Flick tells German team to ignore Hungary fans’ whistles in Budapest
Germany coach Hansi Flick has told his side to keep their composure in Budapest during Saturday’s Nations League match against Hungary, where the home crowd is expected to give the Germans a hostile reception.
“Everyone of us has played so many games where the atmosphere was heated,” Flick said Friday.
“There may be whistles (from Hungary fans) but once the (referee’s) whistle goes, the focus is on the game.”
There is history between the German team and Hungarian fans from last June’s 2-2 draw in Munich during the Euro 2020 group stages.
After scoring the equaliser, Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka made a heart gesture with his hands to Hungarian fans, who had turned their backs to the pitch before kick off during the German national anthem.
Thomas Mueller said Goretzka’s gesture reflected the team’s feelings towards visiting fans, who provoked the Germans throughout the game.
“Leon’s action was spontaneous and a great reaction to what happened,” Mueller said Friday.
“The Hungarian fan block didn’t show its best side. His (gesture) spoke from our hearts.”
Hungary pulled off a shock 1-0 home win over England last Saturday, when visiting English players were booed by the Budapest crowd for taking a knee – to promote anti-racism – before kick-off.
Both the German and English teams took a knee before Tuesday’s 1-1 draw in Munich, but Mueller said there are no plans for the Germany team to repeat the gesture in Budapest.
“The English kneeled as part of their campaign. We think it’s a good thing, that’s why we took part,” Mueller explained.
“We’re open to campaigns that represent our values, but nothing is planned (before the game in Budapest).”
After draws against both Italy and England, Flick is set to name his strongest team having ruled out resting Germany captain Manuel Neuer in goal.
Five months before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar, Flick still needs to settle on his first-choice striker.
Timo Werner started against Italy in Bologna, then his Chelsea team-mate Kai Havertz was used up front against England.
Flick hinted that Werner will start in Budapest and called on the 26-year-old to add to his tally of 22 goals in 51 internationals.
“We need players who are in form, which is crucial for Qatar. We don’t have time to make any adjustments,” said Flick.
“It is quite possible that he (Werner) will play from the start.
“He can score goals, which always gives him confidence.”