Germany head coach Hansi Flick and midfielder Ilkay Gundogan have lauded England and the Premier League, with the latter claiming the Three Lions have sufficient strength in depth for three different ‘strong’ lineups.
Die Mannschaft are preparing to host England in their second match in Nations League Group A3 in Munich on Tuesday night – the two nations’ first meeting since a famous 2-0 victory for Gareth Southgate’s men at Euro 2020 last year.
The Germans are unbeaten in the ten games since that disappointing last 16 exit after Flick took the reins, but the former Bayern Munich manager is under no illusions as to the task facing his side given the strength of the Premier League.
“The quality is very high,” Flick said in a press conference. “They have six or seven clubs of almost equal level.”
The coach also revealed that he believes German players who move to the English top flight “take a step up”, singling out Chelsea’s Kai Havertz out for praise. Flick believes the 22-year-old has “grown up under the influence of [Chelsea manager] Thomas Tuchel”.
Man City star Gundogan went as far as to suggest that England have sufficient quality in depth for three strong teams.
“They are a really strong side with so much depth,” the midfielder said. “They could easily name three different strong starting XIs. We need to be prepared and up for the challenge.
“We need to match their intensity. We have to win our tackles. The physical side of the game will be important too.”
Flick echoed that sentiment, adding: “We have prepared well for England. If we stick to our plan, we’ll hopefully put in a good performance and get the win in front of a sold-out stadium in Munich.
“England are a really physical side and it will be a tough test for us. We are nevertheless looking forward to it. It will be important to match their physicality and to play our own game.
“It’s a special game for us. We need to get the fans as pumped up as we are with some attractive football.”