German football federation head resigns after World Cup exit
December 5, 2022
Oliver Bierhoff has prematurely ended his contract with the German football association (DFB). The sporting director's announcement comes after Germany's group stage exit from the World Cup in Qatar.
German football association (DFB) sporting director Oliver Bierhoff has ended his contract with the organization, the DFB announced on Monday, leaving the federation after 18 years following a mutual agreement.
"I am clearing the way for a new direction," Bierhoff said.
The 54-year-old thanked people who had supported him "during this time with their commitment, ideas and passion." However, he realized the performances of the German men's national team in Russia and Qatar failed to live up to earlier successes.
"That's why I'm not leaving without necessary self-criticism. Over the past four years, we haven't managed to build on earlier successes and give the fans reason to cheer again," Bierhoff said in his resignation speech on Monday evening.
"Some decisions we were convinced of have not turned out to be the right ones. No one regrets that more than I do. I take responsibility for that."
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Despite resigning from his position at DFB, Bierhoff had no doubt that the sport would continue to be a part of his life: "Football has shaped my life and will continue to accompany me. It has been a great honor for me to have worked in German football for so long."
Bierhoff leaves lasting legacy behind
DFB vice president and DFL supervisory board chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke thanked Bierhoff for his years of service.
"Oliver Bierhoff has rendered considerable services to German football in the 18 years he has been active," he told German sports news agency SID on Monday evening.
Bierhoff deserves "respect, recognition and thanks," added Watzke, who is also the CEO of Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund.
During his time as a professional footballer, Bierhoff was one of Germany's most famous national team players, scoring 37 goals in 70 international matches. He was part of the team which won the European Championship in England in 1996, helping secure the trophy by scoring two goals in the final.
In 2004, two years after his last international match, he started working at the DFB as manager of the men's national team. During his time at the organization, Germany reached the semifinals or higher at six World Cup and European Championships in a row, triumphing by taking home the World Cup title in 2014.
However, since then, the team's performance at international tournaments has dropped drastically.
What happens next?
There are reports of Watzke himself taking on more responsibility for the national team in the future, however, Bierhoff's succession remains unclear for now.