Hans-Dieter Flick, known as Hansi, has been the national coach of the German national soccer team for almost nine months. It really cannot be said that fate played badly on him during this time. On Saturday evening, in the friendly against Israel, things went perfectly again, even if Flick’s feelings were different shortly before the end of the game. At that point, a powerful anger welled up in him.
The anger about an unnecessary dropout of the young Nico Schlotterbeck from Freiburg, who made his debut for the national team in Sinsheim. All in all, it was a convincing first time – at least until injury time. That’s when Schlotterbeck fell into a kind of microsleep. When he woke up, his opponent Yonatan Cohen was lying on the pitch and there were penalties awarded to the Israel national team.
You learn from damage, they say, and in that respect it could hardly have gone better for Flick, for Schlotterbeck and for the entire team in terms of learning effects. “At a World Cup, something like that can be deadly in the 90th minute,” said the national coach about the Freiburg defender’s penalty-worthy kick at the foot of his Israeli opponent.
Flick had already reported in the run-up to the game that the 22-year-old Schlotterbeck tended to be lazy with all the good things. “He always wants to have the ball and acts very confidently. I like that,” said the national coach. “But sometimes he takes it easy again. We are working on that.” Schlotterbeck should have become aware of the necessity again on Saturday evening. “It was just bad in the situation,” he admitted.
Eighth win in eight games under Flick
The fact that Flick was quite merciful in retrospect was because the fouled Cohen failed with his penalty kick to goalkeeper Kevin Trapp; that it remained a 2-0 win for the German team and that in the eighth game under Flick they not only left the field as the winner for the eighth time, but also did not concede a goal for the sixth time.
The stain on Schotterbeck’s performance was easy to brush out and only had a limited impact on the positive overall impression. “He was very present. He was active,” said Hansi Flick. “He can be satisfied with his debut.” And he can have hopes of becoming an integral part of the national team sooner or later.
In terms of personnel, Flick had to improvise a lot due to various absences, and his nomination practice for the two friendlies against Israel and Holland (on Tuesday in Amsterdam) could basically be understood as a competition between two contradictory principles: forward to the past versus back to the future. The result was quite clear.
Two old acquaintances appeared in the starting XI against Israel, who hadn’t been seen for a long time. And which, to be honest, was not missed too much. Julian Draxler played in attacking right midfield, Julian Weigl as a six in front of the defence. Both left the Bundesliga some time ago and thus took a little out of the focus of the German public. At Weigl, five years had passed since the last of his five international matches.
David Raum showed how fast things can go
After a good hour, he made room for Anton Stach, another debutant who the general public probably had just as little on the screen as Weigl. Stach, 23, has been with Mainz 05 since this season and still has very little experience from 21 Bundesliga appearances. He is also at home in defensive midfield, but interprets the role fundamentally differently than Weigl, namely dynamic, offensive, with youthful momentum.
Stach and Schlotterbeck won the European Championship title with the German U21s in the summer. Together with David Raum, who is already a step ahead of his former colleagues. The TSG Hoffenheim left-back played his fourth international match in Sinsheim and was the most conspicuous player on the pitch, and not just because of his corner that made it 1-0.
Like Stach, Raum switched from promoted Greuther Fürth to the Bundesliga in the summer. When he was first nominated for the national team, many were still surprised. There can be no more talk of that. With his attacking interpretation of the full-back position, David Raum has become one of the attractions of the Bundesliga. And a role model for his contemporaries Anton Stach and Nico Schlotterbeck.