National team: Flick's findings after lesson - Kimmich relies on "time"

Hansi Flick left with a smile.

National team: Flick's findings after lesson - Kimmich relies on "time"

Hansi Flick left with a smile. The facial expressions of the national coach contrasted with the still unsatisfactory situation of the national soccer team after the first test assignment with some light and plenty of shadows in the direction of the home European Championship.

The prospect of sitting in the stands of the Allianz Arena as a pure observer of the Bundesliga cracker between FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund made him briefly forget the irritating deficits of a confused start phase in the 2-3 setback against Belgium. "I'm looking forward to the game on Saturday," said Flick and quickly disappeared into the Cologne night.

The exploitation of chances remains expandable

In a hastily convened team meeting, the 58-year-old had previously given his main actors around his “aggressive leader” Emre Can and captain Joshua Kimmich, who was actually intended for the role as leader, a few tasks for the final spurt of the season in the Cologne dressing room. Four months after the Qatar shock, little has changed substantially. The exploitation of opportunities remains expandable, the defensive weaknesses remain fatal. "If we get three, it will always be difficult to win," complained Flick's top scorer Niclas Füllkrug.

While Flick was looking forward to his upcoming role as a spectator, the Bayern and BVB pros avoided verbal provocations for the explosive top game for the championship title in Munich. "We have very important weeks ahead of us," said Kimmich. "It will be extremely difficult in Munich," said Can.

Both of them went together in harmony for the round of gossip and thanks for the surprisingly easy to inspire fans. The encouragement was also a positive signal for Flick. "A huge compliment to the audience. The fans felt that there was a team that tried everything again. They supported us very, very well," he said. There was no sign of a World Cup blues in Cologne, although the DFB-Elf provided plenty of arguments for new doubts about the new edition of the summer fairy tale longed for in 2024.

"Fortunately we still have a little time"

After the nightly return home, the pressure for the top game will build up for the Munich and Dortmund internationals. Kimmich, goal scorer Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka, who is probably not seriously injured in the ankle, get to know their new coach Thomas Tuchel in a hurry. The Belgium lesson, which was just mild, is still reverberating - especially for Flick.

The big test - and that's good for Flick - won't come until the summer of 2024 with the European Championships at home. "Fortunately we still have a bit of time. Today you noticed that we are not yet at the top international level," admitted Kimmich, who as a six could not close the gaps in the Belgian initial vortex. In contrast to Can, who went ahead with struggle and passion after being substituted on early on and suddenly became the big winner in March alongside permanent goalscorer Füllkrug Flicks. "He won a lot of duels and shook the team up," said Flick.

Flick should also be shaken up now. The rather daring big personal test showed him that he had no time to lose. Trying, sifting, and experimenting with several juniors may have given him options. But the stability of the Belgians, who themselves have to overcome a World Cup trauma, demonstrated that the much-vaunted automatisms must now quickly find their way into the DFB team. Otherwise too much time is wasted. Now Flick also needs results for his position, which has been weakened since Qatar.

In the coming weeks he will have to look closely to see who can help him when the 1,000th international match in DFB history is likely against Ukraine in Bremen in June. His personnel policy with many young players - including five newcomers - made him satisfied with "the knowledge that we have gained". A return of the established forces from Antonio Rüdiger to Ilkay Gündogan or Leroy Sané can still be expected.

"It was a good game for 60, 65 minutes"

In June there will probably also be a showdown with Robert Lewandowski in Poland - another top-class player like the Belgian football force of nature Romelu Lukaku, who can mercilessly show Flick deficits. The national coach did not remain without realism. "I don't think I'm going to say here that we're super happy and everything is wonderful. That would be the wrong approach," said Flick.

The pendulum of ratings also swung in a strange-sounding direction. "It was a good game for 60, 65 minutes," said the 58-year-old. That sounded a bit like that World Cup analysis, according to which only 10 to 20 bad minutes in the 1: 2 against Japan caused the German knockout in the preliminary round. caused in Qatar. But Flick can no longer close his eyes to the reality of German football.

The 2-0 win against Peru was another important step towards building up against a weak opponent. The bar Belgium has now been torn. "We still have a lot to do. It was clear to us that not everything was 100 percent," assured Flick. After all, the national coach recorded passion and will as plus points after the shock start with the early goals conceded by Yannick Carrasco and Lukaku.

"We weren't there at all, both physically and mentally. We missed everything we set out to do," said Kimmich, who couldn't help the team either. "It was important that we showed a reaction from the 30th minute, but it was still not enough," added the Bayern professional in an ARD interview.