then you can see a little bit better where we stand,” said Kimmich, 27.
The match played in Bologna with the 30 score probably “in front of the chest” (Kimich), the World Cup in the back of his mind: Flick did not leave the dominant goal unmentioned even before leaving the team’s headquarters in Herzogenaurach. “We want to try to create a development that takes us back to where Germany should be: among the best in Europe and the world!” The choice of DFB is on the right track. Flick takes a look at the World Cup app for everyone. “I will be watching closely what happens over the next few months,” he said.
Bierhoff: “We need emotional moments now”
“You can feel that something is developing there, and I am instead feeling optimistic,” said Oliver Bierhoff, director of the German Football Association, in an interview with SPIEGEL. “We need emotional moments now.” Against opponents such as Liechtenstein, Armenia and North Macedonia, the fans may “be absent from the spotlight”, but against top-flight players in the Nations League, the former international said, “fans will cheer on it once again”.
The atmosphere surrounding the team is one of the decisive factors for the Football Association in the Qatari year. The closer the final round, the more the association had to temper the massive criticism of the principality. Further progress was evident in Herzogenaurach, and strong impressions were made of the professionals in the dialogue forum. “Uncomfortable,” said Gladbach’s Jonas Hoffmann.
Flick handles that with confidence, too. Bierhoff experienced a “good sense of the mood” for the former German sports director. He addresses the players directly if he notices something: “Hey, there’s something in your voice. Is there something wrong? Hansey loves to communicate, and he lets more people share his thoughts.” Ancestor Joachim Loew was “more conservative”.
Obviously, the League of Nations record is expandable
The German Nations League record – under Löw – is clearly expandable. Two wins and five draws in ten matches is not enough for a four-time world champion. It was the last competitive match against Italy in a long time. Germany won the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 on penalties over Squadra Azzurra, who did not qualify for the World Cup, who clearly lost to America’s Cup winners Argentina on Wednesday (0-3).
“It’s not easy to guess what kind of game it is,” Flick said. Italy coach Roberto Mancini did a ‘fantastic job’ after the 2018 World Cup, and last year’s European title was the highlight. “We were all fans of the team spirit that was exuding Italy,” Flick said. “The way they played football was also great.”
Germany: Neuer (Bayern Munich / 36/109 internationals) – Hoffmann (Borussia Mönchengladbach / 29/10), Zule (FC Bayern / 26/37), Rudiger (FC Chelsea / 29/50), Raum (TSG 1899) Hoffenheim. / 24/5) – Kimmich (FC Bayern Munich / 27/64), Goretzka (FC Bayern Munich / 27/41) – Gnabry (FC Bayern Munich / 26/31), Muller (FC Bayern Munich / 32/112 ), Havertz (Chelsea / 22/25) – Werner (Chelsea / 26/49)
Italy: Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain / 23/42) – Di Lorenzo (Napoli FC / 28/19), Bonucci (Juventus Turin / 35/115), Bastoni (Inter Milan / 23/11), Spinazzola (Roma / Roma) 29/18 – Barilla (Inter Milan / 25/37), Locatelli (Juventus Turin / 24/22), Tonali (AC Milan / 22/8) – Politano (Napoli FC / 28/4), Scamaca (USA Sassuolo / 23/4), Il Pellegrini (AS Rome / 25/2).
Referee: Jovanovic (Serbia)
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