March 10 – One of the longest reigns in international football management is coming to an end with the announcement that Joachim Loew is to step down as Germany’s head coach after the European Championship finals in June and July, bringing forward his previous plan to quit after the next World Cup.
Loew, who had a contract until 2022, led Germany to the World Cup title in 2014 – including that 7-1 semi-final demolition of Brazil – but saw his team crash out in the first round four years later and has been struggling to perform at the top level in recent years. Last November’s 6-0 defeat to Spain in the Nations League was Germany’s biggest losing margin since 1931.
The 61-year-old Loew first joined the German national set-up in 2004 as assistant to Juergen Klinsmann before taking charge in 2006.
“I take this step consciously, full of pride and also very thankful and still with the same motivation for the Euros,” Loew, who is reported to have asked for his contract to be ended prematurely, said in a statement.
“I am proud because it was an honour for me to work for my country and because for almost 17 years I have worked with the best players in the country. We are joined by great triumphs and painful defeats but most of all many magic moments.”
Federation president Fritz Keller said Loew’s decision to quit after the European Championship is “highly respectable” because it gives the governing body “the necessary time to name his successor calmly and with a sense of proportion.”
“The federation knows what it has in Jogi. He is one of the biggest coaches in world soccer,” Keller said. “Jogi Löw has shaped German soccer like none other for years and helped it to the highest levels internationally.”
While there is no clear favourite, Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick, who was formerly Loew’s assistant with Germany, appears to be the early front-runner after Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp ruled himself out.
“Am I available for the job after the summer? No,” said Klopp. “Someone else will do the job and, with the number of good German managers, I am sure the German FA will find a good solution.”
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