World Cup Qualifiers may not be the most glamorous tournament, but if Hansi Flick wants to bring home silverware for Germany, then this is where it begins. The former Bayern Munich coach had a full complement of 23 players in training this week, so he has plenty of options to take on Romania.
With no real injury concerns to speak of, Flick is free to choose whoever he wants. Striker is potentially the most contentious position, with the debate over whether Karim Adeyemi should be given a start for his national team. The RB Salzburg striker is in competition with Chelsea’s Timo Werner for the position, and knowing Hansi he may opt to go with experience rather than youth for this one.
Supporting Werner should be the Bayern Munich trio of Leroy Sane, Thomas Muller, and Serge Gnabry, all of whom are in-form at the moment. Another option might be Kai Havertz, but Flick might opt to save him for a 60th minute cameo or just keep him on the bench until North Macedonia. Youngsters like Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz might be on the subs bench for some time yet.
The midfield is the usual combo of Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich. No debate here — if Flick didn’t rotate when he was Bayern coach, there’s no way he’ll do it when he’s in charge of Germany. Without Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gundogan, it’s not like there’s many options to begin with — Nagelsmann will have a headache to deal with when he gets his main midfielders back from the break.
The defense is an interesting conundrum, because Flick already confirmed that the central-defensive spots were taken. Antonio Rudiger and Niklas Sule are evolving into the new go-to German CB pairing, effectively picking up the mantle where Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels left off. However, the same cannot be said of fullback — Germany have no settled fullback options.
Jonas Hoffman, a midfielder, is considered the favorite to be deployed at right-back against Romania. His attacking contribution is better than all the potential right-back candidates Germany can field at the most (except Kimmich, whose talents are needed in midfield). For left-back, the pickings are even more slim — Thilo Kehrer, a natural right-center-back, might be chosen on the back of his strong performances in the last international break.
As always, if the defense can’t cope, Manuel Neuer should be in goal to clean up. Here’s what that lineup should look like:
It’s looking very likely that Marco Reus could start at the attacking midfield position for Germany vs Romania.
During the final training today, Marco Reus was in the 'A' team instead of Thomas Müller and could therefore start tomorrow. Neuer, Süle, Rüdiger, Kimmich, Goretzka, Gnabry, Sané and Werner also were in the A team [@SPORT1]— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) October 7, 2021
Bad news, everyone.
Manuel Neuer is out of tonight's game against Romania with adductor problems. Marc-André ter Stegen will start in goal [Bild]— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) October 8, 2021
With the international break now upon us, it’s time to shift our focus from Bayern Munich to Germany. Hansi Flick has made a winning start to life as Germany coach, and will want to continue gaining momentum in the buildup to next year’s world cup. However, there’s a lot of things to do and not much time to do it — he’ll have to be quick about his work. This October international break is the last one for a long time.
Here are the talking points before the game:
- Admitting the shameful fact that I know nothing about Romania.
- How Hansi Flick might line up the team — formation, players, and so on.
- The Timo Werner issue, and how Flick may be planning to revive him.
- The midfield rotation problem — technically not a problem for Germany, but a headache for Bayern fans.
- Potential options in defense. Could Niklas Sule be moved to right-back? Or will it be Jonas Hofmann?
- Who will play left-back for Germany? How about ... Leroy Sane?