It has been a slow and painful death. Jogi Low has looked a lame duck of an international coach since Germany stumbled out of the 2018 World Cup at the group stage, the nation's worst result at an international tournewmnt for more than 80 years. Euro 2020 will be his final tournament in charge.
Previous heroics, including the 2014 World triumph, afforded him additional time after the misery that followed four years later, but fans had been calling for change for three years. They have finally got what they want.
In the past, the changing of the managerial guard has occasionally seen assistants take over when a Germany coach leaves his post, in order to keep the continuity of success churning on. This time, though, a clean break will be desired, meaning Marcus Sorg, Low’s assistant, is unlikely to be considered.
Instead Germany will look to bring in a fresh set of ideas; a manager who can offer a new beginning and a chance to rebuild broken relationships. These managers will be top of the list.
The bookies favourite. Kuntz has been the U21 Germany coach since 2016 and his appointment would resemble the rise of Gareth Southgate to the Three Lions hotseat in 2016. In fact, Southgate’s appointment had a very German feel to it - the promotion of a company man into a more senior role at the firm.
Like Southgate, Kuntz is also a mild-mannered, diligent and polite former international, who understands what is required of an FA representative. He will have worked closely with the first team in the past, sharing information on young players and striving to impose the same tactics and demands on the next generation.
Unlike Southgate’s appointment with England, this would be fairly typical of the DFB, who often tend to hire a less glamorous manager to the post. Low himself was better known as the assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann before his promotion while Klinsmann was still better known for his past glories as a player than his coaching pedigree when he led the nation to the 2006 World Cup on home soil. Kuntz would be the safe bet, and Germany will only buck this trend if they feel a real shake-up is required.
"No, I will not be available as a potential coach of the German national team in the summer or after the summer," Klopp said following the announcement that Low would be stepping down. "I have three years left at Liverpool. It's a simple situation; you sign a contract and you try to stick to that."
READ THE REBUTTAL Jurgen Klopp: I will not be replacing Joachim Low as Germany boss
With speculation about Klopp’s future growing louder, however - following Liverpool’s sixth straight home defeat to Fulham on Sunday - who is to say he will still be in charge at Anfield for the remainder of his deal.
Were Klopp to be appointed Germany manager, he would be a popular choice among fans. The 56-year-old is one of the most charismatic and esteemed coaches in world football and his brand of hard-pressing, heavy-metal football would inject some much-needed excitement into a Germany team which has looked devoid of life for three years.
The Stuttgart-born coach’s record with young players would also be cause for optimism, given Germany have a talented group of youngsters breaking through at clubs across the continent. Jamal Musiala, Kai Havertz, Florian Wirtz and others would relish the chance to play for Klopp on international leave and you can bet they’d be granted opportunities to stake a claim in the first team.
The odds appear incredibly slim, given Klopp’s passion for club football and his desire to turn things around at Anfield. He would not want to leave England on a low.
Eighteen months ago, you’d have been called daft for putting Flick’s name into the ring for a vacancy this big. While Flick was Low’s assistant at the triumphant 2014 World Cup, he had long established himself as more of a right-hand man before November 2019 and his appointment to the role of Bayern Munich's interim coach.
His record since then makes him an obvious candidate, though. Flick has already overseen a sextuple-winning calendar year and bagged a clean sweep of 2020’s manager of the year gongs in the process.
Flick is already on first name terms with key DFB figures, and his Bayern side play a clear and exciting brand of football. What’s more, his relationship with key players is also worth consideration.
Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry and Manuel Neuer are leaders in the Germany squad, while Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng could see their international exile reversed under Flick.
Popular, successful, experienced at international level and perfectly poised to repair the political damage of the Low reign, you wouldn’t bet against Germany buying out the remaining two years on Flick’s contract at the Allianz Arena.
The RB Leipzig coach is widely considered one of the most exciting young minds in European football, thanks to his painstaking attention to detail, tactical knowledge and hard-pressing demands.
Manchester United this season and Spurs last season both saw how devastating Nagelsmann's Leipzig side could be on the break and a Germany team bristling with young and pacy attackers would certainly benefit from his influence. His sides regularly switch formation midway through games and generally set-up to exploit weaknesses in the opponent’s set-up.
Nagelsmann is said to be a fierce taskmaster during training sessions, and has overseen the implementation of huge screens around his training pitches to help him get points across and show players where they need to be. With this in mind, it could be a potentially combustible appointment given Nagelsmann would likely demand to do things his way and the DFB can be rather old-school in approach.
Nagelsmann is under contract at Leipzig until 2023, but may be tempted by the idea of taking on the biggest job in German football.
No German has been in charge of a German professional club for longer than Christian Streich. The 55-year-old has become a cult hero in German football since taking the reigns at SC Freiburg in 2011.
Streich’s outspoken and often erratic behaviour during press conferences has made him a fan favourite in the southern German town, but his excellent work as a coach deserves equal acclaim. Since Streich was appointed ten years ago, he has led the perennial yoyo-side through nine Bundesliga campaigns, and was relegated just once before an immediate return to Germany's top flight. Freiburg have one of the lowest budgets in the Bundesliga, yet manage to play an attractive and successful brand of football with a squad made up of outcasts and younger players.
Streich is vocal on myriad social issues, including gender equality and racism. He once claimed he wasn’t a German but “a human being, whose passport just happens to say Germany on it” and also wants to see more women working in top-level football. After a string of controversies, including accusations of racism within the DFB in 2018, appointing Christian Streich would be a step in the right direction. But does he lack the footballing pedigree?
What a curveball this would be. Wenger is on the bookies’ shortlist having been supposedly sounded out for the role following the 2018 World Cup. Germany eventually decided to stick with Low, but the idea could be revisited now.
Wenger is now working as FIFA’s Chief of Global Development, though he has made no secret of his desire to return to management should the right post come along. Germany would be hard to turn down, especially for a 71-year-old whose patient approach might be well suited to international football.
Wenger speaks fluent German, which is important to the DFB, he commands respect, can handle politics and big egos, his teams play beautiful football and he has an unparalleled track record of bringing through younger players. Who wouldn’t love to see the former Arsenal and Monaco boss back in elite football management?
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