Hansi Flick spoke to the media ahead of Germany’s 1000th game against Ukraine in Bremen on Monday. The game is a charity game, with the proceeds helping those in need in Ukraine.
Flick spoke on how he felt being the coach of the 1000th international game: “When you take a step back, it’s a massive honour for me personally, because I’ve been present for over 10% of the games. Wolfgang Bunz, our physio, will be part of his 340th game tomorrow. We’re playing against a country where there is a lot of hardship, but we’re looking forward to the game, because we know they are a team who can play good football. We also want to do our bit so that everyone sees a fun game.”
The former Bayern coach then went into detail about the squad situation. First commenting on Germany’s midfield options: “We’re happy to have such a wealth of players. We’re in a process ahead of the EUROs, and we want to make use of these three games and take some points of improvement out of them. We’re playing a new formation, which is obviously not easy for the players, but we’re expecting the players to go past their limits and even suffer a bit. From now until June 14th 2024, every international game is for us to find our starting XI at the EUROs.” Flick then spoke on the status of some of the players: “Ilkay (Güdogan) and Robin Gosens will both arrive on June 14th. We’re looking at Timo’s situation from day to day – he’s slowly getting better, but we need to assess it daily. Josha Vagnoman and Youssoufa Moukoko will join the U21s today, they’ve done fantastically. They’ll have the opportunity to show that they’re rightfully international-standard players.”
Flick then gave insight into the starting lineup for tomorrow’s game: “Niclas will start tomorrow’s game, as long as everything goes to plan. He’s a player who does the team a lot of good and pushes them forward. We haven’t spoken about what might happen in the future.”
Finally, Flick also gave insight on why he chose to not Niklas Süle for the squad in this international break: “If we’re preparing for EURO 2024 here, then it’s important to have every player in top form. It’s crucial that everyone is at their limits – even in terms of fitness. That’s what we’re expecting from the players. Big tournaments often show that you can do your best work when the fitness is right. I like Niklas a lot and appreciate his qualities. He knows my thoughts, and I’ve said what’s needed to be said.”
The game against Ukraine will be Germany’s first of three friendlies this international break. Their second game is an away game against Poland on 16th June before then returning to Germany where they will play Colombia in Gelsenkirchen on 20th June to round off the international break. Germany will then resume their preparations for the 2024 European Championship in September against Japan.
GGFN | Jack Meenan