Thomas Muller lauded his side's acceptance of risk, following Germany's 5-2 win at home to Italy in the Nations League on Tuesday.

Muller was among the scorers for Die Mannschaft, who led 5-0 at one stage in Monchenglabach after Timo Werner's second of the night. Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gundogan were the other scorers for Germany, handing the home side a 2-0 lead at the interval.

Germany sit second in Group A3 after four games, following draws in the opening three matches characterised by high volumes of passive possession.

Especially after early exits at the past three major tournaments, however, the 32-year-old is buoyed by Germany's play under Hansi Flick despite ever-present room for improvement.

"One good aspect that we brought into play today is that we actually played a little more risky and had more courage," Muller told ZDF. "To accept the risk of losing the ball with the knowledge of snatching away the second ball. So, objective courage and not emotional courage.

"If we understand that a little better on the offensive, that a cross that doesn't lead directly to the goal becomes dangerous with the second ball if we are positioned like that, then we'll make life easier for us.

"We have good players, we have a good attitude and a good project going on. But we still have all sorts of deficits, you have to be honest."

Germany again dominated in possession but were able to translate that into good chances in front of goal on Tuesday, with Joshua Kimmich's opening goal in the 10th minute setting the tone.

The home side were levels above the reigning European champions, who fielded an inexperienced starting lineup and conceded five goals for the first time in a single match since 1957.

For Muller, who insisted he does not see himself playing much longer at international level, it was an affirmation of Germany's quality.

"We have everything to be able to beat anyone on a good day," he said. "We still have to improve on the football-savvy things, like wanting to do the right thing. We won a lot of second balls and that made the game easier for us.

"I know I won't play 50 more international matches. Let's see what happens in the next two or three years, but I'm enjoying it a lot at the moment."

German goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer looked forward to ending a string of mediocre results when his side face Italy on Tuesday, saying "a win would taste good".

Saturday's 1-1 draw against Hungary was Germany's fourth consecutive 1-1 draw, with the same result against England and Italy this month, and the Netherlands back in March.

In that last meeting with Italy, Germany controlled 65 per cent of the possession, completing over double the amount of passes (613-302), but they had to come from behind and settle for the draw thanks to Joshua Kimmich's equaliser.

Speaking to the media ahead of the contest, Neuer said his side played with the "right attitude" against Hungary, and he hopes Germany can get back on track with a strong result when the Italians travel to Borussia-Park.

"The disappointment has already prevailed, but we don't have to bury our heads in the sand either," he said. "Our hunger and our motivation are there. 

"We may have lacked creativity and vigour, but we showed the right attitude in every game.

"A win would taste good for us. We want to get the three points against Italy and the sense of achievement at the end.

"You can't just drop a game. We want to be as well-rehearsed as possible on the defensive for the World Cup. 

"That will be crucial for me, and that's why it's good to play against such good opponents in the Nations League."

Germany head coach Hansi Flick also looked on the bright side, and acknowledged he is still very much in data-gathering mode.

"The team has made good progress – we haven't lost a game yet," he said. "But in the last four games – against quite strong opponents – we've only drawn four times. 

"We were hoping for more, and I also thought that we'd made a bit more progress in development. As I said before, the four games are used for analysis, which we have to fine-tune in September. And that is our task now."

While all focus seems to be on the World Cup, Flick admitted he is desperate to get that winning feeling back in the group.

"I just don't like the four draws because I want to win, and the team feels the same way," he said. "We want to win games.

"Victories are always important for the team. We have to give everything again against Italy, with a win the conviction that you have good quality is much higher.

"Italy are doing very well. They have a broad squad and always bring freshness to the pitch. 

"We want to stress the opponent, put him under pressure. Our transition game has to get better, that's where our focus is.

"Our offensive doesn't lack direction, but rather the determination and the absolute will to finish. This requires conviction, but also freshness – and after such a long season that is not always available."

Germany coach Hansi Flick criticised the UEFA Nations League schedule, claiming teams are being forced to play too many games in a World Cup year.

Die Mannschaft have already played two of their League A fixtures and will play two further games against Hungary and Italy during this window of international games.

The Nations League group stages will wrap up with a pair of games in September.

