BBefore he boarded the bus in Seville shortly before 7 a.m. to take him and the team to the airport, he walked a few steps from the hotel. Every now and then Joachim Löw sipped a mug of coffee. Maybe the national coach washed down a bit of frustration with it. He must have felt it the morning after the shame in Seville.
With 0: 6 (0: 3), the German national soccer team he supervised had lost to Spain and thus received the highest bankruptcy since 1931, a 0: 6 against Austria.
It was a debaculous performance that required an initial clarification and decision the day after. Immediately after landing in Munich, Löw, Oliver Bierhoff, the director of national teams, and DFB President Fritz Keller withdrew to a crisis summit at noon. The conversation lasted a good 30 minutes before it was clear that the 60-year-old Löw, whose contract runs until 2022, would fulfill it – for the time being.
Keller: Bad setback
In a message from the DFB, Keller reported that he had been in the dressing room after the final whistle and had felt immeasurable disappointment, but also the will to “correct this impression. Our young team can grow from this severe setback if this game, in which not only heart and passion were missing, are thoroughly analyzed and the necessary conclusions can be drawn from it. She has the potential. “
It was the résumé after an evening of horror that Löw seemed disillusioned and perplexed when the 90 minutes were over.
When he appeared for an interview on ARD after the game, that became clear. “Somehow” was what got stuck afterwards. Somehow, according to Löw, nothing worked, somehow the rooms were not occupied – he used the word a total of eleven times in his first analysis, during which he still let it be known in the end that they would “fight back”, only Löw did not mediate the impression that he has the strength and the ideas for it.
He did not experience situations like this often in his tenure, which began in 2006. After the semi-final at the EM 2012, there was headwind for the first time. Löw had coached himself and directed himself against Italy (1: 2) in his line-up after the opponent. He had ordered Toni Kroos into the starting line-up for the first time, apparently with the task of narrowing Andrea Pirlo’s circles, which sometimes seemed like man marking from times long past.
Löw later admitted the mistake. When asked whether he was thinking of resigning, he replied on the return flight on the day after the European Championship ended: “To ask such a question … that is inappropriate. You might ask if you are eliminated in the preliminary round. “
That very question arose six years later. Löw, who then became world champion in 2014 and not only belied all critics with his epoch-making 7-1 against Brazil, failed in the group stage at the World Cup tournament in Russia after two defeats and only one win. Following the tournament, before which he had extended his contract until 2022, he asked for a time to think about his future.
At the end of August, weeks after the disaster, he admitted that it was his greatest misjudgment that he had bet on “total dominance”. He spoke for 25 minutes at a 110-minute press conference before even asking the first question in order to try to turn the trend with tried and tested players in the months that followed. When that failed, in March 2019 he booted out those world champions who, in the sporting crisis of the DFB selection, now see many as a savior: Thomas Müller, Mats Hummels and Jérôme Boateng.
Loew had sacrificed her to give younger players a chance to play themselves in the limelight and take responsibility. You should, he said, convey the feeling: “Hello, I’m here now. Now I’m on the pitch for Germany. Now I have to perform well. I want to win a tournament. I’m no longer a follower. “
But reality reveals something else. More than two years after the World Cup disaster in Russia, the upheaval promoted by Löw, which initially also met with broad support from the experts, has so far not been successful.
A promising sporting development of the team cannot be seen, balance and consistency are missing, the quality of play is also not good – in Seville the team also revealed weaknesses in character. When it came to defending against an opponent who was also in upheaval, there was a lack of fighting spirit.
“It’s sad to see”
Bastian Schweinsteiger, 2014 world champion, was disappointed with the appearance as an ARD expert. “You can’t act like that. There are certain values that a German national team must represent. I didn’t see that on the pitch, ”said the 121-time international. Of course you have a responsibility as a coach, he added, “but I also make the players responsible. I wish that you would fight back more. I missed that. I hope we get angry. “
Jürgen Klinsmann, Löw’s predecessor, attested the team in his role as ESPN expert a lack of leadership on the pitch. “The biggest question mark is definitely leadership. Who is the real leader of this team? ”He asked. “Nobody on the pitch except Manuel Neuer as a goalkeeper has taken this step in the past two years. It’s sad to see it. A leader is missing, a personality who sends a signal after the second or third goal. “
Klinsmann brought Thomas Müller into play. He is exactly that type of guy at FC Bayern. “Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry – they all follow Thomas Müller on the pitch.”
So far, Joachim Löw has not given the impression of trying again with the rejected ones. Dietmar Hamann, 59-time national player, says that this would not mean a loss of face, but rather a sign of strength. But already after the 6-0 draw, Löw said that confidence in the young team had not been completely shaken and that they had the ability “to develop in such a way that we have a high-performance, competitive team”.
It is quite possible that Löw would find it difficult to moderate a return of the killed alpha animals within the team. Who should he remove from his starting XI? Niklas Süle? Leon Goretzka? Serge Gnabry? Leroy Sané? The generation conflict caused the first problems at the Euro 2016, which two years later became bigger in Russia.
It is clear that the oldies Hummels (31), Boateng (32) and Müller (31) will definitely not come back for a role as Joker. The national coach should take into account the fact that they still enjoy a great reputation within the team when assessing the situation. Manuel Neuer, for example, his captain, said the “Sport-Bild” when he was asked about the retired trio: “All players could basically help us, they have proven that often enough.” Clear words.
Clarity is now needed in the analysis. Löw has until March to sort himself out and draw conclusions. Then the next international matches will take place.