The vast majority of journalists, commentators, and fans alike place the blame squarely on the shoulders of head coach Joachim “Jogi” Löw, who has thus far failed to rehabilitate the team that was unceremoniously knocked out of the first round of the 2018 World Cup.
The DFB, however, evidently remains committed to Löw: the organization’s statement, issued by president Fritz Keller, attempts to frame yesterday’s humiliation as a learning moment from which Germany’s “young team” is supposed to grow.
The statement in translation:
KELLER: YOUNG TEAM CAN GROW FROM THE BITTER SETBACK
The German National Team missed the final round of the UEFA Nations League - and with its 0:6 vs Spain suffered its biggest defeat in 89 years. On DFB.de Fritz Keller talks about the bitter evening in Sevilla. The verbatim statement by the DFB President.
“We experienced a black evening yesterday in Sevilla that hurt. The spectators at home, myself, the coach, the players. I was in the locker room after the final whistle and felt everyone’s profound disappointment. But also the will to correct this impression. Our young team can grown from this bitter setback, if this game, in which not only heart and passion were missing, is thoroughly analyzed and the necessary conclusions are drawn from it. The team has the potential. We deliberately decided to carry out a renewal [Umbruch] with many new and promising young players. This road, as we saw yesterday, can be the harder one and also lead to painful defeats. But even though we all would have liked to end this difficult, but hitherto actually successful international year, the challenge of shaping a strong team for the next big tournaments remains: the European Championship next year, the World Cup 2022, and the European Championship in our own country in 2024.”
Not a word about Jogi Löw.
The only hint of criticism in the statement is directed at the players themselves, who showed neither “heart” nor “passion” in a depressing dismantling by Spain. Could Keller’s reference to “necessary conclusions” suggest that the DFB might move on from Löw after all before international play resumes in spring 2021? That is extremely unlikely.
At most, the DFB will presumably hope Löw can somehow induce this disspirited group of German internationals to deliver well enough to avoid humiliation next year. Perhaps with better injury luck, he will. A healthy Joshua Kimmich, for instance, is practically worth two players.
But it is hard to see how this “young team,” which has already had ample opportunity to grow from disappointing and embarrassing performances for the past two years, will magically improve. Löw’s arbitrary squad decisions — both about who is and who is not on the team — and his embrace of a defeatist defensive system that itself feels like an exercise in damage control leave little hope.
The players don’t believe in it, the German viewers have turned off the TV. When will the DFB finally muster the courage to pull the plug?