National coach Hansi Flick left it in a short speech on the field when, at the start of the last training session before the now-most important classic football match against England, he rounded up the national players on the pitch in Herzogenaurach – just as ever.
Flick doesn’t think much about action, apprehension after a realistic 1-1 start in the Nations League on Saturday night in Italy, and the “one or the other” professional will still be around on June 7 (8:45pm / ZDF) in Munich to find him on the bench.
“Of course we have to do things better, without question. That’s what we’re here for,” Flick said at the DFB headquarters in Herzogenaurach after calmly pouring himself a glass of water. “It is very important for our game that there is a desire to be active, to have a certain intensity.” This is just as true against the Three Lions, who also had special challenges after the 0-1 draw in Hungary.
Aiming to “make things better”
At the Allianz Arena in Munich, which is likely to sell to 69,000 spectators, Flick and his team are not yet looking to make adjustments. The performance in Bologna wasn’t that bad after all. But there’s a lot at stake, too, in terms of mood. “It is important that we take the next step. Our demand for ourselves is to always look to improve things,” the coach emphasized. It would be ‘fantastic’ if the DFB selection played well when he personally returned to Munich and got the ‘best support’ from the fans.
“Many players can be thought of” to bring new momentum, former Bayern coach Flick said. Only Marco Reus, who joined the squad only on June 4 due to injury, is not an option yet. The Borussia Dortmund captain was only able to intervene again in the next match in Budapest against Hungary on 11 June.
The fact that midfielder Ilkay Gundogan appeared in the press conference just after the national team coach, could be an indication that the main playmaker from Manchester City started the match. Just like Flick’s obvious praise: “When he was substituted against Italy, he showed that he was a calming element in the match, and that was good for us.” He appreciates Gundogan, who could have played with Leon Goretzka, “as a player and even more as a person.”
“I’m expecting a very strong opponent”
Leroy Sane, who was weak at Bologna, is considered a candidate for change, and Bayern teammate Serge Gnabry was only partially convincing. Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala are good alternatives. “The coach has options and options,” said German Football Association director Oliver Bierhoff. The 1996 European champions were present last year when his country drew 0-2 at Wembley, which led to Germany losing the European Championship in the round of 16. It was the last match of Flick’s predecessor Joachim Low.
“I expect a very strong opponent full of very high individual quality perhaps unmatched at the moment,” said Gundogan, who knows the England professionals well. He “feels” the Britons could “make up three national teams”. Flick has endorsed formidable Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who sealed the end of the 2021 German Cup with the second goal, as “world class”. The national coach, who was undefeated with the DFB team, said the match would be “a really big piece”.
Good impressions from training
At Bologna, Flick recalled his good impressions from training – as he does now again. Hardly any of that was visible in the game. And the statement made by the coach of the Italian national team that the Italians “sometimes seemed more harmonious than us”. Italy coach Roberto Mancini had a number of potential first-timers in the squad and reorganized his squad. Flick had equipped at least eleven of his teams with seven professionals from Bayern Munich.
The English will be at their best at the Allianz Arena. Their defeat in Hungary put additional sporting pressure on them. England manager Gareth Southgate also recently had to adjust the sideshow for fans who may be absent again. “You’re embarrassed to hear that,” he said.
Gundogan has announced that the English kneeling gesture in protest of racism will once again join the German Football Association’s selection. “We discussed it briefly in the team,” the 31-year-old said. “Of course we want to support the English business because it’s a very good thing.”
Germany: Neuer (Bayern Munich / 36/110 internationals) – Keirer (Paris Saint-Germain / 25/19), Zule (FC Bayern / 26/38), Rudiger (Chelsea FC / 29/51), Raum (TSG) . 1899 Hoffenheim / 6/24) Kimmich (Bayern Munich / 27/65), Gundogan (Manchester City / 31/57) – Müller (Bayern Munich / 32/113), Havertz (Chelsea FC / 22/26), Musiala (Bayern Munich / 19/12) – Werner (Chelsea / 26/50)
England: Pickford (Everton/28/44) – Walker (Manchester City/32/66), Stones (Manchester City/28/57), Maguire (Manchester United/29/43) – James (Chelsea/22/11). Rice (West Ham United/23/30), Mount (Chelsea/23/28), Trippier (Newcastle United/31/35) – Sterling (Manchester City/27/74), Kane (Tottenham Hotspur/28/70) ), Grealish (Manchester City/26/21)
Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande (Spain).
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