Former Bayern Munich man and current Germany head coach Hansi Flick is enduring another round of criticism for his direction of the men’s national team — this time from Union Berlin chief of sport Oliver Ruhnert.
“I’ve said for a while there are a few things I don’t like. His coaching staff says they are making performance based decisions. I say they’re not doing that,” Ruhnert told SZ (as relayed by Derek Rae). “We have enough good players to have a successful home Euro next year.”
Is it the talent pool or the coach? That is the central question surrounding many of the Germans’ recent results.
For Ruhnert, a different set of decisions might have helped the team advance at the World Cup. Ruhnert held up his Union midfielder Rani Khedira as one of the players that might have secured the full three points in Germany’s opener against Japan. Instead, the Germans were stunned by two comeback goals in a loss that would prove fatal to their hopes at even making it out of the group.
But concerns about Germany’s player pipeline have persisted for years, and Ruhnert isn’t blind to that, either. The DFB’s youth development is not spared from his criticism.
“Because all youth centers basically are developing stereotypes, while the street footballer dies out,” Ruhnert also laments.
Perhaps the German footballing machine has become too machine-like. The cookie-cutter conveyor belt that churned out the world-dominating squad in 2014 now has the feel of a team that’s fallen behind the times and become too rigid in its ways. Maybe Ruhnert is onto something here: it’s not sophisticated tactical structure but a little more free-roaming spirit that can help Germany capture that winning energy again in 2024.