Berlin, March 22 (IANS) With only eight months to go until the 2022 World Cup kick-off, Hansi Flick is increasing the pressure on the German team.
The 57-year-old is demanding the full fitness of all of his players. The German coach spoke of winning the Qatar tournament as his goal.
“It’s important to have players around able to deliver top quality every three to four days,” the German national coach demanded ahead of two friendlies against Israel this Saturday in Sinsheim and the Netherlands next Tuesday in Amsterdam.
Flick spoke about the upcoming Nations League games in the summer as a sort of deadline. Until then, the former Bayern midfielder demanded, robustness must be proved.
From June until September, the 2014 world champion will be facing top sides such as Italy and England aside from underdog Hungary in the Nations League.
“Every player is asked to work on his technique-tactical skills and, not less important, on his physics,” the 2020 Bayern treble winner added.
To deliver a satisfying tournament at the World Cup in Qatar in November and December this year, Flick called it inevitable to be fully fit, reports Xinhua.
While the German coach announced to use the upcoming friendlies as test games for potential candidates, the Nations League will be a stress test for the four-time world champion.
The upcoming months will provide a clear picture of the German team’s strength, Flick said.
At present, the German team’s level remains uncertain as Flick’s first seven games in charge only give an unclear picture of the quality stage.
Seven victories aside from a goal difference of 31-2 goals were mostly achieved against weaker football nations located far from the top countries in the FIFA ranking. Romania, ranked 47th, was the highest-ranked team Germany faced.
Flick spoke about a promising start after he took over a struggling squad from his predecessor Joachim Loew.
Flick called the Nations League “a yardstick” regarding the 2022 World Cup.
The German coach’s most pressing issues seem the attacking line and the back-row.
The German side is lacking a centre forward as Chelsea’s Timo Werner is facing a crisis and teammate Kai Havertz is far from a box-striker.
Dortmund striker Marco Reus will have to prove his robustness after a series of injuries, while Borussia defender Mats Hummels has only minor changes to make it into the country’s World Cup squad.
Testing has to end in summer with the Nations League as Flick can’t afford to enter the final stages of the World Cup preparations having to deal with further disappointments.
Ahead of the friendlies against Israel and the Netherlands, Flick has to replace established forces such as Niklas Sule, Leon Goretzka (Bayern), Marco Reus (Dortmund), Karim Adeyemi (Salzburg), Florian Wirtz (Leverkusen) due to injuries, and Bayern midfielder Joshua Kimmich (expecting his third child).
The losses forced Flick to change his plans and continue testing which provides a chance for Benfica player Julian Weigel to show his skills.