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Monday, February 16, 2009

Das ist nicht gut

After Norway’s surprising 1-0 friendly upset of Germany last week I decided to wait a few days to see what the fallout would be within the Deutcher Fussball-Bund (DFB) before blogging on the match. So far Germany’s head coach Joachim Low has not been sacked and remains head coach of the Mannschaft. Prior to the Norwegians first victory over Germany since 1936, turmoil had been surfacing within the German media about some of the veterans (Michael Ballack & Torsten Frings)calling out the job performance and game strategy of coach Low and whether their talents were being properly utilized on the pitch. The drama led to Frings’ benching and eventual public apology over calling out the skipper. Since Low’s takeover of the National Team duties after Jurgen Klinsmann’s resignation following the 2006 World Cup, the national mood towards Low’s stewardship has been relatively positive. Klinsmann had instituted a more offensively aggressive strategy within German football that led to the surprising 3rd place finish in the ’06 World Cup and Low continued the German resurgence into the football elite with it culminating in a runner-up finish at Euro 2008.
Low being an assistant under Klinsmann has continued to support an attacking style of football, yet the scoring from the Mannschaft in recent fixtures has been met with spotty goal scoring and weakened defense, with defense being the calling card of German soccer. Low’s initial response to the embarrassing loss to Norway has been to call out his 24 year old goalie (Rene Adler) and asking for his young net-minder to discover the greatness of German goalies of yesteryear like Jens Lehmann and Oliver Kahn.
Whether it’s the anemic offense, leaky defense, or inexperience in goal, the German National Team has lost its way as it heads into the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The Germans still remain one of the younger international squads and will be a top favorite to take the World Championships, but a proper showings must occur in their upcoming qualifiers this spring. The next two qualifying matches will be against Liechtenstein and Wales. If Low has censored the possible mutiny within his camp by the time these games commence, the Mannschaft should steamroll the competition. If he has lost his player’s confidence, the DFB will be forced to make a coaching change or face the consequences of losing their great chance at capturing ultimate glory in 2010.
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