Germany snapped its five-game winless streak with a shock 2-1 victory against France on Tuesay.
Versatile veteran Thomas Müller opened the scoring for Germany inside the opening five minutes of the match in front of a lively Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund.
As the game was nearing its conclusion, Leroy Sané latched on to a Kai Havertz pass to make it 2-0 before Antoine Griezmann’s late penalty gave the France fans something to cheer about.
The 2-1 win was much needed. Germany has been lackluster of late and will need to shake off this malaise before hosting next summer’s European Championships.
Coming into the game, Germany was at rock bottom, having lost its previous match in humiliating fashion after being thrashed 4-1 by Japan in front of their home fans.
Following the result, head coach Hansi Flick was relieved of his duties by the German Football Association (DFB) and national team director Rudi Völler was placed in charge on an interim basis.
Flick was appointed head coach in August 2021, succeeding Joachim Löw after Germany’s disappointing early exit from the delayed 2020 European Championship.
However, Flick’s appointment did not go as planned. Germany won just four of its last 16 matches while the head coach was in charge – a streak stretching back to March 2022.
In the former Bayern Munich coach’s first major tournament, Germany was surprisingliy eliminated in the group stages at the 2022 World Cup.
In Qatar, Germany won just one game – a 4-2 victory against Costa Rica, losing to Japan and drawing with Spain in its two other matches.
While this Germany squad is arguably weaker than former, more successful, iterations the performances and results have been below par for a powerhouse of world soccer.
Germany has won the European Championships three times and as hosts of the tournament next summer the team will have huge home backing.
“Going into the European Championship next summer, we need confidence and optimism in the country regarding our team,” DFB president Bernd Neuendorf said in a statement regarding Flick’s exit.
“This has been one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make during my time in this role because I really respect Hansi Flick and his assistants, both on a professional and personal level.
“Sporting success is of the upmost importance to the DFB, which is why this decision had to be made,” Neuendorf continued.
Team director Völler admitted that the DFB had run out of patience with Flick.
“The Japan game clearly showed us that we couldn’t carry on like this,” Völler’s statement read.
“Our most pressing task then will be to find a new coach that can help provide the team with a fresh impetus and can then prepare them for EURO 2024 next year.”
The next generation
Germany fans will be hoping that a squad built around some of its younger stars will be able to upset the odds at next year’s tournament.
Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala and Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz will surely be among some of Germany’s most important players by the time the tournament comes around.
With both players aged just 20 years old, they will be stars of the German national team for years to come and a home European Championship will give them a chance to shine in front of rapturous home support.
It will be up to the new head coach to get the best out of these talented youngsters while also trying to extract every last ounce of energy out of Germany’s veteran players.
Alongside its wonderkids, experienced stars Müller, Sané and Serge Gnabry, should provide an attack that can cause opposition teams serious trouble if utilized properly.
“We hope the tournament can have a positive impact on both German football and the country as a whole,” Völler added.