Germany's players involved in June's games will have less time to recover ahead of the new domestic season, with the Bundesliga starting a week earlier than last campaign on August 5. The Champions League group stage, in which Germany has four participants, will begin on September 6 having started on September 14 last year.

And, with the rescheduled World Cup beginning in Qatar on November 21, Flick believes too much of a burden is being placed on his country's players.

Asked at a media conference ahead of Saturday's game with Hungary if the Nations League games were putting a strain on players, he replied: "I agree with that.

"Four matches are too many after such a season. You have to take the two years into account.

"We had a pandemic and a lot of matches piled up. We will be having 'English weeks' [two-match weeks]

"There will be almost no pre-season preparation then it's Bundesliga and Champions League matches every three, four days until the World Cup.

"This should be looked at and we need to ask ourselves how we can offer players a break because that is important.

"UEFA or FIFA should look into these things and take some measures.

"Now we have to prepare well, we have these four games. We accept them. It is tough for the players after a long season. But we accept it because all teams have the same starting points.

"What we are focusing on is to play a good World Cup in November."

Germany coach Hansi Flick warned his side of the qualities England possess as he prepares for a "classic" in the Nations League on Tuesday.

England were far from their best as they fell to a 1-0 defeat on Saturday to Hungary in their League A Group 3 opener, while Germany shared the spoils with Italy.

Die Mannschaft host the Three Lions in Munich for the next Nations League encounter, with England winning the last meeting 2-0 at Euro 2020 last June.

Indeed, Germany have failed to score in their last two matches against England (0-0 in November 2017, 0-2 in June 2021), as many as in their previous 16 games combined.

Flick, speaking at a pre-match news conference on Monday, outlined his expectations for the difficulties Gareth Southgate's visitors will pose as he hailed the threat of captain and talisman Harry Kane.

"It's a classic, the games are always something special. Everything else is in the past. We're looking ahead and trying to get a better result tomorrow," the former Bayern Munich boss said.

"We showed the team what we could have done better against Italy. It's important that we go into the game with a good feeling.

"Against England it's extremely important that we keep up. The football in the Premier League is very physical.

"Harry Kane is a world-class striker and England have a lot of outstanding players in their ranks."

While Flick was quick to credit Tottenham star Kane, who has scored in both of his England appearances against Germany, he also heaped praise on the undervalued Timo Werner.

"I'll keep my thoughts to myself, but both can play in the position," he said when asked who would start between Chelsea pair Kai Havertz and Werner. 

"Timo is underestimated a bit, with also what he does for the team. He creates space in front of the defence. Both are an option for us up top."

As for his return to the Allianz Arena, Flick is looking forward to revisiting his old Bayern stadium and credited the work of his successor Julian Nagelsmann, who guided the Bavarian side to the Bundesliga title.

"It's been a long time since I enjoyed a full house in Munich, so I hope the team will be supported. I hope we play well and have the support of the crowd," he continued.

"For me, the performances with the national team and in training here are decisive. Bayern have played an outstanding season.

"The championship title is the most honest title you can win, so compliments again to Julian Nagelsmann. It's important that the players now perform well here."

England manager Gareth Southgate has labelled Germany as one of the benchmarks in international football due to their continued presence in the latter stages of major tournaments.

The Three Lions head to Munich on Tuesday for their second Nations League game, having suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat to Hungary on Saturday in their first League A Group 3 game.

Meanwhile, Germany shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Italy as preparations for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar are stepped up.

England and Germany met only last June at Euro 2020, with Southgate's side 2-0 victors at the last-16 stage in front of a buoyant Wembley crowd.

Germany have failed to score in their past two matches against England, as many as in their previous 16 games combined.

But Southgate still views Hansi Flick's side as a force to be reckoned with looking forward to the clash at the Allianz Arena and further ahead to the World Cup in November.

"You can see elements of what he did with Bayern Munich, I think seven either current or had just left Bayern, a lot of have cohesion and experience working with him," Southgate said of Flick on Monday.

"You can see the counter-pressing and the general pressing of the forwards, we have to be prepared for that. With the ball, they have some talented players.

"We saw that in summer, I think in some respects the result in summer was overlooked, I'm not sure why. The quality of the team was still very high, World Cup winners everywhere, Champions League winners.

