by Oliver Trust
BERLIN, June 7 (Xinhua) -- German national team coach Hansi Flick is currently facing his biggest challenge since taking over as coach of the 2014 world champions in August 2021. After the disappointing 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Flick's main focus is now on building a competitive team for the UEFA Euro 2024, which will be hosted by Germany.
Together with former Leverkusen director and German striker icon Rudi Voller, Flick had to work hard to regain the trust of the fans after a series of unsuccessful tournaments. As Flick is currently in the process of selecting a new squad in preparation for the 2024 tournament, the German association is also in negotiations with former Real Madrid and Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira.
The 36-year-old Khedira is expected to join the national team staff and take on strategic tasks, alongside former Stuttgart coach Hannes Wolf, who will be responsible for talent development. German association president Bernd Neuendorf described the negotiations as being "in the final stages," with Voller supporting the plans to strengthen the staff's expertise.
Flick and Voller have already made plans for the remainder of 2023, which include friendly matches against Ukraine, Poland, Colombia, Japan, France, the United States, and Austria. While Germany has already qualified for the 2024 tournament as the host nation, the team will only be playing friendlies leading up to the event, which may not provide the same level of competition as qualification games.
The German coach is increasing the pressure on potential squad candidates. For example, Flick did not nominate Dortmund's Niklas Sule, stating that he was not completely satisfied with the defender's performance. Flick expects a better attitude and more determination from his players, stating that "Niklas has all the qualities to be a top-class international defender. However, it seems that giving only 90 percent in the domestic league is enough. The missing 10 percent makes the difference."
Flick has announced that he will provide direct and honest feedback to his players during internal discussions but will protect them in his public statements. He believes that clear communication within the team is essential for success.
Khedira's appointment is strongly supported by Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke and advisor Matthias Sammer, and meets Voller's requirement of building a supportive team to assist him. Before taking on the national team role, Khedira is expected to step down from his advisory position at his former club VfB Stuttgart. Meanwhile, Wolf has already been hired by the association as the under-20 team coach.