Causa Joachim Löw: Miraculous from DFB President Fritz Keller

Soccer Causa Joachim Loew

The miraculous appearance of the DFB President

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Did Keller Löw ask to end the contract that ran until the 2022 World Cup after the 2021 European Championship?  The DFB President did not want to comment on this

Did Keller Löw ask to end the contract that ran until the 2022 World Cup after the 2021 European Championship? The DFB President did not want to comment on this

Quelle: Getty Images for DFB/Alex Grimm

After the DFB’s commitment to national coach Löw, President Fritz Keller holds his first press conference. Content: “The heroes and heroines of football.” Questions about the most pressing topic are not welcome.

DSo he was seen in public again. Fritz Keller was sitting in a room at the association headquarters in Frankfurt on Wednesday at 11 a.m. Behind him is a sponsor wall, to the left of him Mirjam Berle, new communications director at the DFB since the beginning of October. The world’s largest sports association had invited to a digital press conference.

The meeting was about a pan-European study on the value of amateur football, its importance – and also volunteer work. Undoubtedly an important topic. But there are a few more these days, such as the situation around the German national team and their coach Joachim Löw, to whom the DFB had committed on Monday. But Fritz Keller did not want to comment in the presence of 40 media representatives who had joined in.

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“We’re not talking about the national team today. We’re also not talking about the 6-0 win in Seville, although that would be very attractive for one or the other. Today we want to focus on the heroes and heroines of football, ”said the 63-year-old. At the beginning of the press conference, Mirjam Berle had already said that there should be no questions about the national team and Löw. The stage, she pointed out, belongs to the amateurs. “You have our recognition and our full appreciation,” said Berle.

Press conference DFB

Virtual press conference at the DFB with Communications Director Berle, President Keller, Uefa Vice President Nilsson and Professor Wicker from Bielefeld University (from right)

Quelle: Getty Images for DFB/Alex Grimm

After a summit in Frankfurt on Monday, the DFB announced that it would hold on to Löw despite the 6-0 disaster in Spain. Löw and Oliver Bierhoff, director of national teams, had spoken to President Keller, Treasurer Stephan Osnabrügge and Vice-Presidents Rainer Koch and Peter Peters in a two-hour conversation. A 42 line long press release was then sent out, there were no public statements, as in the days before.

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Just one day after the defeat in Spain, President Keller had a statement circulated. This, however, had raised questions, as Joachim Löw’s name had not appeared in the press release. There was talk of a young team that could grow from the severe setback “if this game, in which not only heart and passion were missing, are thoroughly analyzed and the necessary conclusions can be drawn from it. She has the potential. “

Keller’s appeal to politics

The fact that Keller didn’t want to say anything about the national team or about Löw’s personnel on Wednesday was a bit surprising, as the “Bild” reported, citing circles of the Presidium, that Keller had last asked Löw three times, the one running until the 2022 World Cup End contract with Löw after the EM 2021. But Keller didn’t want to comment.

In the current partial lockdown, he rather appealed to politicians not to forget about recreational and amateur sports. “Please let the children and young people back on the pitch as early as possible,” said the 63-year-old. “We know the rules,” emphasized Keller in relation to the Corona crisis, when clubs and associations were able to return to games and training in the summer under special hygiene requirements.

Since the beginning of November, only professional sports have been allowed due to the stricter corona rules, while amateur and junior football are prohibited. In spring, football and other sports were shut down for months due to the pandemic. “In times of crisis as we are experiencing, football and all of sport must be an elementary part of the solution strategy,” said Keller.

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Crisis in German football: red alert among youngsters

Dhe national team is in free fall at the end of 2020. When it comes to youth development, too, all the advantages that the German Football Association (DFB) had worked hard for over the past decade are long gone. Just three years ago, in the summer of 2017, the former national coach Jürgen Klinsmann declared that German football lived in paradise. His successor Joachim Löw could draw on the full at the 2018 World Cup and fall back on around forty to fifty first-class professionals. There are so many good players in Germany that you can even put together two top international teams from them. Klinsmann was right. Back then.

Only three years later everything is different. A badly beaten national team and their national coach stagger into the European Championship year after the 6-0 debacle in Spain. Out of nine games since the World Cup disaster in 2018, they have only won one against top nations. The view into the future is also more gloomy than it has been for many years. U-21 national coach Stefan Kuntz sounded the alarm last week: “We’re so beaten!”

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German national team – the combative Herr Löw – sport

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.

