Rudi Völler naturally placed himself in the center of the press podium on his big DFB comeback, flanked by national coach Hansi Flick and U21 coach Antonio Di Salvo.

And it was also the sports director who, 19 years after his resignation as team boss of the national team, swore in the current generation of players around captain Joshua Kimmich in Frankfurt with a lot of pathos to the next tournament mission in 15 months.

“It’s lucky to have this impressive European Championship here. I will make it very clear to the players how nice it is to have such a big tournament in your own country. Every tournament is enormously important, but one is in your own country something wonderful,” enthused Völler. And for that he will demand maximum performance from everyone.

Musiala is cancelled

But bad news also burst at the start of preparations for the international matches against Peru on Saturday in Mainz and three days later in Cologne against Belgium: Bayern star Jamal Musiala had to be injured because of a torn muscle fiber in his left thigh, which he suffered on Sunday evening at Munich’s 1 :2 had moved to Leverkusen, to leave the DFB quarters. “We all hoped that Jamal would be fit because he has unique qualities,” said Flick before the public training session in the afternoon. The national coach refrained from a subsequent nomination.

Flick (58) and Völler (62) sat together in the stands in Leverkusen on Sunday evening. And on the subsequent drive to Frankfurt, they also had plenty of time to discuss the situation. They have declared the EURO to be their common mission. After the resignation of DFB director Oliver Bierhoff, which Flick regretted, his successor Völler is now the patron saint and public buffer for the national coach. As a kind of supervisor, Völler wants to do everything together with Flick’s coaching team to ensure that after three botched tournaments (WM 2018, EM 2021, WM 2022) in 15 months the fans experience a new football summer fairy tale – even if cheeky title slogans are deliberately avoided .

“We have footballing quality, we’re working on the rest,” announced Völler. And Flick seconded: “The World Cup didn’t exactly give us tailwind. That’s why a bit of humility is appropriate. You can’t guarantee success, but we’ll prepare for this tournament very well, very professionally.” As an observer of the Qatar World Cup, Völler addressed a blatant deficit: “Argentina also became world champions because they had the four or five percent will, mission, greed more than many others, maybe with us too. There we are not a negative example. We have to act as a unit and with a lot of team spirit and combine that with footballing quality.”

Joint team evening in the hotel

Völler forms the big alliance within the association. “Rudi nazionale” made this visible with the “carefully” chosen joint opening press conference of the A-Team and U21 on the DFB campus. He called them “symbolic”. On Tuesday there is also a joint team evening at the hotel. Flick fills “the interlocking” with life: Five of the six newcomers in his squad – Mergim Berisha, Kevin Schade, Felix Nmecha, Josha Vagnoman and Malick Thiaw – come from the U21s.

“Who could have the potential to be part of the EM 2024,” was Flick’s requirement when putting together his first squad in 2023 without a number of established national players such as Thomas Müller, Ilkay Gündogan, Antonio Rüdiger, Niklas Süle, Leroy Sané, Jonas Hofmann or des injured Julian Brandt. “He would have given us added value,” said Flick, regretting the absence of Dortmund’s Brandt, especially after Musiala’s absence.

Debuts planned

All squad newcomers should also experience their international debut. “That’s the plan,” said Flick. But he also knows that the results of a new start must be as good as possible. “We are aware that we need stability in the team and players who lead in certain positions.” He was thinking of the Bayern duo Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, Marc-André ter Stegen in goal or Kai Havertz and Niclas Füllkrug, who was convincing at the World Cup.

Flick also recognized in the preparation for the World Cup that he had to form a defensive bulwark. Nevertheless, at the start of the preparations for the European Championship, he does without defense chief Rüdiger and also Süle, two potential tournament regulars. “If I hadn’t done anything new, I would have liked to read the reports,” Flick justified his idiosyncratic path. This does not mean that the idea of ​​performance is abolished. “Our job as a coaching team is to put the team together.” He has full backing from Völler. Flick appreciates that. “Nobody embodies German football like Rudi, as a player, as a coach, as an official. He’s keen to make sure everything goes in the right direction.” Völler emphasized the other way round: “I try to support Hansi – in every respect.”