Tedesco: I have nothing to prove to the Germans

By Sports Desk March 27, 2023

Domenico Tedesco does not believe he has anything to prove on his return to Germany with new side Belgium after previously being sacked by RB Leipzig and Schalke.

Leipzig parted company with Tedesco in September 2022, nine months after he took up the position, despite winning the DFB-Pokal in the 2021-22 campaign.

The 37-year-old was also ousted by Schalke in March 2019, a year on from guiding the club to a second-place finish in the Bundesliga.

But ahead of Belgium's friendly with Germany in Cologne on Tuesday, Tedesco insists he is content with what he achieved across his two spells in the country where he grew up.

"I love my job and I am happy with what I have already achieved," he said at Monday's pre-match press conference. 

"I always want to win, but I feel I have nothing to prove to the Germans. The coach is not that important, either – the players make the difference."

Germany and Belgium endured disappointing World Cup campaigns, each exiting at the group stage in Qatar despite pre-tournament hopes being high.

Four-time world champions Germany have slipped to 14th in the FIFA rankings – 10 places below Belgium – but that is not a true reflection of their quality in the view of Tedesco. 

"How is it possible that they're 14th?" he asked reporters. "At the World Cup in Qatar they had so many chances, they just didn't score enough. 

"No one had more expected goals than Germany. Even if Germany were last in the FIFA rankings, that wouldn't change anything. We want to win, even if it's a friendly game.

"Germany have a few new young players, but they are players from top teams. They remain a strong country."

Germany beat Peru 2-0 on Saturday, while Belgium kicked off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a 3-0 win in Sweden on Friday thanks to Romelu Lukaku's hat-trick.

The 29-year-old has 71 goals in 105 senior international appearances, but he has struggled this term for club side Inter, where he is on loan from Chelsea for the campaign.

However, Tedesco says there is more to Lukaku's game than goals alone.

"Don't judge him solely on that," the Italian said. "He is looking in good shape and was proud after scoring his hat-trick – rightly so.

"I want him to be happy. He has the qualities to play for any side, including Inter. He is a good guy and he deserves to be happy when he plays."

Kai Havertz and Nico Schlotterbeck have been ruled out for Germany, while first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has not made the trip for Belgium.

That means a rare chance to shine for Koen Casteels, who is perhaps better known to the home fans having spent made than a decade in the Bundesliga.

"I don't have to show myself in Germany anymore – they know me here," the Wolfsburg goalkeeper said. "Germany is my second home. It's nice to play here.

"I feel a lot of recognition in Germany, maybe more than in Belgium. I am spoken of more positively here; in Belgium less so. I have resigned myself to that. 

"I owe a lot to Germany and also have German punctuality picked up, but after my career I'm just going to live in Belgium again."

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