National coach Julian Nagelsmann’s starting eleven for the national soccer team’s first major international test in the European Championship year against France is clearly visible in the final spurt of preparation.

During the last training session before leaving for Lyon, the 23 players practiced in two groups on the DFB campus in Frankfurt. The division of the ten field players each was revealing.

DFB newcomer from Stuttgart

From this it can be concluded that in front of Marc-André ter Stegen, who, according to Nagelsmann, will replace the injured Bayern professional Manuel Neuer in goal on Saturday evening (9 p.m. / ZDF), Joshua Kimmich, Jonathan Tah, Antonio Rüdiger and the Stuttgart newcomer Maximilian Mittelstädt will form the defensive line. In addition to DFB returnee Toni Kroos, Leverkusen’s Robert Andrich appears to be in the defensive midfield.

Captain Ilkay Gündogan forms the offensive formation with the two young stars Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala as well as Kai Havertz as the attack leaders. These ten players formed the second training group with the goalkeepers ter Stegen and Bernd Leno. Starting eleven candidates such as Dortmund’s top scorer Niclas Füllkrug, Bayern veteran Thomas Müller and Brighton professional Groß, who is conceivable alongside Kroos, belonged to the other group of ten with the players who are more in the challenger role.

Focus on France’s top star

Nagelsmann knows that the away game in Lyon against the European Championship favorites France and top striker Kylian Mbappé will be a special challenge. “Of course France has a top team. Given the density of the squad, they perhaps have the best team in all positions,” said the national coach.

He demands that his team put their defeats behind them at the end of 2023 and develop the will to win for the home tournament in the summer. “You have to accept losing sometimes. But when you start to lose, then you can forget about it,” said Nagelsmann, referring to the maximum success he is aiming for. “Accept that you’ll lose sometimes, but you can’t lose. What are you supposed to be able to do?”