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How Hansi Flick can replicate Gundogan’s role for Germany at Barcelona

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Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Germany have concluded the group stage of the Euro 2024 at the top of Group A with seven points in three games. It was, however, anything but simple.

Despite snatching two wins in their opening two clashes of the tournament, Switzerland’s prolonged lead over Germany last night put the hosts at the doorstep of a second-place finish. A 92nd minute equaliser by Niklas Fullkrug, however, turned the tables.

Despite the team’s dubious final game against the Swiss, Germany have been one of the most impressive teams in the tournament so far and have rightly been called favourites by many.

The team’s captain and Barcelona star, Ilkay Gundogan, has been central in their run so far.

A special role

Julian Nagelsmann has found a special niche for the Barcelona star in Germany’s setup, placing him behind the central striker and between the two wingers Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz.

Effectively operating as a ‘mediapunta’, the German superstar is tasked with maintaining cohesion between midfield and attack and also the big brunt of cutting open defences for the forwards.

Needless to say, the 33-year-old has flourished in the role so far, especially considering it is reminiscent of his role under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

Gundogan has been key for Germany at the Euros. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

In three games in the European Championship so far, Gundogan has scored one goal, provided one assist and created one big chance.

Furthermore, he averages close to 88% pass accuracy and wins close to 50% of his duels engaged.

Notes for Flick

Nagelsmann’s 4-2-3-1 setup for Germany is very close to the system Hansi Flick wishes to incorporate at Barcelona.

Keeping a close eye on the national team manager’s management of Gundogan and tactical ploys will thus serve as a blueprint for his plan in Catalonia.

The new Barcelona manager, after all, can look to replicate Gundogan’s role with Germany at the club level directly come pre-season.

After all, the veteran can start in a similar role for the Blaugrana, flanked by Lamine Yamal and Fermin Lopez to his right and left respectively. Such a ploy will not only extract the best out of Gundogan but also provide the team with a serious boost in the final third.

As it stands, however, Flick’s biggest dilemma at Barcelona will be over the selection of his attacking midfielder.

With Pedri in great form for Spain, Gundogan weaving magic for Germany and Fermin Lopez having a profile very similar to Thomas Muller, it will be a serious problem for the new coach.

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