Julian Nagelsmann Leads German Football with Pragmatic Approach and Veterans for Short-Term Goals

German national team coach Julian Nagelsmann embraces pragmatism and experience in the pursuit of short-term success as they prepare for upcoming friendlies.

At the Foxborough compound near Boston, it may not be immediately apparent that the man overseeing the German national football team is Julian Nagelsmann. Unlike his predecessor, Hansi Flick, the 36-year-old coach actively participates in training, blending seamlessly with his players, appearing as just another member of the squad while engaging in lively conversations with his team, as reported by Xinhua.

Only two years older than Dortmund’s veteran defender Mats Hummels, the former Bayern Munich coach is candid about the delicate task he faces—nurturing the struggling 2014 World Cup champions as they journey towards the 2024 UEFA Euro.

As the team prepares for friendlies against the United States and Mexico, pragmatism is the cornerstone of Nagelsmann’s approach, emphasized by his modest eight-month contract. Rather than focusing on long-term development, Nagelsmann is concerned with the present. Out of the 26 players selected, 12 are aged over 30, representing the best talent currently available in the country. Only four players are under 25, including emerging talents like Malick Thiaw, Jamal Musiala, and Florian Wirtz.


The German squad boasts its oldest age profile in over two decades, and experience is seen as essential when time is limited.

This applies not only to seasoned players like Hummels and Thomas Muller (34) but also to 32-year-old Union striker Kevin Behrens and Stuttgart midfielder Chris Fuhrich, who are making their debuts.

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Nagelsmann places his trust in a straightforward tactical approach using a 4-2-2-2 system, combined with what he describes as “infectious passion and overwhelming motivation,” as highlighted by team captain Ilkay Gundogan.

Barcelona midfielder Gundogan speaks of a coach who imparts straightforward advice, while Nagelsmann himself emphasizes the use of “14 different tactics, all rooted in simplicity.”

In Nagelsmann’s perspective, creating a framework and nurturing self-assurance is the path to success and a positive team atmosphere.

As Muller notes, “Everything he does has a clear purpose.” This pragmatic approach is aimed at producing favorable results, with the Bayern Munich striker adding, “We can talk about the good mood in training and off the pitch, but it all comes down to victories.”

Nagelsmann has turned down interview requests, underscoring the notion that his focus is on hard work, with public engagement taking a back seat and occurring only during official press conferences.

Nagelsmann’s message is clear: the coach isn’t the most important figure; the team’s success is. This shift is significant, considering that Nagelsmann has often been in the spotlight, hailed as a coaching prodigy due to his age.

Pragmatism now defines their approach. Muller sees their 2-1 victory over France as a “starting point” and acknowledges the need for further successes. He also acknowledges that the win provided the team with the confidence that they can win games.

The team has embraced the coach’s approach of concentrating entirely on their short-term goals.

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