Keller: "We will sort out the succession with great care. There is no ban on creativity, anything is possible"
After almost 15 years in the role, Joachim Löw will cease to be Germany’s national coach in the summer after the European Championship. The 61-year-old 2014 World Cup-winning coach now talks about his reasons for the move. Oliver Bierhoff, DFB National Teams and Academy Director and DFB President Fritz Keller also give their thoughts, including on the topic of finding a successor. Read the most important moments on DFB.de.
… cohesion, gratefulness and pride: 15 years as national coach is a long time and it’s an eternity in the world of football. I’m very grateful for this time and for the fact that the DFB have always given me their trust and backing since 2006. I’m thankful for the people who were around me: Oliver Bierhoff, Andreas Köpke, Hansi Flick, Urs Siegenthaler, Marcus Sorg, Thomas Schneider, the team behind the team. We were always there for each other in a lot of situations. That never changed and remains the case. I am proud of the successes we enjoyed together. But I’m also thankful for the few losses and disappointments because we learnt a few things from these. We didn’t just have a great triumph with the World Cup title, we also had lots of other wonderful moments.
… the reasons for his decision to step down: I have had a lot of time to think during the past year in the pandemic, regardless of the Spain match. I decided to think hard about my future. Where are we standing? What do I want? For me personally this summer is the right moment to pass the baton to another coach. The change that we have introduced is absolutely the right move. I know that our players still lack experience, but I know that they have unbelievable potential and quality. I am absolutely convinced that the young generation of players will reach their full potential in perhaps 2024 with the tournament in our own country. I was at the 2006 World Cup. What we experienced there was enthusiasm from both the team and from society. It created memories. New journeys, new ways of thinking. That should be the case in 2024 again. A tournament in your own country can generate so much. I don’t see myself in this position in 2024 anymore. The change should not hinder the team; a new coach has sufficient time now. This opportunity should also be given to coaches and players. I came to acknowledge this and arranged a discussion with Oliver Bierhoff and later with my coaching team and the DFB President. I also wanted to make the announcement before the upcoming international fixtures, so that we can focus fully on those.
… the effects of the 6-0 loss in Spain: That didn’t influence my decision. The change was necessary, I have trust in my team. Of course the 6-0 loss was a setback, however we’ve been on a very good path recently. As a coach you perhaps imagine the development differently, but we had a 10-month long break, played with different teams, had no opportunities to train and a few injuries. I knew that this would bring difficulties, but I go into every tournament with absolute focus, with motivation, concentration, anticipation and excitement. I will treat the European Championship this year the same way as in previous tournaments. If there’s anything I especially love, it’s tournaments with everything on the line. Qualification games were of course always important for development, but the tournaments were what I looked forward to. I will see the 2024 European Championship from a completely different perspective.
… a potential return of experienced players: I really would like people to listen to me. I have neither opened nor closed the door. You have to consider whether you should disrupt the change in the pandemic. Before a tournament I always question everything again. We’re doing that this time as well – in May. We’ll see then. A coach doesn’t think about what decisions will do for public perception. I’ve never done that.
… new momentum: From a sporting point of view there are certain moments where you consider whether to bring in a whole new idea. A home tournament can trigger a kind of explosion. Coaches need time to implement new ideas. We can’t bring everything to the pitch within a few months. Players like Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Leroy Sané or Serge Gnabry are on the way to their peak performance. We had a similar situation in 2010. We lagged behind after the 2006 World Cup, but you could see back then that there was a lot of potential there. Of course we want to achieve the most possible at every tournament, but it’s important to take time and set the right momentum in the summer after the tournament.
… Hansi Flick and possible successor candidates: Everyone knows my relationship with Hansi Flick. But it isn’t my responsibility to talk to potential successors. That is the responsibility of our board. The decision lies with the DFB and is in good hands with Oliver Bierhoff. There have been a lot of good decisions made recently and it will be the same case again this time.
... his own future: I can't rule anything out. I haven't given any specific thought to the future yet. I have very strong emotional ties to the DFB. After making my decision, I think it's important that I concentrate fully on the European Championship. We'll see what happens after that.
... contact with players over the past few days: Regardless of who the coach is, every player who is involved wants to win and achieve the greatest success on offer. I don't think a change of coach will give a special boost, because the players will give their absolute all either way. I called a few players. Captain, vice-captain and some who have been there for a long time: Ilkay Gündogan, Toni Kroos, Manuel Neuer. I wanted to tell them personally. When we see each other, I'll say a few more words and explain things. Then it's full steam ahead for the internationals.
...his initial reaction to Löw's resignation announcement: The news didn't hit me like a really catch me off guard. We've been through an unbelievable number of great moments, as well as difficult ones. We've always had a relationship full of trust; that has been the strength of the entire coaching team throughout all these years. I am still convinced of Joachim Löw. When you know a person well, you know how they work and what goes on inside them. I regret it a lot, but I have a lot of respect for what Jogi has built up over the years. But now we want to look ahead. The European Championship are the most important thing, and we want to be successful. Another focus is on qualifying for the World Cup.
... the way forward: We've met with the presidential board and it's not just since today that we've considered potential successor. We haven't been sitting around, but at the same time have absolutely no time constraints, even though it is a very important decision. We still have a coach until the European Championship and we don't have to name a squad. We will all take time to hold the talks and get impressions. We have good coaches - within the DFB, in Germany and abroad.
... the profile of a successor: We're not asking questions like: Does he look good or bad? Is he comfortable or uncomfortable? The real question is: What promises success? A new coach should also convey this idea accordingly. I don't think there is a very high coach of the coach being foreign. As the German national team, we should also have a German coach.
... A possible time frame for the selection of a successor: We're not giving ourselves a time frame, but it shouldn't just happen two days before the internationals in September. We also don't want to interfere with existing contracts. If there are talks, then always in consultation with the clubs.
... returning to world number 1: That is definitely the aim, and that is what we are planning for in the future. It's a long process that starts with the youth teams. We know that in Joachim Löw, we are losing a coach is who has incredible experience as an international coach, someone who can get the maximum out of the players in a short period of time. In his departure, we're losing one of our strengths, but the players are just the same.
... planning for the European Championships: We are in constant exchange with UEFA. It's a case having to be reactive; you're getting new information almost daily. My understanding it that UEFA are still planning to have twelve locations, and that's what we are planning for too. And we will continue with preparations in Tyrol and Herzogenaurach.
... possible changes: In the national team, it will always be possible to work on things in a 100% professional manner. You have to think about what brings success. Everything will be listed closely, points will be observed in detail and then evaluated. A new coach, of course, brings his influences, and that will create a new picture.
… Löw’s upcoming departure: Joachim Löw is ringing in a new era with his decision. It is the right moment. I’ve known Jogi since he was playing for Freiburg. He’s a record coach, a world-class coach. But we’d like to wait until the European Championship are over before giving a eulogy. I am extremely thankful for all the years and for him giving us the time to prepare for afterwards. However, we’re only looking ahead. I am certain that we will have a great European Championship and that will give the players a new boost. The players will have a big leaving gift ready for Joachim Löw.
… the search for a new national team coach: We are approaching that calmly and carefully. We have all the time in the world, it’s different than with a club. We don’t have to assemble a squad, it’s a really good situation. We will sort out the succession with great care. There is no ban on creativity, anything is possible. Quality comes before speed and diligence. We have to have a coach by September at the latest and we’ll use the time to make the best choice.
… the decsion: Oliver Bierhoff received the task. Eventually the committee will decide; the presidential departure will be discussed beforehand.