The workforce is thin. For the friendlies against Israel and the Netherlands, coach Hansi Flick names almost forgotten players. The national coach does not want to change the criteria of Qatar.
The “painful” rejection of Niklas Süle and the many injuries and aches of his Qatari candidates push Hansi Flick to make completely unexpected personal decisions at the start of the World Cup year.
Reacting to the lack of fitness of expected World Cup big names such as Leon Goretzka, Marco Reus or Robin Gosens, the national coach stunned on Friday by naming his first squad for 2022.
As well as surprise Mainz man Anton Stach, Flick brought Julian Weigl, Benjamin Henrichs and Robin Koch back to the national football team after multi-year hiatuses. Rio world champion Julian Draxler is also cleared to audition for his World Cup chance, despite being a reserve player at Paris Saint-Germain.
“We wanted to try to have the best players with us. Now a few have come out, so we’re taking the opportunity to see one or the other,” Flick said, explaining his selection for the first international Test match against Israel on March 26 in Sinsheim and the following classic three days later against the highly esteemed Netherlands in Amsterdam. “It’s trial and error on the one hand,” Flick said. But of course you want to “take it seriously and win” both games.
Flick wants to find Mix
For Flick, the countdown to the start of the World Cup on November 21 has begun. There are only eight months left for the preparation. “Basically, we want to get used to it, to get back to the automatics,” explained the 57-year-old. But he also wanted to “find a mix of tries and plays”, underlined the DFB head coach, who has always won in seven games.
The demands on national players are still high. In the coming months, he expects “development to take place,” Flick clearly postulates. They will also be audited and any shortfalls will be clearly addressed. But the message has already been received, Flick has felt the feedback in many conversations over the past few weeks. “I feel like everyone wants to be there, everyone wants to be part of the team.”
For Flick, the condition for being nominated for the first international double was to be able to play both matches. Right-back Lukas Klostermann, who should continue to build substance at Leipzig, has also fallen into this grid of claims. At the World Cup, the highest will to perform will be required on all four days, Flick said.
“If we want to be successful in Qatar, the prerequisite is that all the players are fully fit, that’s the goal we have set ourselves,” Flick said. Convalescents should therefore prefer to work on their return to their clubs.
Without the BVB professionals
BVB defender Mats Hummels, who recently fell ill with Corona, is still not in the squad, with whom the national coach again discussed the situation in a phone call. The prospect of the World Cup is only minimal for the ex-world champion.
Since Reus, Julian Brandt, Mahmoud Dahoud and Emre Can weren’t considered either, no Borussia Dortmund players feature in the DFB selection this time around. It was a coincidence and no aversion to the Bundesliga runners-up, Flick assured. The core of the 26-man squad is made up of six FC Bayern Munich players led by captain Manuel Neuer and Chelsea trio Kai Havertz, Antonio Rüdiger and Timo Werner.
Süle is absent due to a torn muscle fiber, Florian Wirtz suffered a cruciate ligament rupture on Sunday and even threatens to miss the World Cup at the end of autumn. Red Bull Salzburg’s ailing striker Karim Adeyemi may not be available for the start of the year, as Flick reported on Friday.
Freiburg central defender Nico Schlotterbeck, who has recently been nominated several times, was guaranteed to make his debut. “He will definitely play his first game, it’s in the planning stage,” Flick said.
Debutant Stach is happy with his appointment
The national coach also called the appointment of European U-21 champion Stach a “surprise for everyone”. “We want to see what potential he gives us,” Flick said of the midfielder. Stach himself reported that he was so excited and happy after the nomination that he “took two wrong turns” while driving.
The ghosts Weigl (last international match 2017), Henrichs (2020) and Koch (2021) are back on track with the national team. Flick pointed out that they have impressed recently at their clubs Benfica Lisbon, RB Leipzig and Leeds United.