Germany head coach Hansi Flick has announced his first squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Liechtenstein (2nd September, 20:45 CEST), Armenia (5th September, 20:45 CEST) and Iceland (8th September, 20:45 CEST). Ahead of the international break, the 56-year-old sat down for an interview with DFB.de and spoke about his excitement for the upcoming fixtures and the squad.
Question: Mr. Flick, you have a lot of experience and have won several trophies already. Despite that, do you still get nervous when thinking about the upcoming new challenge?
Hansi Flick: I’m not nervous at all, that’s definitely changed over the last years. But, I definitely am excited. I’m very much looking forward to it and am feeling very positive. The reason we train and prepare every day is in order to compete on the pitch. We’re hoping that we will be able to be successful as early as possible.
Question: The majority of the team will meet up on Sunday. Is that also a sign that you don’t want to waste any time getting straight to work?
Flick: We have a lot that we want to implement with the team. That’s why we will need some time still. As a coach, it’s always nice to see the players again and to work with them, preferably as soon as possible.
Question: Other than taking the maximum nine points from the next three World Cup qualifiers, what else do you want to see from the team?
Flick: I want to see a team that are active, that want to have possession and that give each other options and put their opponents under pressure. We want to have players on the pitch that support each other, give each other instructions and push each other on. I want us to be lively on the pitch. That will be key for us. Everything else will come naturally.
Question: You included Leroy Sané in the squad, despite his recent dip in form. Why did you select him and what are you expecting from him?
Flick: It’s important that he get support, especially during a phase like this. We are all convinced of his qualities. We will continue to believe in him. He has a lot of talent that will help us. We want see that again from him.
Question: Why do you believe that he will soon be able to get out of this slump?
Flick: I was able to coach Leroy for an entire season. He didn’t have an easy start at Bayern either due to his injury, but by the end he was able to provide us with a lot of fun.
Question: Many are saying that the future lies with Jamal Musiala. What are you expecting from him over the next week and a half and for the near future?
Flick: What differentiates Jamal from the rest is his carefree nature. He is very strong in the one-on-ones, and plays with a lot of courage. I want to see that from everyone, not just him. I want to get everyone to the point where they have the confidence to be creative. I will always support them in this.
Question: Have you already decided that Manuel Neuer will be the first-choice goalkeeper, or can Marc-Andre ter Stegen hope to see more playing time under you than he did under Joachim Löw, once he’s back fit?
Flick: We won’t have an answer for that question in September yet. Manuel is a top-quality keeper, and we have several other highly talented options at that position in Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Bernd Leno, Kevin Trapp and Oliver Baumann. We have a lot of options in goal.
Question: Have you been in touch with your predecessor Joachim Löw recently? Did he wish you luck for your debut?
Flick: Yes, he did. We are always in touch, and of course we have spoke with one another recently.