Germany still has time to recover from its bad international run of the past few years and play a successful Euro 2024 on home soil next year, but it must rediscover its traditional strengths, the country’s Football Association vice president Hans-Joachim Watzke said on Wednesday.
The Germans, four-time world and three-time European champions, have been eliminated in the first round in their last two World Cups, including in Qatar in December.
Coach Hansi Flick took over after Germany’s Round 16 exit at the Euro in 2021, and despite a winning start, his team has been disappointing in the past two years.
“We still have the chance to play a good Euro,” said Watzke, who is also chairman of the German Football League and CEO of Borussia Dortmund.
“But we finally have to start presenting ourselves differently,” he told Sport Bild magazine. “Everyone knows that the time for experiments is over.”
Germany has won just one of its last five matches since its shock World Cup group stage exit in December. It has also won only three of its last 11.
With German fans booing and jeering in recent games, Flick is under mounting pressure and his future depends on the side’s performances in its upcoming friendly internationals against Japan on September 9 and against 2022 World Cup finalist France on September 12.
“We also have to try and rely on our virtues, even if this sounds a bit flat,” he said.
For decades, Germany was renowned for its never-give-up attitude on the pitch and physical defending. In the past 10 years, Germany has become more skilled and attack-minded in its game, but despite winning the 2014 World Cup, it has not made a mark internationally since.
Its defence has also been suffering, and the Germans have conceded nine goals in their last four internationals alone, of which three were losses and one was a draw.
“We have to create the feeling within our opponents that ‘damn, when you play against Germany, you are not safe, not even in the 93rd minute,’” Watzke said.
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