As Germany prepare to face Hungary in Leipzig on Friday, one eye will be on the fast-approaching World Cup in Qatar, but the other will be on three potentially important points in Nations League group A3 as Hansi Flick seeks to the make the final four tournament.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, the Bundestrainer emphasised the importance of Friday’s encounter with Hungary. “We know that all nations have the same requirements. It’s good that we still have the two games. Hungary are doing excellently at the moment, they are tactically very clever and hardly give their opponents any space. We have to think offensively and act boldly.
“We didn’t have much time to practice that on the pitch. We’ll use the two games to warm up. We definitely want to go to the Final Four. Whether we can do it is up to us. But we are well prepared.”
Flick has had to contend with the withdrawals of both Manuel Neuer and Leon Goretzka with positive Covid tests, while Julian Brandt has also pulled out with illness. “It’s not that easy. As a coaching team, we travel a lot. It’s always annoying when you get messages like this. But the topic is topical and has now become a normal situation.
“We have to make sure we keep the situation under control. Logically, you should reduce contacts before the World Cup, but it’s not that easy to avoid the subject. Life has to go on. A normality with common sense is the right way” he added.
He indicated that Marc-Andre ter Stegen would deputise for Neuer, but that it wasn’t his intention to hand new cap Armel Bella Kotchap an instant start. “Marc-André ter Stegen will be in goal. The absences of Manuel Neuer and Leon Goretzka may be a good warning for the World Cup. We don’t know what will happen in Qatar, it could also affect us there. We have to react and deal with the situation as best we can.
“We haven’t planned him [Bella Kotchap] for the first team yet. He showed himself well, acted with confidence. He has very good physical conditions, is fast and good in the air. He has made a very good impression. It was important to see him again in this international phase.
“We have a clear idea of how we want to play. It is adapted to the respective opponents in nuances. It will always be the case that we adapt individual things to the opponent. It may also be that we have players with qualities in certain areas. The players know what we expect from them.”