In the shower, it is said, sometimes the best ideas come to mind.

It was a little different for Hansi Flick on Wednesday.

First of all, under the shower jet, he realized that he needed an idea.

Namely, who will lead the national soccer team on Thursday (8.45 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for World Cup qualification and on RTL) in St. Gallen against Liechtenstein as captain on the field.

Christian Kamp

Sports editor.

  • Follow I follow

Manuel Neuer, who showed himself confident on Monday that he would be able to play all three World Cup qualifiers in the coming days, is out. "Load control," said Flick at the press conference on Wednesday afternoon in Stuttgart, after Neuer had also been absent from the morning's final training session. Obviously he has to fight with the ankle injury from the Supercup against Dortmund more than initially thought, Bernd Leno is representing him against Liechtenstein.

Unlike his Munich colleague Thomas Müller, Neuer will stay with the team and could play against Armenia on Sunday in Stuttgart and against Iceland on Wednesday in Reykjavík.

For Müller, who is plagued by adductor complaints, this perspective only existed for Reykjavík, and even then only "knitted with a hot needle", as the doctors would have said, according to Flick.

The national coach did not agree to that and instead took Müller's forced departure as an opportunity to tickle his colleagues: "We have enough players on board, we can replace him."

Arrival by bus

In general, Flick gave the impression that he did not want to be stopped by such imponderables in everyday life on his mission to implement a new game idea for the national team and ultimately a different inner attitude. The new national coach exuded energy and determination. He demanded a lot from his players in the first days together and was not stingy with praise in return. "We saw exactly what we had in mind," he said, "the team is tearing itself apart to play for Germany."

As a real endurance test, the opponent should not be suitable at his premiere, more than about Liechtenstein, the questions on Wednesday about the stress caused by the journey. After the image-damaging short flight from Stuttgart to Basel last autumn, the 250 kilometers to St. Gallen are now covered by bus. Flick could obviously have imagined it differently, but the decision made by the German Football Association was "so absolutely fine," he said.

That leaves the K question, which Flick wanted to ponder again. Obvious would be the man who took his place on the podium after him and was the only one besides Leno to get a permanent starting eleven. For Joshua Kimmich, Flick has planned a “central role” beyond his position as “six”, and since the designated boss in midfield is now also the man with the most international matches in the squad, 59, the armband would be an option. When he wore it for the first time from the start, in October 2019 against Argentina, he still needed "a kind of paper clip" to make it fit tightly. Now he will see "whether the biceps have grown or not".