The German FA and Joachim Löw have agreed to extend the national team coach's contract - at a time when it had not been expected. This is a good move for both sides, writes DW's Olivia Gerstenberger.
The contract of German national team coach Joachim Löw was not due to expire until 2018, after the World Cup in Russia, so there was no need to rush things. But the president of the DFB (German football association), Reinhard Grindel, and Löw proudly announced on Monday that the coach had agreed to an extension of his contract through the 2020 European Championship. So why extend it now?
Löw had been somewhat non-committal about his future after France eliminated Germany in the semifinals of the European championship, something that gave rise to speculation. And as recently as last month, an extension seemed to be a subject for sometime way off in the future.
But all of a sudden, Löw's future became a pressing issue. One only has to glance at the DFB's calendar to find a vital clue as to why this may have been. The DFB meeting known as their "Bundestag" gathers next month to elect the German FA's president. So just a few days before that meeting, it became a matter of urgency for the only candidate for the post, Reinhard Grindel, to clarify the status of the DFB's highest-profile employee. Grindel has always stressed that he believes Löw is "the best coach we can imagine." He is therefore in agreement with his predecessors Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach. At least that's one thing the crisis-ridden DFB can agree upon these days.
Löw making himself indispensible
The president and the DFB are not the only ones who could profit from this bit of positive news - Löw also stands to benefit.
For one thing, it is not exactly the worst or worst-paid job that he can look forward to doing for four more years. And the extension means there should not be any distracting questions about the coach's future in the lead up to the next big tournament.
Löw's initial hesitation may have helped convince anyone who had their doubts that he is simply the most suitable candidate for the job. He made his position unassailable by winning the World Cup in 2014, but he has also stressed that further titles can only be achieved through hard work.
The hunt for history
With his signature, Löw has demonstrated his desire to rebuild the team. The generation of Lukas Podolski and Bastian Schweinsteiger have had their day and it will soon be time for players like Joshua Kimmich to truly seize their opportunity.
Löw is thinking beyond the World Cup in Russia. Sure, he is looking to defend Germany's World Cup title, something nobody has ever achieved before, but he is also looking ahead to the next European championship, a title hat has so far eluded him.
Now the "eternal Jogi" has the opportunity to become truly immortal. He has already set a record by leading a national team to the semifinals or better in five consecutive tournaments, and his 94 victories are the most any coach of Germany has ever achieved. The 2020 European championship would be his seventh tournament. Not even Helmut Schön managed to do this, reaching just six in his 14 years as head coach. Assuming Löw stays on after the 2018 World Cup, he will also break the record for the most games in charge of Germany, a record currently held by Sepp Herberger (167). It took Herberger a full 28 years to do so.
In Monday's press conference, Löw said he felt the same motivation as he did when he first took the job. You were inclined to take him at his word when he said: "I have visions." There is no end in sight to Löw's tenure as coach of the national team. And that is a very good thing indeed.