Hansi Flick’s debut as Germany head coach is just around the corner. Flick will take his place on the bench to lead his team for the first time when they take on Liechtenstein in St. Gallen on Thursday (kick off 20:45 CEST). He was joined by Joshua Kimmich to talk about anticipation, the upcoming opposition and the tasks ahead. DFB.de has summarised the most important points.
… team news: Manuel Neuer hasn’t trained and has been managing his workload. He won’t be available tomorrow, so Bernd Leno will play. I imagine Manuel will be available again on Sunday. Thomas Müller will leave the training camp as he hasn’t recovered properly from an adductor problem. He was also a risk for next Wednesday’s game so it made sense to send him home. However, we have enough players here to replace him.
… the first training sessions: In the first sessions, I saw exactly what I had imagined. The team was very active and were very intense and also demonstrated a lot of quality. I also liked the way the players looked to press immediately to win the ball back after a mistake or a loss of possession. They are showing mentality on the pitch. This team will do everything for Germany. That’s what matters for me, and it’s great to see. We are very, very convinced of this team.
… his upcoming debut: It will be my first game as head coach Germany, with a team, including all the players, the coaching team and the whole staff involved, that really pleases me. I like the way that we act and communicate. I’m really enthusiastic about how we are with each other. Some elements are new for the team. In the past few days, we’ve piled a lot on them, but they’ve been really positive. I’m looking forward to our first international together, regardless of the opponent. I’m pleased to be responsible for our national team and hopefully being successful in this role.
… his plan for the team: I always repeat the phrase. ‘A good start takes enthusiasm, a good ending requires discipline.’ We have to develop our enthusiasm and continue what we do with discipline. Everyone is responsible for their performance. We coaches also have to push ourselves and constantly reconsider what we do - just like the players. That includes discussing things with the club coaches. We can only do it together. Everyone has to know how to develop the players. I want to know everything about the players, and be in communication throughout the year, not just for ten days. You’re an international for always. We want them to be role models and lead the way.
… Joshua Kimmich: He’ll play in the number 6 role. He’s one of the best players in that position and is very important. He’s very strong technically and has a great mentality. He's someone who pushes the team positively and is a leader that you need in this position. Communication is important not only on the pitch, but also off it. He can push his teammates, and he's extremely capable technically. He's a role model for every young player. He'll play a central role - and he'll do it as a number 6.
… Liechtenstein: They are a team that are brave and have a good resilience. You notice their discipline. Therefore, we need intensity and deep runs to create holes. That is very important. They have impressed me. But the focus in the last few days has been on us, how we want to present ourselves. In our final session we tried to recreate the opposition. We're sure that we've prepared well.
… the young players in the squad: I could pick every single one of our players to play without hesitation. We have two or three players to cover every position and now we have to see who’s in the best position to play. But that's a decision we'll make tomorrow and then share with the team. It was important to see the three newcomers Nico [Schlotterbeck], David [Raum] and Karim [Adeyemi]. All of them are making an excellent impression.
… captaincy in the absence of Neuer: I’ve spent some time considering it. There’s still some time to decide. I’ll clarify a few things tomorrow internally and then you’ll see later who the captain is.
… qualifying for the World Cup: Our clear goal is to reach the World Cup by topping our group.
… his coaching team: There’s no hierarchy. I’m someone who leads the kind of discussions where anyone can pitch in. We have a good level of communication. I’ve worked with Danny Röhl for two years and we have a shared playing style that we have implemented with success. Marcus [Sorg] is an absolute football expert. There is no first, second, third assistant or head coach, I am a team player. It's important that everyone is capable of leading a training session, individual sessions. We speak one language, we all sit at one table. It's decisive when you're leading a team that everyone understands the way things are. That's important to me, too. You can only get unfiltered input if you have open communication. That's the only way to develop ourselves and help the team progress. It's not about ego, but about what's best for the team.
… cooperation with club coaches: All the players have fantastic coaches; I could name them all. The exchange with the coaches is great, I really enjoy it. The crucial thing is that everyone is open to how we want to play.
… additional roles alongside leading the national team: My focuas is on the nationa team. But I would also like to be in exchange with my colleagues at the youth levels. There’s a lot of trust in the communication with Stefan Kuntz, for example. We want to go forwards together with the youth teams.
…the first few days under Hansi Flick: The first few days have been good. We have tried to train a lot and make the most of the time available to us. It is important for the coach to bring his ideas and principles forward and for them to sink in. And it’s important that we start with a win. We are completely focused on qualifying for the World Cup.
…the 2022 World Cup: We‘ve mucked up two chances already. We play to win, and we take part in tournaments to win them. First we need to qualify though and the group standings aren’t looking too rosy. We need to develop to a point where we can win the tournament.
…a new atmosphere in the team: The most important thing is that we win football games and have fun doing so. The expectation is obviously for us to win by a big margin. This would carry over to the fans as well. We need to win games, that’s what we’re here for.
…Flick’s philosophy: We want to press early, win back possession high up the pitch so that we have a short route to goal. We want to put the opposition under pressure high up the pitch and quickly look to score without dithering.
…the first game against Liechtenstein: It’s important for all of us. The nation will be watching with high expectations, and rightly so. So it’s important for us to get a big win by playing well.
…his role as a defensive midfielder: In recent years, under Löw as well, the coaches have seen me play in the middle. At the Champions League tournament and at the EUROS I played on the right. You never know what will happen, but I am expecting to be used in the middle.
…potentially captaining the team: I haven’t thought about this yet, I wore the armband at the Confed Cup, that was a great honour, and it would be this time as well.
…his personal development: I’m expecting to take another step – I’ve not peaked at 26. I want to reach my full potential with Germany and Bayern München and I hope I can develop as a player while we develop as a team.
…assistant coach Danny Röhl: I know Danny from my Leipzig days. The coaching team has a certain philosophy and he has contributed his part to that. He’s a great guy and important for the team, as a person and a coach.
…set-piece practice: We’ve got great potential in that department. We didn’t score a single set-piece goal at the EUROS, but they can make winning a bit easier – it is often underestimated. You’ve not always got time to look at things in such detail at our clubs, but here we have time to work on set-pieces so that we can score them like at the 2014 World Cup. It can make being successful a bit easier.
…his "home game" in Stuttgart against Armenia: I always like coming back to Stuttgart, I spent an important part of my career here and I am looking forward to this game.