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Löw and the DFB – a missed opportunity – sport

Jogi Löw knows this phenomenon from personal experience. Again and again he had to watch his national team how they artfully sniffed and tricked and then unfortunately conjured the ball past the goal. The national team had “problems with the exploitation of chances”, judged the specialist press severely, and some companions drew the parallels to the character of the national coach behind closed doors: Jogi is “a Ditschler”, say those who sometimes play football with him – one who who prefers to do another pirouette before shooting on goal or separating from the ball.

This problem was actually thought to have been solved, but now it has to be said: it has just shifted. The problem with the exploitation of opportunities has reached the head offices of the association. You can say it so harshly: The DFB gave away a big chance on Monday, as it is called in sports reporter German. The association would have had the opportunity, after 14 years of Löw, to have a few different eyes on German football, through Ralf Rangnick’s rimless glasses, for example. You know how Jogi Löw sees Toni Kroos, you know that he wants to play football “in the gaps”, you know that he thinks high balls are an invention of the devil. You know all that.

Is the power of habit reason enough to part with the ball or the associated national coach? Of course not, but recently Löw has left such a remote impression that the familiar Angela Merkel feeling hardly came back: Oh, she already knows what she is doing. At Löw you knew what he was lately Not does: actively coach, for example, or lead clearly.

Löw is a well-deserved man, in 2014 he gave the country the first world title for a European team in South America. He has now initiated the change, brought the European Championship qualification to a clean end and seriously brought the clubs on board in the tricky Corona time. Nevertheless, his confirmation in office also seems a bit like the relaxation of the performance principle. National coach is not a lifelong job, he also has to face the competition at all times – and so the somewhat unsorted DFB now has to live with the fact that a coach with poor survey scores coaches a team with poor survey scores. Löw takes the double knockout of the 2018 World Cup and the 0: 6 in Spain into the spring.

The good thing about this era is, however, that Löw finds what he is looking for in his own vita. Under pressure, he has repeatedly managed to harness the defiance and find his way back to a tight coaching performance. He’ll have to do it again.

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National team – Löw successfully conveys fighting spirit – sport

Almost two weeks have already passed since that evening in Seville, but it can be considered certain that the men who met at the DFB headquarters on Monday still remember the atrocities that happened under the sky of Andalusia. All participants of the symposium organized over the weekend were guests of honor in the Olympic Stadium when the national team lost 6-0 to Spain. In Frankfurt they met now to come to terms with what had happened.

Jogi Löw stood up for his cause as national coach, while President Fritz Keller, Deputies Rainer Koch and Peter Peters and Treasurer Stefan Osnabrügge represented the leading committee of the DFB. Oliver Bierhoff, the sixth man in the group, represented both sides, so to speak: the DFB, to which he is a director, and the national coach, whose long-time companion he is. He also spoke for a third party, namely his own. In addition to the coach, the manager was also responsible for this 6-0.

Those in the know already prophesied in the morning that the meeting of the leaders would come to a peaceful end, and those in the know were right. In the early afternoon, the DFB reported the result of the consultation: “DFB top supports Joachim Löw on the further way with the national team”, was the not exactly reader-friendly title of the sensational announcement. “Jogi stays!” it could also have been.

However, the factions at the DFB do not feel like euphoria and departure and nicknames. Sport is the focus, but there is also a lot of politics involved. The presidential group has now agreed that the ruling incumbent is the correct incumbent. According to the communiqué, they attested to Löw “high quality coaching work”, an intact relationship with the team and “a clear concept for the previous and future procedures”.

The rest of the presidium was then informed of these views via video, so that the supposed high-noon date at the ordinary presidium meeting next Friday – at which Bierhoff was supposed to speak on behalf of the national coach – no longer has any special significance. The message to the football people is therefore at least until the next international round in March: Joachim Löw’s mission is far from over. Although the DFB has of course noticed that the soccer people will not hold any celebrations over it.

Löw doesn’t just want to stay in office out of habit. But the skepticism of the public makes the job difficult

The starting point of the meeting was also not free from potential for conflict. When Löw arrived at home in Freiburg the day after the 6-0 draw, he was at least sure of the support of the president. Fritz Keller gave him the assurance that he would be allowed to continue his work as a national coach not only during a stop at Munich airport, but also during the return trip to Freiburg in the mini-bus. In the following days, however, the signals from Keller’s vineyard on the Kaiserstuhl were less clear. It was not the first time in his time as association chairman that the 63-year-old had evidently formed a new opinion under the influence of internal and external debates. Keller now preferred to wait for the mood to develop. Löw perceived this behavior as an unfriendly act. He missed reliability.

In any case, it is a widespread misconception that Fritz Keller and Joachim Löw were natural allies due to their origins and mutual ties with SC Freiburg. Breisgau-Connection, that sounds ready to go, especially since Löw’s assistant Marcus Sorg once worked at SC Freiburg. But the connection doesn’t exist (by the way, Fritz Keller dismissed Sorg as head coach of the sports club).

