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German press reacts to Flick's sacking: "An overdue dismissal."

By Peter Weis   @PeterVicey

Pessimism reigns in the German press one day after the dismissal of German national team head-coach Hansi Flick. The general consensus in the editorial pages of the Bundesrepublik holds that the turnaround has likely come too late for the country's "Nationalmannschaft" a mere nine months before the country is due to host the European Championships. 

As we often do here on Bulinews, we're pleased to supply translations of of editorial pieces from the pages of the country's papers-of-record. Commentaries in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, and Germany's Kicker Magazine are featured in the piece below. 
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Hansi Flick now has the dubious distinction of being the first Bundestrainer of the DFB to be dismissed prematurely by the German FA via a decision that was not mutually consensual. The German editorial pages remain highly skeptical that the country's national team program can turn matter around in time for next summer's Euros.


The Bundesrepublik's leading footballing journalists have had their say. In a collection of translations below, we'll supply abridged English versions of the work of German footballing journalists Oliver Hartmann (Kicker Magazine), Christian Kamp (FAZ), Christoph Kneer (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Peter Ahrens (Der Spiegel), and Fabian Scholar (Die Zeit).

Of some interest in Kneer's piece, Flick is labelled to be the last actor in a failed dynasty that took over following Bundestrainer Rudi Völler's departure after the 2004 Euro Group Stage exit. The current German national team manager was succeeded by Jürgen Klinsmann. Joachim Löw was Klinsmann's former assistant. Hansi Flock once worked alongside Löw as co-coach.

Throughout this 17-year-span, Oliver Bierhoff reigned as the "kingmaker" from his role as German national team director. Kneer refers to this era as the "Klinsi-Jogi-Oli-Hansi" Age. It now falls to Völler to atone for his previous failure and locate a new leader for this team ahead of the October friendlies.

Oliver Hartmann, Kicker Magazine

"The task force set up after the miserable World Cup failure in Qatar has so far been conspicuous mainly for the fact that they stubbornly closed their eyes to the continuing and obvious decline of the national team and propagated a comfortable "carry on like this" attitude. Even after the winless and dismal June internationals, they clung to their blind faith in Hansi Flick. Bernd Neuendorf, Hans-Joachim Watzke and Rudi Völler - the opinion leaders in the Wolfsburg stand - only realised that this inaction was a strategy to ruin after the 1-4 defeat against Japan. Flick's release on Sunday was thus overdue."


"Flick's personnel and structural measures did not work this time either. The players did not find any offensive solutions, a match-plan was only vaguely visible in the first half. The German team exhibited a hopeless body language that enrages supporters and encourages opponents. At no point did th players manage to display conviction on the pitch and give the impression of being there for each other as a team and wanting to overcome their opponents."

"As in June, a little headwind was enough on Saturday to lose their footing and orientation before ultimately breaking apart. And just like in June, Flick was unable to find a way to turn the game around. Self doubt reins. Germany's national tram players had been looking in vain for months for assistance, backing, and a way out of the crisis. Flick could not provide them with a serviceable path."

"Rudi Völler's appointment as interim coach for the duel against France shows how unprepared the DFB and the task force were for this scenario. A successor must now be found on short notice who can find send the right signals both internally and externally. The choice of available candidates was far greater in June. Neuendorf and his task force now face greater pressure to find a creative solution."

Christian Kamp, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

"Energy! That's the principal word for the national team. All moves from the latest call-ups to appointing Ilkay Gündogan as captain, were geared towards giving his team as fresh an impetus as possible. The 1-4 loss to Japan constituted a crash landing the likes of which German football has rarely experienced, The realization that a change won't come now reigns. Not now, not with this coach, and, it is to be feared, not until the European Championship next summer."

"The national team has reached a new low point. Pulling the plug and mitigating the damage is the only option. This is the second time that the DFB has been forced to pay for its inadequate handling of a failure. The delayed separation from Joachim Löw should have been a warning of how difficult a new start is when it is weighed down by too many old burdens. In Flick's case, the situation was more complex. Apart from Flick's positive personality traits, the [political] fiasco of the federation's leadership in Qatar also spoke in favour of giving him a second chance."

