A special ‘on-off relationship’ with the national team

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Written By Maya Cantina

Emre Kan found the best conditions when he arrived at the German national team’s European Championship quarters on Wednesday evening. “The room was very clean, the cleaning lady did a good job,” the Borussia Dortmund captain reported on Sunday afternoon while sitting in front of the press at the DFB base in Herzogenaurach. It was quiet in the accommodation and the players did not disturb each other, Can said – and immediately provided proof: when asked, he did not know with whom he shared his four-person bungalow. Can also got confused when he posted about his wife’s birthday on Friday. Or on Saturday? That wasn’t entirely clear.

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Understandably, the midfielder is a bit confused these days. He would actually be on holiday now, recovering from a long season at BVB, which only ended in the Champions League final against Real Madrid (0-2). Instead, he is now part of a German national team that got off to a flying start at the European Championship at home on Friday with a 5-1 win against Scotland. Can played his part: he came on as a substitute in the 80th minute and scored the final score in stoppage time. This twist is “a blatant story,” he admitted.

Take a breather and focus on Hungary: how the DFB team prepares for game two of the European Championship

Germany has a lot of wind at its back after the 5-1 victory over Scotland at the start of the European Championship. DFB reporter Roman Gerth reports from the team headquarters in Herzogenaurach.

Emre Can was actually not included in the German European Championship plans. But then Aleksandar Pavlović was out due to an infection and in Dortmund The phone rang on Wednesday – It was national coach Julian Nagelsmann’s turn. “He asked if I was interested in participating and I immediately said: I am ready, even though I had not done anything for ten days,” Can reported. According to him, the break was good for him, both physically and mentally. The defeat in the Champions League final took its toll. According to his own statements, he traveled to the national team without any mental baggage: “I just switched off and didn’t think about football at all.”

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His goal against Scotland as a substitute for the European Championship is the latest twist in Can’s eventful career with the national team – an ‘on-off relationship’ that has continued since 2015, by his own admission. He played a total of less than 100 minutes at the 2016 and 2021 European Championships and was not in the selection at the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. He took part in last year’s international matches until September: “I thought: it works now,” he said.

Can: “I always want to play. That’s why I’ve come this far.”

However, in September, Hansi Flick was fired and Nagelsmann came to power – and saw no use for Can, or rather, “had other ideas”, as the player put it. According to Nagelsmann, he openly expressed his disappointment at not being part of the original European Championship squad. However, after Wednesday’s phone call, harmony returned: “He said something very nice: he would rather call for an acceptance than for a rejection,” Can reported about the conversation with Nagelsmann.

At the European Championship he has an ambiguous role: on the one hand, he arrived as captain of a Champions League finalist. On the other hand, he knows that he is in fourth and last place in the DFB’s internal defensive midfield rankings behind Toni Kroos, Robert Andrich and Pascal Groß. Can faces this dilemma with an innocent mixture of resignation to fate and the basic ambitions of a professional athlete: “I can’t say: I want to be on the field on Wednesday,” he said, referring to the Germans’ second European Championship . match against Hungary: “But I always want to play. That’s why I’ve come this far.”

During his appearance in front of the press on Sunday, he repeatedly emphasized how grateful he was for the subsequent call-up to the European Championship and how great it was to represent his country at the home tournament: “I hope it will be a very special day. special EC Can said. She already is that for him.

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