First place in the Nations League group beckons for the national team – a home win against Hungary on Friday (20:45 CEST) would be an essential first step in this happening. National team coach Hansi Flick and attacker Timo Werner answered the media’s questions on the day before the game. DFB.de have summarised the answers.
... the effect of Coronavirus cases: Marc-André ter Stegen will be in goal. The losses of Manuel Neuer and Leon Goretzka are also a good warning for the World Cup. We don’t know what will happen in Qatar, this could also happen to us there. We have to react to it and deal with the situation as best we can.
... the optimal approach to Coronavirus: It is not so easy. As a coaching team, we also travel a lot. It is always frustrating to receive news like this. But it is an issue at present and has also become a normal situation. We have to show that we have control of the situation. Logically, you should reduce the number of contacts you have before the World Cup, but it is not so easy to avoid the issue. Life has to continue. A kind of normality with a healthy dose of common sense is the right way to go about it.
... the importance of the Nations League games: We know that all nations are required to do the same thing. It is good that we now still have two games. Hungary are playing excellently at the moment, they are really smart tactically and give their opponents hardly any space. We have to put our attacking ideas into practice and be brave in implementing them. We have not had a lot of time to train on the pitch, so we will use both of the games to play ourselves in. We definitely want to be in the final four. It is up to us if we manage it. We are well prepared.
... the new captain’s armband: We have come together with lots of countries to set an example. It is not just the rainbow colours, the band and the slogan are about everyone. We are all equal.
… the pecking order in goal: We have already publicly stated this: Manuel Neuer is the number one, Marc-André ter Stegen the number two. Bernd Leno has not played for a long time, Kevin Trapp had an excellent season last year and made a lot of progress. The same is the case with Oliver Baumann, who has shown that he has a lot to offer the team.
... Armel Bella-Kotchap: We have not seen him play in the first eleven yet. He has put in a good showing and has shown confidence in himself. He has very good physical attributes, is quick and can head the ball well. He has made a good impression. It was important to take a look at him again this international break.
... his ideas about how to play: We have a clear idea of how we want to play. This will also be tinkered with depending on who our opponent is. It will always be the case that we adjust certain things to the opponent. It is can also be true that we have players with quality in certain areas. The players know what we expect of them.
... the possible call-up of a classic centre-forward for the World Cup: Given that we have three more options in the squad, the coaching team will consider what qualities and attributes we need in certain situations. It could be the case that we take players with us for a particular moment. We want to wait and see after these two games what these players have offered us.
... Jamal Musiala: Jamal is always a good option and a joy to watch on the ball. He has an open cut. We all know that it is painful, but he has done very well in training. He is completely ready to play.
... his memories of playing in Leipzig with the national team: I hope that it will go exactly the same away. We played well and I was able to score two goals. I am always pleased when I am able to play in the stadium where my club plays. But the whole team is looking forward to the game, after which we will hopefully move to the top of the table.
... Hungary’s quality: They play really cohesively, they are a team. They all run for one another which makes them so dangerous. The individual quality is very good. They like to transition from a compact defensive formation, which can hurt teams a lot.
... his time in London and his return to Leipzig: For me personally, it was not the best time. I imagined it going differently. I learnt a lot, and won the Champions League and other cups. I enjoyed both years abroad – and really enjoyed London. I had mixed emotions leaving. In Leipzig during the first few weeks not everything has gone perfectly, but the style of football under the new coach suits me really well and is preparing me for what will be required in the national team.
... team meetings with the national team: Obviously with the national team you don’t have the time that you do with your club. We can’t do as much training on the pitch, so we have to work using a lot of video sessions. The coaching team does this very well and prepares us as best they can for the games.
... working with Hansi Flick: Working with him has been really good over the last couple of years. He placed a lot of trust in me during my time at Chelsea. This meant that I have always felt responsible to keep working on my game and to be fit for the national team and the World Cup.
... the current state of the national team: The team now has a good mix of experienced and young players who give everything on the pitch. The system fits the team well; we are all players who want to play with the ball. It is a very good mix to go far in the World Cup. But at the World Cup other factors also come into play when you are trying to get into the swing of things. That was the problem a little bit at the last tournament. It is important to win the first game to take the pressure off our shoulders.