Löw received support from the professional sector. No prominent club representative questioned him or even called for his replacement. The Bundesliga does not see Löw and his DFB coaching as a burden for their reputation. Instead, praise and respect for Löw’s personnel management during the difficult international matches in October and November came from the headquarters of the top clubs from Munich, Leipzig, Dortmund and Leverkusen. The coach had designed a division of labor for test and competitive games and, in consultation with club colleagues, took the top players into consideration.

Experienced managers like Rudi Völler also pleaded for mitigating circumstances for many reasons when reviewing the 0: 6: Corona crisis, players’ concerns about injuries, low acceptance of the Nations League competition, the momentum of an industrial accident. The argument of the practitioners from the professional camp now also took up the functionaries: A single game “cannot and must not be the yardstick for the basic performance of the national team and the national coach”, it said in the communiqué. Those responsible, however, asked themselves whether Löw still has the motivation to drive his team to top performances at the EM. Or whether he just wants to stay national coach out of habit. But as after the 2018 World Cup, Löw was able to convey that he has the fighting spirit to want to master the challenge. The DFB accepts that its work will become even more complicated than before due to a suspicious public.

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Joachim Löw – hearing before the summit – sport

The ailing national coach Joachim Löw is apparently allowed to speak to parts of the DFB top on the situation with the Presidium of the German Football Association before the crisis summit on December 4th. Loud image There is to be a small-group meeting beforehand, in which, in addition to Löw, DFB President Fritz Keller and the association’s first vice-president, former Schalke chief financial officer Peter Peters, are to participate. On December 4th, the entire Presidium of Löw’s analysis will be presented, with the DFB director and national team manager Oliver Bierhoff being the main speaker.

The top of the DFB wants to see “experiences from the defeat (0: 6) in Spain, but also the overall development of the team” since the 2018 World Cup. Said smaller group could be the presidential committee of the DFB. This five-man committee, in which there are currently atmospheric tensions, includes, in addition to Keller and Peters, Vice President Rainer Koch, General Secretary Friedrich Curtius and Treasurer Stephan Osnabrügge.

Meanwhile, U21 head coach Stefan Kuntz has expressed himself very critically about the German offspring. Compared to other top leagues in Europe, the Bundesliga is “completely behind and so a bit behind”, complained Kuntz in the case of U21 professionals kicker. So there is hardly any reason to talk to the national coach about talents: “For this reason, Jogi and I no longer talk, because the mass of top talent is not there.”

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Jogi Löw at the DFB: The coaching discussion begins – sport

On Tuesday evening last week, the DFB official Oliver Bierhoff sounded like a normal sports director from the Bundesliga. He found some kind words for the coach (“absolute trust”), who had just lost 6-0 with his team. These sentences were important to Bierhoff because he had previously felt a bit misunderstood. Before this 0: 6 he had said, among other things, that he would follow the path of coach Joachim Löw “up to and including the EM” – which was interpreted as a withdrawal movement and raised the question: And after the EM? As a reminder: The national coach’s contract runs up to and including the 2022 World Cup. Therefore: Support from Bierhoff for Löw, also and especially after a 0: 6 in Spain, which was actually no longer a football result, but a declaration of surrender.

What the DFB says or does not say about Jogi Löw and who this DFB is at all: These are very crucial questions in this excited debate, and how it should be for first-class crisis scenarios, everything is interrelated.

This Monday, the DFB said something again, and at the same time said something again Not. In a statement on the association’s website, the DFB confirmed what had already been treated like a message over the weekend: The DFB Presidium had “adopted a timetable to collect, evaluate and advise on findings”. This timetable provides that Bierhoff – official title: Director of National Teams and Academy – submit an analysis of the situation of the national team to the Presidium on December 4th; this should include “the experience from the defeat against Spain, but also the overall development of the team over the past two years”. And then, in conclusion, the DFB will “provide information about the results of the deliberations and the next steps at the appropriate time”.

Camouflaged by the finest official German, that means nothing other than that the DFB has confirmed an internal coaching discussion. And that he demonstratively leaves the result of this discussion open.

The name “Löw” is completely missing in the message

At the moment when an association employee presses a button to release a communiqué to the public, the communiqué is released for general interpretation – and so it should at least not surprise the DFB that this document is now with a magnifying glass on hidden messages is examined. But you don’t even need a particularly expensive magnifying glass to find out: As in a first message last Wednesday, this one also remains astonishingly at a distance from the national coach. There is no binding word, nowhere does the name “Löw” appear, there is also a lack of any official German statements that could – for example – speak of bundling forces on the common path to the EM. Instead, the message says: The national coach should be until 4.12. a “temporal and emotional distance” should be given, in order to come to terms with the sport, but also “personally, in order to deal with one’s own great disappointment. It should be done that way.”

