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National team: Who still has to worry about their place in Nagelsmann's squad for the European Championship

National team: Who still has to worry about their place in Nagelsmann's squad for the European Championship

M The candidates are a joke

Who still has to worry about his place in Nagelsmann's European Championship squad?

The German Football Association's training group is completed – “The battle for position in the team has begun”

10 days before the opening match against Scotland, the last German players for the European Championship arrived in Herzogenaurach. WELT correspondent Christian Belfuss reports on the state of preparations.

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Julian Nagelsmann has a difficult decision to make by Friday. The national coach will remove at least one player from his team for the European Championship. The defensive player in particular has to worry about his dream of participating in the tournament.

DrThe boss has a morning ritual. At the German national team's European Championship headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Julian Nagelsmann runs every day near the headquarters of Adidas, the federation's sponsor, where the national coach and his team have been living since last weekend. His assistants, Sandro Wagner and Benjamin Gluck, and the team doctor, Dr. Jochen Hahn. Fresh air, exercise, small talk – these are the places where Nagelsmann can organize his thoughts.

Perhaps the 36-year-old is also thinking these days about who he will have to deliver bitter news to this weekend. 27 players will join his temporary squad for the tournament, which will be held in Germany (from June 14 to July 14), which was announced in mid-May. According to the statute of UEFA, which organizes the European Championship, there can only be 26 players in the tournament.

Nagelsmann must omit a player who has trained with the team for two weeks by then. The deadline ends next Saturday night, and players must register for the European Championship by then. This comes after the Germans' last test in the European Championship against Greece in Mönchengladbach on Friday evening (8:45 p.m., on WELT Sports Bar).

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It's a difficult decision. Nagelsmann admits this openly. “No one is so bad that you can say they deserve to go home,” the coach said this week. “It's been discussed up and down the coaching staff. We've agreed, we'll wait a week.”

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Robin Koch in particular is considered a candidate for repeal. Nagelsmann's team currently includes five central defenders – Antonio Rudiger, Jonathan Tah, Waldemar Anton and Niko Schlotterbeek. Usually a team does not need that many professionals in this position. Rudiger and Schlotterbeek only recently arrived for the Champions League final, and Koch has been extremely helpful and committed up to this point. But now there may be a bitter conversation with Nagelsmann.

Nagelsmann Koch came on as a substitute in the match that ended in a goalless draw against Ukraine last Monday. The 27-year-old from Eintracht Frankfurt played for Germany for the first time in three years, and this was his ninth cap. “I have put my foot down and I am happy to play a match for the national team again after a long time,” Koch said. “It's always a great honor.”

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Nagelsmann explicitly told the elimination candidates from the beginning that they were not sure where they would fit. The national coach did not publicly reveal his identity.

Waldemar Anton is slightly ahead of Robin Koch

In 2021, Koch made it into the European Championship squad, but did not play a single minute until the tournament's round-of-16 exit to England. The son of former professional Harry Koch returned to the Bundesliga from English club Leeds United before last season to become the focus of the national team once again. But Nagelsmann recently opined that Anton is “slightly” ahead of Koch. Against Ukraine, Anton started with Tah at centre-back.

Maximilian Pierre was also sometimes considered a candidate for elimination after the interim team was announced. That has changed. The 21-year-old Hoffenheim striker impressed after coming on as a substitute against Ukraine and received plenty of praise from Nagelsmann and his more experienced teammates.

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“It definitely makes it more likely,” Nagelsmann said after Pierre's international debut about the flexible striker's potential involvement in the European Championship. “Maxi played a very good game. He was very hardworking, and also defensively. He is also training much better than he was in March,” Nagelsmann said.

Nagelsmann also nominated an above average number of players at the goalkeeper position. However, Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Olivier Baumann and Alexander Nubel should remain in the team. Nagelsmans already confirmed this in May. He needs a large number of goalkeepers so that he can train smoothly. Neuer is number one. It would be very surprising if Nagelsmann cut the goalkeeper.

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Nagelsmann has so far allowed young professionals Roko Reitz from Borussia Mönchengladbach and Brajan Gruda from 1. FSV Mainz 05, who otherwise plays for Germany's U21 team, to train with the national team due to the absence of a few players due to club matches recently and both are in the squad. The latter have been noticed at their club this season. However, the two are unlikely to play a role in his European Championship plans. The dismissed player will likely return home at the end of next week.