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European Football Championship: Battle for group victory: European Championship duel between strategists Kroos and Xhaka

European Football Championship: Battle for group victory: European Championship duel between strategists Kroos and Xhaka
European Football Championship: Battle for group victory: European Championship duel between strategists Kroos and Xhaka

They are the passing machines in their teams. And Toni Kroos and Granit Xhaka are also important in Frankfurt. Who will lead their team to group victory? Nagelsmann doesn’t have to change anything.

Toni Kroos chatted relaxedly with his teammate Niclas Füllkrug during the warm-up lap. And the sunshine in Franconia matched the splendid European Championship mood of the national football team, which is expected to be even better on Sunday evening (9 p.m./ARD and MagentaTV) after the conclusion of the group phase against Switzerland in Frankfurt.

But for that to happen, the next goal must be achieved: Julian Nagelsmann wants to bag victory number three and group victory at the home tournament after the early entry into the knockout phase and finally establish the DFB team among the favorites.

“Set an example” both internally and externally, that is Nagelsmann’s plan for the third game. And the 36-year-old will set an example even before the match kicks off on the soapy grass in the Frankfurt stadium – with the line-up. The national coach will not change the starting eleven, which worked well and worked well together against Scotland (5:1) and Hungary (2:0). No regular player is injured. Everyone was able to train. And the eleven should build up more self-confidence and more automatisms. “We want to win every game,” said Nagelsmann after the Hungary match. Ideally that will be seven.

Rebuild the starting eleven? “The boys are doing great”

“The boys are doing great,” said Stuttgart’s Chris Führich of the first eleven. The reserves and jokers know their role, as the offensive player and tournament debutant confirmed: “We have to wait for our moment.”

Germany against Switzerland is not just a match for group victory, but also a very interesting test of strength between the midfield strategists: Toni Kroos (34) versus Granit Xhaka (31). Both shape and direct their team’s game. No other player had the ball as often as them in the first two tournament games. Kroos played 233 passes, 226 of which were successful. Xhaka played 139 passes, 123 of which went to the Swiss.

When the paths of Xhaka and Andrich cross

Scotland’s national coach Steve Clarke described both as “key players”. After the opening defeat against Germany, he lamented: “We couldn’t get a handle on Toni Kroos at all.” In the surprising 1:1 draw against Switzerland, his team did a little better with Xhaka.

It will also be interesting to see how Xhaka and DFB striker Robert Andrich meet on the pitch. At Bayer Leverkusen, they won the German championship and DFB Cup as a midfield duo. Andrich, however, has to be careful in tackles, as he is one of four players in the DFB squad with a yellow card. He is at risk of being banned from the round of 16. In addition to Andrich, this also applies to regular defenders Antonio Rüdiger, Jonathan Tah and Maximlian Mittelstädt.

Kroos and his final itinerary

Kroos is very happy with how his farewell tour of Germany has started. After the European Championships, the Real Madrid star is ending his career. “This is the start we had hoped for. It’s been a long time since we started a tournament like this where we had six points after two games,” said Kroos. He wants more: “We are happy that we are in the round of 16. But it will still be about finishing first in the group.”

Frankfurt, Dortmund, Stuttgart, Munich, Berlin – that is the route Kroos wants for the five big football evenings left in his career. He expects further opposition, including against Switzerland. “Nobody expects us to play seven games easily,” said Kroos. As group winners, the second-placed team in Group C would be the opponent in the round of 16, i.e. England (4 points), Denmark (2), Slovenia (2) or Serbia (1).

“We want to finish first. We have put ourselves in a good position,” said captain Ilkay Gündogan. And Führich confidently announced: “It doesn’t matter which opponent we face in the end.” But first of all, everyone in the German team is looking forward to another evening of celebration with their own fans. The atmosphere at the Hungary game in Stuttgart was even better than the opening game in Munich, noted goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. “And we expect a lot in Frankfurt,” said the 38-year-old.

Source: Stern

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