Germany had to work extremely hard for their 2-1 win over Romania in Hamburg on Friday night. National coach Hansi Flick spoke about set-pieces, competition for places and North Macedonia after the game.
DFB.de: What are your thoughts on tonight?
Hansi Flick: We knew that Romania can defend well and that they have good footballers. Our positioning for their goal wasn’t good. We kept up the tempo for the full 90 minutes. We were hungry for the three points. Part of our development is still ending a tricky game on a high. The team fought, never gave up and played with confidence.
DFB.de: The winning goal came from a set-piece. Will Mads Buttgereit get a pay rise for that?
Flick: We thought carefully about getting him in. I’m pleased that an important set-piece goal won the game for us. We’ve certainly improved in this regard.
DFB.de: There is a real fight at the moment for the attacking midfield spot. What’s your view on that?
Flick: That’s not just the case for this position. We’ve got a lot of positions where we’ve got a number of good options. It’s important that this continues to be the case. We’ve got a lot of quality here.
DFB.de: Romania were dangerous aside from their goal still. How happy were you with our defence?
Flick: We were still trying to win the game at all costs after going behind, so it wasn’t easy to find a balance. We got stuck into challenges and were aggressive, which I was really pleased with. The lads played together as a team. It wasn’t easy for our defenders, but we had enough numbers back to keep them quiet.
DFB.de: Is Jonas Hofmann now first choice at right-back?
Flick: He showed that he’s got a lot of quality going forward, and worked really hard defensively. He put in a great shift and I’m pleased with how he did.
DFB.de: There were a lot of balls that failed to find the intended player. Why was that?
Flick: Our biggest issue tonight was that we were lacking accuracy on our final pass and generally in the final third. You need to be in the right positions in the box and we’ll have to work on that. We had similar problems in Liechtenstein. We need to have our heads up and sometimes see the space in behind.
DFB.de: Timo Werner had a tough time of it. Were you missing a classical centre forward?
Flick: What’s a classical centre forward? Timo is definitely capable of finding space in tight areas and he’s someone that is there to score rebounds or loose balls, he’s got an eye for that. He perhaps isn’t always in the places you need him to be. He was too close to goal at certain points – he can do better and we expect him to. We will need to work on this in training.
DFB.de: Next up is a game against North Macedonia on Monday. Will the 2-1 defeat from the reverse fixture still be on your minds?
Flick: We will analyse them closely and see what they did well. Firstly though, we need to look back on the Romania match and learn our lessons from that. We want to take the next step towards qualification, which we want to achieve as soon as possible.