Let’s just stick to the facts. And they’re, well, pretty undecided. But the German national soccer team is now very familiar with that.
In the Nations League table, the team of national coach Hansi Flick is now ahead of England and Italy, the two European Championship finalists last year. On the one hand. On the other hand, Hungary, number 40 in the world, is apparently still too strong for the national team. The Hungarians lead the table of the German group.
For the moment, the Germans shouldn’t really care. The moment is shaped by the game with which the national team said goodbye to the summer break on Tuesday evening after a long season. From an intoxicating 5-2 victory against Italy, the former bogeyman. “It was important that we win this game,” said Hansi Flick.
With this victory, the national team put a big exclamation mark behind the national coach’s first season. Flick is 13 games behind and he is still undefeated. That reads well, but if you take a closer look you will also discover the footnote. Because after eight wins at the beginning of his tenure against small to medium-sized opponents, Flick and his team went four games without a win against the so-called big ones. This has significantly clouded his balance sheet.
Until Tuesday evening. The 5: 2 against the Italians has chased away the recurring doubts. “That was an important milestone for us,” said goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer. Flick spoke of a “real stress test for all of us”. Also for himself. And the team and coach passed this stress test. “We’re going on vacation with a great feeling,” said the national coach.
That the Italians are no longer the Italians of last summer is a gift. The feeling is important. The feeling of being on the right track. The feeling of being able to be satisfied again after years of mediocrity. But with a view to the World Cup in Advent, this feeling will still have to be backed up with facts. “We didn’t do everything perfectly,” said Hansi Flick after an evening on which his team had outclassed former nemesis Italy 5-2, “but we won’t talk about that today.”
Not today. But at some point for sure.