Ilkay Gündogan was not only the ordering force in the German game. He was also the one who was most vocal when it came to putting things in order after the flop in Germany’s World Cup opener against Japan. On the one hand, this affected a special scene, the ominous defensive behavior before the decisive goal to 1:2. “I don’t think there’s ever been an easier goal scored at a World Cup,” said Gündogan about the failed attempt to play offside a Japanese free-kick in his own half – full-back Niklas Süle apparently didn’t notice.
On the other hand, Gündogan complained more fundamentally about an unfavorable attitude that, in his opinion, many in the German team had also taken with the ball. The man, who is used to completely different things at Manchester City, said that some teammates didn’t always want him.
That was an observation that was as accurate as it was sobering and, even if he didn’t name any names, it probably applied primarily to colleagues Serge Gnabry and Kai Havertz. And because Manuel Neuer formulated a shortcoming on the sender side to match the prevented recipients, namely “passports without a message”, one could say: With all the signals that the Germans otherwise wanted to send and still want to send at this World Cup, they stood as an example for something , which could not be right for them. Namely for a reminder of what comes out when there is not enough spark on the pitch: a team without charisma.
Flick needs Gündogan as an amplifier
The national coach also agreed with Gündogan the day after that, when he stated on Thursday that the contribution of each individual counts – and that at all times. Football Germany has already understood so much about flick football: that it only works if everyone plays it with conviction. And the one question that now comes to mind is: Why isn’t everyone able to do that, even at a World Cup?
After a thrilling start under the new national coach, a certain lack of commitment has again developed into an unfavorable trait of his team – a problem that it is not foreseeable whether Flick can solve it quickly in Qatar. Gündogan even questioned the quality for certain situations in general.
But at the same time there is something else in the room: whether there is something wrong with the atmosphere. At the last European Championship, too, Gündogan became conspicuously clear after losing the start against France – but that was more against the cautious orientation of the then national coach Joachim Löw and was supported by the team. Now he shot comparatively sharply against his colleagues after the defeat, that’s a fine line, especially since Gündogan is ultimately doing politics on his own behalf.
Flick had only recently encouraged him to take on more responsibility. Now asked about it, the national coach reacted rather reserved. It is Gündogan’s opinion and he can express it, “we will not tell any player anything”. In essence, however, when it came to the lack of courage, especially under pressure, he agreed. Now the national coach must ensure that this message also arrives in the team. Gündogan usually speaks quietly away from the pitch. But Flick needs him as an amplifier.