Hansi Flick on Spain clash: “It feels like a final for us.”

Ahead of Germany’s must-win game against Spain on Sunday evening, Hansi Flick spoke to the media about who may start on Sunday, the Spain team, and their mindset heading into this important game. 

Flick first spoke about the team’s mindset with their chances of qualifying out of the group at risk: “Tomorrow, we will see a team who know what is at stake – a team that will do everything they can in order to make sure that we still have a chance of reaching the round of 16. Our focus is fully on tomorrow’s game. It feels like a first final for us at the World Cup.”

The 57-year-old also gave an update on Leroy Sané and the situation with the starting 11: “We need to wait and see how Leroy feels after the final training session. He will be able to take part, which is good news. Our medical department have done a great job.” 

Sané missed the Japan game with a knee injury but returned to training this week. Flick also mentioned his choosing of the starting XI: “I’m not worried, but there’s several positions I still have to fill. That shows the quality we have in our squad. I will wait for our final training session and sleep on it for one more night. I’ll know more tomorrow morning.”

After their shock 2-1 loss to Japan in the opener, Flick spoke on the defensive lapses which caused Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano to score for Japan: “It was important that we make clear to the players where we made mistakes against Japan. We made several mistakes and have addressed them. We believe in our philosophy and how we want to play football, and hope that we will do better tomorrow.

“We know that we create gaps for our opponents when we don’t play our best, like against Japan. It was a tough defeat, because it could have been avoided, but we will continue on. We’re confident that the team have the quality needed, and are staying positive.”

Flick also spoke on Spain as a role model, how they may beat them, and Luis Enrique. Flick was only positive about the model Spain has adopted “In terms of player development, German football can learn a lot from Spain, especially in terms of technical ability and tactics. I’m very happy with the team that I have the privilege of training.” 

Flick also opened up about how Germany could beat Spain: “It will be important that we win our one-v-ones. We will need to be fully invested and deliver our best performance. Spain have been playing their 4-3-3 for a while now, regardless of their opponents, and are very familiar with it. We have a plan and hope that we will be able to implement it tomorrow.”

While finally he also spoke on Luis Enrique: “I have a lot of respect for Luis Enrique. We’ve met a few times before, and it was always fun to speak to him. He has put together a young squad with immense talent. His team know each other well and in Sergio Busquets they have a player who is really the heart of the team. The talent that Pedri and Gavi have displayed at their young age is really fantastic. Both have been really well taught and their development at Barcelona has been strong. We’re looking forward to the game tomorrow.”

Finally, the German manager also talked about their time in the camp so far: “There are plenty of opportunities for the players to come together and talk. I’m also talking to them a lot, so that everyone knows what they need to do against a tough opponent. We will do more of that in the coming hours.”

Germany faces a Spain team who beat Costa Rica 7-0 in their opening game, while Germany lost 2-1 to Japan. This means if Germany does not win their chances of qualifying out of the group are all but over which would mean for a second World Cup in a row they have failed.

GGFN | Jack Meenan

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