The German national soccer team is heading into the home European Championship season with Ilkay Gündogan as captain. This was announced by national coach Hansi Flick before the international match on Saturday (8.45 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the national team and on RTL) against Japan in Wolfsburg. “I have decided to give Ilkay the captain’s armband,” said Flick on Friday in the press conference before the final training session.
Together with Bayern professional Joshua Kimmich, who recently led the DFB selection in the absence of the missing goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, midfielder Gündogan from FC Barcelona will form the “new leadership duo”. “I would like to thank you for your trust, it is a great honor for me to lead the team,” said the 32-year-old Gündogan before his 68th appearance for Germany.
Neuer should “get healthy first”
Flick left it open what will happen in the captaincy position if the 37-year-old Neuer can play again after breaking his leg in Munich and possibly returns to the DFB team afterwards: “The situation with Manu is that he has to get healthy first.”
Flick wants to get closer to his European Championship team in the international match against Japan and will probably move Joshua Kimmich back to the right-back position. “He has enormous qualities that he can bring to bear in various positions. He puts himself at the service of the team,” said Flick about Kimmich. But he didn’t commit himself specifically.
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But the national coach said that it was now important that the team got used to it. “We have adapted to a playing philosophy. We want to keep the intensity high and regain confidence through a good game,” said Flick, who gave Niklas Süle a guarantee of playing alongside Antonio Rüdiger in central defense. In June, Flick did not take the Dortmund player into account and then criticized him.