Hansi Flick has even amazed his current captain Joshua Kimmich with his first squad for the European Football Championship 2024. In the forthcoming international matches against Peru and Belgium, the national coach will finally dispense with fixed players and World Cup participants such as defenders Antonio Rüdiger and Niklas Süle or attacker Leroy Sané. Instead, he creates "space" for several newcomers and returnees who are allowed to prove themselves in the elite circle for the first time or again. Flick wants to “broaden the squad”.
Only in the goalkeeper position does the DFB head coach rely on continuity at the start after the World Cup disaster in Qatar. Goalkeeper for the future? none. Despite the absence of captain Manuel Neuer (broken leg), Flick is relying on an over 30 trio with Marc-André ter Stegen (30) from FC Barcelona, Frankfurter Kevin Trapp (32) and returnee Bernd Leno (31) from FC Fulham.
"We have extremely high quality in goal," explained Flick: "We have three, four, five goalkeepers who are among the best in the world." You are experienced, but also older. Flick has not yet written off the newcomer from Munich, who will be 37 this month, for the European Championship. Rather, he trusts the long-standing number one after the lengthy rehab to make a comeback both at FC Bayern and in the national team.
Ter Stegen wants to seize his chance
First, however, the moment has come that ter Stegen has been waiting for for years. The former Gladbacher made his debut in 2012 as a 20-year-old but Neuer almost consistently blocked his rise to number one. Ter Stegen comes to a modest 30 international matches after eleven years as a national player. He denied none at a World Cup or European Championship. Only when he won the Confederations Cup in Russia in 2017 was he the man in the German goal, because national coach Joachim Löw gave World Champion Neuer a break that summer.
Now the eternal crown prince ter Stegen wants to seize his chance. Flick put him above Trapp and Leno in the ranking. "It is planned that Marc-André will play both games," said the national coach, referring to the games on Saturday in Mainz and then in Cologne. Ter Stegen now also wears number 1 on his jersey. He works hard in the training sessions in Frankfurt, where he is due to comment on his ambitions at the DFB press conference on Thursday.
"You don't stand in goal just to play friendly games," Ter Stegen announced in advance via "Bild am Sonntag". The home EM excites him immensely. Then he finally wants to be in goal and not have to watch from the bench again. Ter Stegen thought he was very close once before, before the 2018 World Cup. But then his competitor, Neuer, also returned healthy in time for the tournament after a long-term foot injury and was back in goal in Russia - after ter Stegen had played almost all the games before.