"This too was nevertheless associated with risks.Flick felt the pressure of having to change something, but he wanted to do it so thoroughly that he ended depriving his team of stability. Flick, who started out as a pragmatist, tried and failed to form a new team in a series of exhibitions. As a developer, Flick failed with this team. After the recent disappointing results, it was impossible to imagine how this constellation could still generate the energy that is most urgently needed now. Confidence wouldn't spring forth from this."

"There are two potential answers to the question of what the team and German football need now. One would be an ambitious concept coach who takes on the muddled situation from scratch; a type like Julian Nagelsmann. However, there are hardly any people in this category on the market. Perhaps, with a view to the European Championship, the other, pragmatic variant would be better anyway: someone who starts without a big superstructure and tries to make things simple again; a type like Stefan Kuntz. It would only be good if the DFB had a plan. But it hasn't given that impression for some time now."

Christoph Kneer, Süddeutsche Zeitung

"When it comes to assessing the departure of this once-deserving coach, one can stick to the daily impressions on a superficial level as well as the developments since the World Cup in Qatar. On a deeper level however, one can bookend Jürgen Klinsmann's 1-4 loss [against Italy three months prior to the 2006 World Cup] with Flick's 1-4 loss on Saturday. For 17 years, a southwest German ruling dynasty of "Klinsi {Jürgen Klinsmann], "Jogi" [Joachim Löw], "Oli" [Oliver Bierhoff], "Hansi" [Hans Dieter Flick] exhausted its will to persevere."

"This "'i' dynasty" had its time, but eventually lost touch with what the country and team needed. After the 2014 World Cup title, the "Klinsi-jogi-oli-hansi country" objected to adjustments and only refreshed itself internally. Thanks to a DFB that was preoccupied with itself, there were also no longer any controlling bodies. The country's entire youth training was negotiated within the clan, as were the tournament quarters or the criteria for squad nominations. In the end, no one was looking in from the outside, for the simple reason that everyone was on the inside."

"With Flick's departure, a south-west German ruling dynasty has come to an end after 19 years, and one might consider it an irony of history that for a short interregnum, the Rudi Völler who brought forth the i-dynasty in the first place with his resignation in 2004 is now taking over."

Peter Ahrens, Der Spiegel

"Hansi Flick's time as national team trainer is over. It was supposed to be an era. Now it will be known as a mere episode. Flick began his tenure with eight straight wins, something no Bundestrainer before him had managed. That masked the realities of the national team. These were second class opponents. The first problems became apparent when the team began facing more qualified opponents. Then came the disenchantment in Qatar; something still not recovered from. After the eight wins, there were only four victories in the 17 games that followed."

"The whole situation currently leaves many figures coming out out looking like failures. Flick, obviously. Völler - who in his six months since being appointed [as Oliver Bierhoff's successor] - has failed to address the issues surrounding the national team. [DFB President Bernd] Neuendorf, who comes out appearing weak and indecisive in times of crisis. [Dortmund and DFB boss Hans Joachim] Watzke, who focused his efforts and hurt his reputation with ill-considered statements and his insensitive approach to the question of investors in the Bundesliga."

"No one has emerged unscathed from the past three quarters [of the year]. Neuendorf has communicated: "We need a spirit of optimism and confidence with a view to the European Championship in our own country." If this is actually achieved, it would probably be the most miraculous masterclass in the history of the DFB."

Fabian Scheler, Die Zeit

"Only the timing of the dismissal surprised. Flick could have been sacked without much public resistance after the early World Cup exit in December or after the embarassing results against Poland and Colombia in the summer. Flick's appointment seemed logical at first after he won six trophies as the head-coach of FC Bayern München. His win rate in Munich was historically high. It was ignored that the pandemic played into Bayern's hands. The most important triumph, the [2019/20] Champions League was won via a mini-tournament."

"The wrong conclusions from the trophies Flick won with Bayern were drawn. Flick's methods were well known: Gentle leadership, letting the locker room do its thing, relying on the Bayern block. That was what distinguished Flick, the club coach. But he never managed to teach his team to defend. His Bayern team was already playing wild attacking football in the successful year of 2020. He also had the national team play this way, sometimes with a four-man, sometimes with a three-man chain. That did not make sense."

"He never sent the same defensive formation onto the field twice in a row. It was obvious. Since his starting record for the DFB, his team has only gone two more times without conceding a goal, against Oman and Peru. In general, he never understood the job. He was never up to the task. Flick, after winning the World Cup alongside Joachim Löw in 2014, was Löw without a certain understanding."



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