"Real experience of those big occasions. For me, I think Brazil and Germany are still the benchmarks for teams who have regularly won tournaments, regularly making finals, even when you look at the 5-1 here [in 2001], they ended up in the World Cup final.

"You have to respect what they are and where they are as a footballing country, we have to try and replicate that and instil that mentality.

"We have to keep getting to the latter stages of competitions and games like tomorrow are exactly what we need. I think it's a great measure for us, this will be a brilliant test of what we're about and where we're at.

"It won't define where we're at in six months' time, if we win tomorrow, it doesn't mean we are going to win the whole thing in five, six months.

"One of the challenges before was can we beat the bigger teams, we've beat Belgium, Germany and Spain, we're starting to do that so now it is can we continue to do that."

England have not come out on top in consecutive games against Germany since a seven-game winning run between 1935 and 1966, the last game of which was the World Cup final.

Southgate vowed to rotate once again after offering the likes of Jarrod Bowen and James Justin starts in Budapest.

"We are going to push. We want to perform well. We will manage their load. Everyone of them wants to play tomorrow night," he continued. 

"There is huge motivation in the group. I don't think the long season was the cause of the result the other day. The heat was a huge factor.

"To talk about the season is a psychological thing. It is no different to going into the Euros or the World Cup.

"It varies slightly from game to game, you are always trying to win. You always pick a team strong enough to win a game of football. We are trying to manage players coming back.

"To play Saturday and Tuesday is very challenging. Always trying to learn things, there's the performance and result. We go trying to win and the learnings after it is how you develop and improve as a team.

"James [Justin] won't be ready for tomorrow but we are hopeful he will be back for the next game if not the one after. Marc [Guehi] should be ready for tomorrow. Fikayo [Tomori] we could probably put him in the squad but given it's a hamstring we will give him a bit longer."

Germany coach Hansi Flick says his side lacked "intensity" and "precision" in their 1-1 Nations League draw with Italy on Saturday.

Die Mannschaft looked the brighter side in the first half, yet the best chance fell to the Azzurri, with Gianluca Scamacca striking the post from distance.

Roberto Mancini's side were much improved after the break, though, and Lorenzo Pellegrini put them ahead in the 70th minute.

However, Germany recovered a point three minutes later courtesy of Joshua Kimmich's neat finish after a scramble in the penalty area.

The result means Flick has not lost any of his first 10 matches in charge of the national team, becoming the third Germany coach to achieve that feat after Sepp Herberger and Josef Derwall.

Despite that, Flick was not impressed with his side's display and has urged his players to improve swiftly. 

"We started the game well then lost our way after 15, 20 minutes," he told a media conference.

"Italy played very well, and we made too many mistakes in the build-up. We lacked intensity and defensive solidity.

"These are the areas we need to improve so we can do better on Tuesday. We did not apply what we had practised in training and that's not the first time it has happened.

"Italy were far more cohesive and well-drilled than we expected, so it's positive that we managed to get the equaliser straight away.

"It confirms the Nations League allows you to always face very strong opponents. Our performance was fairly negative in general today, we can and must do more. We lacked intensity and our usual precision."

Italy shocked many by failing to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar later this year, but Flick has seen enough to suggest the Azzurri will not be away from the top table of world football for long.

"Italy is a nation that lives and breathes football," he added. "They are solid defensively. I admire Mancini and the way his Italy played at Euro 2020. We all slowly became Italy fans watching the way they played in that tournament.

"The Azzurri have everything they need to reboot and reconstruct another important era."

Germany are next in action on Tuesday when they welcome England to the Allianz Arena in Munich. 

Hansi Flick says Germany want 'to be among the best in the world again' as his side kick off their Qatar 2022 World Cup preparations in the Nations League against Italy.

Since defeat at Euro 2020 to England - in the final match of the Joachim Low era - Germany have gone unbeaten under their new coach.

That rich vein of form faces its sternest test yet in the shape of the incumbent European champions, who represent a major threat despite failing to reach Qatar 2022 themselves.

But speaking about the mood within his squad, Flick appears unfazed and says his team are ready to claim back their place at the summit of world football.

"The situation has been clear since the first meeting," he stated in his pre-match press conference. "We want to be among the best in the world again, where Germany belongs.

"It's important to get back into competition mode. We have to be careful what happens on the field. But I think everyone is very motivated. It will be a good game for us."

Elsewhere, Flick paid tribute to opposite number Roberto Mancini too, while admitting the Azzurri's failure to reach the World Cup took him by surprise.

"I have great respect for him and appreciate him very much," he added. "He has the quality, class and passion to bring Italy back to where it belongs.

"We all know how difficult it can be against supposedly small opponents. Nevertheless, we were all surprised that Italy was eliminated.

"It's certainly not easy to predict the opponent. He did a fantastic job after the World Cup in Russia. We were all fans during the European Championship.

"The team spirit and the way they played football was impressive. He will try to do the same thing again."

Germany coach Hansi Flick has named a 26-man squad for the upcoming Nations League fixtures at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Flick's team face four matches in the space of 11 days between June 4 and 14, playing against Italy both home and away, either side of hosting England and travelling to Hungary.

There are no new faces in Germany's squad, with Flick sticking with the tried-and-tested players who will almost certainly form the bulk of his selection for the 2022 World Cup, which starts in November.

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is a notable absentee, but he had previously confirmed he asked Flick for permission to skip the matches and recuperate.

It means uncapped Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann has received his first call-up since September 2020, with Kevin Trapp – who saved a penalty to ensure a shoot-out success for Eintracht Frankfurt over Rangers in the Europa League final on Wednesday – second-choice behind Manuel Neuer.

Niklas Sule and Nico Schlotterbeck will be playing together at Borussia Dortmund next season and are both in the squad, while RB Leipzig defender Lukas Klostermann has earned his first call since October last year.

Antonio Rudiger, seemingly Real Madrid bound, is the oldest player in a relatively youthful defence, at 29. Matthias Ginter has missed out, however.

Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich returns after an absence, as does Leon Goretzka. 

Karim Adeyemi – who Dortmund have signed to replace Erling Haaland – also features, as does Bayern youngster Jamal Musiala alongside his club-mates Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller and Leroy Sane, Chelsea duo Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, and Wolfsburg forward Lukas Nmecha, who has featured in Flick's two previous squads.

Germany squad in full:

Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Oliver Baumann (Hoffenheim), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt); Benjamin Henrichs (RB Leipzig), Thilo Kehrer (Paris Saint-Germain), Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig), David Raum (Hoffenheim), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Nico Schlotterbeck (Freiburg), Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich), Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen); Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Monchengladbach), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich), Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich), Anton Stach (Mainz); Karim Adeyemi (Salzburg), Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Lukas Nmecha (Wolfsburg), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Timo Werner (Chelsea).

In this footballing climate, what are Bayern Munich and where do they sit in its pecking order?

From Barcelona, to Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus in recent years, the financial and footballing disparity between Europe's elite and the rest has warped perception. Lifting the league trophy at the end of the season no longer provides safety for a head coach.

Even then, Bayern are an extreme example. In the six years since Pep Guardiola left for Manchester City, they have gone through six head coaches, despite winning the Bundesliga in every season over that same period.

Bayern have been global standard-bearers for nearly four decades. Where other clubs and leagues have had lull periods away from the very highest levels of European football, they have consistently been in contention for silverware, even in relatively weak periods.

Just as importantly, though, the superiority clubs like Bayern now enjoy almost automatically dictates they will dominate possession in many games, irrespective of the ideology of the coach in charge and whether their teams can function with the ball as a consequence.

Niko Kovac's first season in 2018-19 was a good example of this. Bayern came nowhere near functioning in possession relative to the array of talent they had and still – along with some aid from Borussia Dortmund's regression to the mean after initial xG over-performance under Lucien Favre – managed an 11-point turnaround from third place in February to win the Bundesliga.

Meanwhile, they were comprehensively beaten by Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League with the majority of possession. Things declined even further under Kovac in his second season, before Hansi Flick took over the head coaching role, conquered Europe and subsequently replaced Joachim Low as the German national team coach at the end of the 2020-21 season.

This is the wider context that must be considered for Julian Nagelsmann's first season and what follows, because both club and international football ultimately acts within a continuum. Ahead of this weekend's Klassiker, much like that first season under Kovac, there's a dissonance that will accompany Bayern's title win.

