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“Germany no longer scares anyone”: in Dortmund, gloomy atmosphere nine months before the Euro

Special correspondent in Dortmund.

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“Germany no longer scares anyone”: in Dortmund, gloomy atmosphere nine months before the Euro

Special correspondent in Dortmund

The Euro football begins in nine months (June 14-July 14) and when you arrive in Dortmund, the indifference to this event is total. Whether at the station or in the city, there is nothing to indicate that the elite of European football are meeting in Germany. It must be said that the quadruple world champion selection does nothing to excite the crowds. Proof of this is that to receive the French team on Tuesday evening (9 p.m.) in the legendary Westfalenstadion, the 64,000 seats (81,000 usually with Borussia and its famous “yellow wall” but the standing stand in international matches is closed) were not not all found takers. Germany, plunged into a crisis of results (4 victories in the last 17 matches) and governance (Hansi Flick was sacked on Sunday after the setback against Japan and temporarily replaced by Rudi Völler), no longer makes its players dream. fans.

Usually, the reception of the vice-world champions, with Kylian Mbappé in the opposing camp, for a poster which remains strong between two great footballing nations, would have been full. This will not be the case Tuesday evening. “Our selection is painful to see and we have had a series of disappointments for several years with two eliminations in the first round of the World Cup in 2018 and 2022,” says Bastian, 28, who still wears the Mannschaft jersey. Before, challenging Germany was feared by all the teams in the world, today, we no longer scare anyone. »

Saturday evening in Wolfsburg, Japan swept away Hansi Flick's team (1-4), although it was made up of experienced players like Ter Stegen, Rüdiger, Kimmich, Gundogan and even Sané and Gnabry. Even Thomas Müller, recalled after being dismissed by Flick, changed nothing. It's simple, since March 22 and a success against Peru (2-0), the Mannschaft has had one series of disappointments. Defeats against Belgium (2-3), Poland (0-1) and Colombia (0-2) and draw against Ukraine (3-3). For a level unworthy of a selection accustomed to the top. “The selection used to bring us together and set ourselves up as an example of success, but we no longer recognize ourselves in this team,” complains Lukas, a disillusioned taxi driver. The disenchantment is real and the hurt is deep. » The questioning of German football is based in particular, beyond the selection, on the quality and richness of training of young people in the making, with a pool which suffers from comparison with France.

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Sent to the fire to manage the emergency situation and present in front of numerous German media Monday evening in the bays of Signal Iduna Park, Rudi Völler tries to keep face. “We have 3 and a half weeks left before the next match in the United States and it is important to find someone to set a course. We have 9 months left before the Euro to have results, it is possible with a new coach who can move the lines. » The name of Julian Nagelsmann, free since his departure from Bayern Munich and his aborted arrival at Paris SG this summer, is on the lips of all German colleagues... who have also repeatedly asked the former OM striker he would not want to continue at the head of the selection. Polite refusal from the main person concerned, who does not see himself plunging back into this mess at the age of 60.

“Of course there are great players in our team, but the pool is weak, the work on young people does not take place compared to what you have in France,” testifies another supporter in a very calm and well-rounded Dortmund. far from getting excited on the eve of the match. The Euro is in nine months and we are heading straight into the wall. We have to hope for a burst of pride but we find it hard to believe it. » Morose and heavy atmosphere on the Ruhr side.

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