National team: Nations League: Flick wants group victory for EM touchstone

When Hansi Flick gathers the national soccer team at the team hotel in Gravenbruch near Frankfurt today, the focus is already on the soccer World Cup in Qatar.

National team: Nations League: Flick wants group victory for EM touchstone

When Hansi Flick gathers the national soccer team at the team hotel in Gravenbruch near Frankfurt today, the focus is already on the soccer World Cup in Qatar.

Exactly eight weeks before leaving for the Arabian Gulf, the national coach regards the final group games in the Nations League as his tournament dress rehearsal. "That's why we have to go into tournament mode now and be there from the start," said Flick.

The game against Hungary on Friday in Leipzig and the classic three days later at London's Wembley Stadium against England are also of great importance for the national coach beyond the World Cup. Flick is already thinking about the intermediate year 2023. Then Germany, as the host qualified for the EM 2024, will not have any compulsory games - unless you reach the Nations League final in June.

Final Four in the summer as a goal

"We have set ourselves the goal of playing the Final Four in the summer because it would be a great achievement for us to get through the group stage first. But it would also be the only two competitive games we would have then. So it would be all the better, all the more important, to get into the Final Four," he said.

With six points, the national team is in second place in Group 3 of League A, one point behind surprise leaders Hungary. With victories against Hungary and England, first place would be certain. Only the group winner qualifies for the final tournament that Flick is aiming for as the touchstone of the European Championship.

Henrichs nominated after Reus failure

According to the current status, the opponents would be the other leaders from Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands, who would then also be the hosts. So far, the DFB selection had always missed the Final Four of the Nations League. In 2018, bottom of the table, only a change in mode prevented the embarrassing relegation to the B-League. In 2020, after the 0: 6 in Spain, it was only enough for second place in the group.

After the absence of BVB captain Marco Reus due to an ankle injury suffered in the derby against Schalke 04, Flick nominated Benjamin Henrichs from RB Leipzig and thus again has 24 players in his squad for the upcoming games. At the World Cup from November 20th to December 18th in Qatar, Flick can call up 26 players to his tournament squad.

Upcoming games are groundbreaking for the World Cup

"It would be a prestige for us, it would be a notification and a build-up of self-confidence, this success would do the team good," said the DFB director when the national soccer players arrived at the team headquarters in Gravenbruch near Frankfurt.

The preparations for the games on Friday in Leipzig against Hungary and next Monday in London against England are groundbreaking for Bierhoff for the World Cup in Qatar. "These are the last impressions we can get of having the team together, so these will be very focused, concentrated days," said the 54-year-old.

Regardless of the World Cup countdown, success in the Nations League is important in the future. "We're not taking part in the 2023 European Championship qualifier because we're hosting in 2024, so a competition with high-quality opponents in the Final Four in the summer would be extremely important for us," said Bierhoff. Flick had previously announced first place as the goal.

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