DThe German soccer players continued their charm offensive with a visit to the national team on Thursday (20.45 / RTL and in the F.A.Z. live ticker for the national football team) against Russia. As Manuel Neuer, Timo Werner, Leroy Sane, Julian Brandt and team director Oliver Bierhoff entered the full auditorium of the 94th secondary school in Leipzig, the screaming among the 200 children was expected to be large. "Thanks for the great reception," Bierhoff said to the young visitors in grades five through eight: "I hope your teachers always get such a great reception."
As soon as the first student addressed a sore point with his question to Sane about the resignation of Mesut Özil, Bierhoff interposed: "Who is your teacher?"
The visit to the school should be another step for the national team to restore the last lost closeness to the fans. In October, Neuer and Co. held a public training in Berlin for the first time in years. Around 5,000 spectators had created a popular festival mood in the amateur stadium of Hertha BSC. In Leipzig, where on Tuesday also striker Thomas Müller visited an amateur club, they want "even more to approach the fans," Bierhoff said.
Ultimately, however, should also be successful in the last two internationals a successful conclusion of the failed World Cup year. "We want to win two games, that's the clear goal," Neuer said. Four days after the test against Russia, the DFB squad completes the last preliminary match in the Nations League against the Netherlands (Monday, 20.45 / F.A.Z. Liveticker zum Nations League). Only with a win against Oranje could Germany (one point) prevent the relegation from the best squad yet, unless the Netherlands (three points) not previously wins on Friday against world champion France (seven).
"We will do everything we can to get off to a good start," Neuer said with a view to the Russia game. But: "The important game is against Holland." New sees the national team despite the further setbacks after the World Cup on a good path. "The mood is good. We have a good relationship with the young players. We just have to bring it to the square. "