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Football: Musiala seeking Germany uplift in Sept. Japan rematch

Star Germany attacker Jamal Musiala is hopeful his struggling national side can get back on course by avenging their loss to Japan at the Qatar World Cup when they meet again later this year.

The 20-year-old dribbling sensation, currently touring Japan with Bayern Munich, says winning the Sept. 9 friendly in Wolfsburg is important for Germany as they prepare to host Euro 2024.

Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala takes a shot against Manchester City during an international club friendly match at Tokyo’s National Stadium on July 26, 2023. (Kyodo)

“(The World Cup loss) definitely hurt a bit,” Musiala told Japanese media recently. “I know (Daichi) Kamada from Frankfurt, who I like very much as a player, but I think the whole (Japan) team put on a great performance in the World Cup.”

The former Chelsea youth player, who played for both Germany and England underage sides, caused Japan plenty of problems with his silky touches at the Khalifa International Stadium in November as Hansi Flick’s side seized control through Ilkay Gundogan’s first-half penalty.

A drastic tactical change by Japan at the break turned the tide, however, as Bundesliga-based Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano struck to pull off a stunning comeback win for the Samurai Blue in their Group E opener.

Germany went on to get knocked out in the group stage for the second World Cup running, and are still looking for an upturn in fortune after losing three of their five subsequent friendlies — to Belgium, Poland and Colombia — through June.

“Because we’ve struggled at the national team a little bit, for us it’s important to just try to win some games. We just need to make sure we play together as a team,” Musiala said.

“It’s only a friendly game (in September) but I think we need to still try and find ourselves and get some rhythm going before the Euros. We want to win it, play our best team and do our best to try and get into good shape going into the next game.”

Musiala, who named the Real Madrid trio of Jude Bellingham, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni as well as Barcelona duo Gavi and Pedri as rivals from his generation, has already etched his name into Bayern history by sealing their 11th straight league title last term with a late winner in their final game.

His talent was on display at Tokyo’s National Stadium on Wednesday, excelling while playing in the hole during the opening 45 minutes of Bayern’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester City in the first of the German giants’ two games in Japan.

In facing Kawasaki Frontale in their second friendly at the same venue on Saturday, Musiala reckons the occasion can only help him take further note of Japan’s footballing nature ahead of September’s rematch with his country.

“Japanese teams are very technical, and that’s maybe a different style of football that we might not see a lot in Germany or in the Champions League as well,” he said. “It’s definitely a good preparation.”

Germany’s Jamal Musiala (2nd from R) dribbles against Japan during a World Cup Group E football match at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on Nov. 23, 2022. (Kyodo)


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