Happy Thanksgiving! Those of you in the United States may be enjoying a break, but for Hansi Flick and the German men’s national team, it’s been anything but.
The 2022/23 football calendar has been a real storm. It may have started with relative calm, but once the English weeks arrived, they never let up — and as soon as the Bundesliga Hinrunde wound down, with a crucial injury to Bayern Munich and Senegal star Sadio Mané no less — the World Cup was here.
“The schedule was tough for the players,” Flick stated simply (via @iMiaSanMia). “It would’ve been better if the league had stopped a week earlier... We had a 2-day break after the Oman game. The intensive preparation started today.”
With Germany’s group stage opener against Japan on Wednesday fast approaching, it’s a spot of fixture congestion that may be a treat for entertainment-starved fans, but is verging on callous and inconsiderate towards the participating athletes. (This Bayern fan is getting pretty worried about Joshua Kimmich’s non-stop run of games for club and soon, country...)
Injuries have already reared their ugly head since the tournament began. Leroy Sané has been ruled out of the group stage opener vs. Japan, and France’s Lucas Hernández is probably lost for the entire season with an ACL tear. What will the next games bring?
Nevertheless, it’s a challenge Germany will have to face head-on.
“We want to play inspiring football,” Flick continued. “It’s about starting well at the World Cup and surviving the group stage. Afterwards, we’ll go step by step.”