A fight on three fronts: Flick demanded as never before


In the oasis of wellness, it rattled as it should. Before the game in Spain, there are many questions in the German national team camp. Hansi Flick’s challenge is on three fronts.

National coach Hansi Flick demands courage from his team.

National coach Hansi Flick demands courage from his team.
IMAGO/Ulmer/Team photo


Oliver Hartmann reports from Qatar

What happens behind the barriers of Zulal Wellness Resort? How do fake startups survive their initial failure? How should an early tournament knockout against Spain be prevented and how to recover? Football For Germany, how much it cares about its national team’s performance, as opposed to its general approach to the World Cup, there are many troubling questions after a sobering 1-2 result against Japan.

At the center of all these questions and discussions is the man who has become the biggest hope for a successful World Cup performance over the past 15 months: Hansi Flick. The 57-year-old football teacher is currently in demand as a crisis manager, a role he does not know from FC Bayern, which has won seven titles, or from his previous months as the country’s coach. In an early final against Spain, it’s not about winning anything to stay in the tournament, it’s about the chance to lose a lot. This is nothing more than averting a historical catastrophe.

Tension, resistance to stress, game plan

Flick faces three fronts: he has to manage the inner tension that comes with being completely self-inflicted. defeat against Japan created across the team. From his 26-man squad, he needs to filter out an eleven that has the necessary resilience to face the extreme pressure on Sunday. And he needs to come up with a game plan where he can use his individually better pitches and, on top of that, according to 7-0 against Costa Rica can slow down the confident Spaniard.

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A glance at the history book shows how difficult this last task alone is. In the last 20 years, Germany have only won once against Spain in seven attempts: in 2014. on November 18, when she flew to Vigo as the newly crowned world champion to face the host who was eliminated in Brazil. in the preliminary round and morally declined accordingly.

In the oasis of wellness, it rattled as it should

The signs are different now, the balance of power has changed. The goal is to “build the team so that they believe they can still push things in the right direction,” says Flick. He knows about the great challenge for his person. The debate, which he scheduled for Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours after the bankruptcy in Japan, helped clear the country’s climate in the first place.

The sometimes ruthless and justified criticism that has been leveled at key players such as Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich on the eve. and above all Ilkay Gundogan was spoken publicly, the veterans also spoke internally at this unusually long meeting. The participants emphasized that Flick also dealt directly and mercilessly with deficits: lack of defensive strength, lack of determination in front of the opponent’s goal, too little aggressiveness and unity in all parts of the team.

In principle, such a merciless discussion after such a fall is not at all questionable, but rather a necessity, given the flaws previously exposed – provided that the right conclusions are drawn from it and that the mood is now more than ever. Sunday night will show if that is indeed the case and what lessons Flick will learn from his poor personnel decisions in the Japan game.

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Most likely, the coach of the national team will not call Niklas Süle as a right-back for the second time, but will pull him into central defense for Nico Schlotterbeck, who is currently having a bad time. He is very likely to stick with Joshua Kimmich in a double-six, while moving the Munich man to right-back would see him move away from key positions and occupy…

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