Germany after the World Cup in Qatar without changes by Flick and Bierhoff

Germany after the World Cup in Qatar without changes by Flick and Bierhoff

DThey already knew these feelings, but when the great emptiness came over them again four years after the debacle in Kazan, the German stars still stood helpless like small, godforsaken children on the pitch, in the mixed zone and in front of the team bus. The last German game in this World Cup, with a crazy dramaturgy and ludicrous tactics, with a useless 4-2 win against Costa Rica had pulled the plug on the million stars. All the energy they had been charging themselves with for years to arm themselves for a reality they didn’t want to face was suddenly gone from their bodies, from their facial expressions, from their heads.

Thomas Müller After the final whistle, he wandered aimlessly across the pitch, pacing up and down and finding nowhere to stand. He had only added the next to his many unfulfilled dreams in the German colors in recent years.

The first was in 2018 at the World Cup against South Korea (0: 2). Joachim Löw dissolved in air. The then national coach had taken care of the second himself in 2019 with Müller’s expulsion. The third followed after his return in the round of 16 of the 2021 European Championships, where Müller had screwed up the greatest chance of success himself – and now he actually seemed to feel for the first time that he had finally arrived in the national team at the end, that he had all these years was just chasing his own mirage.

“I did it with love,” said Müller. And indicated his resignation. But still caught up in his dreams, he still didn’t dare to state the obvious: that his time in the national team is over – and that a new one must begin.

Amazing persistence in the DFB

Standing in the catacombs of al-Bayt Stadium Joshua Kimmich a little later the wounds written in the pale face. He spoke to the reporters as if they were therapists. “I joined in 2016, before that Germany was always in the semi-finals,” said the 27-year-old midfielder, who would love to be the leader of a successful national team, but repeatedly fails to meet his own expectations. The fact that he is now being associated with failure is not easy for him to cope with. He was “a little afraid of falling into a hole,” said Kimmich. The hole in which the national team sank had long since opened up.

Then there was the captain Manuel Neuer, who has negated or put into perspective every low blow in the national team in recent years; like after a goal, when he raises his protesting arm in order to perhaps cheat reality after all. At the age of 37, the time has not passed by the perhaps greatest of all German goalkeepers.

Neuer initially prevented the equalizer against Costa Rica with a fabulous reaction, but then he didn’t look good at all for the Latin Americans’ two real goals. Even in the 1: 2 against Japan at the start, the German World Cup stumbling block, the world champion Neuer from 2014 was only a distant memory. Neuer still sees himself as the German future in goal: At the home European Championship in summer 2024, he still wants to be number one at almost forty years old. Preferably the captain too.

This is not what winners look like: Managing Director Oliver Bierhoff...

This is not what winners look like: Managing Director Oliver Bierhoff…

Image: ULM

There’s no other way to put it: the persistence in the German team and in the German federation is amazing at all levels, even after five or six years of decline. This is also a realization of this World Cup, which has gone haywire in many respects, although not a very fresh one.

national coach Hansi Flick spoke after the disaster of a “big disappointment”, but in large parts of his explanations the national coach sounded more like a Bundesliga coach who wants to fix things in the next game. The problem in this case is just that the next German game of importance will only take place in a year and a half: at the European Championships in Germany. Flick looks after the big Qatar defeat, his team had only finished third in the Nations League with a win in six games, no reason why he should vacate his post. If it’s up to him, it’s business as usual.

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