In the south of the republic, a low named after a 90s trash pop star is circulating. Reason enough for Oliver Bierhoff to use the weather to get to the heart of Germany's problems: there are no longer any real strikers. Fortunately, Bayern's Serge Gnabry applies as a problem solver.
Deep "NANA" darkened the days off for the stars with a gray sky and rough wind, but the "black cloud" over the German national soccer team has long since evaporated. "She's not there anymore," confirmed DFB managing director Oliver Bierhoff in a good mood, but the mood isn't "sky blue" yet: "We're still under pressure and mustn't relax too soon."
The bang against European champions Italy and European Championship finalists England (each 1-1) showed the strengths of Hansi Flick's new DFB team, but also their weaknesses. Before the duel with Hungary on Saturday (8.45 p.m. / RTL and in the live ticker on ntv.de), Bierhoff drew a positive interim conclusion, but emphasized: "We have to be careful because it can always rain." One hopes for "sunshine" at the World Cup in late autumn in the desert of Qatar.
National coach Flick has long since found the axis for his first tournament as boss: Only captain Manuel Neuer, defense chief Antonio Rüdiger, midfield boss Joshua Kimmich and driver Thomas Müller played in Bologna and Munich from the start. What is missing is a clear number 1 up front.
"Attractive and good, but not yet effective enough" plays the DFB selection according to Bierhoff. This is also related to the training, "in one or the other place we are too playful and less sober". A certain callousness has distinguished German football for decades. For Bierhoff "an important point" with which the success of the tournament stands or falls.
Flick has been trying to downplay the problem since his first day in office. "We also have quality in this position," he repeated after the classic against England, before he had emphasized: "We don't need to hide, that's the message I like to say. We're happy, happy, we have players who can act very flexibly." The flexibility could "give us a big advantage".
His first nine option is Timo Werner, who is "a bit underestimated". "He's really willing to go new ways, to put the opponent under pressure, to create space in front of the defence," praised Flick. Werner will probably no longer be a world-class goalgetter.
Flick tested his Chelsea colleague Kai Havertz against England. "Kai is a gifted footballer," enthused Flick, particularly liking his development under club coach Thomas Tuchel: "He brings in physicality, approaches the ball. It's fun to see."
Serge Gnabry introduced himself as an alternative. As a center forward, he always "did a good job and had a decent quota," said the Munich resident: "I think I can do it well, even though it's not my regular position."
Basically, the winger pointed out, it is "helpful" to have a real nine in the team, "who draws a lot of attention and can use the balls, even if they don't come well, a fixed point". Without a storm tank "the game will be different, but you can still find ways".
In Lukas Nmecha and Karim Adeyemi, Flick has called up two real center forwards, but hasn't used a minute yet. For the World Cup, he did not rule out trying something completely new. "We're also looking closely at that," he said of Schalke's Simon Terodde, if the record scorer in the second division scores regularly, "all doors and gates are open". The main thing is that the sun is shining.