Now things are getting really tight for Hansi Flick: After further failed experiments and a disaster against World Cup shock Japan, the German national soccer team is in an even deeper crisis. In the 1:4 (1:2) at the start of the European Championship season, the DFB selection, which had been changed again by Flick, appeared to the very disappointed fans in Wolfsburg to be unstable, insecure and frighteningly helpless for long stretches. On Tuesday against France, Flick urgently needs a break-out - even if it is difficult to imagine against the runner-up world champion.
The German record with three defeats in a row and only one win from the last six games is devastating for the European Championship hosts. Nine months before the home tournament, the spectators repeatedly acknowledged the performance with loud whistles.
The goals conceded by Junya Ito (11th minute) and Ayase Ueda (22nd) in the first half were preceded by clear mistakes by the newly formed defense in front of 24,980 spectators, as was Japan's third goal by World Cup goalscorer Takuma Asano (90th). the final point by Ao Tanaka (90.2).
The experiment with Joshua Kimmich as a right-back moving into play and Nico Schlotterbeck on the left failed before it really got started. The interim equalizer by Leroy Sané (19th) did not bring any security. Japan could have scored more goals early on, goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen made several good saves.
After a turbulent 20 minutes, there was no longer any sign of Flick's calmness, optimism and confidence that had radiated in Wolfsburg in the previous days. He stood there on the sidelines, his expression a mixture of anger and horror. And the fans who had hoped so much for a more stable German team could hardly believe it: 1:2 was written on the scoreboard. So this is how the “core team” announced by Flick plays for the home European Championship?
290 days after the disgrace against the Japanese in the Khalifa Stadium in Qatar and the resulting embarrassing elimination in the preliminary round, the Asians attacked the back four with Kimmich on the right in the front line. In the first minute, goalkeeper ter Stegen made a bad pass, but it had no consequences.
The German team seemed completely unsettled and Flick's experiment didn't work at all. Kimmich was supposed to get involved in the build-up game when he had the ball - but this often led to the DFB professionals standing on their feet in midfield in the first half. The only exception: Leverkusen's Florian Wirtz occasionally provided relief.
Instead of making a successful new beginning in Wolfsburg with an early lead after the disappointing results in June, the German team fell behind: On the left defensive side, Schlotterbeck let Yukinari Sugawara cross without much resistance, and Ito took the ball directly in the middle. A deflection from Antonio Rüdiger landed in the goal. Ter Stegen couldn't get his hand up as quickly in the short corner.
For a short time, Sané was able to calm the German national coach with his flat shot after fine preparatory work over Kimmich, the otherwise inconspicuous new captain Ilkay Gündogan and Wirtz. But only for a short time because Schlotterbeck was too careless again. Again Sugawara did the preparatory work with a cross, which went billiard-style via Ito and Ueda into the German goal.
The team's efforts could not be denied, but when they did, they were mostly individual actions by the assets Wirtz and Sané. However, Japan remained extremely dangerous and almost celebrated their third goal in the 41st minute: After a bad pass from Schlotterbeck towards Rüdiger, Ueda ran alone towards the German goal. Ter Stegen prevented something even worse this time. “That’s it,” said the stadium announcer at the end of a first half that was useless as advertising on its own behalf. There were loud whistles from the spectator stands.
Flick decided not to make a change during the break. But nothing changed about what happened on the pitch. As at the start of the game, Ter Stegen made a bad pass, but Ito shot over. The hosts were too uninspired, too unclean, too imprecise in their build-up to the game, and the Japanese kept fighting for the second ball. Ter Stegen had to clear after another Schlotterbeck mistake.
After a good hour, Flick came to his senses and replaced the BVB professional, as well as the weak Emre Can, for Pascal Groß from Brighton