Groß refuses to declare war on Kimmich: “Know my role”
It was not Leon Goretzka, but Pascal Groß who played alongside Ilkay Gündogan against the USA in the absence of Joshua Kimmich. But the Brighton professional didn’t want to draw too much conclusions from that.
Harmonizing double six: Pascal Groß (left) and Ilkay Gündogan.
Three to 80: Given the number of international matches, a duel between Pascal Groß and Joshua Kimmich would not be on equal terms. And yet some observers of Germany’s convincing 3-1 victory over the USA tried to conjure up a competitive situation.
“No,” Groß answered decisively when asked whether he could fight a duel with Kimmich in the direction of the European Championships. “Because I know my role,” said the veteran, who only made his debut in the national team jersey in September. “It was nice to play today,” said Groß and attributed his own good performance to the strong man next to him. “Ilkay gives every player a good feeling,” said the 32-year-old about captain Gündogan, “he is an absolute top player who has incredible game intelligence and ball security. I felt comfortable on the pitch, we did well.”
93 percent of Groß’s passes were successful and he won all four duels until he was substituted against Leon Goretzka in the 70th minute. Consequently, national coach Julian Nagelsmann was also impressed: “Pascal is a very clever and intelligent footballer, very clever in space, in binding opponents, is courageous and has good counter-pressing, can play many positions.”
Another argument that Nagelsmann added could counteract the long-standing national team fatigue among the German public, which seems to be disappearing since the end of the Flick era. “He has a sparkle in his eyes,” the national coach enthused about Groß, “for him the national team is something special. He’s on fire.”