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Germany midfielder İlkay Gündoğan sees deficiencies in national team

It’s been a rough international break for Germany.

Germany v Colombia - International Friendly Photo by Stefan Brauer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

İlkay Gündoğan is still hanging around. Along with Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos, he had been one of two German midfielders whose international days were speculated to be over following the coaching change from Joachim Löw to former Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick. While Kroos did, indeed, hang ‘em up, Gündoğan has remained influential, featuring in the 2022 Men’s World Cup at the end of last year in Qatar.

Now 32, Gündoğan could be approaching his last dance. It’s been a summer of transition for the German midfielder, one that’s resulted in his recent decision to move from England to Spain, Manchester City to FC Barcelona. At Barça, he’ll have a two-year deal with a reported option for a third, which if concluded, would take him right up to the 2026 World Cup.

Still, it’s 2024 that’s on everybody’s mind right now in Germany. And things aren’t looking so good for the DFB.

“We failed to build any rhythm,” Gündoğan said after a 2-0 defeat to Colombia punctuated the June international period (via “We kept things simple, but we weren’t courageous enough. We created one or two chances, but we gave too many away at the back.”

If Germany’s World Cup was a source of mixed reactions — an unlucky upset knocked them out of a very tough group despite three relatively promising performances — it’s a chorus of resounding jeers that now greet the national team.

But like many of his teammates, Gündoğan is holding onto some optimism. And he thinks he can see the path forward.

“Dealing with criticism and getting past the boos is part of the job. The way we played certainly isn’t our standard. I know what wasn’t good and what needs to be better. We also have to start questioning our quality though. We have to make sure we’re much better next time,” Gündoğan concluded.

Ready for more fallout from the game? Chuck is here to take us all on a tour of sadness in this International Friendly Rant edition of the BPW Postgame Show. Short, sweet, and bitter all at once: you need to give this a listen. Find it on Spotify or use the player below:

And while you’re at it, please throw a vote our way for the 2023 Best Club Podcast Award at WorldSoccerTalk! As always, we appreciate all your support!

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