The German Coach Hansi Flick sacked before the fast approaching match. His tenure as the head coach of the German national football team came to an abrupt end, just nine months before they were set to host Euro 2024.
The decision came after a humiliating 4-1 defeat by Japan on Saturday, a result that left the German Football Association (DFB) with no choice but to announce his departure.
In an unprecedented move, Flick became the first and only Germany head coach to be sacked since the position was established in 1926. Rudi Voeller, the sporting director and a former coach who led Germany to the 2002 World Cup final against Brazil, will assume an interim role. The DFB will name a permanent successor at a later date.
The decision to part ways with Flick was deemed “unavoidable” by Bernd Neuendorf, the head of the German FA, given the team’s recent string of “disappointing” results. Neuendorf emphasized the need for an optimistic and confident outlook as Germany prepares to host the European Championships in 2024. He called this one of the most difficult decisions he has had to make.
The defeat against Japan was a stark illustration of Germany’s struggles, with only some exceptional saves by Marc-Andre ter Stegen preventing the scoreline from being even more embarrassing than the famous 5-1 loss to England in 2001. This loss marked Germany’s fourth defeat in six matches since their early exit from the World Cup in December.
Euro 2024 is set to kick off in Germany in June 2024, adding urgency to the need for a fresh start for the national team. The disappointment was palpable among the home fans, who booed the team at half-time and chanted “Hansi out” at the end of the match.
Germany, historically reluctant to make drastic changes in the coaching position, had never sacked any of Flick’s predecessors. Flick, who took the helm in May 2021 following Joachim Loew’s 15-year tenure, was the 10th head coach of Germany since World War II. Initially, Flick enjoyed success, winning his first eight matches as Germany boss. However, his subsequent record of just four wins in 17 matches, including a group stage exit at the Qatar World Cup, prompted his dismissal.
Despite the setback, Flick remained resolute, stating his conviction in their approach and his desire to continue leading the team. However, he acknowledged the unpredictability of football, hinting at the uncertainty that comes with the sport.
Rudi Voeller, taking charge as interim coach, reflected on the emotions running high after the Japan defeat and suggested a need for reflection before making any hasty decisions. His first test as caretaker coach would be a friendly match against World Cup runners-up France in Dortmund.