Before the game against Spain, with regard to Rafael Nadal, it should be remembered how top athletes prepare for a competition: they focus, do not allow themselves to be distracted, are completely with themselves.

When Nadal hits the ground, he first tugs at his trousers, then at his shirt, first on the left, then on the right.

After that, he touches his nose and tucks his strands of hair behind his ears.

A ritual he repeats before each serve.

What would Nadal have said about the idea of ​​covering his mouth before the first appearance at the most important tournament in the world?

After days of dealing with other topics besides sports?

You can be sure: he would have focused on the sport at that moment.

And one can assume that some German players would have liked to do that, in retrospect, at least for sure.

If this action around the "One Love" bandage had explosive power, then one that backfired.

The German players also know that at this level, small things make the difference between victory and defeat.

Everything always has to fit.

Mistakes on the pitch happen anyway.

One wonders why the national team and the German Football Association (DFB) did not learn from the damage, since the team is now threatened with being eliminated by Spain four days after the opening defeat by Japan.

Estimate sporting consequences

Four years ago, the then reigning world champion also failed in political discussions about the photos of Özil and Gündogan with the Turkish President Erdogan.

The association and team leadership had not been able to resolve a conflict that arose a few weeks before the 2018 World Cup in the interests of the athletes.

The argument carried over into the team and the tournament.

The failure at the World Cup in Russia and the personal drama surrounding Özil, who has since become a forgotten world champion, had to do not least with weakness in leadership and a lack of political competence in the DFB.

When it came to the "One Love" bandage, those responsible were again unable to assess the sporting consequences of their political action.

The form of the protest is first and foremost a question of lived credibility, but at least of professionalism.

An early World Cup knockout would therefore stick to the “One Love” bandage despite all the sporting weaknesses in front of your own goal and the opponent’s goal.

It was already clear to the association last summer that it would be difficult for the national team to back down from these actions after playing at the European Championships under the sign of the rainbow.

That players who fly the flag in a socio-political home game are then judged in public by how they behave in a headwind.

Nevertheless, the political has caught up with the DFB and the national team, prompted by Berlin and the interior minister, in Qatar.

In a mixture of limitations and self-referentiality, they underestimated what the sporting consequences could be if their political opponents don't back down.

Now this Sunday against Spain the players are asked to turn the German appearance at this World Cup upside down with an energetic performance on the pitch.

If the national team is eliminated early, the sporting principle applies as always: the truth is on the pitch.

But in this case the sole responsibility would not lie there.