After Crisis Meeting, Hansi Flick Remains Germany Coach

Hansi Flick will remain the German national team head coach. Flick confirmed the news after a crisis meeting with the DFB (German football federation) on Wednesday evening.

“My coaching staff and I are optimistic regarding the European Championship in our own country,” Flick said in a statement published by the DFB. “As a team, we can achieve a lot more than we showed in Qatar. We missed a great opportunity there. We will learn our lessons from that.”

Flick took over from former national team head coach Joachim Löw in the summer of 2021. Under Löw, Germany won the World Cup in 2014 but also saw the worst performance in the country’s history at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where die Nationalmannschaft got eliminated during the group stage.

As a result, Löw paved the way for his former assistant coach Flick. Flick not only oversaw Bayern’s treble season in 2020 but was also considered a crucial member of the coaching staff when Germany won the title in Brazil in 2014. And results did initially improve under the 57-year-old as Germany dominated their World Cup qualification group.

But there were some signs of crisis leading up to the World Cup. Germany lost 1-0 to Hungary in the UEFAEFA
Nations League, failing to qualify for the championship round. This would have given Flick some much-needed competitive games ahead of the European Championships in 2024. Germany hosts that tournament and will, therefore, not be part of the Euro qualifiers.

The result against Hungary highlighted Germany’s shortcomings against weaker defensive-minded opponents. Then there was the game against relegated England, in which Germany threw away a 2-0 lead. That game too, was a warning sign; Germany controlled that game only to give away the lead in 10 minutes of madness, ultimately salvaging a 3-3 draw.

Then came the World Cup, in which Germany once again failed to get out of the group stage, throwing away a game in Japan in which Die Nationalmannschaft was in complete control. Flick will have to take some blame for that result as he took off Ilkay Gündogan for Leon Goretzka, handing over the midfield to the opponent.

Substitutions and team selection, in general, have been the biggest points of criticism. Flick relied too heavily on players from his time at Bayern Munich. That also included defender Niklas Süle—now at Dortmund; the center-back played at Bayern during Flick’s time at the club. Another issue was Thomas Müller often played out of position as a no.9; there was hope that Flick would perhaps start Niclas Füllkrug instead.

Flick, however, appears to have listened to the criticism. “I have faith in the path agreed today with [DFB president] Bernd Neuendorf and [Dortmund CEO] Aki Watzke,” Flick said. “We all want the whole of Germany to gather behind the national team again at the home Euros in 2024.”

Neuendorf, too, expressed his optimism that Flick can guide the team to a successful tournament in 2024. “We are all convinced that the 2024 European Championship in our country represents a great opportunity for football in Germany,” Neuendorf said. “Our goal is to make this tournament a sporting success. “We have full confidence in Hansi Flick that he will succeed in this challenge together with his staff.”

Hence, while the director of the national team and academies, Oliver Bierhoff, has departed the DFB, Flick will receive a second chance. While the DFB will certainly provide the necessary resources and a new director to make the tournament a success, there is also a sense that Flick is now under strict observation.

Manuel Veth is the host of the Bundesliga Gegenpressing Podcast and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth