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Löw: From World Cup glory to stale decline

March 10, 2021

Joachim Löw will step down as head coach of Germany's national team after the European Championships. The 61-year-old led Germany to their fourth World Cup in Brazil in 2014, but has since overseen the team's decline.

Joachim Löw lifts the World Cup trophy in Brazil in 2014
Top of the world: Joachim Löw led Germany to World Cup glory in 2014Image: picture-alliance/AP

Joachim Löw has announced that he will be stepping down as the head coach of Germany's men's national soccer team after the European Championships in summer, ending a 17-year spell.

The 61-year old's association with the national team began as an assistant to Jürgen Klinsmann ahead of Germany's home World Cup in 2004, before taking charge himself in 2006 and leading Germany to World Cup glory in Brazil in 2014.

After Germany's humiliating group stage exit from the 2018 World Cup in Russia, many observers expected Löw to resign, but he instead signed a contract extension until after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a contract that the German Football Association (DFB) has now agreed to terminate prematurely.

Joachim Löw: 'huge gratitude'

"I am intentionally taking this step, full of pride and with huge gratitude, and yet still with unbroken motivation regarding the upcoming European Championship," Löw said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Pride, because it is a very special honor to represent my country, and because I have been able to work alongside and help develop the best footballers in the country for almost 17 years," he said. "I am connected to them by great triumphs and painful defeats, but more than anything by many wonderful and magic moments — not only the World Cup in Brazil in 2014."

Löw oversaw a comprehensive revamp of the German national team setup, bringing through a new generation of German talent, including the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Jerome Boateng, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Müller, Lukas Podolski, Mesut Özil and Manuel Neuer.

Joachim Löw at a press conference
Stepping down: Joachim LöwImage: DFB/REUTERS

Under Löw, Germany reached the final of the Euro 2008 and the semifinals of both the 2010 World Cup and 2012 Euros, before ultimately winning Germany's fourth World Cup in 2014 — infamously beating hosts Brazil 7-1 in the semifinal,

But Löw's reputation as a progressive, modern coach has taken a battering since, especially in the wake of Germany's humiliating group stage exit from the 2018 World Cup in Russia

In the meantime, Germany were relegated from their group in the inaugural UEFA Nations League tournament in 2018-19 and failed to progress from their group in the second installment of the competition in 2020-21, which culminated in a 6-0 thrashing against Spain.

Meanwhile, World Cup winners Thomas Müller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels were axed from Löw's squad as part of a belated restructuring, although recent comments from the coach have hinted at a U-turn. Still, criticism has been growing.

DFB boss Keller: 'Great respect' for Löw's decision

"I have great respect for Joachim Löw's decision," DFB president Fritz Keller said. "Jogi is one of the great coaches in world football: He has shaped German football like no other and has brought it the highest international recognition — not only through his sporting achievements but also due to his empathy and humanity. It is thoroughly decent of him to inform us of his decision early; he has given us the necessary time and space to appoint a successor."

Löw will take charge of the start of Germany's 2022 World Cup-qualifying campaign, which begins with games against Iceland, Romania and North Macedonia at the end of March.