New era for ailing Germany as Flick appointed to succeed Loew


Berlin (AFP) – Outgoing Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick will succeed his former boss Joachim Loew in the Germany dugout after Euro 2020, the German Football Association (DFB) announced on Tuesday, heralding a new era for an ailing giant of world football.

“It’s all gone surprisingly quickly, but I am very happy to be Germany coach from the autumn,” said Flick, 56, after signing a three-year contract to succeed Loew.

Flick, who was Loew’s assistant coach when Germany won the 2014 World Cup, will now be charged with reviving a national team which has struggled in recent years. 

The new boss will take over after the European Championship, and is expected to take charge of his first game in a World Cup qualifier against Liechtenstein on September 2.

The 56-year-old has long been the favourite to take over from Loew, who will leave the job after 15 years in charge, a year before his contract ends.

Other potential candidates such as Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp quickly ruled themselves out of the running, and the DFB made no secret of their interest in Flick.

“He was top of my wish list from the very start,” said national team director Oliver Bierhoff.

“Together we have one aim: to get back to the top of world football,” he added.

– Glory with Bayern –

Flick, who also worked as DFB sporting director between 2014 and 2017, has made a name for himself as one of Europe’s top coaches in two glittering years at perennial Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

After taking over from predecessor Niko Kovac with the club in a mid-season crisis, he led Bayern to only their second ever treble in 2020.

The following year, he took the club to a ninth successive Bundesliga title, his seventh trophy in just 18 months in the Munich dugout. 

Yet after a feud with sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic over recruitment, Flick asked for his contract to be terminated prematurely at the end of the season.

He will be succeeded on the Bayern bench by 33-year-old coaching prodigy Julian Nagelsmann, who joins the Bavarians from Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig next season.

Bayern also welcomed Flick’s appointment on Tuesday, with club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge saying he was “the perfect coach for the national team”.

– Struggling giant –

Germany have struggled since their disastrous group-stage exit from the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and Loew finally bowed to growing pressure and announced his plans to leave in March.

With his squad riven with divisions after the 2018 debacle, the once admired coach was first criticised for overlooking younger players, and later slammed for dropping veterans such as Thomas Mueller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng.

Loew has now recalled Mueller and Hummels for the European Championship after both had impressive seasons for Bayern and Borussia Dortmund respectively.

The big question for Flick will be how to take forward one of world football’s powers — will he dispense with the veterans and start afresh with young stars like Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, who have helped Chelsea reach Saturday’s Champions League final?

Or will he favour experienced players such as Mueller, as he did with so much success at Bayern?

“I am looking forward to bringing my ideas into the national team and the academies,” said Flick, adding that he would go into more detail about his plans in August.

“The important thing now is Euro 2020. Jogi Loew more than deserves a great finish to his career as Germany coach.”

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