One has been around for a long time, whilst the other has just got here. Marcus Sorg (55) and Danny Röhl (35) work alongside national team head coach Hansi Flick as assistant coaches, and the pair gave an interview with dfb.de in which they discussed the work they are doing ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Romania in Hamburg, which takes place today at 20:45 CEST.
DFB.de: Three games, three wins, 12 goals and three clean sheets: National team head coach Hansi Flick and his team have got off to a great start in terms of World Cup qualification. As part of the coaching staff, you’ve got a better view of it all, how would you summarise your start as a team?
Marcus Sorg: We’ve had a very successful start. On the one hand, we were focused on picking up nine points from the first three games so we could get one step closer to qualifying for the World Cup, and on the other hand, it was also important to win three games on the bounce and bring some consistency back into our game and become more confident in ourselves. Our convincing victories and other results in the group mean that we are in a very good position in qualifying group J, and we don’t want to surrender first place.
Danny Röhl: The three wins, and in particular the 6-0 victory against Armenia, have allowed us to create a very optimistic atmosphere which may even border on euphoria, even though we are very much aware that we need to re-establish consistency in our results and performances. This positive mood was definitely transported to the fans in Stuttgart, and they created a brilliant atmosphere.
DFB.de: The next two matches are against Romania in Hamburg and against North Macedonia in Skopje. How does the coaching staff expect the team to develop over this period, and what needs to happen in order to make the next steps?
Röhl: We’ve made a good start, but now it’s about doing more work on the finer details. We’ve picked out some key work-on areas for the boys, both on and off the ball, and we’re really honing in on small improvements, all of which contributes towards developing our strategy and style of play, and helps make it all second nature for the lads.
Sorg: Consistent results will reflect the progress we’re making, so it’s important that we win these next two games and secure maximum points. Solid performances also prove a team’s quality and development, and we’re aiming to combine our consistent results with the technical aspects. As Danny said, if we work hard on all of this, the results we pick up will prove that.
DFB.de: You both experienced the previous game against North Macedonia from different perspectives - Marcus Sorg from the touchline, Danny Röhl sat in front of the TV, but now you’re both going into this game from the same position. What needs to be different in the return game to make up for the defeat in March?
Röhl: We saw the team play with pace, intensity and liveliness in the last three matches, and that’s what helped us to those wins and meant that we performed well. If we execute a performance like that against North Macedonia, which we intend to do, then the team will be successful. But it’s very clear that you have to turn up if you want a result against a side like North Macedonia.
Sorg: We were in a different position in March. We’ll do better if we do more work with the team on small parts of our game and on our consistency rather than looking back on what happened last time. That’s how we’ll get a positive result against North Macedonia. Results such as the 2-1 defeat in Duisburg do present the opportunity to address certain issues, but in order for us to progress we need to keep these sorts of defeats to an absolute minimum. Our results have been lacking in consistency in recent years.
DFB.de: It normally takes a newly-formed team time to gel, but this one needs immediate results. There are further new additions to Hansi Flick’s coaching staff in goalkeeping coach Andreas Kronenberg and specialist coach Mads Buttgereit. How do you get everyone to click quickly whilst also trying to grow and develop as a team?
Sorg: You have to be open to new things and possible changes that are done for the good of the team, just as the players need to do. When everyone’s on the same wavelength, as we are now, you grow and get better more quickly. As someone who’s been a part of the national team set up for a long time, I was very excited to see how the new additions would gel, and I have to say that it’s all been going very, very well. But of course, we still need some time until everyone knows exactly what their role in the team is.
Röhl: The open attitude that Marcus has already mentioned and communication between the coaching staff are hugely important in these early stages. Hansi Flick has an important part to play here, and he trusts everyone to settle into their role. Regular exchanges with each other will be vital: we need to stay in contact not just during the international breaks, but also when we are at workshops. We’ll also grow as a training team as we celebrate more success, too.
DFB.de: You’ve both already worked alongside Hansi Flick at points in your careers. What makes him special and what do you like about him?
Sorg: Hansi Flick places great trust in his colleagues and gives them a form of independence, and I experienced that when he was the DFB director of sport. When you work with him, you always feel that you can play an active role, and he creates a great working environment. With this freedom also come high expectations of every individual, we need to deliver. I think it’s a great combination, it’s motivating. And his various successes with the DFB and with FC Bayern München speak for themselves, which he achieved with this management style.
Röhl: Hansi focuses for on the ‘we’ rather than on the ‘me’, which is what is special about him and that’s what helps a team to grow. Hansi respects and values each of his colleagues. He supports you and also expects the best from you, in that order.
DFB.de: Hansi Flick doesn’t just communicate well with his players and colleagues, but also with other clubs. You were all present at many live football fixtures in the past few weeks. Why is it important to keep a close eye on club football?
Röhl: It’s a massive advantage that Hansi Flick has experience at both club and international level. He’s already worked at the DFB as well as for club sides and he can understand every different perspective. It’s important to communicate with the clubs’ head coaches and the teams because we all share a common goal of wanting to develop the players. We receive useful information off of the clubs which influences our work. It helps us all to get on the same page.
Sorg: Good communication is critical. We always kept in contact with the clubs, but Hansi listed this as a work-on area for our team.
DFB.de: Everyone is looking forward to a festival of football at EURO 2024 in Germany, and the official tournament logo was unveiled on Tuesday in Berlin. How much are you both looking forward to the tournament and how do you think the Germany national team will fare, not just in that tournament but in Qatar in 2022?
Sorg: It’s important to keep our focus solely on the next competition, which is just 15 months away, but of course we’ve got an eye on the home European Championship. It would be incredible to experience something like that, but we will initially concentrate on World Cup qualification, and then the Nations League, because our team can further develop during this tournament. That is our list of priorities. We want to assemble a powerful team for the World Cup and also have one eye on one or a few players for 2024. We aren’t viewing any of these as practice tournaments.
Röhl: The expectations amongst the coaching staff and the players are far too high. We want to go as far as we can at the World Cup and further continue the development process that we’ve started. As the tournament in Qatar is taking place in the winter, we won’t be able to prepare as usual, which means we have to start preparing for the tournament now. Hopefully the World Cup will build excitement for the home EUROs. It will be a big challenge to play two major tournaments in three years, but it’s one that we’re all very much looking forward to.