Germany ended what has been a terrible year for the national team with another defeat against Austria. Against their neighbours, they were thoroughly played off the park in a 2-0 loss in Vienna after goals from Marcel Sabitzer and Christoph Baumgartner.
Speaking to the media, Julian Nagelsmann looks back at the international break and where Germany can improve once they meet again in March.
First, Nagelsmann discussed what he told the player after their loss on Tuesday evening: “The first (message) was: I have the impression that we are a very closed community outside the pitch with an incredibly good cooperation. I have never trained a team that was so good at dealing with it. What we do not succeed in is that we can manage the transfer to the field. I don’t have a parade solution yet. I have the feeling that we are too many lone fighters, everyone is busy with themselves.” Nagelsmann added his second message: “The great strength of the team is game control, offensive football. But if we have absurd ball losses like in the first half, we have a lot to defend – and we just have problems there. Our game lecture is too slow, too undynamic.” While the final message from the Germany coach was: “I want to get out of the victim role, that doesn’t help. We have caring fans and a critical media landscape. But it’s about the players accepting that they can’t get out of there with a little kicking. That we have to work even more. That we get away from the fact that everyone is great footballers, but we have to come over emotion and mentality.”
Nagelsmann then doubled down that he did not regret taking the national team job despite the short space of time before the Euros and overall poor performance, the head coach said: “No, I didn’t regret it, I enjoy it. We have to work our way out of it, with everything we have. This will not be so easy for the next three and a half months. I’m sad, but not frustrated. The defeats hurt. I’m in Austria more often and I don’t feel like everyone talks to me about it. We have to arouse emotions, but that’s not about the palaver, only through performance.”
One of the major talking points of this international break was Nagelsmann’s tactical decision such as Kai Havertz at left-back and Joshua Kimmich on the bench. On his decision-making, Nagelsmann noted: “You don’t bang an idea on a team, you look at what kind of players you have. And then you see which solutions make it better around it. We decided on one way – also in consultation with the team – and played the same in all games, only with two or three changes in the starting eleven. Do I throw everything over in March and only adjust it to the opponent? I have to think about that.”
Finally, Nagelsmann has expressed a need for more workers in his team and the coach emphasised that point: “We already have some in the squad. Leon Goretzka hit his way, Robert Andrich played great, and Grischa Prömel is exactly the distinguishing, he became a professional just because of that. Pascal Groß is the parade man for this, I have rarely seen a professional who doesn’t take himself so seriously. Jo Kimmich is also one who throws himself fully into it. We have a few.” He added: “When you see all the talents we have, all the wizards – they do it normally if it hasn’t been going the way it has been going for years. Maybe we have to do without two percentage points of talent and throw in two more “workers”.”
Germany’s national team will meet again in March meaning they will have at least two more games to try and improve their performances ahead of the European Championship’s opening game in Munich next summer.
In 2023, Germany only won three of their friendlies against Peru, France and the USA and came up short against the other teams that they arguably should have beaten.
GGFN | Jack Meenan