Immediately after landing in London, Hansi Flick and his hopeful Jamal Musiala were drawn to the pitch at Wembley Stadium.
The national coach wanted to soak up this special atmosphere in England's soccer temple on a short tour. "It's one of the most beautiful stadiums in the world," said Flick - but there was no time for more enthusiasm.
"We have a bit of work to do. We want to show that on the pitch tomorrow," said Flick in a fine, black DFB suit with the four world champion stars on his jacket before the disappointed duel in the Nations League with England on Monday ( 8.45 p.m. / RTL). An encouragement for Qatar is urgently needed after the first defeat of his term against Hungary.
During the national team's final training session in the Leipzig stadium in the morning, he and Oliver Bierhoff put their heads together. After the frustrating bankruptcy in Hungary, Flick still had a lot to talk about with the DFB director. Especially in Flick's focus: FC Bayern's winless block, which is also weakening in the Germany jersey.
Flick knows exactly before the duel on Monday evening (8.45 p.m. / RTL) with the Nations League relegated England: He needs his Munich team around Joshua Kimmich and also magic dribbler Musiala in winning form. And fast. In the sobering 1-0 draw against Hungary, substitute captain Thomas Müller and Serge Gnabry in particular revealed inexplicable shortcomings.
Another setback against the Three Lions and the first crisis under Flick as national coach could no longer be denied. And that seven weeks before the World Cup departure. "It's always important when you win because it gives the team confidence, especially against opponents like England," said Flick.
Bierhoff: "We want reparations"
Bierhoff also pushed for a positive effect: "We want to make amends, find our game and of course gain trust," he said. "We have to believe in ourselves more. And a game like this against Hungary doesn't help there. We have to make sure that we survive against the English and also implement the things that the coaches ask for," was the DFB director's appeal .
The DFB leadership cleared up the question of World Cup bonuses before the trip to England. Every national player would receive 400,000 euros for the World Cup title. "An acceptable solution," said DFB President Bernd Neuendorf. In order to collect the rich bonuses, the DFB team will have to improve significantly.
Kimmich couldn't explain what was going on against Hungary either. The 27-year-old did not want to accept a connection between Bayern frustration and DFB lethargy. "In general, everyone should go onto the pitch with a certain amount of self-confidence. It doesn't matter whether we lost or won a game beforehand. For me, I tick off the last game and go onto the pitch with confidence," said Kimmich. Self-confidence, that was also the term Bierhoff used in an almost inflationary manner.
Just one win from the last six games
The verbal shield that Flick put up served a purpose. The negative focus shouldn't be on the team, shouldn't develop oversize that puffs up into a shadow of the World Cup. Flick senses how quickly the general football climate can change. Eight wins in a row, 13 games unbeaten. The statistics of his first year as DFB head coach are suddenly worthless.
Now the balance is: only one win from the last six games, always conceding at least one goal and an anemic performance against courageous Hungarians, who are not even qualified for the tournament in Qatar. The fifth world title just before Christmas seems like a grandiose goal. Even if Bierhoff sticks to his ambitions. "The goal remains. Of course, after this game you will say, how can you say that. But we are also starting from scratch at the tournament," said the DFB director.
DFB-Elf wants revenge for the EM against England
In England there is also revenge for the EM in the round of 16 a year ago, which sealed the end of Joachim Löw's era as national coach. Flick can count on self-critical players. "We definitely have a lot to do. We have to do more," said Antonio Rüdiger, who was suspended after his second yellow card in the competition.
Despite all the disappointment: the national coach will not throw everything overboard. "The time for experiments is over," he said. What is meant by this is the tactics, not the personnel. Flick did not reveal many details. What is certain is that Musiala will play in his old English homeland and that Marc-André ter Stegen will again guard the goal. Nico Schlotterbeck should move into the defensive line for the suspended Rüdiger.
The exciting question is: who does Flick demote from his offensive quartet, which is dominated by Bayern professionals? Will Kai Havertz join the starting XI like Musiala? Then Flick has to make tricky decisions. Thomas Müller? Leroy Sane? Serge Gnabry? Or Leipzig's Timo Werner? Who has to make way for Qatar in the World Cup dress rehearsal?
The expected lineups:
England: Ramsdale (Arsenal/24 years/3 internationals) - Walker (Manchester City/32/69), Stones (Manchester City/28/59), Maguire (Manchester United/29/47) - Trippier (Newcastle United/32 /37, Rice (West Ham United/23/33), Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund/19/16), Chilwell (Chelsea FC/25/17) - Mount (Chelsea FC/FC Chelsea/23/31) - Kane (Tottenham Hotspurt /29/74), Sterling (Chelsea/27/78)
Germany: Ter Stegen (FC Barcelona/30/29) - Kehrer (West Ham United/26/21), Süle (Borussia Dortmund/27/41), Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund/22/4), Gosens (Inter Milan/28 /13) - Kimmich (FC Bayern Munich/27/69), Gündogan (Manchester City/31/61) - Müller (FC Bayern Munich/33/117), Musiala (FC Bayern Munich/19/16), Sané (FC Bayern Munich/26/46) - Havertz (Chelsea FC/23/29)
Referee: Danny Makkiele (Netherlands)