Germany’s 4-1 loss to Japan in an international friendly last weekend just added insult to injury. The loss took their torrid stretch to now having only won four of their last seventeen matches across all competitions, prompting the dismissal of former Bayern Munich manager, Hansi Flick. Even before this international break, his days as Germany manager were well and truly numbered, as it’s never seemed to fully click with him at the helm aside from the very beginning of his tenure. To be fair, though, Germany was playing the likes of Romania and Lichtenstein in World Cup qualifiers when Flick first took charge.
A new chapter now begins for Die Mannschaft, though they haven’t yet found a new, long-term manager to replace Flick. For the interim, Rudi Völler will be the man in the hot seat alongside Sandro Wagner and Hannes Wolf.
Ahead of the friendly against France, Barcelona’s Ilkay Gündogan spoke in the press conference from Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion and described what the mood around the German camp has been like during this international break and with the news of Flick’s sacking. “The atmosphere in the team is currently a mix of sadness, frustration and disappointment. As a player, I have the feeling that I let Hansi down, to be completely honest. He was always focused, motivated and full of energy. Unfortunately, as a team, we didn’t manage to turn that into something,” he explained (via @iMiaSanMia).
On paper, there’s still a plethora of talent within the German squad as most of the players play on Champions League teams and routinely complete on the highest level on the biggest stages. There are some positional questions that have always been asked of the team, though, as they’ve never really had a proper- out-right striker and they’ve constantly tweaked with their defensive line. Still, though, there’s really no excuse for how poor the collective performances have been with the talent that’s on offer.
Gündogan shares the sentiment of knowing how much quality there is in the team, but conceded that they just haven’t been able to get it to work recently. “The collective has always made the German national team strong. We now have many players at world-class level, but as a team we can’t get that on the pitch. The best teams are the ones that perform at 100% on the pitch. Mistakes happen, but we shouldn’t accept them and should fight them off. When I won the Champions League with City last year, I made a lot of mistakes, but my teammates and I were always ready to correct them,” he explained.