Julian Nagelsmann’s reign as manager of the Germany national team has officially begun as he begins his journey with Die Mannschaft less than a year out from the country hosting next summer’s European Championships. They only have a series of friendlies between now and the tournament kicking off, but said matches still serve as opportunities for Nagelsmann to get a look at different players, different systems, and different tactics. Under Hansi Flick, things were broken and Nagelsmann is tasked with picking up the pieces, putting them back together, and getting them fine-tuned before the Euros.
For now, Nagelsmann has chosen to give FC Barcelona midfielder İlkay Gündoğan the captain’s armband for Germany. When he is fully fit and in the squad, Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer is usually the captain, but Nagelsmann confirmed in one of his press conferences in North America that Gündoğan is going to stay captain regardless of Neuer’s status.
“İlkay will remain captain. It’s very important to have continuity and not switch back and forth. I’m very happy with that,” Nagelsmann replied when asked about Germany’s captaincy situation (via @iMiaSanMia).
Neuer is very close to making his return to action for Bayern and he is even in contention for this weekend’s Bundesliga matchup against Mainz. The keeper has not played a match of football since Germany’s 4-2 World Cup win over Costa Rica in Qatar last year, as he suffered a serious leg injury on a ski trip after the international break for the tournament.
Since Neuer has been out injured, it has been a combination of either Kevin Trapp or Marc-André ter Stegen playing keeper for Germany, with the latter having expressed multiple times that he feels ready as well to take on the role of Germany’s number one keeper.