Updated: Nov 12, 2020
The German national team is playing a friendly against the Czech Republic in Leipzig this evening, but the game is being met with complete indifference among the German footballing public. Ever since they won the World Cup in 2014, after thumping Brazil 7-1 in the semi final and then edging past Argentina in the final, thanks to Mario Götze’s extra time winner, the national team has been losing fans and friends. At a press conference earlier this week the team manager, Oliver Bierhof, confirmed that the the country was falling out of love with his charges.
There are a number of reasons for this:
- the terrible performances at the World Cup in Russia in 2018 when for the first time ever, they were knocked out of the tournament at the group stage
- the subsequent very messy fall out with Mesut Özil who accused the DFB of institutional racism when announcing his international retirement
- the retention of Joachim Low as manager. Having already been in charge for 12 years at the time of the last World Cup, it was the time for a fresh face
- the enforced retirement of stalwarts Mats Hummels, Thomas Müller and Jerome Boateng shortly after the World Cup. The latter two were crucial components of Bayern Munich’s triple winning side last season and the former is still performing at a very high level for Borussia Dortmund
- the failure to replace these stars with adequately talented players. Germany finished bottom of their Nations League group in 2018/9
- largely indifferent performances this season...four of the five games played so far this season have been draws
- seven of tonight’s starting XI can count the number of caps they already have on one hand. It seems like anyone can get a game for Germany these days...
- last but not least, there is widespread scepticism about the merits of playing international friendlies (in front of empty stadia) in the midst of a major continent wide pandemic
The DFB has a major job on its hands to rebuild the support it once took for granted.