On Wednesday at 6 p.m. German time, the German national team will play their World Cup dress rehearsal against Oman. The DFB representation was a guest at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat the day before. She experienced a turbulent press conference – and a bit of kitsch.
Actually, Christian Günter is planned for the World Cup for the problem position of the German national team, the external defense. An Omani journalist sees the 29-year-old from Freiburg destined for other tasks. That’s the only way to explain why he addressed Günter as “coach” at the press conference the day before the friendly between Oman and Germany. Apparently, the journalist actually believed Günter to be the national coach Hansi Flick, who was about twice his age.
He wanted to know from Flick why the German national team was preparing for the World Cup in Qatar in Oman of all places and which players from the Omani national team he knew. Substitute national coach Günter was amused, as was DFB press spokeswoman Franziska Wülle, but was unable to provide the questioner with any valid answers.
This episode was the culmination of an otherwise turbulent press conference. After the Oman national coach and his captain had held their audience, the association’s own advertising wall was quickly dismantled in a daring maneuver by a few employees, carried out of the room over the heads of the journalists and replaced by the DFB counterpart.
If there was a translator at the Oman press conference, the DFB press spokeswoman had to help out when Günter appeared. When the real flick came out, the multilingual Omani made a comeback, but rigorously limited the number of questions his compatriots asked to two. This so enraged a local press representative that he left the room cursing loudly. So he missed the third round with Niclas Füllkrug.
Once again the translator could not be found, and again Wülle had to step in. To avoid any misunderstandings, she presented the man at her side in English as a precaution: “This is Niclas Füllkrug from Werder Bremen.” This information was enough for numerous Omani journalists to ask “Füllkrug from Werder” for selfies, just like before the wrong and the real flick.
DFB in Oman: kitsch and optimal conditions
Immediately before the press conference, the German internationals held their final training session at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, where the game will also be played on Wednesday. So they were able to get used to the strange player tunnel entrance area: In the otherwise sparsely decorated room, a bright neon strip is attached between the ceiling and walls, flashing wildly in all the colors of this world.
The Sultan gallery made of marble directly above the players’ tunnel, surrounded by pink flowers and green cacti, also looks quite kitschy. The day before the game, the elegant red fabric armchairs were still covered with plastic sheeting – otherwise the sand would have taken over this task. Muscat is full of fine dust from the nearby desert.
Together with the cloudless sky and temperatures of over 30 degrees, the sand creates a perfect preparation mixture for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar. There, the German national team finally expect similar events. “These are ideal conditions for what we plan to do,” said Flick.
DFB: Only 180 German fans expected in Muscat
However, Flick did not reveal at the press conference which line-up he wants to use for the sporting dress rehearsal against Oman. One thing is certain: Thomas Müller and Antonio Rüdiger, who were injured recently, are just as unavailable as Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who is ill. Everyone should start training in Qatar on Saturday at the latest.
In a duel with the world number 75. Oman may also present a few outsiders from the start, for example replacement Flick Günter. Around 30,000 fans will be watching in the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, but according to a DFB spokesman only 180 Germans. Incidentally, the 39,000-seat stadium is named after Oman’s long-term ruler, who died in 2020, and whose name the city’s largest mosque also bears.
The German national team travels to Qatar the day after the game – and thus misses a big celebration in Muscat on Friday, when the national holiday is celebrated.