On Saturday, the Germany national team will play their first international of 2023 against Peru in Mainz. Head coach Hansi Flick and his captain Joshua Kimmich spoke to DFB.de before the game, touching on the new players in the squad and things worked on during this week of training.
…his impression of the team: It is refreshing because there are some new players, which provides new energy. We are very pleased with this development. We are also very pleased with the training sessions, from the whole team. There is a high intensity, high attention levels; the passing quality is very good. We are really pleased with what we have seen this week.
…the new players in the team: I can’t highlight one single player. We called up players that don’t have much of a record. If they were all further along in their development, they would’ve been here with us for longer already. Because of that it’s important with these players to support them, to ask things of them and to give them the chance to show what they're all about. Malick Thiaw is doing that really well. You can really see that he has gone to another level at AC Milan. Felix Nmecha is a player that has enormous quality. Megrim Berisha has shown in training that he can score goals. Marius Wolf has a lot of speed down the wing and brings a lot of dynamism. These are the things that we need. Josha Vagnoman has shown what we expected of him. He has a different approach to playing his position, which we like.
... the way Marc-André ter Stegen play in comparison to Manuel Neuer: We have a lot of quality in that position. Marc will pay both games. I don’t think that it changes that much. Marc is a fantastic footballer, who can control the area behind the backline very well. He is always an option in possession.
... a starting eleven with two strikers: We are going to play with two strikers, with Timo Werner and with Niclas Füllkrug. They've worked well together in training and carry a lot of presence in the box."
... Emre Can: Emre is doing well. He has found his feet straight away, is very vocal. These are the things that we hoped to see from him. He is very experienced and knows what he has to do.
..some of his surprise call-ups: We have a lot of trust in the players that are here. When new players come in something develops inside the group, which is also something we want to provoke to some extent. It is a part of developing that you show what you can do, do your best and push the team. We need a team that also speaks with each other on the pitch. I have to say completely openly that we are very pleased with the intensity that we have in the group. But, we also all know that at the end of the day is it always the games that are the deciding factor. We want to win the games, that is our main aim – and we will do everything to achieve it.
...tactical changes in the defence: Every player is partly responsible for the defence. We have worked in training on playing out of possession. The back-four has to get used to playing together, our triggers have to work over 90 minutes. The two sixes are also important for this. It is fundamental that they also do their bit defensively. These are the key things that we have worked on this week.
...the aims against Peru: Alongside the insight that we gain from every game, we also want to win the games. We want to show that the team will approach the game with a lot of passion. These are the things that all the fans want to see. If the commitment that we’ve seen here is also replicated on the pitch, then we can be very pleased.
...Mesut Özil’s retirement: We had a very successful time together. I can remember his first game for Schalke 04. I phoned Jogi Löw and said: "He could turn into a really good player." In the end, he became a world-class player. I haven’t seen anyone that had technique like him. The way he played with the ball, the way he moved, his passing, these were outstanding.
...the week of training: Generally, we had a good week of training and tried to work on a few ideas. At the end of the day the most important thing, more than anything else, is that we win the game.
...the numerous new players: The coach makes personnel decisions. It is always a balancing act. On one hand, it is good for us to have key players that lead from the front, but we also have to have good depth. We had a really good level in training, which the new players also absolutely contributed to. They have worked really hard.
...his captaincy: It won’t influence my game and my role. I will perform internally exact the same as in the last weeks and months. Obviously, it is my aspiration to take on responsibility. From the outside, it is considered a different role when you are captain. For me, not so much changes because I was already doing these things before.
...the time after the World Cup exit: It was very important for me to spend time with my family. In general, family and your close circle help you a lot. My time in the national team started really well, but since then it has not gone so well. We have not lived up to expectations. This is already something that should annoy every one of us. I don’t want to look back and say: "We didn’t pull anything off." We have an enormous chance with a home European Championship.
...his analysis of the World Cup: We weren’t effective upfront. On the other hand, we have to be able to win if we are leading by one or two goals. We did well against Japan for a long time, lead 1-0 and had further chances. At the end of the day, it has to be enough to ‘only’ score one goal. We threw it away against Japan and I don’t see the reasons for this just being lacking efficiency. I expect that we have learnt a few things from that.
...closeness to the fans: I know that after winning the World Cup in 2014 there was a lot of hype. At the end of the day, everything rise and falls with wins. That is where we have to get to. We have to start winning games again, then we will be able to ignite this euphoria again. We have had too many draws, too many games that we failed to win.