‘We have lost our football identity’: German ex-coach

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Germany has lost its football identity and is no longer a feared opponent, according to the nation's former player and coach Winfried Schäfer.

"We have lost our football identity since the triumph at the 2014 World Cup. No opponent is afraid of us anymore," Schäfer told Tuesday's Rheinische Post paper.

"At the moment I am pessimistic regarding Euro 2024 at home and fear it could be tough to qualify for the 2026 World Cup."

Four-time champions Germany went out in the group stage of the last two World Cups 2018 and 2022, and in the last 16 at Euro 2020. Hansi Flick's team has lost three of its last four winless games and slipped to 15th in the world rankings.

In addition, the U21 team went out in the group stage at the recent Euros as title holders.

Schäfer, who coached around the world — including the national teams of Cameroon, Thailand and Jamaica — in the past, said that England's U21 Euro title and the planned signing of South Korean Kim Min Jae by Bayern Munich highlighted the domestic deficits.

"When I see how the English youth team plays I see many virtues that used to distinguish German football — and I think even our senior team would have problems against the young English," he said.

"And the fact that the best German team brings in a defender from Korea because there is apparently no German alternative in a position where we have always had world-class players says everything about the development in our country."

Schäfer said he agreed with former Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger that Pep Guardiola's time as Bayern Munich coach may have contributed to the problem.

"Schweinsteiger is right. When Guardiola became coach in Munich, everyone, the coaches and the media, celebrated his style — and we adopted it," he said.

"After the [2014] World Cup, we only tried to copy Guardiola's approach. And overlooked how he himself developed his style further. With us, only false nines were trained, he got centre-forward Lewandowski at Bayern."

As a result, Schäfer called for a thorough review at the national federation DFB, the clubs and the academies.

"Now it's up to us to urgently look beyond our own nose and see what others are doing better, especially in training," he said.

"We have to question everything, not only the talent situation, but above all the education of coaches. We have to ask ourselves whether the right priorities are being set."

  •  Germany
  •  Football
  •  Ex-coach

Source: www.dailyfinland.fi

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