Speaking to Kicker, Rudi Völler discussed Germany’s trip to the USA, Julian Nagelsmann’s first games in charge of Die Mannschaft, and the upcoming European Championships next summer.
It’s been a turbulent time to say the least, for the German national team over the past few months. However, following Hanis Flick’s sacking, Völler steaded the ship by beating France 2-1.
Asked if he feels there is more clarity and concentration surrounding the national team, the 63-year-old explained: “More than clarity and concentration, it helps us when we win games, and the success against the French was very important after the previous games without a win, when public opinion was already really in the basement. Now not everything is suddenly good again, but the basic mood is different again and hopefully it will get even better.”
Germany have travelled to the USA this week to face the States and Mexico in friendlies. The trip has been publicly criticised by players such as Niklas Süle, as they already have busy schedules with their clubs. Völler thinks of it in a different way.
“ My very first reflex when I started back at the DFB was: Does this have to be the case? But if you think a little further, then it makes sense that we and the national team would show up in America again before the 2026 World Cup. A tour like this can also bring a group together, which is even more true after the change of coach. And maybe it will help everyone involved that the hype will be a little less. I don’t want to sugarcoat the whole thing, but it does have a few small advantages. And as far as the travel stress is concerned: it’s not that dramatic. For many years in Leverkusen, I saw that our South Americans flew over at almost every international break.”
It’s no surprise that Völler also believes that Nagelsmann is the right fit for the job despite a lack of experience at this level.
“ I couldn’t understand the discussions about his supposed lack of experience. He was a coach in Hoffenheim, Leipzig and at Bayern Munich and gained a lot of experience there. Well, things didn’t end so well in Munich, but what he achieved in his previous stops was sensational. His ability to get people excited, coupled with his football skills and his ability to read games, make him an exceptional coach and a stroke of luck for us.”
Though these are just friendlies, make no mistake, it’s vital for Nagelsmann to hit the ground running. If fans back home see similar mistakes whilst Flick was in charge, the appetite for a home Euros will lessen even further. The USA and Mexico both have solid teams, but they are tests that Die Mannschaft will be expected to have the answers.
GGFN | Jamie Allen