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    Tedesco: Germans don’t need my validation

    Domenico Tedesco doesn’t feel like he has anything to prove on his return to Germany with the new Belgian side after being sacked earlier by RB Leipzig and Schalke.

    Leipzig parted ways with Tedesco in September 2022, nine months after he took over the position despite winning the DFB-Pokal in the 2021–22 campaign.

    The 37-year-old was also ousted by Schalke in March 2019, a year after taking charge of the club and finishing second in the Bundesliga.

    But ahead of Belgium’s friendly against Germany in Cologne on Tuesday, Tedesco insists he’s pleased with what he’s accomplished in his two spells in the country where he grew up.

    “I love my job and am happy with what I have already achieved,” he said at a pre-match press conference on Monday.

    “I always want to win, but I feel like I have nothing to prove to the Germans. The coach is also not so important, the main thing is the players.”

    Germany and Belgium endured disappointing World Cup campaigns, each of which were eliminated in the group stage in Qatar despite high hopes ahead of the tournament.

    Four-time world champions Germany have slipped to 14th in the FIFA rankings – 10 places behind Belgium – but that, Tedesco says, is not a true reflection of their level.

    “How is it possible that they are 14th?” he asked reporters. “At the World Cup in Qatar, they had so many chances that they just didn’t score enough.

    “No one has had more expected goals than Germany. Even if Germany is last in the FIFA rankings, this will not change anything. We want to win, even if it’s a friendly game.

    “Germany has some new young players, but these are players from the top teams. They remain a strong country.”

    Germany beat Peru 2-0 on Saturday and Belgium kicked off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a 3-0 win over Sweden thanks to a Romel Lukaku hat-trick.

    The 29-year-old has scored 71 goals in 105 caps but has had a tough season with club club Inter, where he is on loan from Chelsea for the campaign.

    However, Tedesco says there is more to Lukaku’s game than just goals.

    “Don’t judge him by that alone,” said the Italian. “He looks in good shape and was proud of his hat-trick, rightly so.

    “I want him to be happy. He has the qualities to play for any team, including Inter. He’s a good guy and deserves to be happy when he plays.”

    Kai Havertz and Nico Schlotterbeck will not go to Germany, and the main goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will not go to Belgium.

    It means a rare chance to shine for Cohen Castiles, who may be better known to home supporters who have spent more than a decade in the Bundesliga.

    “I no longer need to prove myself in Germany – they know me here,” said the Wolfsburg goalkeeper. “Germany is my second home. It’s nice to play here.

    “I feel a lot of recognition in Germany, maybe more than in Belgium. Here they speak of me more positively; less in Belgium. I’ve come to terms with it.

    “I owe a lot to Germany and also acquired a German punctuality, but after the end of my career, I’m going to live in Belgium again.”

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