by Oliver Trust
BERLIN, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Thomas Muller might have felt it was necessary to address the nation as the silverback delivered an appeal demanding calmness and confidence.
With only seven months before the start of the 2024 UEFA Euro in Munich, unpleasant but familiar difficulties seem back for the German national team. 20 conceded goals in ten games indicate that there must be some work to do for newly promoted coach Julian Nagelsmann.
Ahead of the friendly against Austria this Tuesday evening, the loss to Turkey sparked unrest among fans and pundits.
The 3-2 loss to some extent might have taken the German public back to reality coming along with the conviction that the former Bayern coach is far from being a miracle healer.
"Don't let us get downed, it is our job to continue and achieve something," 34-year-old Muller said. The Bayern striker called for patience and confidence to ease tensions coming along with being the tournament host.
Nagelsmann's most pressing issue, namely creating defensive stability, remains a challenge as he inherited unsolved problems his predecessors Joachim Loew and Hansi Flick suffered from.
While the front line seems well-equipped, the composition of midfield and back-row still needs intense attention.
Puzzle gaming continues when it comes to team captain Ilkay Gundogan and Bayern's Joshua Kimmich as both might cover offensive spirits but lack qualities as a holding six.
Gaps allowing German opponents efficient counterattacks remain a threat as neither a convincing solution on the fullback nor central positions seems in sight.
While the presence of Jonathan Tah (Leverkusen), Antonio Rudiger (Real), Mats Hummels, and Niklas Sule (both Dortmund) is providing variability, Robin Gosens (Union), Benjamin Henrichs, David Raum (both Leipzig) battle it out on the left and right side.
Nagelsmann's bold try to place Arsenal striker Kai Havertz in the left corner against Turkey triggered unsteadiness as well as placing left-winger Leroy Sane on the right side with Henrichs behind. The incomplete interplay on both flanks opened space for Turkish strikers.
Nagelsmann doesn't see reason for pessimism while a successful performance against Austria seems a must to avoid further unrest before crossing swords in March 2024 with the Netherlands and France.
At present, the reunion of Nagelsmann with his former mentor Ralf Rangnick is providing a particular flavor as the current Austria coach played a significant role when it came to the German team.
In Hoffenheim and Leipzig, Nagelsmann followed in the wake of Rangnick as first-team coach. ■