Julian Nagelsmann is confident his side can beat the pressure of being the host nation as they prepare to kick off the tournament against Scotland on Friday.

The 36-year-old is taking charge of his first major tournament with Germany after taking over from Hansi Flick in September and has lost just one of his eight games since taking over.

Germany have struggled in recent major tournaments, getting knocked out of Euro 2020 in the round of 16 before crashing out of the 2022 World Cup in the group stages.

However, Die Mannschaft are aiming to end that run, chasing a fourth European title and their first since 1996, with Nagelsmann confident his team can channel their nervous energy into positive performances.

"I think we're a bit nervous, but it's an important point, we have to have a certain nervousness," he said. "There was such a buzz [in the camp], a bit like in school. It was really loud: 'Can everyone please calm down a bit!'.

"I look in our players' eyes and see the belief and will to win. I want us to believe in ourselves: we have great players, good togetherness, home advantage, we've had great training sessions and a good mentality.

"We have everything: we just have to show it tomorrow, and that's why belief is very important.

"We can beat pressure, and we can beat Scotland as well."

Scotland arrive as heavy outsiders and are making just their fourth appearance at the Euros compared to Germany's record 14.

The Tartan Army qualified second in their group after a strong opening to their campaign, and Nagelsmann praised their performances under Steve Clark.

"They don't have world stars, but that makes them very dangerous," he added. "They work very hard and have a classic mentality, but it's not a kick and rush team. They can do that, but they can play football.

"We will have more pressure on us than Scotland, and they will want to capitalise on that."

Xavi says he will leave Barcelona with "no regrets" and continue to follow their fortunes as a fan, after his impending departure from the club was confirmed.

The former midfielder revealed in January that he would be leaving Barca at the end of the season, but was convinced to remain in charge last month by club president Joan Laporta.

However on Friday - ahead of the Blaugrana's final match of the LaLiga season against Sevilla this weekend - the club confirmed Xavi would be departing after all.

The 44-year-old guided Barca to the LaLiga title last season in his first full campaign in charge, but they will finish at least 12 points adrift of champions Real Madrid in second place this time around.

It turned into a trophyless campaign for the Blaugrana, who bowed out of the Champions League and Copa del Rey at the quarter-final stage.

Xavi has won 89 of his 142 games (62.7 per cent) since taking charge in November 2021, while bringing through the likes of Gavi and Lamine Yamal, and says he will leave the club with his head held high.

"I have no regrets. I have tried to do my best. We have worked with a lot of love for this club. I'm a Barca fan for life," he told reporters at his pre-match press conference.

"These are complicated days, they have not been easy, but I'm fine. I have a clear conscience, I'm proud of myself and calm.

"It has not been an easy time because of the state of the club. I am happy because I have done a good job - we have won two titles, had more successes and won important matches.

"Laporta has told me why he thinks the club needs a change of direction and I accept it, he is the one who decides. I have no choice. I am a club man.

"I believed in the squad and that we could do interesting things, but it wasn't to be. I wish [Laporta] the best of luck and, from now on, I will be just another fan."

Hansi Flick, the former Bayern Munich and Germany coach, is expected to be confirmed as Xavi's replacement.
 

Reported Liverpool managerial target Xabi Alonso is unlikely to jump ship from Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen, according to Bayern Munich honorary president Uli Hoeness.

The 42-year-old, who lifted the Champions League trophy in 2005 during his debut season with the Reds, has been a widely touted as a likely replacement for Jurgen Klopp, who in January announced he will stand down at the end of the season after eight-and-a-half decorated years at Anfield.

Bayern are thought to be one of the other clubs courting the Spaniard’s services, but Hoeness was highly pessimistic about anyone’s chances of luring Alonso away from Leverkusen.

He told Das Erste: “We’ll have to see if we can do it this year.

“It will be difficult, if not probably impossible. (Alonso) is more inclined to stay at Bayer Leverkusen in view of their current successes, because he would not want to leave them behind.

“Let’s say if he had two or three more years of success, it would probably be easier to bring him out of there.”

Alonso’s men are on course to secure the first Bundesliga title in the club’s history, sitting 10 points clear of Bayern Munich in second.

In February, their 2-1 victory over Mainz to make it 33 games unbeaten broke the German record for consecutive competitive matches without a loss,  surpassing Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich team of 2020 and 2021.

They have since extended that run to 38 fixtures, most recently with a 3-2 victory over Freiburg before the international break.

Julian Nagelsmann feels Germany’s rebuild ahead of hosting Euro 2024 cannot just be done from the back.

Germany face Turkey in a friendly on Saturday night in Berlin at the Olympiastadion, where the final of next summer’s showpiece tournament will be played.

Former boss Hansi Flick was sacked after an early exit at the World Cup was followed by a five-game winless run which ended with a 4-1 defeat by Japan in Wolfsburg.

 

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Nagelsmann took over Die Mannschaft ahead of the tour to the United States during October, with his side going on to beat the hosts 3-1 and draw 2-2 with Mexico.

