FRANKFURT, Germany (Reuters) – Germany coach Joachim Loew, under fire after a 6-0 loss to Spain in the Nations League last month, achieved most major goals set in 2019 and has the support of the German Football Association (DFB), national team director Oliver Bierhoff said on Friday.
During a virtual news conference after a DFB board meeting, Bierhoff defended the 60-year-old coach, in charge since 2006, and his changes to the team in the past two years.
Bierhoff said Germany had reached next year’s Euros, were in the highest Pot 1 for Monday’s 2022 World Cup qualifying draw and had also stayed in the top section in the Nations League.
“These three major targets were met,” Bierhoff said, adding that the national team’s overhaul had progressed only in small steps due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting games, training and match scheduling.
In a 35-minute speech, using graphs, statistics and other performance data, Bierhoff highlighted what he said were the changes the team had undergone in the past two years.
“We wanted to go away from possession football and towards a quicker breaking game,” Bierhoff said. “As I showed, there was a development since 2019. But for the team to develop, you need freshness and continuity, and that was not possible in a year like 2020.”
The DFB earlier this week decided to stick with Loew, whose contract runs to 2022, through next year’s Euros despite the Spain loss, Germany’s worst defeat in a competitive game.
“For 2021 we want to play a successful Euros, play a successful World Cup qualification campaign and further develop the team,” he said.
“I am confident we will master this situation. I strongly believe that.”
He also said the relationship between Loew and the DFB remained solid despite the heavy loss to Spain, rejecting reports of any discord between the board and the coach.
Loew has been in charge for a Germany record of 14 years and led his country to their 2014 World Cup triumph.
But they have exited the last three tournaments — the 2018 World Cup and two consecutive Nations Leagues — at the group stage despite team changes that included dropping world champions Thomas Mueller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng.