Ralf Rangnick sat on the podium in the media room of Vienna’s Ernst Happel Stadium on Monday afternoon and immediately caused the first laugh. When asked how often he had recently been asked about the significance of the game between Austria and Germany (Tuesday, 8:45 p.m./live on ZDF), he replied briefly and succinctly: “Often.” Radio silence, no further explanation from the German team boss of Austrian football -Selection. Only when asked did he admit that this duel was interesting and exciting for him personally, but that it was a special game.
The 65-year-old skillfully moderated the questions from the German media, sometimes even letting them go nowhere. What were the discussions with the DFB like after Hansi Flick was expelled? Rangnick brushes off the topic: “There were never any discussions. I chose Austria back then and everything has been going in the right direction since then.”
He also didn’t get involved in the game of who would be the favorite on Tuesday evening in the Vienna Prater or whether Austria should currently be placed above Germany. ÖFB captain David Alaba sat next to him, smiled and was careful not to make a statement that could be used against him.
And so the Real Madrid professional got around the balance of power verbally in a routine and skillful way: “We don’t need to hide from any opponents. Germany has world-class individual players and absolutely the potential to play successful football at the European Championships. Even if the results weren’t that good.” No word that Austria might be favorites for the first time at home in Vienna in front of their home crowd. What headline would that have made?!
There are many personal contacts between players and coaches from both nations
The one-two between Alaba and Rangnick worked. The team boss pointed out that over the past 18 months they had proven that they could keep up with strong nations and act on an equal footing. Like against France, Croatia or exactly a year ago in Vienna when they beat European champions Italy in a test. This time too, the European Championship starter would like to end the international year on a positive note.
What is special about this encounter is the many personal contacts between players and coaches from both nations. Rangnick once brought Germany’s national coach Julian Nagelsmann to Leipzig because he was convinced of his game idea. You know each other. “I kept in touch with Julian after that, but not since he became national coach.” There will also be little time for gossip around the game on Tuesday.
“There were never any discussions with the DFB. I chose Austria back then and everything has been going in the right direction since then.
David Alaba is looking forward to seeing Antonio Rüdiger again, with whom he defends shoulder-to-shoulder for Real Madrid. “Of course I have been in contact with him in the last few days, and also with other Bayern Munich players.”
David Alaba praises Antonio Rüdiger, who first defended at Real Madrid
He sees Rüdiger as head of defense for the Germans, with Alaba himself taking on this role at Real Madrid. “He impresses with his style, his presence and aggressiveness. He reads a game well and opens the game well.” Alaba didn’t say a negative word to his teammate or opponent on Tuesday.
Ralf Rangnick is concerned with the development of the team; a game against Germany will provide further information in this regard before the draw for the European Championships on December 2nd in Hamburg. Austria is drawn from pot 2. “When I look at some of the nations in the top three, I don’t know whether that’s an advantage,” Rangnick shows little euphoria. “We still have five tests before the Euro, the one against Germany is the first.” And possibly the most explosive.