What’s happened to the Mannschaft? Who’s to blame for the latest Euro and World Cup failures?
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Remember the 2014 World Cup? Germany was absolutely untouchable. They dominated many teams throughout, including the famous 7-1 victory over Brazil. But since then, things have gone somewhat sideways. Sure, they reached the semi-finals of the Euros in 2016, but that’s the last decent performance really. And let’s be honest, Germany is a team that should be contending to win those titles! There hasn’t been any significant silverware to speak of since the 2014 World Cup.
They failed to qualify through the Group Stage in the 2018 World Cup, and the 2020 Euros were far from impressive. They lost to England by a score of 2-0 in the quarter-final stage, ending hopes of progressing further. But who is really to blame for these shortcomings? And why has Germany not maintained their domination in international football?
Let’s find out.
Mannschaft – where has it all gone wrong?
For a team with 4 World Cups to their name, you’d expect better in recent years. Germany has definitely lost that aura of invincibility, and the players don’t look confident. But how has such a dominant team ended up like this? We believe that the recent slide in form is due to three main factors.
Following the 2014 World Cup victory, guys like Klose, Lahm, and Mertesacker all retired. With these guys being so prevalent in the 2014 campaign, this was a major blow. And if we fast forward even further, looking at guys who retired from the international game after the 2016 Euros, things get even worse. After this competition, legends like Podolski and Gotze also fell by the wayside. When you get players of this calibre retiring from the international game, it’s hard to pick up the pieces.
Joachim Low losing his spark
Joachim Low, amazingly, had been the Germany manager from 2006 right the way through to 2021. His reign was one of the most successful in international management history. Under his guidance, Germany were runners-up in Euro 2008, semi-finalists at the 2010 World Cup, semi-finalists at Euro 2012, and of course, World Cup winners in 2014. Low really seemed to have that magic about him, and he certainly knew how to get the best out of his players.
Of course, when he took over in 2006, he was still a young man. He had the enthusiasm and the hunger required to win trophies with Germany. However, some might say that his spark has dwindled since the 2014 World Cup victory. And in 2021, he has subsequently stepped down to make way for Hansi Flick.
Lack of new talent coming through
At the end of the day, when legends retire, you need suitable replacements. This is the case if you want to remain at the top of the game, anyway. And if you look at the team they’ve had since 2014, there have been clear holes in the lineup. This was particularly true in the midfield and attacking areas, but fortunately, things are now changing. Having endured more than five years of a subpar roster, by Germany’s standards, things are finally looking up.
Now we have guys like Goretzka, Kimmich, Werner, Sane, Wirtz and many others coming through. These guys are all very talented, and they provide Germany with the kind of strength they’ve been lacking in recent years.
But who is actually to blame for Germany’s failures?
At the end of the day, it’s tough to put the blame on any individual's shoulders. As is the case in football, teams are a collective unit, and the responsibility lies with everyone involved. Is it purely the manager’s fault? We don’t think so. Sure, Low may have lost a bit of his motivation and magic since the 2014 World Cup. On the flip side, you’ve then got to consider the players he had to work with. He lost many of his most talented guys following the 2014 success, leading Germany into a bit of a rebuilding phase.
Ultimately, we believe that the underlying failure is down to a lack of fresh players coming through. Managers can only work with the guys they have at their disposal. And since Low didn’t have access to the same pool of superstars, it goes without saying that the performances would suffer. With this said, it does seem that Germany is now managing to build a strong squad once again.
Talented guys are now in abundance, and with Hansi Flick taking over, things are already looking up. Therefore, we feel that brighter days are on the horizon for Germany moving forward.