No, of course the association does not say that Löw could possibly and possibly resign. But, amazingly enough, the association officially advises its coach to be disappointed. And that the association is fighting for its coach or would like to keep him just a little bit: that really isn’t written anywhere.

But that leads directly to the question of who “the association” is at the moment. And because a national coach dismissal is not part of the standard program of the DFB, the question even arises of who would be formally responsible for it. A little look at the statutes: In it you can find the passage according to which the “personnel selection” with regard to the national coach is a matter for the 18-member presidium, to which Bierhoff and Philipp Lahm belong in an advisory capacity. But the same statute also says that “personnel matters” of the national coach are a matter for the five-person presidential committee, the association’s legal representative.

A power struggle between the president and officials is raging in the DFB

Would a dismissal fall under “personnel selection” or under “personnel matter”? The DFB was unable to explain this clearly on Monday upon request.

However, there is no doubt that the Executive Committee is the most powerful body of the DFB. This is where all the influential officials come together: President Fritz Keller, Vice Rainer Koch (amateurs) and Peter Peters (league), treasurer Stephan Osnabrügge, general secretary Friedrich Curtius; League boss Christian Seifert, who was leaving office in 2022, withdrew from this body in September. But at this point at the latest, the discussions about Löw intersect with various other matters relating to the DFB headquarters. Because within this quintet and especially between Keller and Curtius a power struggle has been raging for some time. It’s about how to deal with the latest tax affair and the investigation by Esecon into some of the dark secrets of German football.

Before a crisis meeting at the end of October there was even Curtius’ expulsion in the room, and the conflict is so serious that the DFB issued a rather unique announcement after the meeting, in which “dissonances”, “discrepancies” and “misunderstandings” were mentioned. Vice Koch and Treasurer Osnabrugge are attributed to Curtius’ side, so seen, there would be a 3-2 majority against President Keller. In this opaque situation, the decision about the top German coach should now be made.

Only the momentum of the debate is even more opaque. The industry is full of secret actors, Löw sympathizers can be found there as well as Löw critics, and they will all work on their interests now, even if they probably do not write press releases.

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Löw, Bierhoff: On December 4th, the future of the national team will be decided

Sport Condition analysis

The future of the national team will be decided on December 4th

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Fear of job? “I can’t answer spontaneously”

The DFB team suffered a historic defeat with the debacle against Spain. Joachim Löw doesn’t see any quality problem and doesn’t really want to answer a question about his future.

After the 0: 6 against Spain, the DFB presidium asked the sports management to take stock. Löw has “no free ticket,” they say. The national coach does not present the strategy paper.

Dhe crisis management around Joachim Löw will last at least until December 4th. On that day, Oliver Bierhoff, as director for the national teams, will present the results of an analysis of the state of the German elite footballers to the Presidium of the German Football Association (DFB) after the historic 0: 6 against Spain. The reported “Bild” after a switch from the highest DFB committee. The debate should have been very factual.

According to the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”, however, “there is now an increased need for discussion within the Presidium – on one’s own behalf. Accordingly, parts of the committee would accuse DFB President Fritz Keller, 63, of a snaking course and a lack of communication after the defeat in Seville last Tuesday. In terms of work-up, the DFB presidium agreed on a common line.

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But now it’s up to Löw, who has retired to his home in Baden, together with co-trainer Marcus Sorg, goalkeeping coach Andreas Köpke and Bierhoff to analyze and explain not only the current state but also the target state. Those responsible for the team must ultimately convince the Presidium of how they want to shape the team into a successful unit again in order to achieve the declared goal of the semi-finals at the EM in the summer of next year.

Is there a vote on Löw?

“There is no free ticket for Jogi Löw”, quoted “Bild” an unnamed participant of the switch from Friday. He will listen very carefully to what Löw’s review looks like and what perspective he is showing the DFB Presidium with a view to the EM 2021. This also includes the question of whether there is a need for more experienced players in the squad who would take over command – “especially when things are not going well”. The main concern is the retirement of ex-world champions Mats Hummels, Thomas Müller and Jérôme Boateng.

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Ralf Rangnick

It is unclear whether there will be a vote on Löw’s future after the meeting at the beginning of next month. That Bierhoff should explain the situation is because he is responsible for the sporting direction.

Only three days after the presidium meeting that was already scheduled, the World Cup qualification will be drawn in Zurich on December 7th. The national coach will not be able to convene his squad again until mid-March, so that he can work with his national players for the last time before the EM training camp.

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