FOXBOROUGH (dpa) – A remarkably wiry-looking team veteran Mats Hummels has naturally occupied the center of defense alongside top dog Antonio Rudiger in his DFP comeback.
Joshua Kimmich could take his favored spot in the center of midfield alongside captain Ilkay Gundogan on the national soccer team’s tour of the USA with Julian Nagelsmann.
If the first training sessions in quiet Foxborough, far from the metropolis of Boston, are not misleading, the immediate actions of the new national coach during the short countdown to the international against USA in Hartford on Saturday (9pm/RTL): experienced professionals at the control desk. And quickly build a flexible framework to re-imagine a successful home European Championship in 2024 after three recent tournament failures.
A “luck” for Nagelsmann Voller
“It goes without saying: When you play in a tournament, you’re in it to win,” Nagelsmann said when he was hired. That sounded bold. Still, it’s an ambitious goal for the 36-year-old. However, he is approaching his European Championship project differently than his predecessor Hansi Flick, who did not build a core team with a clear structure and familiar processes either before or after the Qatar World Cup. “A stroke of luck” Nagelsmann coined a new word for “fundamentals” to sports director Rudy Voller, who was watching with glee back in the US state of Massachusetts.
The word immediately entered the players’ vocabulary. “There were relatively clear statements about the principles we wanted to keep in our game,” said captain Gundogan. Jonas Hoffmann retreated to the well-kept practice green after the first base game: “We played with certain fundamentals that should always be there.”
Nagelsmann builds a structure that will obviously have players over 30: Marc-Andre der Stegen (32). Ahead of them are Rudiger (30) and Hummels (34). Gundogan (32) and Kimmich, who is only 28 but has already played 80 internationals. And at the top of the line, first choice is Niklas Fulkrug (30), who has matured into a spokesmodel in just one year as a national player and improved from Werder Bremen to Borussia Dortmund.
The national coach relies on experience
Thomas Müller (34), too, can always give a team input on or off the pitch. “We need players who take responsibility,” said Nagelsmann; The guys like both Hummels and Müller, the 2014 world champions.
“I think experience is very important,” triple champion Gundogan said. Young players often “don’t have the right feel for certain situations on the pitch. Sometimes you just need a little patience and a little patience.” Competitive experience is a treasure. Hoffman, already 31, said: “Experience can give a team a lot.”
He is currently enjoying this at Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen, where he provides support and guidance to a talented squad with experienced specialists such as Premier League-trained Swiss Granit Xhaka (31), and former player. -Gladbacher Hoffmann.
12 of the 26 professionals in the DFB squad are in their fourth decade. The average age was 28.5 years. Only four actors are under the age of 25. Is it a coincidence that two of the newcomers — Kevin Behrens (32) and Robert Antrich (29) — are also older? Hoffman believes Nagelsmann’s maturity will help, especially in the early stages: “Experienced players don’t need a lot of time to adapt to the coach’s new things.”
Nagelsmann lives in the “here and now.”
Highly talented youngsters such as Bayer’s Florian Wirtz and Bayern’s Jamal Musiala (both 20) or Munich attacker Leroy Sané (27) should create those footballing moments surrounded by seniors in Nagelsmann’s 4-2-2-2 formation. What the national coach wants to see in the latest home match. And on Saturday in his eagerly awaited debut.
“We all have a huge responsibility to play the best football for Germany,” Nagelsmann said. But he is not thinking about a future in the biggest country that will host the 2026 World Cup. The 36-year-old is putting aside the 2024 European Championships on his trip to the US. Nagelsmann continues to talk about the “here and now,” another mantra with “fundamental principles.” The here and now is to beat first the USA and then Mexico in Philadelphia.
Simple manuals in training and team meetings should form the basis for this. “It’s also new for him at national team level where time is limited,” Gundogan told former club coach Nagelsmann. “He wants to make the most of the little time he has.” After the first positive times working with the new head coach, the captain dared to make a prediction: “It will be very good.”
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