The last press conference with DFB director Oliver Bierhoff lasts 90 minutes. In addition, it raises more questions than it provides answers. There is no reason for this because the ex-national player national coach Joachim Löw does not want to get upset. The analysis that goes with it is astonishing to say the least.
“Now we all leave these 90 minutes feeling good,” said DFB press spokesman Jens Grittner at the end. A sentence that exposes the farce of the past hour and a half. Peace, joy, pancakes should rule around the DFB and the German national football team. There is no room for criticism, discussion or awareness of the problem. DFB director Oliver Bierhoff made this clear during the press conference after the meeting of the DFB executive committee. Although he first gives a 35-minute monologue and supposedly analyzes what happened recently. Questions from journalists are only answered after the speech, sometimes aroused and answered in a rude manner.
It’s a 35-minute presentation – with slides, yes – in which Bierhoff wants to show that everything is good for the German national team. That there is no crisis at all, as the public and media portray it. That national coach Joachim Löw is doing very well and there is no reason to criticize the staff. Bierhoff’s conclusion: “It is a great result what the national coach has achieved under these challenges and difficulties.”
The audience has a lot of time to shake their heads and get very irritated. Because: If Bierhoff tries to explain in detail what changes there are in the game system and playing style, that Low develops the team further as requested by the DFB, that the players are fully behind Low, that all goals have been achieved this year, then his analysis fails real problems.
Goals are actually natural
Bierhoff reduced public anger over the DFB team to the 0: 6 swatter against Spain. “We are totally dissatisfied and frustrated,” he says. Before that, however, all wishes were fulfilled: the team qualified for the EM, the team remains in the best group A of the Nations League, the team is one of the group heads for the World Cup draw that follows on Monday. All goals that should be self-evident for a German national team. Or is a European Championship qualification against Estonia, Northern Ireland, Belarus and the Netherlands suddenly a particularly difficult task? Likewise, a Nations League group alongside Spain with Switzerland and Ukraine should not be an insurmountable hurdle.
Yes, the match in Spain was bitter, yes, it marks the inglorious end of the international competition year and has a particularly lasting effect. But the truth is, the previous games were by no means convincing and would have ripped fans off their seats. Victories were rather frivolously given away, goals awarded were praised in injury time. Sure, 2020 ended the DFB team with just one defeat – Spain – but also with four draws and only three wins, which were not even clear.
The problem of objectivity
It is an analysis that falls short. Because Bierhoff thinks the pandemic year 2020 will be particularly difficult. One in which development would of course have stagnated, but nothing could be done about it. Other countries and teams would have lost because of the exceptional situation – which at the same time does not explain why the DFB team can be surprised by other countries. At the same time, he ignores the fact that the external image has suffered not only since 2020, but at the latest since the 2018 World Cup shame.
It is a monologue that shows that Bierhoff lacks objectivity. Understandable after more than 14 years together in the national team, but also dangerous to get the best out of the business. “To clarify the relationship with Jogi, we have a very professional and trusting relationship. We know what everyone else has about the other,” explains Bierhoff. Nevertheless, there is of course clarity that you can tell each other if it is no longer possible – at least he claims. And the “Jogi” said he should be told if someone said he couldn’t go on. Bierhoff says “Jogi”, not “Joachim”, and certainly not “Low”. At the press conference he made it abundantly clear that not a sheet of paper would fit in between, the DFB director is so convinced of the coach.
This supposed analysis, since he could have talked longer, is not enough. In order not to end the discussions about Low. In order not to relieve yourself of any criticism. To make it even somewhat plausible that there had even been a serious debate about the coach. Instead, the DFB curls up in supposedly good humor, in an ideal world with no access to the oh-so mean and ungrateful audience. The sentence “Now we all leave with a good feeling these 90 minutes” makes this abundantly clear.