Director of the German Football Association (DFB) Rudi Voller has described Germany’s 1-4 loss to Japan in a friendly match as a disgrace and has left open the possibility of Coach Hansi Flick’s dismissal.
“We played against a genuinely strong Japanese team, but ultimately, losing 1-4 is still a disgrace,” Voller stated after the defeat at the Volkswagen Arena.
When asked about Flick’s future, the DFB director replied, “All of us should reflect on ourselves and then see what will happen next. Germany may no longer be among the strongest teams in Europe, but we still have many high-quality players. I just spoke to Flick, and he is deeply affected. Tomorrow, we will discuss why this defeat occurred.”
Meanwhile, the legendary Lothar Matthaus, who holds the record for the most appearances for the German national team with 150 caps, harshly criticized and called for the immediate dismissal of Coach Flick. “I doubt whether the DFB can keep Flick after this defeat,” Matthaus expressed. “Japan even had three, four chances to face Ter Stegen. I feel like this isn’t a team, at least not on the field. This is not a team to perform well at Euro 2024.”
In Wolfsburg on September 9th, Junya Ito, Ayase Ueda, Takuma Asano, and Ao Tanaka scored for Japan, while Germany only managed one goal by Leroy Sane. This marks Germany’s third consecutive loss and extends their winless streak to five matches. Prior to this, under Hansi Flick’s leadership, the team had lost to Belgium 2-3, drawn with Ukraine 3-3, lost to Poland 0-1, and lost to Colombia 0-2.
In an article for Die Welt, journalist Lars Gartenschlager expressed his frustration with the performance of the German national team. “278 days before Euro 2024 kicks off on home soil, the situation is becoming increasingly serious,” he wrote. “Germany, the 2014 World Cup champions, is no longer a top-tier national team in the world. Opponents come here and leave with victories. First, it was Colombia in Gelsenkirchen, and now Japan in Wolfsburg. Flick promised improvement, but what 24,980 spectators in Wolfsburg and those watching at home witnessed on the screen was truly dreadful and hard to put into words.”
In the context of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s injury, Flick handed the captain’s armband to Ilkay Gundogan and named Joshua Kimmich as the vice-captain. In a recent interview with DW, former captain Philipp Lahm raised questions about the lack of leadership in the national team. “I don’t know who is currently responsible. Who is the face of the team? Who is the backbone? Who is the key leader guiding the whole team?” Lahm expressed.
A recent survey on the German football website Kicker showed that 83% of participants voted in favor of DFB sacking Flick. While Lahm didn’t directly advocate for a change in the German national team’s head coach, he cited the example of Morocco’s remarkable performance at the 2022 World Cup, despite having appointed coach Walid Regragui just three months before the tournament. This comparison comes in the context of Euro 2024 being just over half a year away.
On September 12th, Germany will continue with a friendly match against the 2018 World Cup champions, France, at Signal Iduna Park. This match is seen as one that could determine Flick’s future as the coach.
Flick previously served as an assistant to Joachim Low during Germany’s World Cup-winning campaign in 2014. He gained significant recognition during his two seasons in charge of Bayern Munich, winning six titles in the 2019-2020 season, including the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal (German Cup), Champions League, DFL-Supercup, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup. After Low’s departure in the summer of 2021, Flick was appointed as his successor but faced immense pressure as Germany failed to advance past the group stage of the 2022 World Cup.