Leon Goretzka claims that FIFA made the same mistakes in awarding the World Cup to Saudi Arabia as it did to Qatar. And Serge Gnabry starts laughing at Sandro Wagner.
Experienced national players like Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka are often so experienced in press conferences that it is difficult to get them out of reserve. Gnabry’s reaction was even funnier when he was asked on Wednesday (November 15, 2023) about Sandro Wagner’s new role as co-national coach.
“First of all, it’s surprising that Sandro took that path so quickly.” Gnabry said with a smile on his lips about his former Bayern teammate. “We played with him a few years ago. He was always a very fun player. So the change sometimes is definitely fun.”
From booth prankster to coach
Gnabry stressed, trying to be serious, that Wagner was very serious about the matter, very motivated and open. “I think it’s a good combination we have as a coaching team, especially for me as a striker, that he can give me a couple of tips on how he scored the goals then.”
After these last words, Gnabry couldn’t help but laugh: the impression of having the former locker room joker as a coach seemed too recent.
Goretzka on Wagner: “He is still the same person”
Gnabry participated in Wagner’s debut as assistant coach of the national team, in the 2-1 victory against France under interim coach Rudi Völler. But the last trip to the United States with Julian Nagelsmann and his permanent assistant Wagner was missed due to injury. He is now back in the team for Saturday’s test matches (8:45 p.m., live on the audio broadcast) in Berlin against Turkey and three days later in Vienna against Austria (live on the audio broadcast).
Goretzka smiled along with his companion’s laughter, but then responded confidently. “I think Sandro was very similar. He handles very well this, quote, ‘difficulty’ that he played with us and therefore, of course, he has a different connection.” Wagner was still the same person, he didn’t seem fake and he was extremely motivated.
World Cup in Saudi Arabia? Goretzka is clearer than Bernd Neuendorf
Goretzka is considered one of the most eloquent and opinionated national players. Before and during the recent World Cup, he made critical comments about the human rights situation in Qatar and denounced the decision to award the tournament to the undemocratic desert emirate.
Goretzka was now asked about the latest FIFA decisions, which will likely allow Saudi Arabia to host the 2034 World Cup. Goretzka was clearer in his answer than, for example, DFB president Bernd Neuendorf, who by The moment does not comment on the subject.
Goretzka: “Evidently the error has not been corrected”
The mistake in Qatar was the reward “and the criteria that influenced”, Goretzka said. “That obviously hasn’t been corrected now and it’s certainly not a good thing.”
However, now he is worried about what lies ahead in the summer: the European Championship at home. “And I am very happy that these questions will probably subside and we can fully concentrate on football.”
Back in the squad, but not yet in the starting eleven
Goretzka had to fear missing the European Championship in his own country. Former national coach Hansi Flick no longer nominated him after several disappointing results. Flick’s successor Nagelsmann brought back Goretzka, but in the last two games he preferred Brighton & Hove Albion’s Pascal Groß in defensive midfield.
“We are the German soccer team and the competition is always very tough,” Goretzka said. “I’m out of this now convinced that I have qualities with what I can help the team. In the end, Julian has to decide how, where and when that will happen.”
Gnabry wants to continue building in 2019
Gnabry has also had better moments in the national team, especially in 2019 with 9 goals and 2 assists in 8 games. Recently, young stars Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz have come to the fore, and Leroy Sané is in top form. As Nagelsmann also seems to rely on a classic center forward like Niclas Füllkrug, things will be difficult for Gnabry.
It was still behind the efficiency of then, Gnabry said. “The new season didn’t start so well due to some injuries, so I haven’t had the chance to perform very well yet.” A splint is now helping him recover despite his forearm fracture at the end of September. “I will definitely try to do my best again and improve on the form I had then.”