Departing Germany head coach Joachim Löw believes the country has a bright footballing future, but he's not part of it. However, he insists he's the man to lead Germany, and perhaps some familiar faces, at Euro 2020.
"Germany was able to present itself in a new light. It led to regeneration, new paths, new zest and to a change of thinking. That should also be the case in 2024, especially in terms of regeneration.
"Looking ahead, I will no longer be in a position to deliver that, which is why I've made my decision. The new coach will need time and the team will have to prepare. They shouldn't be held back by a coach stuck to his chair."
Comeback on the cards?
While looking ahead is natural enough, the postponement of Euro 2020 to this summer means there are still two major tournaments before Germany plays host.
Nevertheless, he insisted that, despite a disastrous 2020 for the Nationalmannschaft, his faith in his current players remains "absolutely intact."
"Our players are intelligent and ambitious when a tournament is approaching, regardless of whether a coach is continuing afterwards or not," the 61-year-old said.
"They all want to win, they all want success, so I don't think my departure will give them any extra motivation to perform. I have already spoken to some of them personally — the captain and vice-captain, long-serving players like [Ilkay] Gündogan, [Manuel] Neuer and [Toni] Kroos and others. It was important to me that they heard the news from me personally."
Even Germany's oldest players have never known life under another Bundestrainer (national team coach). Equally, those in positions of power at the DFB (German FA), have no experience in appointing someone to the job.
No rush on replacement
"It's an important decision but not an immediately pressing one," said team manager Oliver Bierhoff, before it was confirmed that the new coach would likely be announced before the international games in September. "We have time to consider all of our options. We have good coaches in Germany, abroad and within the DFB."
Bierhoff went on to rule out the possibility of a foreign coach, citing the number of high-quality Germans on the market, and said he'd "never rule out" a female coach in the future. But the former striker, who won Euro 96 with Germany, said the required credentials were clear.
"Coaching pedigree, the ability to lead training sessions, footballing competence — but also communication, with players and with the public. They must be able to handle the pressure. Joachim Löw could do all of that," he said.
"We're losing a great coach, a great national team coach, which is different to a club coach. You have less time to work with the players, but even more pressure."
Among the names touted for the job are Jürgen Klopp (who ruled himself out in a press conference earlier in the week), Ralf Rangnick and Hansi Flick, who was Löw's assistant for the 2014 World Cup win and has enjoyed enormous success with Bayern Munich.
The time is nigh
"Everyone knows how my relationship with Hansi is," said Löw. "Everyone knows the quality of Hansi. It's not my job to talk about a successor. I don't want to say anything in any direction. I believe that the decision is in good hands with the DFB and Oliver."
But, for now, the decisions on the pitch remain Löw's. After more than two years of disappointments since Russia 2018, his stock is at an all-time low, and Germany have been handed an unenviable group at the Euros alongside Hungary, Portugal and world champions France.
Still, in the likes of Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Leroy Sané and Serge Gnabry, Germany already have the core of their next generation, and Löw pointed to some similarities to his earlier years when his eventual World Cup winners first emerged.
"The current players perhaps lack a bit of experience but they have incredible potential," he said. "I know from experience and I am convinced that they will reach their best in 2024, with a home tournament."
For Löw, the time to develop is nearly over. For Germany, it will soon be time to start again. But not until after the Euros.