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EURO 2024: New love: DFB team and fans merge in EM frenzy

EURO 2024: New love: DFB team and fans merge in EM frenzy
EURO 2024: New love: DFB team and fans merge in EM frenzy

Germany celebrates and dreams. And Nagelsmann’s European Championship team wins and grows. In the 2-0 win against Hungary there are two match winners and resilience. There doesn’t have to be a “giant” in the round of 16.

In the happiness of their newly rekindled love affair with their national football team, the fans simply skipped four games to the big final after the first European Championship party in pink, singing. The audience, who had been weaned from tournament fun for six years, started singing “Berlin, Berlin, we’re going to Berlin” after the 2-0 win against Hungary in Stuttgart, which was more worked for than conjured.

The day after the early entry into the round of 16, there was also a lot of discussion and speculation about the tournament’s further path in smaller and larger groups in the DFB entourage’s Franconian oasis of well-being in Herzogenaurach. How important is winning the group in the direct duel with Switzerland? Who will we then face in the round of 16? Which tournament path is the most promising? When will Spain be threatened? Or Italy?

Questions upon questions. But there are no limits to thinking. “The fans can dream of anything. Our job is to let them keep dreaming,” said Julian Nagelsmann, the director of the summer fairytale reloaded. And as much as a player with a resting pulse like Toni Kroos was happy to “ignite” the whole country’s mood, his message was clear before the showdown with the Swiss on Sunday (9 p.m./ARD and MagentaTV). “I find it difficult to talk about success when you have won two group matches. We have a bigger goal than just the round of 16,” said the trophy collector from Real Madrid, whose DFB comeback is a gift from the European Championship.

Tires and ride the mood wave

The puzzle pieces are coming together more and more from game to game. Nagelsmann’s seed is sprouting. But the EM plant, which is still tender in sporting terms, needs to be nurtured and continue to grow. Nagelsmann spoke of a “maturation process” as he relaxedly cycled to the reserves’ training session on Thursday morning. Nagelsmann is counting on the atmosphere factor, on the fusion of fans and players into a unit and source of strength. “We have incredibly successful and experienced players. Nevertheless, that does something to the players. That moves us,” said Nagelsmann, enthusiastic about the “brilliant atmosphere” all over the country.

The team structure he re-assembled through a radical restructuring of the squad in March has created a working atmosphere in which individual talents can develop and a close-knit collective is created. Jamal Musiala played brilliantly again and scored his second goal. The 21-year-old is well on his way to becoming one of the top stars of this European Championship.

X-factor Gündogan and difference maker Musiala

Captain Ilkay Gündogan enthused: “It’s such a joy to play with him. He’s someone who can do the unexpected in every single situation. He’s a difference maker for us. I love him. He’s a complete player. He can become one of the best.” This is what the man who was named “Man of the Match” said.

Gündogan outshone Musiala, first as a robust provider of the 1-0 and then as the scorer of the 2-0. “I feel extremely comfortable in this team,” said the 33-year-old, who is becoming the X-factor in the late stages of his DFB career. Nagelsmann made a plea for the “smart player,” as he calls Gündogan: “We all have to trust him more in the country. We all have to push him a bit, because he can push us too.”

Sometimes little things can have a big impact. No longer placing Kroos and Gündogan next to each other in midfield as they used to, but rather staggering them one behind the other, turns out to be a brilliant move by Nagelsmann. The strategists suddenly complement each other and enrich each other’s interactions. “When we look at each other on the pitch, even for a millisecond, we know what the other is thinking and what they intend to do in the next situation,” said Gündogan.

Then there is the resilience factor. Germany once again has a tournament team that is building up resilience, which survived critical moments against Hungary after the easy 5:1 win against Scotland. “They will be there in the knockout rounds too,” Kroos knows. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and the two defensive towers Antonio Rüdiger and Jonathan Tah were there when things got tough at the back. “We fought back. When something wasn’t stable, Manu was there, Jona was there, Antonio was there,” said Nagelsmann.

Why winning the group is so important to Nagelsmann

But the national coach is not resting. He wants more, much more. Next, he wants to win the group. Even a draw against Switzerland is enough for that. “First and foremost, it has an internal effect whether you come first or second,” said Nagelsmann. But it would also be another signal to the (title) competition. “And the opponent in the round of 16 might not be a huge opponent,” speculated Nagelsmann, looking at the tournament tree.

Dortmund, Stuttgart, Munich – that is the ideal route to the dream destination of Berlin. As the first in Group A, the DFB team would meet the second in Group C on June 29th. If England finishes first as expected, their opponents would be Denmark, Slovenia or Serbia. Anything is possible. But no opponent is feared anymore. “Germany is always one of the favorites,” Neuer said. And Stuttgart’s Maximilian Mittelstädt announced: “Everything is possible for us. We can achieve great things.” The tournament newcomer already chose the fan view: way ahead.

Source: Stern

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