Germany made it three wins out of three to start Hansi Flick’s tenure as manager with their 4-0 win over Iceland in Reykjavík. Goals from Bayern Munich star Serge Gnabry, Antonio Rudiger, Leroy Sane, and Timo Werner gave Die Mannschaft the three points, further cementing their place in the top spot of UEFA World Cup qualifying Group J after six matches played.
While it was another dominant display by what the final score line reads, Flick still saw a lot of areas where he felt his side could have done far better, and will need to be better in when they face stronger opponents. Speaking after the match (Tz), he stressed that Germany still isn’t quite at 100%, even after three very positive results in World Cup qualifying. “We had a few training units, that was our goal. We have taken a step forward. We’re not at 100% yet, but I can’t wait for that. The guys implement what we imagine,” he said.
With regards to going up against tight, compact, and deep defensive blocks, Iceland weren’t much different than Liechtenstein and Armenia. It was clear that Germany was going to have to be patient in breaking down the lines and taking their chances when the opportunities presented themselves. Despite scoring four times against Iceland’s deeper block, Flick felt that the final balls in the attacking third weren’t good enough and that they didn’t come often enough. Germany would do good to get into the right areas, but often the final ball wouldn’t come at the right moment, if at all, which is something he wants to work on. “The final pass. The conviction that you want to make the goal. The chip balls often arrived, but then the cross pass didn’t. We have to work on that,” he stressed.
Gnabry’s goal was perhaps a good example of what Flick expects. Niklas Sule’s lobbed ball over the box found Joshua Kimmich right on the edge of the area, and Sane sent in a lovely first time ball to Gnabry at the far post after Kimmich had laid it off to him. That cross from Sane is something Flick likely wants to see more of.
On the overall balance, the 4-0 score line perhaps was a bit harsh on an Iceland side that did create their fair share of chances, especially on the counter attacks, which Flick took note of. “I can only congratulate them, they have speed in their game. If they keep going this way, they will develop well,” he said.
While the Chelsea man did find the back of the net, partially thanks to Kai Havertz not getting a touch on the ball on the way across the goal line, Werner missed a beaming chance in the 61st minute from about 7 yards out. He put his effort well over the crossbar after Lukas Klostermann had found him wide open in the box. It wasn’t for his lack of trying or being in the right position at the right time, but this certainly wasn’t the only chance Werner squandered in Germany’s trio of qualifiers this international break. Still, though, he got on the score sheet in all three and Flick sees that as a step in the right direction. “Timo played all three games over 90 minutes, that certainly took a lot of strength. He also scored in every game. In this respect he is on the right track,” he emphasized.