World champion France, European champion Italy or once again feared opponent Spain? After trying out a possible World Cup hotel, Hansi Flick was presented with his last tough test opponents full of fresh impressions from the three-day inspection in Qatar. In 2022, the once unpopular Nations League will be the big test run for the title attack in the desert emirate for the national soccer team. "Of course, we also use these games to get used to the game," said the national coach before the digital ceremony on Thursday (6:00 pm) in Nyon.

Embarrassing mishaps like the one at the Champions League draw on Monday are not to be feared this time at the UEFA headquarters.

Loose mode is easy.

As runners-up in the last Nations League edition, Germany is in pot two together with the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark.

Oranje, Cristiano Ronaldo or the EM semi-finalist around Leipzig's Yussuf Poulsen are therefore out of the question as opponents.

A group of crackers still threatens.

Because apart from France, Italy, Spain or Belgium from the group winners' pot one, England, second place in the World Cup Croatia or Poland with Robert Lewandowski can become DFB opponents from pot three.

Switzerland would be a more pleasant option.

The third opponent will be someone from the quartet of the A-League promoted: Wales, Austria, the Czech Republic or Hungary.

"What I can promise, we will be well prepared," Flick had already proclaimed his motto for the World Cup year.

The Nations League serves in a special way as a test option.

Since the World Cup from November 21 to December 18 will mess up the annual calendar, four group matches will be played in the European competition from June 2 to 14.

Like a World Cup test tournament

In the summer, Flick will be given a small test tournament with a competitive character to be preselected from among his currently 30 to 35 World Cup candidates.

Just two months before the tournament kick-off, the last two group matches will follow between September 22nd and 27th as the last international matches before the 23-man squad is nominated.

The draw on Thursday also determines Flick's start to the year. In addition to a test match - probably against an African opponent - on March 26th in Sinsheim, it will be decided which classic captain Manuel Neuer and his colleagues will contest away a few days later. “It is like this, we have a request from England, we have requests from Holland and Spain. We'll be playing against a team, ”Flick announced on ZDF last week. Duplication of opponents should be avoided in the World Cup preliminary run. The first trip abroad will probably go to London, Amsterdam or Madrid.

Flick has long been in Qatar mode. With DFB director Oliver Bierhoff and a planning entourage, he was in the first half of the week for the country check on the Gulf. A hotel right in Doha? Or do you prefer north of the capital, with a little more peace and quiet? Up to four quarters were on the tour program. Flick thinks more of sporty logistics than luxury options. "It is important for us that we have short distances to the training ground," said the 57-year-old. Bierhoff also emphasized: "We want to use discussions, analyzes and agreements to ensure that our business partners and service providers on site commit to compliance with human and labor law standards and that they also document this."

Flick and Bierhoff had to cancel the trip to the Nations League draw in Switzerland, which was planned immediately after returning from Qatar.

Corona turns the ceremony into a digital event.