Thomas Müller showed what he can do. For once, not on the ball, but with the kitchen knife while preparing a Mediterranean pasta salad for the presentation of his cookbook about healthy eating for “small and big champions” in Munich. Whether the 34-year-old’s footballing skills will be required again by the national team in the USA next week is one of the key questions that Julian Nagelsmann will have to answer on Friday.

When the new national coach names his squad for the trip to America in the middle of the Bundesliga season with the international test matches on October 14th in Hartford against the USA and three days later in Philadelphia against Mexico, EM signals will of course be sent. What ingredients does Nagelsmann rely on, what recipes does the 36-year-old have to combat the four-time world champion’s major crisis? Can he live up to the role of a “stroke of luck” as sports director Rudi Völler presented him?

With Müller, without Müller, and if so, in what role? This topic had not only occupied Nagelsmann’s predecessor Joachim Löw and Hansi Flick intensively, but also the new DFB head coach himself during his time in Munich – including controversial debates. The decision seems easy this time, because Müller showed in the DFB jersey against France (2:1) and in the Bayern jersey against FC Copenhagen (2:1) how valuable he can be even as an elderly professional. Nagelsmann is unlikely to burn his fingers.

Observer Nagelsmann

Nagelsmann took a step back for almost two weeks after his DFB presentation. Away from cameras and spotlights, he observed, sighted and planned. In the coming weeks he will not want to expose himself to the accusation of egocentrically rocking the football stage as a frontman. “We are approaching it with a lot of enthusiasm, great anticipation and a great sense of responsibility,” said Flick’s successor about his motivation for the home tournament in just eight months.

His task goes far beyond dealing properly with team senior Müller. Nagelsmann, who was unceremoniously fired at FC Bayern in March, has to give the completely unsettled DFB structure a structure again. The defense is longing for a clear distribution of tasks. Leon Goretzka is likely to return as a midfield option. Does this also apply to Timo Werner im Sturm, Nagelsmann’s former favorite student from his Leipzig days? Both had recently been given an involuntary break by Flick.

Difficult relationship with Bayern players?

Confirming Ilkay Gündogan as captain and not pushing Munich’s Buddy Joshua Kimmich back into office was a first diplomatic step. Dealing with the long-term injured goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is not yet urgent, but it will be a bigger task when the long-time number one is ready for action again. There was debate about a difficult internal relationship from the Munich days. An alleged rapprochement was recently rumored through contacts who remained anonymous.

Nagelsmann will be in demand as a pragmatist, as he was in his debut squad. Because there are not terribly many personnel alternatives. Hoffenheim’s Maximilian Beier has been mentioned here and there as an attacking option. The core will consist of the Flick staff – but this time without the injured Serge Gnabry (broken arm) and Kevin Schade (muscle injury).

The national coach is likely to rely on a larger travel group, i.e. more than the 23 players required for the European Championships. This could also be due to a diplomatic move. The load must be controlled. Borussia Dortmund is playing against Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga again less than 36 hours after returning from Philadelphia. “We will also make sure that the players stay healthy,” promised Nagelsmann.