AOn Monday they had to lend a hand again on the west side of the arena in Cologne. A sticker was emblazoned above the elevators to the VIP area, which referred to the upcoming test match between Germany and Belgium on Tuesday evening (8:45 p.m. / RTL), but was incorrect: Instead of “Germany”, “Deutschalnd” was written there in giant letters.
Not only this faux pas shows that not everything is going as well as those responsible for the national soccer team would like. Such as national coach Hansi Flick, who after the 2-0 win over Peru in the game against the Belgians had to change the starting eleven after Kai Havertz (flu) and Nico Schlotterbeck (muscular problems) left. “We took the first step against Peru. Now we have an opponent who is a bit different caliber. But we’re happy,” said Flick on Monday before the bus ride to Cologne and praised the energy in the team.
Flick was in a good mood and seemed relaxed when he spoke on Monday about the second test after Qatar’s World Cup disaster. On Sunday afternoon he gave the players free time. Some players still had appointments that had to be observed beforehand. David Raum, for example, sat for an hour with 13 fans who were allowed to ask the Leipziger questions. Christian Günter and Joshua Kimmich cooked together with a few children.
Speaking of Kimmich. His statements regarding the change of coach at FC Bayern – his employer had surprisingly released Julian Nagelsmann last week and signed Thomas Tuchel – had shown after the test against Peru how much the selection of the German Football Association (DFB ) is currently happening, is overshadowed by what happened in Munich. The coaching earthquake at the record champions has been making the headlines for days and is superimposed on the restart of the national team.
Coach earthquake in Munich
Kimmich and his Munich teammate Leon Goretzka had contradicted the Bayern bosses Oliver Kahn and Hasan Salihamidzic immediately after the victory over Peru. In their analysis, they identified, among other things, a lack of support from Nagelsmann within the team and then communicated this. “I can say that the coach didn’t lose the dressing room,” said Kimmich, among other things.
As in the run-up to the test against Peru on Saturday, when all eyes and ears were directed towards Munich, since the press conference with Kahn, Salihamidzic and Tuchel took place there at noon, there is also an important appointment in Munich on the day of the second test match: Thomas Tuchel leads his first training. In addition to the three Bayern pros Kimmich, Goretzka and Serge Gnabry, who are with the German team, some other Munich national players who are traveling to international matches will also miss the Tuchel premiere. But it can be assumed that they will all ask one of the remaining professionals in Munich about Tuchel’s debut from afar – what is happening at her employer these days is too interesting.
The German national team, on the other hand, has to compete for attention. They know that public training sessions, extensive laps of honor and one or the other selfie are not enough. It takes good performance and good results. Against strong Belgians, who have been under the care of German coach Domenico Tedesco since February and last Friday won the first international match of the year under him 3-0, it should be more difficult than against Peru, especially since the national coach also has to rebuild his scaffolding . Actually, Hansi Flick had relied on personal continuity for the game against Belgium and wanted to continue the positive impression of 2-0 on Saturday.
National coach Flick has to rebuild
But now suddenly two important posts are free for the starting lineup. Thilo Kehrer, who is under contract with West Ham United, will replace Schlotterbeck in central defense, while Gnabry will replace the sick Havertz up front. Flick announced that he might only change one position compared to the starting eleven from the Peru game “because it’s about getting a certain stability into the team”.
Kehrer should also play his part in the game against Belgium to ensure that this succeeds. The 26-year-old sat in the media room on the DFB campus on Monday afternoon after training. He is looking forward to the assignment, said Kehrer, before he was asked about Thomas Tuchel – due to the two years of cooperation at Paris St. Germain. From 2018 to 2020, the defender played with the Paris star ensemble under the new Bayern coach. “I had a very successful time under him. He’s a coach under whom I’ve learned a lot and under whom I’ve developed. That’s why I can only say positive things about it,” reported Kehrer, who won two championship titles in France with Tuchel. He always felt the trust and support of Tuchel. Kehrer was asked how the coach managed to unite the stars in Paris and said: “With a lot of meticulousness and his good understanding of football. I am confident that he will do very well at Bayern Munich.”
Flick knows about the expectations in Munich. From 2019 to 2021 he was a coach at Bayern Munich. As far as his top game on Saturday against BVB is concerned, Flick announced that he would not take into account the duration of the deployment of the professionals seconded by the clubs. “We are considerate when it comes to protecting players from injury. Everyone who plays for Dortmund or Bayern can play football every three days. We don’t have an exact plan who will play how many minutes, we don’t have to,” said Flick: “But he will make sure that if someone is exhausted, he can also give a sign.”
The three Bayern internationals played a total of 180 minutes against Peru and the three from Dortmund 221. It remains to be seen whether the ratio will be more even.