The Bayern professionals Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Müller have bluntly named the current state of the national team after the next international match disaster against Japan. “If you don’t put the quality on the pitch so often and over such a long period of time, we have to ask ourselves whether we really have top quality everywhere,” said 28-year-old Kimmich after the 4-1 loss in Wolfsburg.

It was the fifth winless game in a row at the start of the European Championship season and thus a continuation of the rapid downward trend under national coach Hansi Flick. “We’re not talking about playing three games well and then losing one and then playing two games well again,” said Kimmich, given the string of bad games. Recently they didn’t even play against “the biggest football nations”.

Kimmich did not answer the question of whether he was still convinced that Flick was the right coach for the home European Championships in 2024: “It’s not about pointing the finger at the coach or anyone else.” Players would have to start with themselves. “At the end of the day we have to trust the coach that he makes the right decisions, that he knows what is right and good for the team,” said Kimmich.

Rio world champion Müller said after his short comeback: “The Japanese are playing a good role and are currently certainly among the top 10 and top 15 in the world. And we don’t belong there at the moment.” At least in theory. “In practice it looks different.”