National team: Flick before squad nomination: “Work out a winning mentality”

National team: Flick before squad nomination: “Work out a winning mentality”

Everyone is excited about Hansi Flick’s first international squad in the European Championship season. Niklas Süle is expected back, Thomas Müller is not. A scaffolding around Ilkay Gündogan is supposed to change the mood in the country.

Hansi Flick was out and about a lot at the start of the season. The national coach sat in the stands in a number of stadiums from Bremen to Leverkusen, Dortmund and Barcelona to Darmstadt to watch as many national football players as possible live.

Because Flick knows: The first international squad that he nominated this Thursday must pass. For the athletically and financially ailing DFB and its head coach, there are only two scenarios in the test matches against the unpredictable World Cup terror Japan on Saturday next week in Wolfsburg and three days later in Dortmund against the top-class World Cup runners-up France with super striker Kylian Mbappé: At the start of the European Championship season, the long-awaited liberation succeeds and with it a change in mood – or the pressure to act increases massively nine months before the 2024 home tournament.

Flick must initiate a trend reversal

After the triple June flop against Ukraine (3:3), Poland (0:1) and Colombia (0:2), which was preceded by an equally eye-opening 2:3 against Belgium in March, DFB President Bernd Neuendorf held and sports director Rudi Völler to national coach. However, after four games without a win in the meantime, in which his tactical and personal experiments “went wrong” from his point of view, Flick has to initiate a trend reversal in the upcoming test games.

After the disturbing end of the World Cup season, he vowed to get better at the start of the European Championship season. “I can promise that we will see a different team in September,” said Flick at the low point after the defeat against Colombia.

Who invites the national coach? Völler had not recently targeted Flick (“Hansi is the poorest sow after all”), but the players. The former DFB team boss questioned quality and mentality. “One or the other has reached the limit despite all efforts,” criticized Völler. And the 63-year-old complained: “If we want to play a good EM, we have to burn more.”

Two years after moving from FC Bayern to the DFB, Flick is still passionate about the job of national coach. And a good nine months after the botched Qatar World Cup, he is proclaiming the next new beginning. “From now on,” said the 58-year-old. Out of the sadness, into the EM anticipation – he wants to create this change of mood: “We have to develop a winning mentality.” Only with victories can a EM euphoria be generated.

Test phase completed

Flick had declared the first half of 2023 to be a “test phase”. Now an EM formation should develop in the six international matches until the end of the year. “It is crucial that we now find a core team with five, six, seven or eight positions in which we name number one,” announced Flick in a “kicker” interview. He named Antonio Rüdiger, Joshua Kimmich, Emre Can and Ilkay Gündogan as parts of a framework.

Defensive youngster Malick Thiaw was the only real bright spot during Flick’s failed experimentation phase in the first five internationals this year. Dortmund defensive giant Niklas Süle is now expected back in the squad after a break ordered by Flick in June. A Thomas Müller comeback is not planned.

The recently injured offensive players Serge Gnabry, Timo Werner and Karim Adeyemi are options again, as is Felix Nmecha, who is new to Dortmund. There is a question mark behind Bayern Munich’s young star Jamal Musiala after a muscle fiber tear.

Flick’s critics will take a close look at who is appointed – and who is not. Flick recently reacted irritably to critical heckling: “I find it very audacious to claim that players are not invited based on the principle of merit.”

Source: Stern

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