Over the last century, Germany has had one of the best football teams in the world. They’ve won four World Cups, three European Championships and produced some of the greatest players the world has ever seen.
The German team was ranked No.1 from 1992 to mid 1994 (December 1992 – August 1993, December 1993 – March 1994, June 1994). After winning the World Cup in 2014, they regained their no. 1 spot but lost the spot again after their humiliating elimination in the 2018 group stage World Cup ( July 2014 – June 2015, July 2017, September 2017 – June 2018). Since then the situation has gone from bad to worse.
In September 2023, Germany parted ways with coach Hansi Flick, a day after their 4-1 home loss to Japan in a friendly match. They are currently ranked only 15th-best in the world below Mexico, Morocco & Switzerland. (FIFA Ranking Full list).
What do you think is wrong with the German football team? Why is Germany not good enough anymore?
The German football team has been struggling in recent years, and there are several factors that may be contributing to their decline. Some of the reasons include:
Lack of a proper No. 9: Since the retirement of Miroslav Klose, there has been a lack of a proper number 9 in the German team, which has resulted in a lack of goals.
Defensive issues: The team has struggled defensively, with only Antonio Rüdiger being a good enough successor in the generation following Mats Hummels and co.
Lack of quality in wingback position: The lack of real quality in the wingback position generally has finally caught up with Germany.
Inability to convert attacks into chances and goals: The team has been unable to convert attacks into chances and goals, and they have conceded goals very easily.
Structural issues: These issues are in part connected to youth football in Germany. The system produced a generation of technically gifted, tactically smart players, which led to glory in 2014. However, since then, Germany has been slow to adapt, and the rest of the world has caught up. Reforms are now in place, but they will take the best part of a decade before they bear fruit.
The German national football team has had several coaches over the years, and each coach has had their own style and approach to the game. The team’s coaching has been criticised, with issues such as misplaced confidence, tired tactics, and poor team selection being cited. The team’s slow reform process has also been criticised.
Some of the recent coaches of the German national football team include:
Joachim Löw was the coach of the German national football team from 2006 until 2021. Germany was a rollercoaster side under Joachim Löw, who gradually became a coach who rarely got the balance right. During his tenure, he led the team to victory in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. However, towards the end of his tenure, the team’s performance declined, and he was criticized for his tactics and team selection.
Hansi Flick was appointed as the coach of the German national football team in August 2021, replacing Joachim Löw. However, he was sacked in September 2023 following a 4-1 loss to Japan in an international friendly.
Julian Nagelsmann was appointed as the coach of the German national football team in September 2023, following the sacking of Hansi Flick. Nagelsmann is a former coach of Hoffenheim, RB Leipzig, and Bayern Munich, and he is known for his attacking style of play and his focus on youth development.
Under Flick the team lacked energy and power, while also struggling with a leaking defense, a persistent weakness. Germany’s defenders are just as unable to cope with counterattacks and long balls over the top as they were during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. These issues have stemmed from players making shocking individual mistakes.
On top of that is poor conversion rate up front and just a general lack of consistent penetration and effective finishing.
Apart from the squad not as well stocked in defense, it lacks a world class No9 that other top football nations boast. Even in the midfield that is considered to be of high quality, something isn’t clicking.
The Germany National team is always known for having top quality and dedicated players over the last few decades. That has not been in the case in recent years in my opinion. The quality of the players in the Germany national team currently isn’t up to their usual standard. This is of course not an enough reason for their recent struggles but I believe it’s the most obvious reason for their downfall.
Lack of genuine goal scorer. Timo Werner was supposed to be the next big thing while at RB Leipzig but after a stint at Chelsea, his confidence has been shot to pieces and he hasn’t looked the same player since.
Kai Havertz, if you talk to any German fan, they would struggle to tell you what the Arsenal player is really good at. He is decent enough in most things he does but hasn’t really found his true calling position-wise. It doesn’t help that in the national setup, he has been forced to play in the centre forward position which he clearly is uncomfortable with.
According to former Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, Pep Guardiola’s coaching style is partly responsible for Germany’s decline in football. Schweinsteiger played under Guardiola at Bayern Munich for two seasons before the coach’s departure for Manchester City in 2016.
“When Pep Guardiola joined Bayern Munich, when he came to the country, everyone believed we have to play this kind of football, like short passes and everything. We were kind of losing our values,” Schweinsteiger said.
He argues that Guardiola’s emphasis on short passes and possession-based football has led to a decline in Germany’s strengths, such as their ability to run until the end and fight until the last minute.
Having said that, I think it’ll be really unfair to place the blame on a manager like Guardiola for the decline of an entire national team. The reasons stated by other members here seem to be more convincing for the under par performance of the German team in recent years.