Julian Nagelsmann said what everyone in the DFB group was thinking. “That feels good!” After years of sadness with three tournament flops in a row, the national coach has great anticipation among German football fans with a radically renewed squad and two test match victories at the start of the European Championship year against France (2:0) and the Netherlands (2:1). The home tournament takes place from June 14th to July 14th.

“The ten days were a lot of fun from A to Z,” summarized Nagelsmann in Frankfurt. The course produced many winners – and some really big ones.

Julian Nagelsmann: In the November defeats against Turkey (2:3) and especially in Austria (0:2), the young national coach seemed to be in trouble after the promising start to the USA trip with the 3:1 win against the US team to have fallen off the European Championship track after a 2-2 draw against Mexico. But he drew his conclusions, radically restructured the squad, brought Toni Kroos back from DFB retirement and assigned clear roles to each individual player. “The spirit felt completely different than it did in November,” said Nagelsmann. The association wants to extend his contract before the European Championships. But it is also very interesting for clubs.

Kroos was the head of the team straight away

Toni Kroos: His resignation from the DFB after almost three years turned out to be a direct hit. The 34-year-old from Real Madrid is immediately the head of the team. The 2014 world champion acts on the field like a quarterback in American football. Against the Dutch, Kroos even took over the captaincy after Ilkay Gündogan was substituted.

Maximilian Mittelstädt: Last summer, the full-back was relegated from the Bundesliga with Hertha BSC. The high flight with VfB Stuttgart brought him to the DFB selection. The 27-year-old scored a wonderful goal against Holland in the second international match to make it 1-1. “Outstanding,” praised Nagelsmann, who already saw in him what he then showed twice in the DFB jersey. “If he continues like this, he will be a player for the European Championships,” said the national coach. Mind you for the first eleven.

“We won’t swap ten players in the summer”

The starting eleven: Nagelsmann fielded the identical team in both test games. Everyone in it was allowed to feel like the winner of the week – except for one. Marc-André ter Stegen saved well twice. Nevertheless, Nagelsmann had already appointed his competitor Manuel Neuer, who left injured, as the European Championship goalkeeper. And the national coach made it clear before the France game that this decision stood. That’s why Neuer is a winner of the week despite the postponed DFB comeback.

Everyone who was now part of the squad can hope more than ever for their ticket to the European Championship. “There’s no question: If everyone stays healthy and continues to perform, we definitely won’t swap ten players in the summer. Actually not five, maybe one or two – plus injured players,” Nagelsmann announced. But he doesn’t want to do without the suspended Leroy Sané. For former permanent staff like Bayern professional Leon Goretzka or several Dortmund players like Niklas Süle, Mats Hummels or Julian Brandt, it looks a lot like vacation in the summer.

A week ago it was still in a state of crisis

The DFB: After three disappointing tournaments (2018 World Cup, 2021 European Championship, 2022 World Cup) and major economic problems, the association was still in a state of crisis a week ago. The change in supplier from Adidas to Nike in 2027 was first announced, which was criticized by some German politicians, but which will bring many millions of euros into the empty DFB coffers. And suddenly there is also sporting confidence for the all-important home tournament.

The fans: Since the World Cup disaster in Russia, there has been increasing estrangement between fans and the national team. International matches were no longer celebrations, tournaments were frustrating events. Two test match victories against two big nations, the return of Kroos and the football magic of young stars Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala in new, colorful jerseys were enough to change the mood. As the icing on the cake, the DFB responded to an online petition and quickly made “Major Tom” the new goal anthem – which fans celebrated in the stadium and on social media.

Tournament veteran Thomas Müller summed it up after the Holland game with Niclas Füllkrug’s late joker winning goal: “People want football, but successful football.”