The so-called small group of top DFB officials experienced the national coach on Monday in the association headquarters differently than he was last portrayed in the press, radio and television: neither perplexed nor resigned and certainly not tired of office. Participants described his demeanor as focused and motivated, and even as “combative”. However, this attitude, which the audience would like to see in him more often, was not only directed towards his team and the sporting goals. But also against President Fritz Keller, from whom Löw apparently wanted more support.
Keller had assured the coach of his support the day after the national team’s 6-0 defeat in Spain, but in the days that followed Löw missed the evidence of the promised support. Keller was silent in public with considerable persistence. That is why it should now have gotten to the point in a conversation with the presidential committee of the DFB. Tenor of Löw’s complaint: This result – his confirmation in office – could have been had earlier. Too much time has passed since the serious incident in Seville, to the detriment of those involved, but above all to his own disadvantage. Keller is said to have expressed his displeasure with the protest note, especially since Vice President Rainer Koch supported the national coach.
It is possible that Löw benefited from the omnipresent tensions resulting from the difficult relationship between the side entrant, Keller, and the long-serving functionaries of the association. A club with such a divided leadership as the DFB does not have the determination and quorum to dismiss the expensive master coach two years before his contract expires in favor of an incalculable substitute solution. But you can also see it the way Löw complained: that it did not require any fundamental discussion or confrontation to make the decision as it has now been made. For the realization formulated by the DFB that a single game, even if it ends 0: 6, should not be “the yardstick for the basic performance of the national coach and the national team”, there is no need to think twice.
The DFB officials do not interpret the 0: 6 as a key experience
On the other hand, the distance to the action saved those responsible from succumbing to the mood of scandal. They could cool off emotionally. Last but not least, the decision for Löw now shows that the DFB superiors do not interpret the special case of the debacle as a key experience, but want to trace it back to the banal sporting core and its circumstances. The German national team in their currently unfinished composition is not able to defeat opponents such as Spain and France eight times in ten games, it was said from the group understandingly. In crazy times like these, crazy results are possible.
And if everyone complains that Löw is getting away from public life (on Monday he also chose a secret side exit when he left the headquarters), then for reasons of justice, at least two points should be observed. First: “It’s always been like that.” Second, what should he do? The reasons for his absence are obvious. There had been no international matches for ten months due to the Corona break, then the era of ghost games began in the Bundesliga.
Some observers had suspected that the national coach and his employer could agree on a formula in the much-discussed Hummels-Müller-Boateng question that promises the three banished world champions a return. Parts of the audience and the leading TV experts might have liked that, it could have brought a few PR plus points. But this topic was not discussed on Monday. Positioning remains a matter for coaches, this principle has not been shaken, especially since at least some participants consider the debate to be dishonest: The decision to remove Mats Hummels, Jérôme Boateng and Thomas Müller from the national team was made by Löw in early 2019, the defeat in Seville existed in November 2020 – “and that should then be the nation’s fate?”
Between the supposed fateful evening in Seville and the meeting in Frankfurt, Jogi Löw did what he always did. He conferred with his coaching colleagues Marcus Sorg and Andreas Köpke, spoke to Oliver Bierhoff and of course also sought the advice of his Swiss mentor Urs Siegenthaler. He obeyed his own little world. How long he will continue this practice in the service of the DFB remains an open process. Some commentators wanted to have read from the communiqué that Monday’s promise was also a promise to fulfill the contract and thus for continued employment until the World Cup tournament in Qatar at the end of 2022. But that’s not what it means. The long-term perspective is “checked anew at every tournament”, is the trend report from the small group.