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National team: Goal puzzle: Nagelsmann seeks European Championship spark

National team: Goal puzzle: Nagelsmann seeks European Championship spark

Agreeing with the Chancellor, hope for the Royals. Julian Nagelsmann wants to solve the goal puzzle that cost the friendly victory against Ukraine immediately. The European Championship countdown is ticking fast.

After the goalless defeat against Ukraine, Julian Nagelsmann had so much to talk about that even the Chancellor hardly got a word in.

“He knew that I had already talked so much to the team and said he would keep it a bit shorter so that it wouldn’t take too long,” Nagelsmann reported in his usual relaxed and easy-going manner about the visit of stadium guest Olaf Scholz to the national football team’s dressing room.

The national coach and the head of government agreed on the assessment of the penultimate test match and the continued optimism for the European Championships at home. “He said that he also had the feeling that goals could be scored and that we wanted to win. And he wished us good luck,” said Nagelsmann. The national coach knew that luck alone would not be enough. And it shouldn’t be.

Nagelsmann set the goal of scoring goals as an important goal in the fast-moving European Championship countdown. With Champions League winners Toni Kroos and Antonio Rüdiger as key players, as well as Dortmund players Nico Schlotterbeck and Niclas Füllkrug, the squad is complete. The final touches for the European Championship are being tackled at a rapid pace.

Signal against Greece

Nagelsmann is expecting the tournament dress rehearsal on Friday (8.45 p.m./RTL) in Mönchengladbach against Greece to spark the spark that will get the team and fans into the tournament flow for a glorious summer of football when they start against Scotland a week later. “We want to pull off the big coup, that’s clear. But it won’t be easy at this home tournament either. We have the right atmosphere and mood in the team,” said goalkeeper Manuel Neuer after his comeback game in the DFB goal, which was marred by a too casual, risky chip ball shortly before the end.

The fans in Nuremberg reacted well even without a German goal. They noticed the will of the DFB team to force a win, which Nagelsmann also emphasized. That is not typical for a friendly match shortly before a major tournament. “You can see that the people are there, that they want to see us win,” said Joshua Kimmich about the mood in Nuremberg despite the scoreless draw. They have to “keep going like this and then hopefully win the last friendly match,” said the Munich native on ARD.

Royal as trump

Nagelsmann’s trump card now is the Royals. The arrival of Champions League winners Kroos and Rüdiger at the base camp in Herzogenaurach was seen as an important boost, and not just by the national coach. A good portion of Real Madrid’s miraculous winning gene would certainly have helped the DFB team against Ukraine.

Pascal Groß is also certain that the presence of the Champions League winners will have an “extremely big” impact. “They know how to win the biggest titles,” he said. “They will take the team to another level,” noted Groß, representing Kroos. Even if this means he himself will be relegated to the role of substitute.

In his analysis, Nagelsmann also had BVB striker Füllkrug in mind as a guaranteed goal scorer, who could have been a factor in the missed chances against Ukraine. Against the Netherlands in March, the Dortmund player came on as a late substitute to make it 2-1. No one has scored more goals under Nagelsmann than Füllkrug (four out of eleven goals), who arrived a day earlier than planned on Monday and watched in the stadium.

Everything was by no means bad against Ukraine, even if the great euphoria of March was slightly affected by reality. The good news for Nagelsmann: his role model works. Waldemar Anton and Groß replaced Rüdiger and Kroos without any problems. Six substitutions in the game did not result in a drop in performance.

Candidate for removal plays big

On the contrary: Maximilian Beier even used his debut to make a statement about the European Championship. The young Hoffenheim player almost became the match winner when he hit the crossbar and had another good chance. Beier was the first candidate to be eliminated from the 26-man squad. Now Nagelsmann will ponder who to eliminate until the deadline on Friday night. “At the moment it would be someone who doesn’t deserve it,” said the national coach, giving his squad blanket praise.

The national coach did not want to raise any doubts about Neuer. The Bayern goalkeeper kept the score at zero with a few good saves. But then he made this unnecessary chip ball to the opponent just before the halfway line. Carelessness? Misjudgment? Nagelsmann demonstratively defended his number one for the European Championship.

National coach still “in good spirits”

“If he doesn’t get it, if he stands deeper and doesn’t play, then it’s a much bigger mistake with more serious consequences,” said the national coach about the tense situation shortly before the end, which was only defused by an offside position of the Ukrainians.

Nagelsmann saw the more pressing problem than in goal at the other end of the pitch after counting 27 scoring opportunities. His approach: bring more players into the penalty area in future. Nagelsmann believes that the experience from Ukraine can still be valuable. He also expects the first European Championship opponents, Scotland and Hungary, to use a similar compact system in their own penalty area. “I am very confident that we will create this one moment, that we will score the goal and then let more follow,” he said.

Source: Stern

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