Hansi Flick still has the desire to be the national coach. Before meeting again with World Cup shock Japan, he announced an important personnel change – and a rather difficult one.
Hansi Flick was in a good mood. In addition to the announcement that Ilkay Gündogan will lead the national soccer team as captain in the future, this was the big news that was eagerly awaited and a little suspicious before the national coach’s difficult test against World Cup shock Japan.
Smiling, sometimes grinning, the 58-year-old appeared relaxed in the converted commercial vehicle pavilion of DFB partner VW and said: “I just feel like looking after this team.”
He said he had hardly noticed the harsh criticism of the past few weeks, regardless of the extremely tense situation in the DFB cosmos. Like after the World Cup defeat in Qatar, he hardly reads anything anymore. “That’s good too,” said Flick before the complicated reunion with the Japanese on Saturday (8.45 p.m./RTL) in the sold-out Wolfsburg Stadium. “Everyone,” emphasized the national coach, who was quite a number after the recent flop games, knew the importance of the next two games. The even more difficult test against World Cup runners-up France follows on Tuesday.
New game philosophy announced
“We want to prepare well and put everything into the games,” said Flick. As a consequence of the past, very disappointing months with only four wins in 16 international matches, he announced a new playing philosophy – with Munich’s Joshua Kimmich in a new role, at least for the time being. The 28-year-old is an “absolute professional and an absolute team player who puts himself at the service of the team,” emphasized Flick. He indirectly confirmed that Kimmich would have to move back to the right-back position he didn’t like. Kimmich did not speak publicly this week.
Flick went to great lengths to exude composure and sovereignty. In the past few days in mid-summer Wolfsburg, a lot had gone wrong again, starting with the injury of Niclas Füllkrug, training spies and questionable statements both from inside (Kai Havertz) and from outside (Hans-Joachim Watzke) of the isolated DFB quarters. Havertz had complained about the lack of support from the fans, Watzke had bluntly railed against the youth reform in the DFB.
“The national team is something special. And that’s why there are many issues that are currently affecting us due to the situation,” commented Flick. Busy – don’t burden yourself. Coming to the press conference with Gündogan and making the Capitano announcement right at the beginning was a good idea from the DFB’s perspective given so many critical issues. Gündogan now wears the black, red and gold armband again. Kimmich is also part of the “leadership duo”. He thinks “this gives us new energy, which we also need,” said Flick.
Gündogan is happy about Flick’s trust
The world-class player Gündogan, who feels very comfortable at his new club FC Barcelona in Catalonia after just a few weeks of settling in, thanked him and spoke of a “great honor”. He is happy about the trust and knows “that it brings with it a great deal of responsibility,” said the 32-year-old, who most recently led Manchester City as captain. “We now have two very unpleasant games,” said Gündogan. The Japan game will show whether Flick has found the perfect role for the triple winner in the changed system. That wasn’t successful in the summer.
“Life is always about us learning from things of the past,” said Flick. “We took a lot with us from the games and the World Cup. Now we have agreed on an idea, a playing philosophy and tried to convey that to the team.” Instead of Malick Thiaw, who was the only bright spot in June, BVB returnee Niklas Süle will start the hot phase before the home European Championship in central defense.
Highly acclaimed World Cup documentary
“How do we want to see the team? Active, we want to keep the intensity high. We hope that a good game will give us confidence in the team again. That’s the crucial thing,” said Flick, whose first major appearance was in a press conference has been attracting a lot of media interest for three months. A dozen cameras captured the national coach’s every move.
Despite all his cheerfulness, Flick will know what would happen to him if the Japan game went wrong. It is only the fourth meeting with the now very competitive Asians. The 1-2 shock in the first World Cup group game was the beginning of the end in Qatar. Flick reported that he had not yet seen the much-noticed documentary from the streaming service Amazon about the end of the World Cup (that’s why?). In another series about his time at FC Bayern, it is fittingly well documented that Flick once announced his resignation from the record champions in the dressing room of the Wolfsburg stadium.
The published World Cup documentary ends with the fact that Flick, as national coach, never thought about resigning. “I’m proud and also very grateful that I can look after these players. It’s a lot of fun,” he said in Wolfsburg. The week in VW City “convinced” him and his coaching team; they were “satisfied with how the team implemented it.” This now has to be successful in front of the fans.
I am Pierce Boyd, a driven and ambitious professional working in the news industry. I have been writing for 24 Hours Worlds for over five years, specializing in sports section coverage. During my tenure at the publication, I have built an impressive portfolio of articles that has earned me a reputation as an experienced journalist and content creator.