Ultimately, a 10th consecutive Bundesliga title will not wash away the taste of Bayern's meek elimination at the hands of Villarreal in the Champions League quarter-finals. Those two legs were a microcosm of numerous aspects concerning this Bayern season – their true capacity in possession relative to the level of opposition, Nagelsmann's continual switching between 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-3 formations, and finally from a standpoint of net gain, whether he's really getting the most out of the extraordinary creative forces that are Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski.

It is hard to overstate how Muller and Lewandowski provided more than goals and assists for Bayern under Flick. The utilisation of that duo was integral to the team's very functioning in possession, especially with Thiago Alcantara missing significant portions of that post-lockdown run late in the 2019-20 season. Kingsley Coman's decisive goal in the 2020 Champions League final against PSG was a perfect picture of the team when all three of Lewandowski, Muller and Thiago played – having initially tried to cover Muller, Leandro Paredes had to scramble, but it was too late, as Thiago fired his pass into Joshua Kimmich and Bayern got up the pitch.

Their combined touches in open play per 90 minutes under respective coaches makes for a good starting point. Under Kovac, Lewandowski and Muller held a combined 98.19 touches and 3.35 chances created from open play per 90 in all competitions. Flick's arrival leads to a dramatic spike for the two in both categories, with 107.6 touches in open play and 4.53 chances created in open play per 90.

 

 

Father Time will dictate an inevitable decline for the two as they approach 35, but more pertinently, Nagelsmann's approach has led to a return to their numbers under Kovac, with 98.59 touches per match and 3.85 chances created from open play between the two in all competitions this season. Then there's the discrepancy in eventual shot location.

The difference lies in involvement. Under Flick, Muller and Lewandowski effectively played as two strikers in a 4-4-2, while the wingers kept the defensive line pinned back, allowing the two with sufficient space to retreat and operate between the lines. Especially with midfielders like Kimmich and Leon Goretzka who do not like receiving the ball in tight areas, it was a critical component of Bayern's play and enabled them to open up the pitch.

Kimmich's increase in chance creation – his 2.83 per 90 this season is his highest out of the last four seasons in all competitions – is arguably born of the fact he is now Bayern's set-piece taker. His chance creation in open play has actually gone down from last season's 1.68 to 1.44, despite an increase in touches from 100.8 to 105.85.

 

 

Lewandowski and Muller's comparatively higher positioning and primary objective of threat behind the defensive line under Nagelsmann frankly makes the switching between 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-3 irrelevant, because the 34-year-old has taken away the very thing that made Bayern function to begin with – the pair's ability to incorporate as well as get on the end of moves. Jamal Musiala's deployment in a 3-4-3 in the second leg against Villarreal only managed to clog the middle of the pitch up even further.

The player who has suffered the most with this change, however, is Serge Gnabry. His combined xG+xA figure of 0.92 in 2019-20 has dramatically decreased to 0.69 this year, while the middle of the pitch has been completely closed off to him, something evident in his dribble progression.

 

 

It all relates to the eventuality of Bayern's shot location and quality. Shot volume in Nagelsmann's first season has gone up to 20.13 in comparison to the 18.08 of that treble season under Flick, but they are shooting from further away, and with no increase in xG per shot. Against better defences, teams that hold high volumes of possession but ultimately struggle to play through the middle of the pitch are eventually found out. That has been the case this year, in Europe and particular in domestic losses to Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Monchengladbach.

This all exists amid the backdrop of Bayern Munich's waning financial power and status as a destination in relation to the rest of Europe's elite. Bayern centre-back Niklas Sule is set to leave for arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund. Emerging stars from within the Bundesliga who traditionally would have been guaranteed to end up at Sabener Strasse such as Dortmund's Erling Haaland, or RB Leipzig's Cristopher Nkunku and Josko Gvardiol, appear destined for elsewhere.

In the meantime, Bayern are reportedly haggling with Ajax over the release of Ryan Gravenberch who, despite the hype, arguably will not transform their midfield – much like Corentin Tolisso and Marc Roca.

There is also the small matter of Lewandowski's contract not being renewed and running the risk of expiring at the end of next season.

Sustained success can run the risk of providing diminishing returns, much like Juventus discovered in Italy. The question for Bayern is how to avoid it both as a club and under Nagelsmann, but can they?

Hansi Flick says Germany have high expectations of making a big impact in the 2022 World Cup despite being drawn in a tough group that includes Spain.

