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Hansi Flick fired as German national football team coach

September 10, 2023

Germany have parted ways with coach Hansi Flick after two years in the job. The decision comes a day after Germany were humbled 4-1 by Japan in Wolfsburg and follows a run of poor results under his watch.

Close-up of Hansi Flick with a downcast expression.
Hansi Flick had led Germany since 2021Image: Pressefoto Baumann/imago images

Hansi Flick has been fired as Germany's national team coach after a shocking 4-1 home defeat by Japan — and less than a year ahead of hosting the 2024 European Championship.

"The bodies (of the DFB, German Football Association) shared the same view that the national team now needs a new impulse," DFB President Bernd Neuendorf said in a statement. "With next year's Euro in sight we need confidence and an enthusiastic mood."

Flick, who took over from World Cup-winning coach Joachim Löw in 2021, was tasked with returning Germany to the world's elite but instead oversaw a disastrous World Cup campaign in Qatar, with the 2014 world champions failing to get out of their group for the second straight World Cup.

The slump in form continued post-World Cup, with Germany losing four of their last five games and failing to register a win since March.

Director of the German national team, Rudi Völler, had told German broadcaster RTL that he would "sleep on it" before he decided on the fate of the man chosen by Völler's predecessor, Oliver Bierhoff. Having slept on it, Völler pulled the trigger.

Flick, who won his first eight games as Germany coach but won only four of the next 17, becomes the first Germany coach to be fired since the role came into existence in 1926.

Völler himself will lead the team for Tuesday's friendly against France in Dortmund, with Hannes Wolf and Sandro Wagner alongside him — but Völler has promised to find Flick's successor as quickly as possible.

Former Bayern Munich coaches Jupp Heynckes and Julian Nagelsmann have been mentioned as possible contenders for the role, with Eintracht Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner and Stefan Kuntz, currently Turkey coach and a formerly in charge of Germany's Under-21s, also thought to be in the early running.

Rudi Völler Direktor Nationalmannschaft Deutschland
Völler has fired Flick and will take charge of the team for Tuesday's friendly against France in Dortmund.Image: Nico Herbertz/imago images

Völler: 'We have to change something'

Völler expressed regret that Flick, 58, was ultimately unable to reverse Germany's fortunes after a World Cup campaign that saw them lose their first game — also to Japan — and fail to get beyond the group stage of a World Cup for a second straight tournament since winning it in 2014.

"Hansi Flick has worn himself out over the past few months, and together with his coaching team he has given everything to turn things around after the team was eliminated from the World Cup in Qatar," Völler said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, we have to conclude today that we did not succeed. The Japan game clearly showed us that we can no longer progress in this way."

Völler is also mindful that, nine months from now, Germany will host the European Championship and there is a very real danger that they will suffer the PR disaster of another early tournament exit — this time on home soil. 

"We have to act responsibly, we have to change things so that we can play the demanding and ambitious host role we all hope for at the European Championship in our own country," Völler said. "That is what the fans in Germany rightly expect from us."

Fussball I DFB Team I Deutschland Japan
Germany were abysmal against Japan — for the second time in a year.Image: Bahho Kara/Eibner/IMAGO

Müller laments Germany's slide from elite

Germany players Thomas Müller and Joshua Kimmich had taken some of the blame after the latest debacle, with the latter questioning the quality of the team and saying that the "players must look at ourselves."

Müller was more forthright in his view of the situation, admitting that Germany not longer belong to the world's elite football nations.

"We keep seeing the same story," Müller told reporters after the game. "You see we're engaged, that we want it, but at the same time we keep giving our opponents gifts. The first moments of the match often see us conceding goals," he said.

"We concede very easily and don't score easily ourselves. Our opponents often play more straightforward football than us. They are more disciplined than us as a team, in terms of working as a unit."

Müller added: "For the demands we set ourselves currently it's not good enough. Japan are top ten, top fifteen in the world and we don't belong in that group right now."

Edited by: Mark Hallam