An the morning when the sporting prospects for the German national team are already brighter again, Marcus Sorg got up “with great joy”. Despite the game late Sunday evening, the assistant coach of the German Football Association does not look tired as he sits in the media room in al-Khor, where he has an appointment with the reporters in a video conference. He says he considers the 1-1 draw with Spain to be “a really outstanding achievement”. In other respects, too, he is not speaking at this moment like the member of the team who had been standing on the precipice less than 24 hours earlier.
But you should already put this asterisk on Sorg’s statements: The sporting prospects in Qatar, where Germany wants to become world champion, are friendlier mainly because Japan, who had duped Germany, lost 0-1 to Costa Rica.
On Thursday (8:00 p.m. CET in the FAZ live ticker for the soccer World Cup, on ARD and on MagentaTV), Germany can win with a win (if Japan loses against Spain) or a win with a two-goal difference (if Japan draws against Spain). progress. And so Marcus Sorg can confidently say this afternoon: “I think we can do our job. And the belief is that it will be enough.”
Is this optimism justified?
It is not only Sorg who is sitting in the German media room this Monday, but also Danny Röhl. He already assisted the national coach Hansi Flick in Munich – and now says in his first statement: “We can be very, very satisfied with the performance yesterday.”
And because both Sorg and Röhl formulate their statements very optimistically that they do not have their fate in their own hands, one may ask before the third German preliminary round game against Costa Rica: Is this optimism justified?
If Hansi Flick is the pilot of the German national team, Marcus Sorg and Danny Röhl, 56 and 33 years old, are his co-pilots. Every day they discuss with the German coaching team how they want to steer the team through the World Cup. That’s the interesting thing about this lunchtime: There are two people who can give an insight into the cockpit.
In the more than 20 minutes in which Sorg and Röhl answer, it’s about details, but also about principles. “A successful tournament,” says Sorg, “always has as a basic requirement that a team develops, that you always see progress from game to game.” And it has to be said: Compared to the opening game against Japan, there was one against Spain playful progress. Because probably the coaching team made progress.
In defense, Flick and his assistants relied on Thilo Kehrer instead of Nico Schlotterbeck, which allowed Kehrer to move to the right and Niklas Süle to move to central defence. In midfield they put on Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Ilkay Gündogan. Neither the one nor the other seems to be a solution that will work game after game (weaknesses were already revealed against Spain). But: “It is important,” says Röhl, “that we have taken a big step in our compactness – especially against the ball.” Looking at the duel with Costa Rica, he also said: “We probably need more solutions with the ball .”
That led to the details – and to the 83rd minute of the Spain game, when center forward Niclas Füllkrug shot the ball so hard in the penalty area that the ball, which is traditionally more associated with the Spaniards, couldn’t help but get into theirs gate to fly. A goal that many discussants will now use as an argument for having to play with a so-called target player. “The crucial thing is that you need players on the field who score goals,” says Sorg, but he doesn’t want to understand that as a plea for the centre-forward, who gives “one option or the other” but is not a “cure-all”. know: “The crucial thing is that we work on increasing the quality of the chances to score.”
How could that work? With a jug in the starting XI? With Leroy Sané? Maybe even with Mario Götze? These details will now be discussed. If you want to guess what is only being discussed and what is actually being implemented, you should consider another principle that Marcus Sorg will present this Monday. He points out that you have to know “what effect which player has at what point in time”. And that you also have to “build on what is based”, because: “It is about a certain structure, a certain stability, a certain security. And then security also comes from consistency.”
And if you combine your optimism with this sentence, you could say something pointedly: The little word Konstanz sounds a lot like Thomas Müller, not like Niclas Füllkrug.