German press hammers Low after Dutch mauling

Pressure mounts on coach Joachim Low after his team’s 3-0 defeat against the Netherlands.

Joachim Loew gestures during the UEFA Nations League contest between Germany and The Netherlands at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam on Saturday.   -  AP

The German press turned on Joachim Low after the hammering by the Netherlands left the future of Germany’s head coach in doubt with world champion France looming on Tuesday.

“Not at the moment,” Loew replied in the post-match press conference when asked if he can still decide his future following Saturday’s 3-0 drubbing — Germany's heaviest defeat to the Dutch.

Dutch captain Virgil Van Dijk gave the host a first-half lead before late goals by Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum capped a golden night for the Oranje in Amsterdam. “That was a brutal and disappointing defeat, especially as we had the game under control in the first 30 minutes,” said Loew, whose contract runs until 2022.

“At the moment, you can literally feel that we do not have the self-confidence that we used to have.”

It could have been 4-0 as Depay also hit the crossbar in the dying stages as the German defence collapsed in the last 10 minutes.

If Low’s side loses to world champion France in Paris on Tuesday, it will mean a record sixth defeat for Germany in a calendar year. Having steered Germany to the 2014 World Cup title, Low was irritated when asked if the heavy defeat was his 168th — and final — international.

“For me, or what?” he replied, flustered, with his 12-year reign in peril. “We need to move on quickly (to the next question), I am the wrong person to talk to about that.”

Safe... for now

Low only signed a new contract until 2022 with the German Football Association (DFB) in May, yet unless results improve, his position is becoming untenable.

After the World Cup debacle, when Germany crashed out after finishing bottom of its group, Low again finds his team last in their Nations League pool.

The Germans must win their last two games, against the French on Tuesday and Dutch in Gelsenkirchen on November 19, or risk relegation.

Low appears to be safe until the home match against the Dutch in five weeks. “It was clear the team would suffer setbacks after the World Cup,” said DFB president Reinhard Grindel. “It's important we stand together as a team on and off the pitch. We had hoped for a better result, but we have to look forward and concentrate on the game against France on Tuesday and the return match with the Dutch in November.”

‘Bottom marks’

Germany’s main newspapers were brutal with the head coach. “Bottom marks for Low! Irritation after questions over his future as a national coach,” said Germany's top-selling daily Bild.

Football magazine Kicker pointed out that despite Loew's promises of a fresh start, little has changed. “New start? Low’s team are continuing the World Cup story. After the 3-0 debacle, the German team is fighting relegation. This is not a snapshot, but the logical consequence after a series of mistakes.

“It raises - again - the question of Low's future.”

‘Break away’

Germany’s other top papers were equally damning. “A scary evening,” said Munich-based Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which reported on Saturday that Low’s contract contains a clause allowing either party to terminate it early.

For a proud football nation, top newspaper Welt pointed out an uncomfortable truth, “3-0 defeat to the Netherlands — Germany is just a mediocre European nation.”

“Low must break away from his base of World Cup winners,” commented the paper, echoing what many fans feel. “Low is slowly running out of arguments. He must react — the team needs new impulses.”

Despite Low’s continued trust in senior players, the Bayern Munich axis of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Mueller again struggled. Hummels, who has made a habit of attributing recent defeats to others, this time blamed the forwards as Timo Werner, debutant Mark Uth, Mueller and his second-half replacement Leroy Sane wasted chances.

However, Low blamed his senior players for not reacting. “You can see the confidence is missing after the last few months, we have lost our way,” he admitted. “In the last 10 minutes, players have to take responsibility and not run around like headless chickens. We brought this bitter defeat on ourselves.”