Deutschland changes national coach relatively rarely – Hansi Flick is only the eleventh in a manageable list since 1926. Berti Vogts took on the most difficult task in 1990. Franz Beckenbauer, the undisputed shining light of German football, had replaced Jupp Derwall after the EM disaster in 1984 – a failure in the preliminary round was enough – and led Germany to second place at the World Cup in 1986 and then to the top of world football in 1990.

Football fans will remember the image of the emperor walking alone across the stadium lawn in Rome. There could have been such pictures from Rio de Janeiro, but Joachim Löw did not want to resign at the height of his career after eight years as the responsible coach and two others previously as assistant to Jürgen Klinsmann, but rather enjoy the fame a little. But that seldom works well in sport.

Cosiness and felt

Löw now leaves his successor with an easier task than it would have been in 2014. The national team has had unsuccessful years and has landed on a dead end. This is a well-known initial situation. It was like that in 2000, when Rudi Völler had to step in and, despite finishing second at the 2002 World Cup, had not found a way out.

So it was in 2004, when Jürgen Klinsmann – with his assistant Joachim Löw and the national team manager Oliver Bierhoff – took over and announced in his usual research that every stone would be turned over in the future at the German Football Association.

Behind and below there was a lot of cosiness and felt, and at the end of the Löw era one can be astonished to see that not much has remained of this revolutionary approach. The current situation around the national team is astonishingly similar to that at that time, at most the German Football Association as an association gives an even more devastating picture than back then (and that was bad enough).

Flick was the preferred candidate for Oliver Bierhoff, who had been promoted to Director of Sport, and thus for the DFB, which should at least be cautious with all the advance praise for the extremely successful former Bayern coach. As a former assistant coach and sports director of the association, he knows all of the DFB’s problem areas. Whether he is willing to make the necessary changes remains the question. However, his argument with Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic made it clear that he is not afraid of conflicts.

What speaks for the new national coach is that as head coach he quickly solved the problems of FC Bayern and led the club to successes from which the Munich team under his predecessor Niko Kovac seemed at least as far away as the national team currently from the world’s best. And the foundation of the national team is nowhere near as fragile as the results and, above all, the style of play since 2014 suggest, it is much more stable than what Klinsmann and Löw found in 2004.

A national team is a big puzzle made up of many different possibilities that the national coach has to put together correctly – and very importantly – also has to coach. At Bayern, Flick has proven that he has the knack for it and still has a weakness for the youth. Especially the exchange with U-21 coach Stefan Kuntz, if he stays with the DFB, should be more productive in the future. Flick finally hired the most successful DFB coach of the past few years during his time as sports director.

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