BERLIN (AP) – Germany coach Joachim Löw will step down after this year’s Euro Cup, anticipating his previous plan to leave the team after the next World Cup.
The German soccer federation said on Tuesday that Löw applied to terminate his contract, which will run until the 2022 World Cup, after this year’s European tournament.
Löw is the oldest coach of a national team and has been in command for 189 games. He took over after the 2006 World Cup and had been Jürgen Klinsmann’s assistant coach for two years prior to that.
“I am taking this step very consciously, full of pride and gratitude, but still with the same motivation for the next European Championship,” said Löw. “Pride, because it is something very special for me and an honor to be committed to my country. And because I have been able to work with the best players in the country for almost 17 years ”.
Löw led Germany to the 2014 World Cup title, his fourth title overall, but he has been under pressure since a first-round outing at the last World Cup and subsequent lackluster performances.
Löw wanted a team shakeup after the disappointing World Cup in Russia, eliminating the experienced trio Thomas Müller, Jérôme Boateng and Mats Hummels to make room for the younger players. But they have not been able to take the step.
Germany produced one disjointed performance after another last year with painstaking victories over Ukraine and the Czech Republic. He conceded the late draws against Spain, Switzerland and Turkey before the team’s final game ended in a 6-0 loss to the Spanish in the Nations League in November. That was Germany’s biggest loss margin since a 6-0 win against Austria in a friendly in Berlin in 1931.
“Great triumphs and painful defeats, but above all many wonderful and magical moments, not just the 2014 World Cup victory in Brazil,” said Löw. “I will continue to be grateful to the federation for always providing me and the team with an optimal work environment.”
Federation president Fritz Keller said Löw’s decision to resign after the Euro is “very respectable” because it gives the governing body “time to appoint his successor calmly and with a sense of proportion.”
While there is no clear favorite, the names of Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick, who was previously Löw’s assistant with Germany, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, Ralf Rangnick and German Under-21 manager Stefan Kuntz have been mentioned as possible successors by the German media.
Keller thanked 61-year-old Löw for his service.
“The federation knows what it has in Jogi. He is one of the most important coaches in world football, ”said Keller. “Jogi Löw has shaped German football like no other for years and has helped it reach the highest levels internationally.”
There was also praise from Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, among others.
“Joachim Löw has overseen a highly successful era for German football culminating in the 2014 World Cup victory in Brazil,” said Bayern President Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said Löw’s decision deserves “respect” and called on “everyone in German football to play their part in giving Joachim Löw the big send-off he deserves in the summer.”
Löw said he would do his best at the European Championship, which was postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Germany has been tied in a group with World Cup champion France, European champion Portugal and Hungary.
“I will do my best to make our fans happy and to be successful in this tournament,” said Löw.
Germany will play the World Cup qualifiers against Iceland and North Macedonia on March 25 and 31, respectively.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.