Die Mannschaft discovered at a ceremony in Doha on Friday that they will face Spain, Japan and either Costa Rica or New Zealand in Qatar later this year.

Spain hammered Germany 6-0 the last time the two nations met in the Nations League in November 2020, while Japan reached the round of 16 in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Flick will take charge of his country for the first time in a major tournament and although he knows Germany's draw could have been kinder, the former Bayern Munich boss is confident his side can make a big impact.

He said: "It is an exciting and interesting group, the tasks are not easy. But we have big plans, we have to ensure that we prevail. You can't get an easy group.

"We are happy, but we will have to be ready from the beginning. We want to get as far as possible, preferably to the final. We're expecting a lot from this tournament."

Flick added: "Japan is a team that is always present at the World Cup, with many Bundesliga players. Therefore, they are of high quality. We wanted to play a friendly against Japan, but that's not going to happen now.

"All the teams [in the group] have evolved and have something special to offer."

Germany finished bottom of their group in the last World Cup and were knocked out of Euro 2020 at the round of 16 stage by England last year. 

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is optimistic they can be a force this time around.

"It was inevitable that we were going to get a strong opponent from the pot," he said.

Neuer added: "We haven't covered ourselves in glory in recent tournaments and we want to make up for that."

Manuel Neuer believes Germany are certainly "on the right track" as they look to prepare for the 2022 World Cup.

Germany drew 1-1 with the Netherlands on Tuesday, with Thomas Muller breaking the deadlock on the stroke of half-time.

However, they were forced to settle for a draw after Steven Bergwijn equalised in the 68th minute.

Germany finished the game with 62 per cent possession, and forced Dutch goalkeeper Mark Flekken into four saves, two more than Neuer had to make at the other end.

Speaking to reporters, Neuer said this game was an important step on their road to the World Cup, with Germany having failed to impress at Euro 2020, while they crashed out in the group stages in Russia in 2018.

"On the way to Qatar we have to use every test and take every game seriously," he said.

"That was the first big team we played against, and that was decent for a long time.

"We have good character and are self-confident. You saw that today. If you draw a line under it, you can see that we're on the right track."

Goal-scorer Muller explained that despite being disappointed with how the game turned in the second half, this game was evidence of how Germany can impose their will on quality opposition.

"The opening goal in this atmosphere was a great moment, then we lost a bit of control – that's frustrating," he said. "But you could see that not only can we match good teams, we can dominate them."

Flick, who had won his first eight games in charge of Germany before this draw, was also complimentary of what he saw from his squad.

"There was a high intensity from both sides, we had them under pressure for 60 minutes," he said.

"I have to compliment my team, they play nice football and their style is refreshing. I'm really pleased."

Germany are next scheduled for Nations League fixtures against Italy on June 4 and England on June 7.

Hansi Flick expects a strong performance from his Germany team against the Netherlands, as he assesses his side's prospects ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Germany travel to Amsterdam to face their historic rivals in on Tuesday, following Saturday's routine 2-0 win over Israel.

The Oranje, who have won their last 11 games on Dutch soil, should represent a sturdier test, with Flick seeking to build towards a major tournament revival after Germany's failing to make the 2018 World Cup and then underwhelming at Euro 2020.

The former Bayern Munich coach is anticipating a tough contest against Louis van Gaal's side, and is expected to name a strong team after announcing that he wants to win the game "at all costs".

"It will be a good indicator for us," Flick told a pre-match press conference.

"We want to put in a good team performance, try and put our opponents under pressure, force them into mistakes and play our own game.

"I want to win the game at all costs."

Flick will be able to include goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and defender Antonio Rudiger among his starting XI, though he was giving nothing else away.

"All of the players here are available to play," Flick added. "We're very much looking forward to testing ourselves against the Netherlands.

"Neuer and Rudiger will both start.

"Everything else we'll decide in due course, but we will have an incredibly well-prepared team out on the pitch."

Julian Draxler implied he will likely leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season due to a lack of minutes.

Draxler played all 90 minutes in Germany's 2-0 friendly win against Israel on Saturday, with Chelsea duo Kai Havertz and Timo Werner contributing the two goals.

