The national team are getting ready for an international game at the new DFB-Campus in Frankfurt for the first time. On Friday in Leipzig (20:45 CEST), head coach Hansi Flick’s side will take on Hungary in the UEFA Nations League. Oliver Bierhoff, managing director of the national teams and academies, and Joshua Kimmich discussed the upcoming matches.
Oliver Bierhoff on...
...the first training session at the new Campus: “I was able to look out onto the pitch and watch the training session from a meeting, which was a wonderful thing for me and everyone else who works here. The women’s team were here, the men’s team are there at the moment – and the picture that we had envisioned is now becoming a reality. We are pleased that we are coming together as a team after the summer break. It is a special program because we want to finish the Nations League successfully, and it is the last international break before the World Cup squad is decided. I know that the coaching staff work intensively and meticulously, and have plenty of discussions. When the time to pick the World Cup squad comes around, they will continue to watch the team closely.
...the DFB-Campus: The Campus should be the home of all of German football, as well as teams that don’t normally get such training opportunities. We gave ourselves the target of allowing every team, where possible, the chance to set up their quarters here. It is logically easier and there’s always a good amount of space available. There are 33 rooms here, which is always enough for a team.
...the Nations League: We have already got the ambition to finish successfully – this is not a friendly.
...the player’s workload: The workload is definitely high, but it’s just happening somewhere else. Players that don’t go the World Cup will play games at their club. I don’t see the World Cup as providing a higher workload. Furthermore, we are always looking at managing workload and have a professional environment for that, so I don’t see an issue there.
...the aim for the World Cup: Our biggest aim is of course to reach the final on 18th December. When a German national team goes to a tournament, they should always have the ambition and belief to reach the final – and then to go on and win it.
...the team base in Qatar: We have the philosophy that we always prefer to choose a calm environment. We like to have our own space. Our own information would suggest that travelling to training in the city runs the risk of getting us seriously delayed.
...changes since the last World Cup: In Hansi Flick we have a successful coach who has clear ideas about how to lead a team to success. Our players have improved and got more experienced. There’s a serious sense of anger after the last two tournaments, to not allow something like that to happen again. Mentality, squad quality and a top coach make the difference.
...what the team most needs to work on: We need to be much calmer, and not allow the opponents anything in those games that we’re dominating and playing well in. That’s where we often just leave the door open.
...the aim to be back among the world’s best: We are on the right track. If we win our Nations League group, that would be a statement. Especially if we beat England. I don’t rate Italy as strongly at the moment, but we know that to be different from the past.
Joshua Kimmich on...
...the first training session at the Campus: The facilities are very good and we are feeling very much at home. The Campus is making a very good impression on us.
...the Nations League: It’s always about how you get there, but in the end it becomes about the result. We want to top our group, qualify in first and take confidence from that.
...upcoming opponents Hungary: They’re a very uncomfortable opponent, which is something we already learned in the away fixture and at Euro 2020. They defend passionately, and I have rarely played against a team that are as disciplined as they are. The away game was tough, because among other things there was a great atmosphere, which made it uncomfortable for us - and we only created a few chances to score.
...the World Cup in Qatar: As a footballer, you’ve got a lot of excitement for a World Cup. It is difficult to deal with the conversations, which are quite rightly had, about the circumstances surrounding the awarding of the tournament. We knew that already. Many people call for the players to boycott it, but it is 12 years too late for that. It would have been important to consider this before the tournament was awarded. Yesterday, the racewalker Jonathan Hilbert described his impressions about the climate and the freedom of the press. All in all, it’s a balancing act between anticipation and the controversies. But ultimately, we are there to have success on the pitch.
...a World Cup during the Bundesliga season: The World Cup is already on our minds a little, but we are first and foremost here to win our Nations League group. We know that it is portrayed as preparation World Cup, and that goes for club games too. But as a footballer you want to be in form and play a good game every three days.
...playing without a centre-forward: Regardless of whether or not you have a “true” striker, the idea is the same at national and club level. It always depends on the opponent: There are principles that always apply and a game plan that is tailored to the opponent. There are many possibilities about how we may set up and go about our game.
...Serge Gnabry: He is very important for us, as he’s extremely driven, always has his eye on goal and always works hard in the area. The team has got a lot of faith in him. We have a problem of luxury within the squad both here and at Bayern, because the quality is that high. Everyone knows that they have to perform – and everyone wants that, too. There’s competition for every position.
...his leadership role: When you’ve played a lot of matches, you feel ready to take on on responsibility. I don’t think about that too much, I just want to bring my best performance – and that is the base for everything else.
...what his teammates have said about FC Bayern München: I’ve heard a little bit from Niklas Süle, but primarily everyone here is focussed on the national team. For the neutrals, the Bundesliga is looking exciting, but there’s still a long season ahead.