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Julian Nagelsmann relies on the same starting eleven and fears the pitch

Julian Nagelsmann relies on the same starting eleven and fears the pitch
Julian Nagelsmann relies on the same starting eleven and fears the pitch

With the confidence of two victories, Julian Nagelsmann is heading for the group final against Switzerland. The starting eleven will remain as it is. The only concern is the Frankfurt pitch.

For Julian Nagelmann, the biggest danger ahead of the group final for first place against Switzerland is not yellow, but green. The poor pitch in Frankfurt’s European Championship stadium is more of a concern for the national coach than the threat of suspensions. Nagelsmann is again not planning to make any changes to his well-rehearsed starting eleven on Sunday (9 p.m./ARD/Magenta TV) in their attack on group victory.

“I don’t care about the yellow card situation because I trust the squad. The players should give it their all until the rule bans them. And then another player will come in who does it just as well,” said Nagelsmann. This means that for the first time since the 2002 World Cup under team manager Rudi Völler, the national football team should start with the same formation in the third tournament game at a major tournament and secure the group victory. And with a win.

“That’s our mindset. We go into every game and want to win. We want to see our name at the top,” said Jonathan Tah. The Leverkusen player is one of the quartet with yellow cards, alongside Antonio Rüdiger, Robert Andrich and Maximilian Mittelstädt. After two yellow cards, a player has to miss a game at the European Championships. In the round of 16? Or in a possible quarter-final against Spain? Only after the round of the best eight are individual yellow cards deleted.

Nagelsmann does not want to get involved in speculation. “In general, it is important at national team level that the rhythm is maintained. We do not have that much training time and playing time together,” said Nagelsmann. He does not want to play tactics before the round of 16. The opponent will be known by 11 p.m. on Tuesday at the latest after the group phase has ended. Then they will prepare for them, assured the 36-year-old.

Germany against Switzerland also means: Kroos against Xhaka

In any case, Nagelsmann’s first opponent is Switzerland, the toughest of the three group opponents in his view, who could push the European Championship hosts into second place with a surprise victory. The mood in the national team does not match such scenarios. Toni Kroos chatted very relaxedly with his teammate Niclas Füllkrug during the warm-up lap. And the sunshine during the final training session in Franconia was a sign of the great mood for the European Championship.

“Set an example,” both internally and externally, that is Nagelsmann’s plan for the third game. And he will set an example even before the match kicks off on the soapy grass in the Frankfurt stadium – with the line-up.

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.

Scotland’s national coach Steve Clarke described both as “key players”. After the opening defeat against Germany, he complained: “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 sweeper Andrich meet on the pitch. At Bayer Leverkusen, they became German champions and DFB Cup winners as a midfield duo. Andrich, of course, has to be careful in tackles – see yellow card suspension.

Toni Kroos: “Nobody expects us to easily play seven games”

Kroos is very happy with how his farewell tour of Germany has started. After the European Championship, the Real Madrid star is known to be 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). Nagelsmann does not want to think about that yet.

Source: Stern

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