The German Football Association (DFB) has relieved Germany Women’s head coach Steffi Jones of her duties with immediate effect. The presidential board reached the decision today following a telephone conference and taking advice on the matter from team co-ordinator Oliver Bierhoff and sporting director Joti Chatzialexiou. Horst Hrubesch will over on an interim basis for the upcoming games in April against the Czech Republic and Slovenia, and he will be assisted by Ulrike Ballweg and his long-time right-hand man Thomas Nörenberg. Hrubesch was previously the men's U21 coach and led the Olympic team to Silver at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The decision to part ways follows a thorough analysis of the previous months by the DFB’s management. The team’s performance in each competition was assessed; they went into the European Championship as defending champions but exited at the quarterfinal stage, they lost to Iceland at home in World Cup qualifying and will likely have to win away in order to reach the tournament, and the recent SheBelievesCup in the USA ended with a third-place finish out of four teams. A personal meeting was held with Steffi Jones on Monday to discuss the situation.
“Steffi Jones went about her job as head coach with real commitment and dedication,” said DFB president Reinhard Grindel. “I would like to express our sincere thanks on behalf of the whole presidential board. She is and will remain a defining face of women’s football in Germany and I would be delighted if she stayed at the DFB in some other role in the women’s game.”
Oliver Bierhoff explained the decision: “It is a result of intensive analysis of the past months. Joti Chatzialexiou also joined the team for their recent trip to the United States. We wanted to continue working with Steffi and give her another chance even after the disappointing Euros campaign, but having assessed the on-the-pitch development, the important World Cup qualifying campaign and the mixed results at the SheBelievesCup, we came to the decision that the team needed a new direction. We want to use this change as an opportunity to make the structure of our women’s setup more professional, create a stronger bond with the men’s setup and take a new conceptual path.”
Horst Hrubesch is looking forward to a new task. “I have followed the women’s game closely in recent years and was also at the European Championship last summer. I’m happy to help out and am delighted that I will have the support of Uli Ballweg and Thomas Nörenberg in the upcoming games.”
“I hope that this change will give the team fresh impetus and help them return to their old strengths and confidence levels as soon as possible,” said DFB vice president of women’s football Hannelore Ratzeburg. “I’m very thankful that Horst Hrubesch is willing to help us out. We all know how important qualifying for the World Cup is in terms of the development of women’s football.”
The DFB-Frauen’s next two qualifiers are on 7th April against the Czech Republic and on 10th April against Slovenia.