National team coach Hansi Flick: Dare more storm

On this November day, the world audience looked more at Madrid and London, but the national coach preferred to travel to Wolfsburg. So you can imagine that Hansi Flick was not really interested in the sights in the Autostadt, but made a trip to Lower Saxony for very practical reasons. Although that’s not entirely true: there were players worth watching on the pitch in this not necessarily the devastating Champions League preliminary round match between VfL Wolfsburg and RB Salzburg.

Two minutes later, Flick should have widened his eyes for the first time, as a young right-back striker RB showed that he could easily leave an entire defense behind in an entire sprint. His shot went wide, but Flick was able to note: an interesting boy. Definitely the national team material. Perhaps the national coach found the striker’s mint green VfL appearance to be no less attractive. In the second half, this striker took a diagonal pass with his chest, and chased the ball to the top corner with high accuracy. Hypothetical note: Wow, what a shot! calling!!

It was a very cold evening, as the game as such was neither body nor soul warm. But Flick was able to reassure himself close that he had already made 20-year-old Karim Adeyemi’s two-time appearance on the German Football Association team at that point. And he was able to convince himself that 23-year-old Lucas Nemecha has some things that not many German strikers can do.

The only drawback: Flick has to somehow keep track of all these groups of attackers it can now assemble.

Fast and powerful: Karim Adeyemi (left) and Lukas Nmecha have met in the Champions League before, on a cold October evening in Wolfsburg, in front of Hansi Flick.

(Photo: Ebner/Imago)

For a national coach, the decision-making process should feel like he has a Gameboy with the video game Tetris in front of him. Flick can draw on all kinds of different building blocks, but the trick is to put them in a logical order. This is not easy, because the decision that was correct can be completely wrong again in the next match. And then the life of a national coach also gives you an additional, nasty task that does not appear in Tetris at all: with each decision, you must also take into account the changing “opponent”.

So it’s good for Flick to have the Nations League match against Italy (starting 8.45pm / RTL) on Saturday’s programme. It doesn’t matter that the European champions who still hold the league title are no longer synonymous with the best since they recently failed to qualify for this year’s Winter World Championships in Qatar. Because the Italians didn’t have any defensive skills. On the contrary: there are few better opportunities for strikers to prove their personal competitive edge than close encounters with Leonardo Bonucci or the cunning Alessandro Bastoni.

In the past few days, the entire DFB delegation has consistently emphasized that the Nations League is a very prestigious competition. On the other hand, Flick wouldn’t be Flick if he didn’t also use these games to put theory to practical test. In theory, a lot is possible: Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane and Thomas Müller, for example, could make up three fantastic streets for Bayern in front of the midfield, which could be enriched with a large number of false nines up front.

The Classic Nine celebrates recovery all over the world – however, in this country, there are complaints about the poor quarterbacks

Playmaker Kai Havertz could be seriously abused in the role, his fast-paced Chelsea teammate Timo Werner is also not an old-school enforcer, and Dortmund’s Marco Reus has been spotted in the position – and then there was no talk of everyone enjoying the player Bayern’s block is naturally with such “resilience” that Flick on Friday praised his wide range of attackers (which, incidentally, makes him and his coaching staff “very happy, very happy”). No one will dare to contradict the national coach on this matter. The only remarkable thing is that the Classic Nine celebrates a global revival, while Germany, the former developed country, has been languishing in extreme poverty for a few years.

Compared to club coaches, the national coach has a structural flaw in not being able to assign anyone to remedy any shortcomings in the team through clever transfers. The national coach has to do smart things with what the nation puts at his disposal. In his previous life as assistant Joachim Low, he knew there was always something missing when you looked at the team through a magnifying glass.

DFB-Elf: But the duel between the German-Italian striker and defender: Mario Gomez (below) in the Euro 2012 semi-final against the still active Leonardo Bonucci.

But a German-Italian defender: Mario Gomez (below) in the Euro 2012 semi-final against Leonardo Bonucci is still active.

(Photo: imago)

For example, when Germany still had midfielders Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose, debates swirled over the shortcomings of what kind of footballer Flick could no longer get enough of in the team: modern, fast-paced strikers who could do those little cramps. that allow their opponents to take great strides in space. Wanting to break away from Löw’s tradition of possession, Flick wants to make football more diverse and introduce some vintage elements. You could say: Flick relies on improvisational talent and the type of street footballer – he looks for it not only in Madrid or London, but also on a cold, blistering November day in Wolfsburg.

Adeyemi and Nmecha’s personal details show that the entire Flick attack is based on new principles. The national coach not only measures his attackers based on the scorer’s points but also looks at whether they have instinct and align with the ideological superstructure. The “total package” to attack with some self-confidence, Flick said, thus “does not need to hide” in the international comparison.

Nmecha closely fits the profile of the traditional German striker, but he also does important things differently than many of his DFB predecessors. There are things that Flick also appreciates about Gnabry, Müller, and the other attackers: Nmecha goes a long way back and chases balls up front once the opposing defenders start building the game. It’s a similar story for Adeyemi, who made such a remarkable development at Salzburg that Borussia Dortmund had to outsmart a host of rivals in the race to sign him.

“We want to be among the best in the world again,” Flick said Friday. He did not give the impression that a storm tank of an old German design was required for this project.

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