Cologne (dpa) – The framework does not fit. Even if Toni Kroos is not the type who tends to have emotional outbursts on the football field, the 30-year-old from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania would have liked a full Cologne stadium for his 100th international match.
But instead of 50,000 on Tuesday (8.45 p.m. / ARD), only a few spectators will be able to watch the Nations League game against Switzerland due to the high Corona numbers in the cathedral city, as was the case last against Turkey. What will also annoy the second jubilee of the evening: Bayern professional Joshua Kimmich (25), who has been the midfield partner of the experienced Kroos for two years, should appear for Germany for the 50th time.
“You have already got used to all the circumstances,” said Kroos recently about the limitations and challenges that living with the virus brings with it. The promotion to the elite Club of Hundreds as the 15th player, which is led by the record international player Lothar Matthäus (150 international matches), is also a special milestone in his career for Kroos. “That definitely has a meaning,” he said – with the typical Kroos ending: “I hope it will be successful. Otherwise I can’t buy anything for it.”
The hundredth is a transit point for him. Kroos does not count the games, but successes and title wins. And the 2014 world champion and four-time Champions League winner with FC Bayern Munich (2013) and Real Madrid (2016-2018) is still missing something. “The main goal is the European Championship,” he said about the 2020/21 season. He doesn’t have the European title in his collection yet.
The EM mission also connects Kroos with Kimmich, his constant partner at the center of the German game since the disaster at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. This prompted national coach Joachim Löw at the sporting low point to take immediate action to move the full-back into midfield. Kroos rates this castling as successful – especially with a view to the European Championship: “Jo’s move from the outside to the inside brought us another component. One part of the team doesn’t win a title. But we need a strong midfield to win games at a high level. “
Kroos is the boss, Kimmich the junior boss – still! The man from Munich is the ambitious leader of the 1995 generation, which pushes into the front row at FC Bayern and also in the DFB team. Kimmich wants to emulate DFB partner Kroos when collecting international titles. After winning the Champions League for the first time, he said confidently: “We want to shape an era – also with the national team. My generation still has a lot ahead of them when it comes to titles.”
Kroos made his debut in the national jersey shortly before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa in a 0-1 win against Argentina in Munich. Kimmich was used by Löw for the first time immediately before the 2016 European Championship finals in France in a 1: 3 against Slovakia in Augsburg. Both are very different in their temperament and playing style, but their qualities complement each other well. And anyone who asks the national coach about his K&K regents will hear hymns of praise.
Löw about Kroos: “Toni has an extremely high level of game intelligence. He is the linchpin in our game. You can always play him, he always finds a solution. He has developed into a leader alongside the field. He is in able to influence others and is highly respected in the team. ” Sometimes feared when he rebukes young colleagues.
Löw about Kimmich: “The Jo is the personified passion and professionalism. He exudes this winning mentality. He has good technique, a good sense of position. He does everything at a good speed and has the right solutions ready. He has the components in our midfield Dedication and toughness brought about. In his young years he exuded a lot of leadership quality. ” Kimmich is a constant driver, his ambition can be contagious, but also exhausting for colleagues of his generation like Serge Gnabry, Niklas Süle, Leon Goretzka or Leroy Sané.
100 times Kroos, 50 times Kimmich – the double anniversary against Switzerland is a special case for two despite the dreary framework.