He arrived at Paris Saint-Germain from Wolfsburg in 2017, racking up 131 appearances and 17 goals for the French giants, but his playing time has plummeted this season.

Draxler has been brought on as a substitute in his past six appearances for PSG dating back to February 19, playing no more than 25 minutes in any of the short cameos.

Speaking with SPORT1, Draxler highlighted his joy in having an extended run, and the struggles that come with being out of favour back at his club.

"I'm glad that I played 90 minutes again after a long time," he said.

"My situation in the club is not easy – I lack the rhythm and I need to play more games.

"I haven't spoken to the national coach about it, but he has already told us as a team that he needs fit players who are in rhythm. You'll see what happens in the summer."

Hansi Flick praised Germany's "brave" approach after they racked up an eighth straight win under his leadership against Israel on Saturday.

Die Mannschaft went ahead in the 36th minute courtesy of Kai Havertz's near-post header from a corner, before Timo Werner added a second in first-half stoppage time with an instinctive finish from Ilkay Gundogan's free-kick.

Thomas Muller squandered a golden opportunity to add a third in the 89th minute, crashing a penalty against the post, while Israel also missed from 12 yards a few minutes later when Kevin Trapp denied Yonatan Cohen.

The result meant Germany have won all eight games under Flick since he took over from Joachim Low last year, scoring 33 goals and conceding just two.

Flick was pleased with his side's display and highlighted their prowess from set pieces during his fledgling reign. 

"I'm satisfied. We played very bravely and pressed them hard," he told reporters. "Overall, we can be happy with all parts of the team. I think it's great how they rewarded themselves.

"We have scored six goals from set pieces in eight games, that's something to be proud of."

Werner's strike was his 22th in the colours of Die Mannschaft, and Flick was pleased with his contribution given his reduced game time for Chelsea in recent months,

"Timo hasn't played for a long time, only made a few appearances," he added. "You can already tell that the rhythm is missing.

"Of course, I'm pleased that he scored a goal. It's also extremely important for a striker to know where the goal is and he's someone who keeps trying, keeps going deep."

Israel's penalty was awarded for Nico Schlotterbeck's clumsy trip on Cohen after he had cheaply lost possession, and Flick warned the Freiburg full-back that mistakes like that will be punished at the World Cup.

"At this level you just have to be fully focused for 90 minutes," he said. "Such a mistake at the World Cup could be deadly. Up until then he had done very well."

Germany face Netherlands in another friendly and Tuesday, with Flick eagerly awaiting the opportunity to pit his wits against a coaching idol of his, Louis van Gaal.

"We're looking forward to this duel," he added. "I'm happy that we're playing against Louis van Gaal. 

"He's someone who gave me a lot in my coaching career, because I appreciated Dutch football very much, loved it very much and kept learning from there. 

"He was definitely one of the great coaches from whom I took a lot with me."

Hans-Dieter Flick declared his unease with the World Cup in Qatar, believing there should be more stringent criteria for potential hosts of global sporting events.

The German national team coach made note of public sentiment, adding that while prioritisation of the bottom line for global sporting bodies comes at a cost, they can protect themselves from it with a more discerning framework.

"It can't always be about the money," Flick told German magazine Stern. "We recently had a World Cup in Russia, the Winter Olympics in Beijing, and the World Cup in Qatar in November – and there was always great criticism.

"That's why I say – we have to think about the country in which we are going to hold sporting events sooner and define even more binding criteria for this."

On whether Germany will boycott from a World Cup in Qatar though, with die Mannschaft having already qualified, Flick questioned its benefit.

"It wouldn't help the people in Qatar," he said. "We want to take part and then send out signals. I think that's more effective.

"For many athletes a World Cup is a career highlight. That would be taken away from them with a boycott.

From a standpoint of symbolism however, the 57-year-old believes armed conflict in Ukraine provides sufficient reason for Russia to be banned from sporting competition.

"I think such measures are right as a symbol, but I don't think Putin is going to be impressed by this," Flick said.

"So far, even economic sanctions haven't been able to stop him. I feel sorry for the athletes who are now being banned from the competitions. Because it's Putin's war, not their war, but there is no other option at the moment."

The upcoming international window will see Germany host Israel on Saturday, before travelling to Amsterdam to face the Netherlands next Tuesday.

Page 3 of 9
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.