Dhe Wembley Stadium has brought iconic moments to German football. Netzer, who came from deep in the room in 1972, Bierhoff, who found the golden spin in 1996, and Hamann, who shot, well, from the background in 2000.
However, the most recent images produced by the national team there were ones of misery and futility. From June 29, 2021, the European Championship round of 16 against England, these three scenes are still slumbering in the collective football memory, ready to be called up: Thomas Müller sinking to his knees after his missed chance to equalize, Jamal Musiala in the second minute of stoppage time of the already lost game is waiting for his substitution, and in a certain way also Joachim Löw, as he stands at the television microphone together with Bastian Schweinsteiger, his World Cup hero from 2014, speechless and helpless after the elimination – the bizarre end of an era.
And even if the three scenes have nothing to do with each other on the surface, they can still be put together to form a symbolic triptych of Löw’s late phase: Müller, who stood for the old at the EM, Musiala, who embodied the new, and Right in the middle was Löw, who hadn’t been able to bring the two together after Brazil’s World Cup triumph.
Duel of the dismounted and the suspended
If the national team returns to Wembley this Monday evening (8.45 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Nations League and on RTL) for an unexpected duel in this form between the relegated (England) and the suspended (Germany) in the Nations League, that’s one good reason to remind yourself of that.
With the uncomfortable side effect, however, that you then automatically end up in the present – with questions that are (or still) hotly topical for German football. The national coach is now called Hansi Flick, this autumn 2022 Musiala embodies that which is no longer quite so new, and Müller that which is a bit older. And if you look at the overall picture in the 0-1 draw against Hungary on Friday evening, it raises doubts as to whether Flick will bring it together in seven weeks in such a way that the World Cup in Qatar will become a German success story.
Press conference room in the Leipzig Arena, first question to the national coach: What about Musiala? Don’t the German game and Bayern Munich’s lack creative moments when he’s out? Flick only sent Musiala and Kai Havertz on for the last 20 minutes, a substitution that any national coach in the world would envy. But it also raised the question of how it was possible to leave so much quality unused for so long.
“Jamal,” said Flick, “is a great footballer, but we decided on a different line-up today.” The national coach then added that Musiala had “that certain something” that you need, especially “when teams are like that stand deep and compact”, and yes, Musiala would certainly have been a help in this first half, which Flick without exaggeration called the worst of his tenure, but again: “We decided on eleven others.”
Flick is without a doubt convinced that the 19-year-old Musiala is a jewel, a player that you don’t even see with Bayern or the national team every day. He praises him in various facets, he emphasizes on which positions he can play, on the “six” or further up. Flick revealed on Sunday that Musiala will start against England. But often enough it hasn’t been directed to Musiala when it comes to finding a place in concrete terms.