Julian Nagelsmann is the new head coach of the Germany men’s national team. The former TSG Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig boss will be the successor to Hansi Flick, who was relieved of his duties after a 4-1 defeat against Japan on 10th September. Nagelsmann is aiming to guide Germany through a successful tournament at EURO 2024 next summer. His first matches in charge will be during the team’s upcoming US tour, as they come up against the USA on 14th October (21:00 CEST) and Mexico on 18th October (02:00 CEST). In a press conference, the 38-year-old spoke about his new position and the energy he is hoping to bring to the team. He was joined on the podium by DFB president Bernd Neuendorf and sporting director Rudi Völler.
... his goals: The aim is to have a strong showing at the EUROs on home soil next summer. It’s great motivation for me, as well as a massive challenge, but one that I am very much aware of and am looking forward to. We want to excite people by playing good football. We don’t want to overcomplicate things in the lead-up to the EUROs. However, we have a specific idea and we want to excite people by playing attractive football, not just with our results. Hosting a European Championship in your own country isn’t something that happens often. We want to get people on board in the lead-up to the tournament already and generate excitement, so that we are able to play at home in what is an incredible country with incredible citizens. One thing is obvious: if you’re playing in the EUROs or any tournament – and this is true from youth football up to professional football – you’re taking part with the intention of winning. I’m not worried, because I have full confidence in the team and the coaching staff. It’s an enormous privilege to be the head coach of a team that’s hosting the EUROs. There’s a lot of desire to build on the mood after the France game. In an ideal world, we’ll get to see a ‘Sommermärchen 2.0’. I will do everything I can to make sure that happens.
... his philosophy: We have a clear idea, one that can best be summed up as ‘Healthy aggression towards the opponent’s goal, which doesn’t only apply when in possession.’ We want to cause problems for our opponents. It should be painful to play against us. That’s what will bring out the emotions that we need. We’ve come up with this idea, but will certainly have to make adjustments to it with time, in addition to adjusting it based on the players. There’s still a long way to go before the European Championship. The players need to be in very, very strong form going into the EUROs. Confidence and the right atmosphere isn’t only important in football. In order to generate a positive spirit, we need ideas that the players can implement. There will be difficult moments, and so it’s important that the players have something they can grasp onto in those instances. They won’t be overly complex; instead, we want to play attractive football. That’s where we have the biggest chance to push ourselves. It won’t be as complex as it can be in club football. It’s about giving the players something to identify with. Hopefully, we will be able to see evidence of during the upcoming internationals already. ‘Simplicity’ is a good key word. With an eye on the tournament, we will be able to react to setbacks. We need to be able to get the results we need. We have our own idea of how we can manage to regain trust within the team.
... the USA trip: There are always pros and cons. I see it as falling under the pros, because we will be together for a while. I know who all the players are, but there are some that I haven’t personally met yet. I want to get to know some of the new protagonists and my new team better. We need to use every training session and game in order to internalise our style of play and to generate an atmosphere. Of course, we also have to make sure that the players stay healthy, so that we have a full squad to choose from at all times. It’s obvious that a trip like this is also very draining on the body, but all our players will be able to handle it, they’re young. I’m not all that worried, but am instead looking forward to being together.
... the current state of the team: I want to form my own opinion. I can’t offer any detailed opinions on what Hansi wanted to see from the players. We have a lot of confidence in the talent we have, both in defence and attack. I’m looking forward to us hopefully playing successful, attacking football.
... the captain’s armband: I won’t be making a change. I’m fully behind Ilkay Gündogan, both as a player and as a person. I’ve already spoken to Ilkay and let him know that he’s our captain and that he will remain in that role.
... his coaching staff: I see Rudi Völler as part of the coaching staff. It’s important for us to remain in close contact. He has a very positive influence on the team, which is of great benefit for us. I’m very pleased to have Rudi on our team. We want to build on the self-belief that came out of the France game. Sandro is an extremely intelligent guy. He did a great job in Unterhaching and has continued his good work here. That’s why it seemed obvious to me to ask him if he wanted to become part of the new coaching staff. When I was speaking to him on the phone, I could feel the receiver getting really warm against my ear, that’s how fired up he was! I’m extremely excited to have him on board. He is already checking out certain games on the weekend. Benjamin and myself have enjoyed many successful years of working together. He knows exactly how I function. He’s able to replicate that in other areas of the team as well, so that I don’t have to. It’s very beneficial to have such a close confidant in the team. He has been an essential part of my staff for ten years now and I’m pleased that we will now be continuing our journey together.
