EM 2024: What is behind the new strategy for squad nomination

Grandma Lotti beamed. Last Sunday, the 93-year-old woman received a jersey from the German Football Association (DFB) with her name and age as the number on it, as well as a cake with the picture of Jonathan Tah from Bayer Leverkusen. Grandma Lotti immediately put the dress on and laughed.

The gifts were brought to her by the geriatric nurse Rashid Hamid from Hamburg, who is known for his appearances on social networks and who runs the Instagram account “Pflege Smile” with around 320,000 followers. The association and Hamid posted a video of the visit to Grandma Lotti on Monday morning and thereby announced Tah’s nomination for the European Championships in Germany (June 14th to July 14th). The campaign is part of a new strategy for the association.

The DFB is breaking new ground with regard to the European Championship squad. In recent years, the association has always kept a big secret about announcing the squad for a tournament – that was once upon a time. Instead of a mountaineering show on the Zugspitze like before the 2008 European Championships or life-sized cardboard mates as a staffage before the 2006 home World Cup, this time the association is giving staff snacks for the coming football summer.

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This Thursday at 1 p.m. the DFB will announce the entire squad for the home tournament in a video. National coach Julian Nagelsmann will also give a press conference at association sponsor VW in Berlin on Thursday afternoon. But the association has been announcing the first names since Sunday evening. The strategy behind it: By Thursday, around a dozen EM players will be announced via the media, celebrities, influencers and fans. There is talk of up to four names per day.

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Under the motto “Our squad for Germany”, the DFB wants to use the new strategy to arouse anticipation for the European Championships and take Germany with them. With this new strategy, Nagelsmann also remains in control of events. He and the association were very annoyed that his explosive personal details were leaked to the public in advance last March with the removal of Mats Hummels and Leon Goretzka as well as the arrival of newcomers from VfB Stuttgart.

On Sunday evening, the ARD “Tagesschau” reported with reference to an association source about the nomination of Nico Schlotterbeck. The central defender plays for Borussia Dortmund and recently impressed, among other things, by reaching the final of the Champions League. In the premier class final, he and BVB will face Real Madrid at the legendary Wembley Stadium in London on June 1st (9 p.m., ZDF and DAZN).

Nico Schlotterbeck: “Incredibly grateful!!!”

The DFB commented on the Tagesschau post with three hearts in black, red and gold, then posted the message shortly after the report. There is already a “squad” story highlight on the national team’s Instagram channel. The 24-year-old Schlotterbeck wrote on Instagram: “Incredibly grateful to be nominated for the upcoming European Championships in our own country!!!”

In Tah and Schlotterbeck, two central defenders have already been nominated for the European Championship. Tah can win the treble with Leverkusen this season; The German championship can no longer be taken away from his club. The 28-year-old is having an outstanding season and was named by national coach Nagelsmann as a regular in central defense alongside Real Madrid’s Antonio Rüdiger during the successful European Championship tests last March in France (2-0) and against the Netherlands (2-1). . Tah has played 23 international matches for the German team since 2016, but he has not yet played in a major tournament.

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The nominations of Schlotterbeck and Tah could mean that Mats Hummels hopes in vain for a European Championship nomination. There are also some indications that Nagelsmann will stick to his strict course and will not bring the veteran back from BVB for the tournament. Leon Goretzka from FC Bayern will probably not be part of the German squad either.

In contrast to his colleague Hummels, who is eleven years older than him, Schlotterbeck fits into the radical change in personnel philosophy announced last March. The players in the defense center are Tah and Rüdiger, alternatives are Waldemar Anton from VfB Stuttgart and Schlotterbeck and possibly Robin Koch from Eintracht Frankfurt. Schlotterbeck was brought into the DFB squad for the first time ever during Nagelsmann’s time.

Nico Schlotterbeck from Borussia Dortmund is at the European Championships in Germany

Those: dpa/Federico Gambarini

The defense professional last played for Germany in September 2023 in the 1:4 against Japan in Wolfsburg – the last game under national coach Hans-Dieter “Hansi” Flick, who is currently being discussed as a possible coach at FC Bayern. Schlotterbeck has played eleven international matches so far, often leaving an unhappy impression. At the 2022 World Cup, he was involved in the 1-2 false start against Japan, and he has also taken several penalties. The 1.91 meter tall defensive player is valued for his good opening of the game.

“We would of course very much like to have a slightly larger block than the last nomination,” said Dortmund coach Edin Terzic in the ZDF “Sportstudio” one evening before Schlotterbeck’s name was mentioned in the “Tagesschau”. In March, only BVB striker Niclas Füllkrug was part of the winning team against France and the Netherlands.

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There were rather moderate advertising statements for Goretzka from Munich last weekend. “When he plays, he is reliable, he always gives his all and is a goal threat. The season isn’t over yet, the nomination hasn’t been made yet, let’s see,” said Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel. Goretzka himself assessed the situation as follows after his goal in the 2-0 win against VfL Wolfsburg: “I’ll wait and see what Julian decides. I’ve tried everything in my power to put my best foot forward over the past few months.”

Tuchel did not use Goretzka in the dramatic second leg of the Champions League semi-final at Real Madrid (1:2) – a bitter blow for the midfielder. As BILD reports, goalkeeper Kevin Trapp from Eintracht Frankfurt is also not nominated. In addition to Manuel Neuer from FC Bayern and Marc-André ter Stegen from FC Barcelona, ​​Nagelsmann will most likely also call up goalkeepers Oliver Baumann from TSG Hoffenheim and Bernd Leno from FC Fulham.

Opening game against Scotland on June 14th

Schlotterbeck will join the German entourage late in the preparations for the European Championship. Because of the premier class final, he, like Real stars Rüdiger and Toni Kroos as well as his Dortmund colleague Füllkrug, also missed the first of two European Championship tests on June 3rd in Nuremberg against Ukraine. On June 7th, the German selection will play against Greece in Mönchengladbach, and on June 14th they will open the European Championship in Munich against Scotland (9 p.m., ZDF).

The team in Thuringia is preparing for the final tests and the European Championships. On May 26th she moves into her training camp at the Weimarer Land spa and golf resort in Blankenhain and will stay there until May 31st. “It will be a European Championship for everyone. That’s why it was clear to us from the start that we also wanted to prepare for the European Championships in our own country in Germany,” said DFB sports director Rudi Völler. “We are deliberately going to the east of Germany with the national team before we move into our quarters in the south of the country. We look forward to our fans in Thuringia.”

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