An apology to the fans and a rebuke to the critics of his Havertz tactics: Julian Nagelsmann is going into the last European Championship test of the year fighting after the Turkey setback.
“We have to work out the flow and not fall into the role of victim, then the tide will turn again,” said the national coach before the exciting international test match against Austria in Vienna on Tuesday (November 21st, 2023, 8:45 p.m. / ZDF and in Audio live stream and live ticker at sportschau.de). After the 3-2 defeat against Turkey in Berlin, he immediately and intensively demonstrated the deficits to the national soccer players using video analysis. He was sorry that Mats Hummels and Co. were late for a fan appointment: “I didn’t know that the appointment was planned. Sorry that the players were late because of that.”
To the live ticker: Germany – Türkiye arrow right
In the ARD interview, Nagelsmann emphasized that the most important thing is to be able to draw the right conclusions from a game like the one against Turkey. “We were better than the opponent in all statistics and still lost. That’s what would count in a knockout game or a tournament game. In a friendly, I say: It’s annoying, but still justifiable.” They had “four or five” training sessions – “it just takes a bit of time” for the work to have visible effects.
Great lack of understanding for criticism of Havertz’s role
The national coach gave no quarter for the media scolding over the transfer of Kai Havertz to the position of left full-back. The Arsenal professional played an excellent game and was objectively not to blame for the defeat, said Nagelsmann and provided several statistical values as evidence. In general: negativity, pessimism and “laying everything in ruins” are not a type.
The Austria game is the last chance to go into the home European Championship year with a reasonably good feeling. This is followed by a four long month international break. They can become very tough if the national soccer team is tainted by another bankruptcy with their small arch-rivals. The last impression always sticks. “I’m more concerned about the break itself than the public perception,” said Nagelsmann. He still holds his team accountable. “No one is set and everyone is invited to give their best,” Nagelsmann repeated a motto. The clear message: no one can let up now.
Nagelsmann is looking forward to meeting Ralf Rangnick. The 36-year-old would certainly like to win the tactics competition with the German coach in Austria’s service, who accompanied him at many stages in his career, also for personal reasons.
Havertz-Rolle als EM-Option
Above all, football Germany is now waiting for answers from the national coach. The long-term symptoms of the failed Flick period came to light again against Turkey. The chances are sloppy at the front and tend to be confusing at the back. So what solutions does Nagelsmann offer against the currently pretty self-confident Austrians?
Shortly before the final training, little or nothing was revealed. Whether Kevin Trapp replaces Marc-André ter Stegen in goal again with a back problem or whether one of the newcomers Oliver Baumann and Janis Blaswich is allowed to play is still the least important component. The Havertz experiment was even a European Championship option, the national coach had already indicated continuity for this position. When he arrived in Vienna, he kept all his options open.
Hummels praises Tah: “Top, outstanding”
But does Mats Hummels also work in the remaining three-man chain in this courageous system? Or will the veteran, who has once again been chosen as a leading figure, fall through the tactics grid because of his lack of speed? At the press conference, both of them made a well-rehearsed, harmonious impression next to each other. In any case, Hummels did not accept the constant criticism of the German team’s defensive line. The veteran especially praised Jonathan Tah: “The last 12, 13, 14 games that I saw from Jona were not only good, but sometimes top or outstanding. He is also a good boy – so: end of praise.”
It remained unclear who exactly Nagelsmann meant when he spoke of a lack of emotionality among some players. Julian Brandt had provided plenty of arguments against Turkey to be addressed. But Havertz could actually take over his position perfectly in the absence of the injured Jamal Musiala.
What happens to Kimmich?
But the crucial question remains anyway: What to do with Joshua Kimmich? Some components speak in favor of a move back to the right wing-back position. A gap in stability would be closed there, and in the six-man center there would be room for an urgently needed real ball conqueror like Pascal Groß alongside captain Ilkay Gündogan. That worked excellently in America against the USA (3:1) and Mexico (2:2), when Kimmich was missing with a fever.
Austria with Rangnick in a little football frenzy
The task in Vienna will not be easy. Austria is on a bit of a football frenzy with Rangnick. “The Austrians have a really good team. If you go through the first 11 or even 13 or 14, there are really good players who are regulars at the absolute top clubs in Europe,” said Rudi Völler to Bayerischer Rundfunk.
“I believe that they will not only make life difficult for us in Vienna, but will also play a good European Championship,” predicted Völler.
Austria very self-confident
The opponent does not lack self-confidence for the Germany duel and the European Championship. “We don’t have a chance, we played a good qualifying game, we’re in a good mood and we’re a really great team,” said Christoph Baumgartner from RB Leipzig, one of many Bundesliga professionals in the Austria squad. And a little insult is always possible anyway. “We’re not coming here just to be there, we want to show what we skiers can do.”