Es lightly rains when the first cables are rolled up and the first boxes are loaded in Herzogenaurach on Wednesday morning. There are only a few journalists left in the media center. Not far from there, three camera teams have positioned themselves at the driveway to the area where the German national players have resided in recent weeks. They are lurking for pictures, for motifs of the departure of the players, supervisors and coaches who returned one last time on Wednesday night after being eliminated from the European Championship.

In the morning, the players leave their quarters in groups in minibuses with tinted windows. Some are brought to the airport, others to the train station, and a few directly to their homes. Joachim Löw, the now outgoing national coach, and Oliver Bierhoff, director of national teams, stay a little longer. They have an appointment around noon – together they end the European Championship chapter with a last walk in front of the press, but above all also the era of the national coach, who will now make room for Hans-Dieter Flick. Löw leaves after 15 years in office.

On his last day at work, Löw appeared in a hoodie. He looks a little tidier, not quite as touched as he was the evening before, when the 2-0 (0-0) against England sealed the end of the European Championship and his farewell, which of course he had imagined differently. According to Löw, the disappointment is very, very deep. “I had absolute confidence in the team. I believed in her. I’m sorry that we disappointed the fans and didn’t spark the enthusiasm that we wanted, “says Löw and adds:” That is my responsibility. I take responsibility for the departure, no ifs or buts. “

198 international matches in 15 years as national coach: Joachim Löw crowned his tenure with a World Cup victory in 2014 – one flaw remains the 2018 World Cup debacle in Russia

Source: dpa

He joined the German Football Association (DFB) in 2004 as Jürgen Klinsmann’s assistant. In 2006 he became his successor and finally formed a team that won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. But now its time is over. He said he hadn’t planned anything for the time being, neither a vacation nor anything else, and will now see what the next few weeks will bring. Having time for yourself, that can be heard, is obviously what he is most pleased about.

No thoughts about the future

Often outsiders would not know, says Löw, what it would mean to be responsible as a national coach. “Even if you don’t have a game all the time, over the years you have to be mentally challenged, tense and worry endlessly. Bearing this responsibility was not always easy, ”says the 61-year-old, reporting on moments“ when I didn’t always find it so great to be a public figure ”. He is now happy, so Löw, to be able to withdraw and hand over responsibility.

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Bitter end to a successful time

He recently pushed aside thoughts about the future. He only knows, he says, that after a long and intense period of time, he needs some distance to be able to formulate concrete thoughts again – and that it will also take time to classify all the emotions, the beautiful moments and the disappointments. The football teacher mentions the 2006 home World Cup, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when he finished third with a young team, and the 2014 World Cup victory in Brazil – his masterpiece.

After returning from London at around 1.30 a.m., he addressed the players, his assistants and the many supervisors with a speech in the quarters. Hours later, Löw explains that it was important to him to thank the people for the time, commitment and trust that “have accompanied me over the years”. What will remain is the path that has been taken together. Friendships developed, such as with chief analyst Urs Siegenthaler or national goalkeeping coach Andreas Köpke, whom he mentioned by name.

Conversation with Müller in the night

“Of course there were also conflicts, but a lot of people trusted me, supported me, motivated me when I was down and enjoyed me. All of these things will remain. I feel very grateful, “says Löw and lets you know that after his speech he also had one or the other one-on-one conversation – with Thomas Müller, for example, who missed the great opportunity to compensate.

Great opportunity

To tear your hair: Thomas Müller missed the great opportunity to equalize against England

Source: dpa-infocom GmbH

“He commented on it in his own humorous way and meant: ‘If I had done that, it would certainly not have harmed us,’” says Löw and has to smile a little. He did not reproach either Müller or the team. “Such opportunities have often been missed. It was not meant to be. Thomas can handle such a situation. He will handle it well. “

Joachim Löw seems very calm, also a little tired, when he formulated his last sentences as national coach the day after the EM-off. The short night can be seen on him. Now and then he repeats himself when he talks about the openness and honesty that had been shown to him during his time at the DFB, about his gratitude – and a team that, together with their supervisors, has become “like a family” for him.

Löw believes in reconciliation with Özil

But now they part ways. What remains is a team that has to change under its new coach and take different paths in order to be successful again – and there is a coach who has had a lasting impact on German football over many years, but who has done so over the three years after the World Cup debacle in Russia failed to achieve the turnaround.

We had plans and concepts, says Löw when asked about the time after the preliminary round in 2018, “which”, as he puts it, “was characterized by difficulties”. Due to many injuries and also Corona, many things did not work out as expected.

The photo that changed everything: Özil with Turkish President Erdogan in mid-May 2018 in London’s “Four Seasons”

Those: pa / Uncredited / Po

Mesut Özil was also mentioned on Wednesday. The 2014 world champion resigned from the national team after the disputes over the controversial photo with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the subsequent failure of the 2018 World Cup. Among other things, he had accused the DFB officials of not having protected him from racist slurs. Löw later reported unsuccessful attempts to contact the 92-time national player, who now plays for Fenerbahce Istanbul. It was “a great human disappointment” that he and Özil did not speak personally in the weeks after the World Cup, Löw now reports.

“It goes without saying that Mesut was an incredibly important and great player for us, for our national team, for Germany,” says Löw: “How many games can we remember when he really showed his great skills and carried away all the fans with enthusiasm has. ”The outgoing coach is expecting a discussion with Mesut Özil in the future. “The time will come when we will talk to each other again and meet again. At some point the day will come. “

A “benchmark” for many years

Löw’s day of farewell was Wednesday. Before he goes to Freiburg, it is important for him to say that he has always worked with full dedication and passion for the team and the DFB and that in his wildest dreams he did not expect to experience such a long time.

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German national team

Before he leaves the podium for the last time as national coach, he takes a sip of water and reminds us that we have been a benchmark with the German national team for many years and many tournaments. Loew believes that you can put it that way: “We have inspired a lot of people. For me this is a great satisfaction. “

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