After the third failed attempt, Timo Werner shuffled away with his head hanging. Missed once, straddled twice. That was the striker's unsatisfactory scoring chances record in the training of the national soccer team in Frankfurt.
Werner had freed himself at high speed and then didn't hit the goal. What the numerous critics of the German number 9 could provide arguments, Hansi Flick may not worry too much.
The national coach believes in the qualities of his top attacker - even if there is a lack of alternatives. "He always creates chances in front of goal. He skilfully frees himself," said Flick before the Nations League game on Friday (8.45 p.m. / ZDF) in Leipzig against Hungary.
Flick warns: "Players have to secure World Cup form"
Leipzig. That should be the magic word for Werner when he returned from Chelsea to his ex-club RB in August before the second Bundesliga matchday. Finally leaving frustration and sadness behind as a supplementary player in London, especially with a view to the World Cup in Qatar. That was the hope. The change approved by Flick has not yet paid off for 26-year-old Werner. A goal in six games in the club jersey is unsatisfactory for the striker himself.
Everyone - not just Werner - must ensure the World Cup form in the club in the coming weeks, warned Flick. The national coach's personal assignment to Werner is: "It would be good for him and for us to improve the efficiency of the finals in the weeks leading up to the World Cup." Werner has not yet scored a goal at a World Cup or European Championship.
The DFB-Elf lacks a classic striker
The national coach has to deal with the fact that classic strikers like Poland's Robert Lewandowski or England's Harry Kane don't currently exist in Germany. A flaw that Bayern professional Joshua Kimmich does not want to overestimate. "We have a nine in Timo. We have Kai (Havertz), who also plays up front in his club, and we also have another striker in Lukas (Nmecha). We already have many opportunities," said the Bayern professional.
Which calms Flick. The numbers speak for Werner. He has scored eight goals in eleven games in the past 13 months as national coach. More than anyone. In total, Werner has 24 goals in 53 appearances in the DFB jersey, which is also a very good number. 20 of those hits came in competitive games - that is, when it mattered.
In 2017, Werner's star striker rose internationally. When he won the Confederations Cup in Russia, he received the Golden Boot as the best attacker. A legitimate successor to DFB and World Cup record scorer Miroslav Klose seemed to have been found. But in the big tournaments, Werner is still zero. No World Cup goal 2018 in Russia. No EM goal last year in Munich and London. That is about to change in Qatar.