World Cup qualification: DFB selection under Hansi Flick wins 2:0 over Liechtenstein

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Jeff Horseman
Jeff Horseman
Jeff Horseman got into journalism because he liked to write and stunk at math. He grew up in Vermont and he honed his interviewing skills as a supermarket cashier by asking Bernie Sanders “Paper or plastic?” After graduating from Syracuse University in 1999, Jeff began his journalistic odyssey at The Watertown Daily Times in upstate New York, where he impressed then-U.S. Senate candidate Hillary Clinton so much she called him “John” at the end of an interview. From there, he went to Annapolis, Maryland, where he covered city, county and state government at The Capital newspaper. Today, Jeff writes about anything and everything. Along the way, Jeff has covered wildfires, a tropical storm, 9/11 and the Dec. 2 terror attack in San Bernardino. If you have a question or story idea about politics or the inner workings of government, please let Jeff know. He’ll do his best to answer, even if it involves a little math.

World Cup Qualification
Lackluster, but victorious: DFB selection under Hansi Flick beats Liechtenstein 2:0

German coach Hansi Flick gives instructions during the game

The debut of the new national coach Hansi Flick has been successful – albeit not very spectacular

© Sven Hoppe / DPA

On his debut, Hansi Flick comes against outsiders Liechtenstein only to a 2:0-enthusiasm did not arise. The DFB selection simply does not play necessarily enough.

Football fun does not fall from the sky – not even with Hansi Flick: Just over two months after the big European Championship disappointment, the national team missed the firmly scheduled goal festival at the tough international premiere of the new national coach. Against the solid defensive bulwark of the great outsider Liechtenstein, the DFB-Elf in the World Cup qualifiers on Thursday evening despite 90 minutes of continuous attack beyond a thin 2:0 (1:0) did not get beyond.

No new start at the push of a button

“Of course, we have already planned to score more goals,” said substitute captain Joshua Kimmich at RTL. “We really struggled. It was a funny game, a difficult game, because the opponent defended very, very deeply. We had a few options, the very thick things are missing.”

Timo Werner (41. Minute) and Leroy Sané (77.) scored in front of 7958 Spectators the goals to the never endangered and yet by no means befitting victory against the number 189 of the FIFA world ranking in the Swiss St. Gallen. In view of the pure defensive strategy of the opponent, the game did not have greater significance for Flick’s big goals towards the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

However, the former Bayern title collector now knows: The new start of the national team does not succeed at the push of a button. The next test is already on Sunday with the top game in Group J against Armenia in Stuttgart. Then the first place necessary for the direct ticket should also be conquered.

Only four players from the round of 16 in the starting eleven

Flick had walked along the stands in white sneakers before kick-off. The numerous represented fans in Germany jerseys celebrated him with”Hansi” shouts and applause. Smiling, the national coach waved towards supporters. Unwelcome parallel to the disappointment of Wembley was only the anthem of Liechtenstein. “Oben am jungen Rhein” has the same melody as England’s “God save the Queen”. Without the injured Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller, only four players were left in the starting lineup from the round of 16-one of them was Kimmich as captain in his 60th international match.

The Bayern midfield driver checked Liechtenstein goalkeeper Benjamin Büchel (4.) right at the beginning, who should have a busy evening ahead of him. Werner also failed first at the keeper (7.). However, the DFB selection had trouble finding the gap in the dense Liechtenstein defense. Their national coach Martin Stocklasa ordered almost all players to their own penalty area. The header from Robin Gosens to the post (18.) was one of the few other German chances of the first half hour.

In training, Flick had said before the kick-off at RTL, his players had “already thrilled”him. In the game, the start-up difficulties in the first half were still good to see. The highly motivated offensive around Werner, Leroy Sané, Kai Havertz and starting eleven-debutant Musiala pushed into the penalty area – but often stood in each other’s way there. On the sidelines, Flick slowly became impatient. The 56-year – old demanded more movement-and then clapped vigorously when Musiala fulfilled his wish.

The 18-year-old calmly started dribbling at the penalty area, drew several opponents on himself and stuck through to Werner, who took the speed with him and scored his 17th international goal. An embarrassing zero number at half-time against the lower-class opponent was thus averted.

Reus celebrates DFB comeback

The DFB defense, in which Thilo Kehrer celebrated his comeback after a one-year DFB break, hardly had to defuse an attack as expected. The attempt of Aron Sele from a good 35 meters cheered the spectators, but also went far past (30.). In the other two games against Armenia and on Wednesday on Iceland Flick will certainly rotate-Champions League winner Antonio Rüdiger sat only on the bench on Thursday night. It’s also “about load control,” Flick said.

Bayern leader Müller, whom Flick also highly appreciates for his moments of surprise, will definitely be missing due to problems on his left thigh. Without the Rio World Champion, the Flick eleven needed several attempts even after the break to get to their still few compelling chances. And Liechtenstein had Büchel, who also parried Gundogan brilliantly (58.).

After one hour Flick changed three times in his less effective selection: Serge Gnabry came for Havertz, Jonas Hofmann for Ridle Baku, and Marco Reus celebrated his DFB comeback with the substitution for Musiala. Leon Goretzka also came into the game (for Gundogan/73.), before Reus hit the outside net (73.). Only Sané increased again when a bit of pace came into play. The Bayern professional freed himself with a quick body deception and scored his eighth international goal. Shortly before the end came top talent Florian Wirtz and became the first debutant under Flick (82.).


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