Years ago, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the former director of Bayern Munich, made it clear that football is not mathematics. On the other hand, engineering is football. Especially in the Netherlands, home to Piet Mondrian and Louis van Gaal, among others. Creating spaces, forming links, which plays a completely different role there than in Germany, as well as in football.
as Louis van Gaal, coach of the Bonds national team And like Mondrian, his master of trade, who sat before his friends from the press last week, demonstrated his latest tactical invention with the help of three Coca-Cola bottles: the inverted triangle. This is how the waiters felt a few years ago at the famous Schumann Stadium in Munich when they saw Thomas Tuchel and Pep Guardiola re-enact the great matches in the history of world football using water glasses.
An inverted triangle with two central strikers and a shadow party behind them is also likely to make its way into the German national team this Tuesday (8.45pm/ARD). And it is likely not the only challenge in this “derby against Holland”, as Thomas Muller described the test match against the big opponent from the neighboring country.
The Germans have played eight matches since the early end of the European Championship last summer and changed the training site. They won all eight, by a record-breaking goal difference of 33-2. “The matches were good for self-confidence and for finding each other,” says defender Thelo Kehrer, who was the only player to play in all eight matches under new national coach Hansi Flick. “But we know it wasn’t really the big opponent. The Netherlands is a big opponent.”
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That was also evident on the weekend when a team The World Cup year began with a 4-2 victory over Denmark, which reached the semi-finals of the European Championship. Especially in the first half, the Dutch dominated the match as they wished. The Danes got nervous early on. That’s the plan for the new Bond coach, who is now taking over for the third time. Midfielder Matthijs de Ligt said Van Gaal expected “full pressure on the ball” from his players.
Like the Germans, the Dutch overcame their grief in EM with their new coach. The face-to-face encounter will now be the first real test: how resilient a good mood really is? For the Germans, this is even more true than for the Netherlands, who were faced by Norway and Turkey in the World Cup qualifiers.
Unlike the Germans. Rivals in Flick’s eight matches to date have averaged 113th place in the world rankings. Romania, ranked 42, was the strongest nominally his side had met. Germany is in eleventh place, and the Netherlands is tenth. “It will definitely be a different match,” said Thilo Kehrer, recalling the safe 2-0 win over Israel on Saturday, when Flick allowed some players to play from the second row. Captain Manuel Neuer will return to goal in Amsterdam, playing Antonio Rudiger from the start, as well as likely Thomas Muller and Leroy Sane. Joshua Kimmish, on the other hand, is missing out because he will be a father again.
Beating the Netherlands will be especially important this time
Victories over big rivals are always nice, but in this particular case a victory over Holland would also be a success against the “yes, but” faction. Yes, it is all well and good what the national team has achieved since the European Championship, but it was only Liechtenstein, Israel and Armenia. “It’s a benchmark for us,” Flick says of the game in Amsterdam. And with all due respect to Holland and Louis van Gaal: “Every win gives you more confidence in your strength. That’s what we need too.”
The fact that it’s also about expanding his starting record, and continuing his winning streak, “that’s good for the statisticians,” says the national coach, but he doesn’t care much at the moment. Maybe we can talk about it again after Christmas. “If we can say at the end of December that we have won eight games, then I can live with that very well.”