... the prestigious nature of the job: I tend to rely on my gut feeling, even if there’s a danger of biting off more than you can chew. It’s not always good, but overall, I didn’t think twice. There wasn’t a moment of uncertainty. It’s natural to consider all the angles first. I let myself by guided by my instincts, which we telling me: Go for it! Let’s do this!
... feedback: My main points of contact are the players. Their feedback is the most important thing for us – how they feel, how they are implementing our ideas. As a result, the main task when we’re not together will be to keep in contact with the players. Speaking to them directly is the most important thing. We also have a large team of backroom staff, who I also want to remain close with.
... the length of his contract: The EUROs are the priority, that’s what’s most important for me. The main thing is that we have a strong tournament on home soil. The second thing is that I want to generate mutual trust through the work we put in. It’s important that we work well together, that it’s rewarding and successful. If we manage to generate that excitement, have a successful run at the EUROs and the work was rewarding, then I don’t see any reason to not continue in this role. But, I’m not wasting any thoughts on that yet. I want to pay back the trust that’s been put in me by doing a good job, and not only feel like trust has been placed in me by giving me a five-year contract. It’s about making sure that we work well together. I really want to feel the trust from both sides.
... his initial discussions with the DFB: I thought they went extremely well. There wasn’t any need to convince me to take the job.
... the Bayern players in the squad: I’m really looking forward to seeing them, because I really enjoyed working together with them. But, I’m also excited to see other players from my previous clubs, as well as those that I haven’t had a chance to work with yet.
... Manuel Neuer: We need to give Manu the time he needs in order to be fully fit, healthy and able to perform at the top level again. As soon as we can answer ‘yes’ to all these questions, then we will be extremely fortunate to have several world-class goalkeepers in our team.
...his time prior to accepting the job: I went on holiday and spent time with my family. It was a bit unusual during the first few weeks. I’m someone who enjoys being busy, I enjoy working. But, I also used the time to do things that I never had time for before. I also reflected on my time at Bayern München. I’m glad that I have the chance to not repeat the mistakes I made at Bayern, and to improve in certain areas.
...the new national team head coach: We’re happy that we’ve managed to land Julian Nagelsmann for the Germany job. We’ve found an impressive candidate to lead our national team. Now, we’re looking towards the future and fully focused on the EUROs. I’m full of confidence and have absolute faith in Nagelsmann. There’s no doubt in my mind about his motivation following our first couple of conversations.
...the journey from the search to the contract being signed: Things were set in motion following the loss against Japan. Afterwards, Rudi, Adi Watzke and I all wondered: How should we react? We didn’t want to immediately come out with a specific name after Hansi Flick was dismissed. How do the finances look? How about the length of the contract? Who’s on the market? Then, we thought about whether we should approach multiple candidates at the same time, or make a ranking of who we wanted to speak to most. We agreed that we should speak with Julian first and made some arrangements. After contacting his entourage, we met in person in Cologne last Tuesday. The discussions went very, very well. We spoke about football, about off-the-pitch matters, and about people. We noticed very quickly that he’s someone who’s highly motivated. He’s got an intrinsic drive that we didn’t need to coax out. As we were leaving the meeting, Rudi and I both felt that he was on the same page as us. It looks like we’ll make a great combination. His coaching ability is the most important thing. I think that very, very good things, as far as off-field matters are concerned, can happen with Julian in the set-up. He can and will be successful. It’s also fantastic that his first official engagement is at the Amateur Football Congress – with the amateurs. It’s an important show of togetherness.
...Nagelsmann being the number one candidate: It’s fortunate that, in Julian, we’ve managed to find a head coach that was available and ready to step in after Hansi Flick’s dismissal. It’s not normal, especially since Julian received offers from top clubs all over the world in the summer and doubtless would’ve had more in winter. We didn’t have to convince him at all, he was immediately up for the task. It’s important that we cultivate some excitement after the France game. Despite being so young, he’s the right man for the job – you can tell from the way he talks to the players and how experienced he is. I’ve phoned a lot of players who had him as a head coach and I only heard good things. He’s done some great work and he’ll do fantastically well here. I have total confidence in Julian and he knows that he’s got my full support in making Germany proud at the EUROs. After seeing how he’s started things off and tried to make his impact felt, I’m very, very optimistic. He’s very keen to implement his ideas.
...his own role in the coaching set-up: I’ll be in the thick of things, but Julian’s the Germany head coach. He’s the one who’ll be making the decisions. I won’t be on the bench; I’ll be sitting in the stands with Bernd and Aki instead. Of course, I’ll be involved in things, but I was when Hansi was in charge, too.