A new chapter of the German national team began last month when Hansi Flick officially became the new manager, taking over for Joachim Low after nearly 15 years at the helm. After a remarkably impressive tenure as Bayern Munich manager from the fall of 2019 to the spring of this year, Flick is ready to get Die Mannschaft back on the right track.
There’s no disguising the fact that Germany had a disappointing outing at the Euros, barely scraping through the group stages and losing in the round of 16 to England. The nature of results wasn’t nearly as bad as World Cup 2018 or the subsequent UEFA Nations League campaign, but there was a collective sense that Low should’ve stepped down long before the end of this summer. With Low, Toni Kroos also announced that he would be stepping down from playing for the national team and Mats Hummels an Ilkay Gundogan were also considering their futures, but both have ultimately decided to stay.
In a recent interview with kicker, Gundogan revealed that it was positive discussions with Flick that tilted his decision in the right direction and he expressed his eagerness to press forward with Die Mannschaft as they resume their World Cup 2022 qualification campaign next month. “I’m not finished with the national team chapter,” the Manchester City midfielder urged.
He admitted that it took most of his post Euro 2020 holiday to be able to digest the Euros and what went wrong. “I was very disappointed after the early elimination at the European Championship and had to let it sink in over my vacation,” he revealed. Discussions with Flick over the phone, he continued, made it clear that he still has a big role to play in the national team setup and will be a key piece moving forward for Flick. “I therefore phoned Hansi very extensively and he explained to me how he will be with us again in the future want to be successful and what role I should play in it. After the positive discussions with Hansi, it was clear to me: I’m not finished with the national team. I thought to myself: It can’t do it yet (retire from Germany),” he explained.
While Gundogan didn’t personally have an exceedingly poor tournament at the Euros, he knows he’s capable of more. His form for Pep Guardiola’s title-winning Manchester City side in the winter of last season after he recovered from his positive coronavirus case was sensational, and Pep had tactically given him more free license to roam forward, allowing him to get more involved in his goals and assists production rate. The national team is a different beast altogether, but Gundogan is hopeful that some of the pressure gets alleviated with a string of positive results in their upcoming qualifiers next month. “I hope that we will convince with very positive games and thus draw the fans back to our side again,” he stressed.