German national team coach Hansi Flick has taken the opportunity to refresh his squad for the upcoming friendlies against Peru and Belgium with the first opportunity to start to make up for the disastrous World Cup. The Bundestrainer now has a balancing act between giving the new faces a chance and making sure results begin to restore national pride.
It came as no surprise that Hansi Flick called five new players into the German squad for the forthcoming friendlies even if Josh Vagnoman and Kevin Schade were slightly more left-field calls. The nominations for Mergim Berisha, Marius Wolf and Felix Nmecha were rewards for their fine form this season. It had been agreed that both Thomas Müller and Ilkay Gundogan would sit these matches out to allow space for new caps.
In 15 months Germany host the European Championships and a third ‘failed’ tournament is unthinkable, which is why Flick along with the new team at the DFB are putting plans in place to sure 2024 produces joy not pain. The squad already boasts extreme young talents like Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz, who should both become key players, but Flick feels the time is right to bring in less established stars in place of the more established old guard.
“We intend to give all the new players their debuts, but we have to wait and see how they perform and whether they earn it” Flick explained this week. “We have good quality, and are happy with the squad, and when you look at the players still at home, it’s a good team.
“We expect everyone to play with passion and conviction. If we can see that on the pitch, it will have an effect on the fans as well. Everyone should know what they have to do and be sure about what they can give to the team.
“Every tournament is a different chapter. Our task is to prepare the team across the board, and we’ll do that in March. Then we have just under a year to the European Championship. We know that we need stability and a team in which the players in the most important positions know that they will play, but we also need options for every position.”
All the talk of new starts and changing the guard is great in theory, but Flick knows that his project to bring success in the future will be doomed to failure without a certain amount of success in the present. Germany needs results and although a win should be expected against Peru whatever team is selected the Belgians should prove a much tougher assignment even if they themselves are in a similar boat to the Germany with a need to refresh the old guard going forward with their own ‘Golden Generation’ being phased out.