After arriving in Oman, the national players have to adapt to the World Cup conditions. A last test should bring security – but without the veterans Thomas Müller and Antonio Rüdiger.
Thomas Müller sat on a cooler on the sidelines and watched his World Cup colleagues during the first training session in Oman. Defense chief Antonio Rüdiger was also missing on the pitch. And that will also be the case on Wednesday evening (6 p.m. in the live ticker on sportschau.de) in the Sultan Kabus Stadium.
The German national soccer team completed the last World Cup test in Muscat against the selection of Oman, exactly one week before the emergency against Japan in Qatar. On Tuesday evening, Hansi Flick tried to calm down the question marks behind the tournament fitness of the two executives.
“We see from day to day. We assume they will train with the team on matchday minus four“said Flick. So only next Saturday, after the transfer to Qatar. All that remained for the 33-year-old Müller as a spectator on the sidelines was a chat with DFB director Oliver Bierhoff. Due to physical problems, Müller and Rüdiger already had in League operations at FC Bayern and Real Madrid recently suspended.
“This World Cup has different standards“
Flick justified the fact that the Frankfurt returnee Mario Götze and Freiburg’s Matthias Ginter and Christian Günter did not train with the team by saying that the trio was still active in the Bundesliga on Sunday and should therefore regenerate. Sleep in, acclimatize – and get straight back to work: This program applied to the other 20 national players just 17 hours after their arrival in Muscat late Monday evening.
A World Cup dress rehearsal will be the 994th DFB international match exactly one week before the emergency against Japan. Because Flick will not yet call up his dream team for the very important group start against Japan. “This World Cup has different standards in terms of preparation“said Flick given the timing of the tournament in the middle of the season:”Who needs more game minutes? Who needs a break?” These questions occupied the coaching team. “The plan will be that we spare one or the other“Flick revealed.
“It’s good to be there beforehand“
In the luxury hotel on the Persian Gulf with all amenities such as a pool, spa and a private beach, the 25 World Cup players who have traveled to Qatar, with the exception of the sick goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen, should also relax a little after a busy week in the league before flying on to Qatar. It is important to cope with the climate change from the German autumn to the challenging desert weather during the day and the time change of plus three hours as quickly as possible. “It’s good to be there beforehand. That was important to us” said Flick.
Müller and Rüdiger without routine
The second international match against Oman is important – after a 2-0 win in February 1998 – but it is. “We only have one test game left. It will be important that we also get security“, remarked captain Manuel Neuer, who after his shoulder injury seems ready for his fourth World Cup tournament as number one in goal. His longtime companion Müller, who had to sit out for weeks at Bayern because of multiple problems (back, hip, adductors), is against it out of rhythm.
Antonio Rüdiger was also recently withdrawn from competitions at Real Madrid due to hip problems. But there was a close exchange between the DFB doctors and the Real doctors. “Toni is our defense chief“said Flick on the importance of the 29-year-old. That’s another reason why there was no place in the squad for Mats Hummels. The Dortmund veteran with leadership claims could possibly have affected Rüdiger’s creative freedom and his leadership role, as well as the position and status of BVB colleague Niklas Süle. In the center of defence, however, coaches don’t particularly like to change during a tournament.