Mass impasses within the German selection, opponent of France in the quarter-finals of the World Cup

Barely seventeen months have passed since the Tokyo Olympics duel (30-29 for the Blues in the group stage), but French viewers will no doubt find it difficult to recognize the majority of the faces of the German team tonight.

Kiel star pivot Hendrik Pekeler (31) is on an extended ‘break’ with the Nationalmannschaft from Tokyo, citing the need to protect his body and spend time with his family. His colleague Patrick Wiencek retired from international duty at the same time, aged 32.

Knorr, absent at the Euro because he refused to be vaccinated

Berlin right-back Fabian Wiede (28) declined selection for this World Cup because he has scheduled surgery for wisdom teeth this month. An argument that recalls the improbable justifications of NBA stars for skipping international basketball competitions (marriage, film shooting, etc.).

Juri Knorr (22), the new star of the team, is there, but he missed the Euro last year because he refused to be vaccinated against Covid-19. This disaffection is probably more visible given the weight of the media and their taste for controversy, but it is indisputable.

“It’s a shame that important, promising players refuse to participate. Because of this, our last competitions did not take place under a lucky star. (12th in the 2021 World Cup, 6th in the Tokyo Olympics, 7th in Euro 2022). It is up to each player to take his individual decisions. But he also has to accept that the team cannot rely on him.”tackled goalkeeper Andreas Wolff (31) on the eve of the World Cup in Die Welt.

“Such a thing would never have happened to us”

Christian Schwarzer, former German pivot world champion 2007

Steffen Weinhold and Fabian Wiede at the 2019 World Cup in Germany.  The former has retired from international duty while the latter is having teeth surgery this month.  (S. Mantey/The Team)

Steffen Weinhold and Fabian Wiede at the 2019 World Cup in Germany. The former has retired from international duty while the latter is having teeth surgery this month. (S. Mantey/The Team)

The workload is particularly heavy in the Bundesliga where the players play 34 Championship days (4 more than in France), and nothing but tough and very physical matches. Coach Gislason wants to hear it. “But there are many, many foreigners, especially Scandinavians, who came to the Bundesliga young and have therefore been there as long as the Germans. And none of them say they don’t want to go to the national team, underlined the Icelandic technician at the beginning of the month. It’s hard to take to think that such and such a German player is not available to the selection. It disappoints me. »

If the German public is still passionate about their national team (they were 8 million in front of the post on Tuesday during the defeat against Norway [26-28]ten times more than in France for the match of the Blues against Spain, the day before), this is obviously less the case for the players themselves. Especially since the powerful Bundesliga clubs do not hesitate to remind them that it is they who pay them and not the selection.

“It’s a boomerang return: when Alfred Gislason was the coach of Kiel (2008-2019), his club was one of those who put the most pressure on players to focus on their employer, observes François-Xavier Houlet, beIN Sports consultant, who had a long career as a player (1999-2007) then as a manager at Gummersbach. It’s been going on for ten years. This was less the case during the 2019 World Cup at home (4th), then it started again. It’s a general movement that makes players think more and more about managing their season and their career. They also see that they have less chance of getting a title with the Germany team. »

And that saddens the great veterans like Pascal Hens or Christian Schwarzer, 2007 world champions, who both say it with the same words: “Such a thing would never have happened to us. » “We were always happy to play these tournaments, to compete with the best. And also to have fun with friends, emphasizes Schwarzer in theAbendzeitung. But this bond, it is created after years in selection, to go through the tests together. » Recurring packages probably do not help to renew it.

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