Hansi Flick looked mischievous - he has already succeeded in this surprise coup. No Leroy Sané, no Antonio Rüdiger, no Niklas Süle - but five international newcomers like Stuttgart's Josha Vagnoman or Wolfsburg's Felix Nmecha, who hardly any football experts had on the DFB radar.
The national coach heralds the turning point he is aiming for from the World Cup debacle in Qatar to an exciting summer of football at the home European Championship in 2024 with an amazing 24-man squad.
The extent of the conversion for the friendlies on Saturday next week in Mainz against Peru and three days later against World Cup participants Belgium in Cologne exceeded the wildest expectations. The fans, who were recently put off by three tournament flops, can look forward to numerous new faces such as Augsburg striker Mergim Berisha, Dortmund's Marius Wolf or England legionnaire Kevin Schade. Right at the start of the preparations, the DFB will also open the gates for a public training session in Frankfurt on Monday afternoon. The recently mostly isolated national team is aggressively courting their supporters.
Flick: "We want to broaden the squad"
"It's important that we present a good squad with regard to the home European Championship. We need alternatives for this. We have to look for them and also have to give them time to promote them," said Flick, explaining the big newcomer casting with the two offensive players Berisha (24) and Schade (21), full-backs Wolf (27) and Vagnoman (22) and midfielder Felix Nmecha (22). "Our job is to look for alternatives and broaden the squad. We want to start with that in March," said Flick.
"We're looking to see which player comes close to our idea of football, which we need in the respective positions," said the national coach, explaining the selection of the new players. U21 European champion Berisha should present himself as a center forward. Flick recently saw him shine as a double goal scorer against FC Bayern in Munich: "Let's see how he sells here with us," he said.
He "deliberately" dispensed with established national players during the announced experimental phase. "We are of the opinion that if we want to see the players, we have to give them space and time," explained Flick. Berisha reacted with delight, but also with humility: "It's a dream that's coming true. I've worked long and hard for it, but I also know that I haven't achieved anything yet," he said.
Bayern professional Sané, defense chief Rüdiger (Real Madrid) and Dortmund's Süle were not sorted out, Flick assured credibly. He had also emphasized the same with Thomas Müller (33) and Ilkay Gündogan (32), whose international break at the new start had already been determined. "It has nothing to do with performance. I think everyone we've left out now has tremendous quality and is good for us," said Flick.
Nevertheless, he sets an example with the first squad in 2023. Only 15 out of 26 Qatari riders were reinvited. Four returnees join the newcomers. In addition to goalkeeper Bernd Leno for the injured captain Manuel Neuer, there are Timo Werner and super talent Florian Wirtz, who were injured at the World Cup, and unexpectedly Dortmund's Emre Can (29).
Kimmich leads the DFB-Elf as captain
Every player has to earn the home tournament in the summer of 2024 with top performance and passion in the national jersey. Sané, Rüdiger and Süle should use time in their clubs "by training and recharging the battery". Other candidates can show themselves against Peru and Belgium in their positions, in defense, for example, Matthias Ginter from Freiburg, who was explicitly mentioned by Flick. Of course, it won't work entirely without established players. Bayern professional Joshua Kimmich (28) will lead the younger team as captain. And Marc-André ter Stegen (30) should represent the injured Neuer in both test games.
"A team thrives on a stable core. But new influences are also important," said Flick. At the same time, he knows that only lasting success and attractive football can trigger a change in mood among the fans. "When you win, you have more confidence in your quality. Every win is valuable," said the 58-year-old, who wants to form a "strong" team by the opening game of the European Championship on June 14, 2024 in Munich.
Flick wants to implement his lessons from the World Cup consistently. The level of expectation of the players in the sporting field is to "tear apart" in every international match. The national coach no longer wants to tolerate disturbances such as the annoying captain's armband debate: "It must not be the case that these things are the focus again," he said of the negative experiences in Qatar. He calls for a solidarity in Germany: "We should make sure that we play a good EM."