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Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz: Wings of dreams

Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz: Wings of dreams
Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz: Wings of dreams

They dance, dribble, caress. Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz are responsible for the carefreeness in the German game, their crazy runs fire up the fantasies of the fans. Big comparisons are already being made – but that does the wingers no favors.

Julian Nagelsmann had to take a short breath. Another summer fairytale question, how many actually? And then, sports journalism lives from eternal comparisons, from the invocation of nostalgia, such as this. Whether Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz are something like the new Lukas Podolski and Bastian Schweinsteiger, and even more: whether they could perhaps carry the nation through the tournament single-handedly, was the question the national coach was asked.

Phew.

They did very well today, said Nagelsmann, who did not want to highlight any individual players but of course had to do so anyway.

An understatement in terms of educational theory. Don’t get carried away now, that was the very clear message. All those magicians up front, Nagelsmann added quickly, are of no use to us if they don’t work defensively.

But Musiala and Wirtz had done that too. And very well. Elegant in counter-pressing, then extremely quick back into formation.

Musiala and Wirtz: magicians, but not entertainers

Poldi and Schweini? Remember, they were domestic mood makers, funny cheeky characters in whose freshly bleached, grinning faces the republic, which had long since succumbed to party-patriotic carefreeness, was only too happy to see itself reflected. And yes, Poldi and Schweini, trapped for years in the diminutiveness of these nicknames, also scored important goals, were often in the right positions and carried the team along. But they were never an artful wing pairing like Musiala and Wirtz.

On the other hand, there is nothing entertaining about Musiala and Wirtz off the pitch. Both are too shy to be considered as verbal motivators for Germany, and their language skills are too limited. Which is not a bad thing, as long as it is not imposed on them. As long as they are not expected to be what they are not. And are allowed to remain who they can be.

At the press conference last Wednesday in Herzogenaurach, this juvenile language shame was demonstrated once again. There they sat, awkward and a little overwhelmed by the seriousness of the questions. Musiala, whom they called Bambi, was like a deer in a sudden flash of headlights. Monosyllabic in the tracksuit jacket, humor only when you laugh anyway. The comedy is involuntary at best. They have, as was already clear then and is now at the latest, a sense of mischief in their feet, not in their necks.

Is not that enough?

And they are already called Wusiala

Wirtz and Musiala, Musiala and Wirtz. The double nickname Wusiala has been circulating online for a long time, which aptly sounds like an incantation, a shamanistic ritual, a mysterious formula. In other words, it is reminiscent of the magic they actually cast against the Scots. Yesterday, the two of them fulfilled the promise they have long held on the international stage.

Joy after the game for Niclas Füllkrug (centre) and his teammates

All highlights in the video: Germany celebrates goal gala against Scotland

05:55 min

Wirtz, his socks as low as his center of gravity, with the first goal and many actions that you just can’t learn with this impulsiveness. With an almost obscene preference for one-on-ones. Being doubled up was never a reason to turn away, but rather a challenge and a fun chase. Controlled chaos, conjuring up moments, unpredictable for defenders. And sometimes not for his own teammates either. A street footballer who didn’t learn on the streets at all. And the shot that finally got Germany rolling was, logically, shot with the inside of his hand. Caressed instead of beaten. A caress, the beautiful game. A mood booster for the masses too.

Musiala, on the other hand, with his speedy dribbling in the style of Alberto Tomba, skiers in the penalty area, the defenders just slalom poles. And his legs are still as skinny as toothpicks, but that only seems to ensure that he doesn’t get hit. When this furious contortionist dances past two, three, four, five opponents, you really do sit there with your mouth open quite often. Has this ever happened at such a rapid pace at the DFB?

In Qatar, Jamal Musiala often got bogged down

The truth is, of course, that Musiala had already had many such crazy runs in Qatar, but never finished them. That he had, unfortunately, died there in beauty. And in the murmurings of the crowd there was always despair that these solos would remain without refinement. So he not only robbed himself of memories, but also the spectators. That has improved now, at FC Bayern and in the national jersey. The fact that Musiala’s goal against the Scots came from a powerful shot under the crossbar must be seen as a good punch line.

DFB duo Musiala and Wirtz with the national team

Now, with the euphoria of this victory and the intoxicating combinations, it will be a matter of preserving the carefree attitude for Musiala and Wirtz. Not to burden themselves with the eternal comparisons, not to let themselves be overwhelmed by the hope of the fan miles. When Bastian Schweinsteiger ended his career in 2019, his old friend Poldi wrote him another love letter in BILD, in which the sentence: “It was the beginning of a friendship that is rare in football.”

Musiala and Wirtz – this could be the start of a wing combination that is rarely seen in football. But it would be wise not to praise the youngsters as reincarnations of former heroes, nor as a two-point-zero variant that always sounds a bit trite anyway. Because Musiala and Wirtz are at their best when they can simply be Musiala and Wirtz.

Source: Stern

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