Analyse Frankfurt The German national soccer team is facing its last two mandatory tasks before the World Cup in Qatar. Some players are still applying for a place in the squad. Above all, the national coach must clarify the occupation of the offensive.
You have to imagine Hansi Flick as a very far-sighted man. That’s why the national soccer coach is already boldly looking beyond the two final group games in the Nations League (Friday against Hungary, Monday in England) to the World Cup in Qatar. Eight weeks before the departure for the Advent tournament on the Arabian peninsula, Flick gathered 24 professionals in the posh Hotel Gravenbruch in Frankfurt and expressed his wishes in advance: “We have to go into tournament mode now and be there from the start.” Aha.
When nominated, he was obviously not driven, or at least not solely, by the current form of his chosen one. Because not everyone in the 24 squad is currently at the peak of their potential. With a view to Qatar, Flick generously gives them the opportunity to actively remember the good days. He probably has no other choice.
So he brought Robin Gosens back into the squad, although he sits in the second row at Inter Milan and once again didn’t play at the weekend. David Raum, his competitor on the left flank, hasn’t really arrived after his move to RB Leipzig, he made a bad mistake at 0: 3 in Mönchengladbach. And the massive Christian Günter from SC Freiburg is missing.
The tiresome debate about the right occupation of the attacking positions has three main topics. First, the unobtrusive ideas of the Wolfsburg center forward Lukas Nmecha, who can best fill the role of a clear number nine. However, he is in the relegation zone with the club and he played that way in the 2-0 loss at Union Berlin.
Secondly, the condition of Leipzig returnee Timo Werner, who spent 45 minutes on the bench in Mönchengladbach and then did not achieve anything groundbreaking. And thirdly, the crisis at FC Bayern Munich, which is always declared when the subscription master is not in first place. In fact, he’s currently fifth, hasn’t won in four Bundesliga games and his players don’t exactly give the impression of highly professional determination, let alone the unwavering ‘mia san mia’.
Nevertheless, in addition to goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who was the most impressive offensive force in the final phase of the 0-1 draw in Augsburg, there were six FC Bayern players in the squad, from whom Flick must expect creativity and goals. There are still five for the two games after Neuer and Leon Goretzka had to leave the team after positive corona tests.
In these cases, too, the principle of hope determines the nomination. Perhaps with a look back into the distant past, for once, at other offensive forces who were able to free themselves from personal crises within the national team. Miroslav Klose, for example, is happy to answer questions.
However, not every nominee belongs to the problem child category. Flick’s defensive all-purpose weapon Thilo Kehrer has earned himself a regular place in the Premier League at West Ham, as has Armel Bella Kotchap at competitor FC Southampton.
Central defender Bella Kotchap is the only newcomer to the squad and the national coach raves about “the great development he’s made”. Flick’s assistant Danny Röhl got his own picture of this on the island. And the Internet portal “transfermarkt.de” rewarded the achievements of the former Bochum player with a market value increase from ten to 16 million euros – a smart step.
That doesn’t say whether it’s enough for the debut. After all, Matthias Ginter is remembered for his return to normal form in his youth club SC Freiburg, as is Nico Schlotterbeck at Borussia Dortmund. And Antonio Rüdiger is definitely number one on the defensive line, despite occasional bench spells at Real Madrid.
Jonas Hofmann from Mönchengladbach is applying for one of the main roles in Flick’s ensemble. His clever game and his goals against Leipzig are good arguments.
Even if the coach looks at the World Cup, he is very serious about the conclusion of the Nations League group phase. At least that’s what he assures. “We have set ourselves the goal of playing the Final Four in the summer of 2023,” he says. That would secure more competitive games against prominent opponents.
And the DFB selection needs that because, as the organizer of the European Championship in 2024, it will not play a qualification. To reach the final tournament, Flick’s team must finish first in the group.
Victories against the surprise league leaders Hungary and in England would definitely be enough. But that’s easier written than done.
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