After the defeat against Japan, the coach of the German national team, Hans-Dieter Flick, was fired, and after a somewhat hectic search for a successor, the “man of the future” Julian Nagelsmann was given the trust.
He was sacked from Bayern Munich’s bench in March, when the team under his leadership was going through its worst period in 11 years. The merits and the previous league primacy from the 2021/2022 season did not help at all. The Bavarian giants eventually defended the title (eleventh in a row), but only thanks to the collapse of Borussia Dortmund in the final round. The team was already led by his successor Thomas Tuchel.
Although it is claimed that the Allianz Arena goalkeeper will also lead Bayern to the title, last week Julian Nagelsmann took over the German national team, having failed at Bayern.
Such giants can offer otherwise always serious and deliberate German football.
Dissatisfaction was growing
When Bayern Munich’s successful coach Hans-Dieter Flick signed a three-year contract with the German Football Association until the end of the 2024 European Championship in August 2021, he had no idea that he would fall from his rickety chair after only two years and become extremely unpopular.
He took over the team from the iconic Joachim Löw, to whom he was an assistant in the years 2006-2014 and together they rejoiced over the title of world champions in 2014 in Brazil. However, the results were not brilliant, and in 2023 they were literally tragic. A win over Peru in March was followed by a home loss to Belgium, a draw with Ukraine, a defeat in Poland and a home defeat to Colombia.
Another embarrassment in Wolfsburg 1:4 with Japan did not stop Flick. “He was already under heavy fire before the match,” the respected German journalist Manfred Münchrath returns to the match. “From my personal point of view, it was a bit unfair because he announced that he wanted to test the players and tactics. Flick clearly said that the next step of preparation for the Euros will now begin, and of course the experiments can fail,” he points out.
- Born on 23/07/1987, Landsberg am Lech
- Playing career: FC Issing (1990–1999), FC Augsburg (1999–2002), TSV 1860 München (2002–2007), FC Augsburg (2007–2008)
- Coaching career: FC Augsburg – youth coach (2008), TSV 1860 Munich – youth coach (2008–2010), TSG 1899 Hoffenheim – youth coach (2010–2012), TSG 1899 Hoffenheim – assistant coach (2012–2013), TSG 1899 Hoffenheim – coach junior girls (2013–2016), TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (2016–2019), RB Leipzig (2019–2021), Bayern Munich (2021–2023), coach of the German national team (2023)
- Achievements: German champion 2021/2022 and 2022/2023, German Cup winner 2021
This ennobled Flick, but did not excuse it. “Expectations are always high in Germany and bad results have led to media hysteria,” explains the head of the football department of the prestigious magazine Kicker. “It was not accepted that the tests went badly, although there is still a lot of time left before the Euros, it was taken as a continuation of the failure,” recalls Münchrath. “The team obviously played below their potential,” he admits.
Discontent overflowed. “Combined with the disaster of the World Cup in Qatar, where the team did not get past the group stage, Japan and Spain advanced, and which was still on the mind, the people in charge eventually lost faith that Flick could handle the turnaround,” reveals the German columnist.
Already six days after his dismissal (September 11), word got out that Nagelsmann was a hot candidate to replace him. Above all, the former players of Bayern Munich pushed for the vacated chair of the Dutch coach Louis van Gaal, but a foreigner – moreover, coming from a country that has historically often stood on the other side of a war conflict – would not break the patriotic feelings.
As the prestigious match against the old rival from France was approaching, the legendary striker Rudi Völler, the 1990 world champion, who has been the director of the national team since January, was temporarily entrusted with the management of the team. And it worked. After six matches and nine years, Germany beat the Soka 2:1. Although many would have liked it, it was known that Völler would not continue – he moved back to a functionary position.
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In the meantime, the contract with Nagelsmann and his agents (he is represented by Sports360 GmbH) was being fine-tuned, the financial conditions were set, the implementation team was being built, and the contract with Bayern Munich, which was originally until 2026, had to be terminated.
On the afternoon of Thursday 21 September, journalist Fabrizio Romano announced on his Twitter account that everything had been agreed and Nagelsmann signed a contract the following day until the end of next year’s European Championship hosted by Germany.
At the same time, another solution was literally hours away. Stefan Kuntz, striker of the golden team from Euro 1996 in England, where Germany beat the Czech team 2:1 in the final, was considered Flick’s natural successor. “He knows the structure and the people in the federation, he was a successful coach of the under-21 team and the fans like him,” Münchrath translates the strong arguments. But he was contractually bound to the Turkish national team, even though he was no longer sitting on its bench…
Like his compatriot Flick, he took the Japanese samurai’s raid to the European continent. Three days later, when they defeated Germany, they also defeated Turkey 4:2 in Genk, Belgium.
The management of the Turkish Football Association initially denied that Kuntz should be recalled, in 2021 he signed a three-year contract, but the brilliant results (including a draw with Luxembourg and even a defeat with the Faroe Islands) did not strengthen his position. He was finally released on Wednesday, September 20. However, his contract is still being settled. “Kuntz will be a logical choice in case Nagelsmann does not continue after the Euro,” judges the German journalist.
The coach of the future
Nagelsmann received the trust for the next period – and especially for the European Championship next year, in which the proud Germans want to succeed at any cost. “He’s probably the best option at the moment,” agrees Münchrath. “A quick decision was needed, he was free and, given his age, he is considered one of the biggest coaching talents in Germany,” he presents his strengths.
Other experts see them as well. “I don’t know Nagelsmann personally, but I know what hopes are placed in him in Germany,” declares Zdeněk Sivek, a renowned Czech coach and methodologist who conducts professional internships around the world on behalf of FIFA. And he goes to professional seminars that take place every year in Dortmund, Germany. Likewise this year. “It was there that we talked with our German colleagues about the incoming new wave of their coaches,” he reveals.
A lot is expected of her. “German education is successful in that it does not prepare new coaches for today’s football, but what it will look like in ten to 15 years,” reveals Sivek. “And Nagelsmann belongs to this generation, just like Tuchel or the dismissed Flick,” he points to other coaches.
Nagelsmann’s failure on the Bayern Munich bench is not viewed by the Czech methodologist as tragic. “Getting fired is part of the coaching profession, he will get rid of it and prove that he is rightfully the chosen one,” he believes in his erudition. “I’m not worried about him,” predicts a great future for him.
Which should span the European Championship next year.