Premiere in Wolfsburg: For the first time ever, the German national football team plays a compulsory game at the VW Arena. In the last home game of the year, DFB-Elf will face Liechtenstein in World Cup qualification on 11 November. It starts at 8.45 pm. In any case, VfL sporting director Marcel Schaefer is already looking forward to it.
The German senior team is coming to Wolfsburg for the third time – the last time was not so long ago. On March 20, 2019, former Frankfurt Luka Jovic gave Serbia the lead, Leon Goretzka drew it to a 1-1 draw. But the outcome of the friendly match at that time was of secondary importance. Because the game was covered with racist comments. During the game Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane were attacked in a xenophobic manner by three men, with Gundogan being scorned as “Turks” and Sane being insulted because of the color of his skin. Incomprehensible: Two out of three men escaped impunity. According to the Braunschweig Public Prosecutor’s Office, there was not enough suspicion. Another accused, known as “Heil Hitler”, is expected to be fined 2,400 euros.
So now the next international match is in Wolfsburg. “We are always happy when the German national team is our guest,” says sports director Schaefer. “Wolfsburg is also an excellent place to spend a few days here and play a game here. We look forward to it. And the fact that the national team is a guest strengthens the partnership with Volkswagen.” Because VW has been the main sponsor of the DFB since 2017, when the group succeeded Mercedes. But there is another reason that makes the senior national team’s visit to Wolfsburg fascinating: the lawn at the VW Arena was recently awarded the title of “Pitch of the Year” as the best green in the Bundesliga. Schaefer said: “The best players have to play on the best grass.”
Germany has already played three matches in World Cup qualifying. With six points from three matches, the DFB team is only in third place and recently suffered a 2–1 loss against North Macedonia. Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern) & Co won against Iceland (3:0) and Romania (1:0). More should be added against Liechtenstein. And there’s another special feature: After 15 years as national coach, Low will no longer be on the sidelines at Wolfsburg, but last season’s Bayern coach, Hansi Flick, will lead the team as head coach.
The first international match took place on 1 June 2003 in Wolfsburg. In a test match against Canada, the DFB-Elf won 4–1 under then national coach Rudy Woller. After former Cologne professional Kevin McKenna put the Canadians in the lead, Carsten Ramello, Paul Freire, Freddie Bobick and former Wolfsburgh Tobias Rau met for Germany. There was a commotion before kick-off. At the press conference, Voller scolded Mario Basler, who described the generation of players around Ramello and Bernd Schneider as “boring and monosyllabic”. To drink five Wheat beers in ten minutes or to smoke a can of Marlboro while listening to the instructor from time to time”, Woller countered Bassler’s criticism.
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