Hans Flick dares something new - and is happy with it. In the direction of the European Football Championship, the national coach wants to present six fresh faces to the fans of the national team in the test international matches against Peru on Saturday (8.45 p.m. / ZDF) and then in Cologne against Belgium.
Since the beginning of the week, the sextet from Augsburg's Mergim Berisha to Dortmund's Marius Wolf has been able to prove itself in the training sessions for the debut on the Frankfurt DFB campus. And Flick expressed his delight.
"It's refreshing," said the 58-year-old on the appearance of the new players who brought "new energy" to the group. "The newcomers have already stepped on the gas, as you would imagine," said captain Joshua Kimmich. "The boys are in the mood," as the experienced Dortmunder Emre Can recognized. The six newcomers at a glance:
Mergim Berisha (24/FC Augsburg/attack)
The U21 European champion of 2021 can start in the national team with jersey number 13, which Thomas Müller wore for years. As an opponent of the Bayern professional, Berisha recently scored two goals for FC Augsburg in Munich in a 3-5 win - and that in front of the national coach. During the training of the DFB team, Berisha also showed "that he can score goals," praised Flick. That's why he invited him as a striker alongside Niclas Füllkrug and Timo Werner. "I want to present myself from the best side," said Berisha. Eight goals this season in the Bundesliga are his recommendation.
Felix Nmecha (22/VfL Wolfsburg/midfield)
Nmecha? The name is not new to the national team. Lukas Nmecha, Felix's brother who is two years older and a striker at VfL Wolfsburg, has already played seven international matches. Now little Nmecha gets a chance. Born in Hamburg, he moved to England with his family as a child and trained as a professional footballer at Manchester City. Under-21 coach Antonio Di Salvo sees him as a "good liaison player" between defense and offense.
Kevin Schade (21/Brentford FC/attack)
Fast as an arrow, good at finishing, versatile - the U21 national player is considered a promising attack for the future. Schade can be used on the wing and also in the center of the attack. The German-Nigerian moved to the English Premier League from SC Freiburg to FC Brentford on loan in January. 25 million euros are due in the summer as a purchase price. Schade was surprised himself by his appointment. "A childhood dream" comes true for him, "the highest thing there is".
Malick Thiaw (21/AC Milan/defense)
Armel Bella Kotchap's shoulder injury meant Thiaw was promoted from the U21s to the senior squad at short notice. The 1.94 meter tall central defender switched from Schalke to AC Milan last summer. He has been a regular in the Champions League quarter-finalists for a few weeks. "You can tell that he has taken the next step," praised Flick after this week's training impressions. Thiaw is strong in the air and is considered a one-on-one monster. He is a fixture in Antonio Di Salvo's team for this summer's U21 European Championship.
Josha Vagnoman (22/VfB Stuttgart/defense)
This nomination surprised everyone - including Vagnoman himself. The 22-year-old was injured for a long time and is currently not even a regular player at VfB Stuttgart. Flick therefore justified the invitation more with Vagnoman's potential. This interprets the game on the defensive flank "very modern". Flick believes that Vagnoman could "give a lot" to the national team in the future.
Marius Wolf (27/Borussia Dortmund/defense)
Marius Wolf is by far the oldest, but also the most experienced professional among the newcomers. And he is an immediate candidate for the starting XI against Peru. Flick attests the 27-year-old "a lot of speed and dynamism on the flank". Anyone who is first choice for Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund is also an option for the national team. Especially since the right side of defense is considered a problem position. Wolf's greatest quality: he always gives his all. He calls himself "Mister 100 percent".