'This can't happen' - Ilkay Gundogan reveals Germany are 'fighting with themselves' following shock 4-1 defeat against Japan

20230910_gundogan(C)Getty images
  • Germany beaten 4-1 by Japan
  • Hansi Flick under pressure
  • Gundogan fronts up

WHAT HAPPENED? Gundogan failed to impact the game as Germany went down to Japan, their fourth loss in five games. Boss Hansi Flick is under immense pressure, with many believing he should be sacked in a bid to boost form ahead of next year's Euro 2024 competition in Germany. The lack of confidence in the camp was made clear in Gundogan's post-match comments.

WHAT THEY SAID: "We have to admit Japan were defensively and offensively better than us and won the game deservedly," said Gundogan. "I think you can feel that a lot of our players are in a mental fight with themselves - there’s no confidence, there’s no understanding for the timing of decisions, and obviously these kind of games and results don’t help at all... we feel like everyone is fighting with themselves, and that makes it harder to create a spirit and atmosphere."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: That atmosphere will need to shift decisively, and fast, if Germany are going to have any chance of going deep in the European Championships next summer. Despite the ongoing pressure, Flick has insisted he is the right man for the job, but whether he will be there come the start of the tournament remains to be seen.

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Ilkay Gundogan Germany 2023 HIC 2:1Getty Imagesjapan germany 2-1(C)Taisei IwamotoHansi Flick Germany 2023Getty

WHAT NEXT FOR GUNDOGAN? The Barcelona midfielder is likely to play a central role in any turnaround Germany are able to generate. He was handed the captain's armband against Japan, and is one of the most experienced and decorated players in the team. Germany's charge to help build up some form before Euro 2024 begins with a friendly against France, which the 32-year-old is sure to feature in.