HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) – Germany’s new coach Hansi Flick said he feels no pressure in carrying the expectations of his soccer-mad country on his shoulders with his team edging closer to a spot at the 2022 World Cup.
Flick, who took over from Joachim Loew earlier this year after Germany disappointed at the last two major tournaments, has made a winning start with three victories from three games so far.
A win over Romania on Friday would move them within striking distance of a place at the Qatar World Cup.
“I don’t feel any pressure. It is a task that you can do with a lot of joy,” Flick told a news conference. “You have to have a good team around you… people with enormous qualities that make you better. I feel safe and this is a lot of fun.”
Germany could seal qualification with victory over Romania and another win over North Macedonia next week, with the four-times world champions eager to put their last two tournaments behind them.
They suffered a first-round exit at the 2018 World Cup and were eliminated in the last 16 at this year’s Euros.
Germany, however, are leading World Cup qualifying Group J with 15 points from six games, with Armenia in second place on 11 and Romania third with 10.
Under Flick the Germans have scored 12 goals and conceded none in those three matches.
“We need to win this game tomorrow and that is our aim,” Flick said. “I’ll take a 1-0, one goal, no goal conceded, three points. It is a result we could live with. But it will not be an easy game.”
“All my players are fit and healthy. We are very satisfied and have a really good atmosphere and what we particularly liked in training yesterday was the high intensity,” he said.
“Romania want to play football, carry the ball forward, they have kept a clean sheet in the last three matches. So we must have that intensity to put them under pressure.”
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis)