BERLIN (Reuters) – Playing four consecutive Nations League matches at the end of a long season in June is too much for a World Cup year, with players to get little rest until the tournament starts in November in Qatar, said Germany coach Hansi Flick on Friday.
The Germans, who played two draws against Italy and England on June 4 and on June 7 in the Nations League A Group 3, face Hungary in Budapest on Saturday before taking on Italy on June 14.
“I agree with that,” said Flick when asked whether the Nations League matches were a strain for players. “Four matches are too many after such a season. You have to take the two years into account.
“We had a pandemic and a lot of matches piled up. We will be having ‘English weeks’ (two-match weeks),” the German told a news conference from their training base in Herzogenaurach in Bavaria.
“There will be almost no pre-season preparation then it’s Bundesliga and Champions League matches every three, four days until the World Cup.”
The Bundesliga starts on Aug. 5 while Europe’s premier club competition’s group stage will kick off on Sept. 6/7 with four teams from the German league taking part.
The German national team is again in action against Hungary on Sept. 23 and travel to England on Sept. 26. The World Cup starts on Nov. 21 in Qatar.
“This should be looked at and we need to ask ourselves how we can offer players a break because that is important,” Flick said.
“UEFA or (world soccer governing body) FIFA should look into these things and take some measures.
“Now we have to prepare well, we have these four games. We accept them. It is tough for the players after a long season. But we accept it because all teams have the same starting points.
“What we are focusing on is to play a good World Cup in November.”
Germany, who suffered a shock first round exit at the 2018 World Cup in Russia for their worst result in the competition in 80 years, are unbeaten under Flick, having won eight and drawn three matches.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Christian Radnedge)