Leipzig (dpa) – Czech Republic, Ukraine, Spain: For the last international football matches of the year it is necessary to look back.
On November 19, 2019, the German national football team stormed to group victory in the European Championship qualification for the Netherlands with a Serge Gnabry show. 42,855 spectators cheered the newly formed DFB squad around triple goalscorer Gnabry in the 6: 1 against Northern Ireland and left the Frankfurt stadium in anticipation for a great 2020 European Championship tournament with three group matches in Munich.
Twelve months later, everything is different: the corona pandemic forced the EM to postpone it until summer 2021. And there is no more euphoria around the young DFB team for the test match in the evening (8.45 p.m. / RTL) in Leipzig. Joachim Löw’s team has been unbeaten for ten games, but after the break of Corona, there was only one victory in five games in addition to four draws. DFB director Oliver Bierhoff complains about a change in mood, although the new generation of highly talented kickers such as Gnabry, Sané or Havertz continues “with heart and soul” after the big change.
INITIAL SITUATION: For the Nations League match against Ukraine and Spain, national coach Löw will once again use a B-team consisting of newcomers and largely inexperienced players. And this raffled elf won’t have an audience to back them up, just see a message from the fans. In the Red Bull Arena, three words adorn the entire grandstand curve: “WE FOR YOU” is written in large white letters on a black, red and gold background. The players want to respond with achievement. “We want to represent our country well and play well – and win if possible,” said Ilkay Gundogan, who will probably be the captain.
STAFF: Just like in the wild 3: 3 against Turkey in October, Löw wants to test and experiment extensively again. Newcomers Philipp Max (PSV Einhoven), Felix Uduokhai (FC Augsburg) and Ridle Baku (VfL Wolfsburg) should make their debut in a team in which Gündogan, Antonio Rüdiger and Julian Brandt have the most routine. Robin Koch (Leeds United) and Luca Waldschmidt (Benfica Lisbon), who have moved abroad from SC Freiburg, can recommend themselves in defense or attack. Gladbach’s strong form Florian Neuhaus and Jonas Hofmann should also get another chance after their international debut in October. “It is absolutely worthwhile to place this confidence in the young players,” said Löw in front of his EM subjects.
GOALKEEPER: Since Manuel Neuer is only on the schedule for the league games against Ukraine and Spain, Kevin Trapp can be in goal against the Czechs. The stated goal of the 30-year-old is to go to the European Championship. “I want to perform and draw attention to myself,” said the goalkeeper of Eintracht Frankfurt. Trapp is hoping for a premiere in his fifth international match. “For my personal record, I would like to finally win a game,” said Trapp. After his debut in Denmark in 2017 (1: 1), he also scored the German goal against France (2: 2), Brazil (0: 1) and Spain (1: 1). “Those were nice pieces,” he said.
CZECH REPUBLIC: The corona-plagued Czechs have billeted themselves in strict isolation in a hotel next to Leipzig Central Station. The EM participant must be a real touchstone for the inexperienced and not well-rehearsed German B-team. “It is not a team that plays football fast, and not a team that plays its game through physical domination and dedication,” Löw said of the opponent, where Bremen goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka and Hertha professional Vladimir Darida are expected to start.