The former RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich head coach accepts tightening up in defence will be key to hopes of making an impact on home soil next summer –  but stressed it must not be his squad’s only focus.

“We want to have good (defensive) stability. There are moments when we want to give up less space to the opponents. We want to defend highly, but also give less space for balls behind our line,” Nagelsmann said.

“With a view to the Euros, a good defence is important, but we will not seek our salvation only on the defensive.

“We want to become even more dominant in the game to reduce the time we have to defend.”

Nagelsmann confirmed goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen would be returning to Barcelona as he deals with “acute back pain”, so will also not be available for next week’s trip to Austria.

 

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Manuel Neuer is working his way back to full fitness with Bayern following almost a year in recovery after breaking his leg while skiing.

Nagelsmann feels the 37-year-old should be allowed all the time he needs to get fully match fit and not face any extra pressure of a swift recall back to the national team.

“Anyone who listened to the reasons explaining the decision (not to call him up) can answer the question itself, why it has made sense not to nominate him (for the current squad),” Nagelsmann told a press conference.

“There are reasons that he has stayed at home and that is why a call-up now makes no sense.

“Manu has played a top role since his return and he should be allowed to continue.

“Afterwards, then at the Euros, the players who perform will play.”

Mats Hummels, a World Cup winner in 2014, should be involved after the Borussia Dortmund defender returned to training following his own back issue.

Germany captain Ilkay Gundogan is set to face his parent’s home nation for the first time.

The Gelsenkirchen-born Barcelona midfielder said: “It will be a very special game for me, no question about it.

“My grandparents, parents and other relatives still live in Turkey in Izmir, and of course I also have many friends there.

“I am really looking forward to it and I hope for a great football festival.”

 

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Turkey have already qualified for next summer’s finals, sitting top of Group D and will head to Wales next week for their last fixture.

New head coach Vincenzo Montella will be without captain Hakan Calhanoglu, who is recovering from a respiratory infection while his wife is also about to give birth to their child.

Fenerbahce winger Cengiz Under is another who did not travel to Germany as he continues to manage various fitness issues.

Hansi Flick has been sacked as manager of Germany in the wake of Saturday’s 4-1 home friendly defeat to Japan.

It comes after the former Bayern Munich coach won just 12 of his 25 matches in charge of the national team following his appointment in August 2021.

Germany will host the European Championship next summer but form had grown increasingly erratic under Flick, with a second successive group-stage exit at the World Cup last year part of a run that has seen just three victories in the last 12 months.

The 58-year-old, who replaced World Cup-winner Joachim Low when he stood down following Euro 2020, becomes the first person to be sacked as Germany manager.

Rudi Voller will take charge of the team for their friendly against France in Dortmund on Tuesday.

German Football Federation (DFB) president Bernd Neuendorf said in a statement: “The committees agreed that the men’s senior national team needs new impetus after the recent disappointing results.

“We need, in facing the European Championship, a spirit of optimism and confidence in our own country.

“For me personally, it is one of the most difficult decisions of my time in office so far, because I appreciate Hansi Flick and his assistant coaches as football experts and people.

“But sporting success is the top priority for the DFB. So the decision was inevitable.”

Voller, who as well as taking over as caretaker also holds the role of director of the national team, added: “Hansi Flick has worn himself out over the past few months; together with his coaching team, he has given everything to get back on track after leaving the World Cup in Qatar to make the turn for the better.

“Unfortunately, we have to realise today that it was not successful. The Japan game has clearly shown us that we can no longer make any progress in this situation.”

Flick’s assistants Marcus Sorg and Danny Rohl have also left their roles.

The defeat against Japan in Wolfsburg came despite a goal in the 19th minute from Leroy Sane to equalise Junya Ito’s early opener, with Ayase Ueda restoring the visitors’ lead moments later.

Takuma Asano and Ao Tanaka struck in the closing stages to compound Germany’s misery in what transpired to be the manager’s final game in charge.

Germany manager Hansi Flick’s position looks uncertain after an embarrassing 4-1 home friendly defeat to Japan on Saturday.

The former Bayern Munich boss has now overseen four defeats in the last five games, which comes on the back of a group-stage exit at last year’s World Cup.

The pressure is increasing on the 58-year-old, with director of the Germany national team Rudi Voller noticeably evasive when asked about his manager’s future.

Voller said in a television interview, reported by German newspaper De Bild: “We should collect ourselves first. There will be a bit of training tomorrow. Then we play against France. Afterwards, we should first reflect and think about what happens next. Let’s see.”

Japan, whose 2-1 victory in Qatar sent Germany home from the World Cup, went ahead through Junya Ito before Leroy Sane levelled.

But second-half goals from Ayase Ueda, Takuma Asano and Ao Tanaka saw Japan coast to victory in Wolfsburg, where the crowd turned on their side at full-time.

Flick replaced long-time boss Joachim Low in August 2021 but has won less than half of his 25 games in charge.

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