Germany is one of the favorites tipped to win Euro 2012. Coach Joachim Löw is the man who shaped the promising team and is looking for his greatest success yet.
Joachim "Jogi" Löw is more than a celebrity in Germany – he is a national hero. Soccer is the most popular sport in Germany, and the 52-year-old coach is credited with reinventing the national team.
As a player Joachim Löw was no big star. The trained salesman played attacking midfielder for Bundesliga sides Stuttgart, Eintracht Frankfurt, Karlsruhe and Freiburg.
Löw has had a successful run as coach so far
His second career as football coach took off in 1997 when he led Stuttgart to win the German Cup. He later won the Austrian league title with Tirol Innsbruck in 2002.
In 2004 Löw began coaching the German national team - as assistant to Jürgen Klinsmann, who now coaches the US side. Klinsmann and Löw are both from southwestern Germany, they knew each other from coaching school and jointly set about replacing the rather static and defensive style of the three-time world champions with a new philosophy focused on attacking.
At the World Cup in Germany in 2006, the team won third place and Löw succeeded Klinsmann, who stepped down after the tournament.
Löw has a string of successes to show for since then: Germany came in second at the European Championships in 2008, third at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. The French paper "L'Equipe" wrote that Löw's young players had performed "the most entertaining football" and elected the German "coach of the year 2010."
Will the sweater make an apperance at Euro 2012?
The German coach believes in building up fresh talent. He decided to sideline senior players like Michael Ballack and Torsten Frings and promoted promising youngsters for the 2010 World Cup instead.
Löw has a clear idea of the type of player he needs to play what he calls modern style football, which is not all about defense and ball possession, but rather a more offensive style. "We have developed a good mix of passing and running, regaining possession and then fast counterattacks," he says.
Löw does not believe in playing it safe: "A good coach to me is one who shows courage and will not shun a risk," he say.
He lives in a small village near the southwest German town of Freiburg with his wife Daniela, to whom he has been married since 1986.
"My home is my safe haven, a place to relax and recuperate," he says. "There I like to read a good book or have friends over or simply lie on the sofa with a glass of red wine, a plate of spaghetti and watch a detective story on TV."
His vices? Occasionally Löw will be caught smoking a cigarette - and he has a bit of a sweet tooth, too.
The German national team's coach is known to have a taste for style and fashionable clothes. He will never be spotted in the coaching zone in jogging pants and flip flops.
A blue cashmere sweater became his trademark and lucky charm at the 2010 World Cup, but there's no word yet if Löw will pack it in his suitcase for the trip to Poland and Ukraine.
Author: Arnulf Boettcher / rg
Editor: Matt Zuvela