Hansi Flick marks the start of a new era for the German national soccer team after 15 years under Joachim Low. After the European Championships in the summer, the 56-year-old will take on the difficult legacy of the world champion coach as national coach. The German Football Association (DFB) confirmed the personnel move, which had been expected for weeks, on Tuesday; Flick will receive a contract up to and including the 2024 home European Championship.
"It all went now but surprisingly fast even for me with the signature, but I am very happy to be able to work as a national coach from the fall," Flick is quoted in a DFB release: "My anticipation is huge, because I see the class of the players, especially the young players in Germany. So we have every reason to approach the upcoming tournaments, for example the home European Championships in 2024, with optimism."
Hansi Flick won the triple with FC Bayern
His most important aide in the 2014 Rio World Cup triumph has "excellent conditions" to continue his legacy, Low said weeks ago, "we all agree on that". Flick's soccer philosophy and playing culture was "very, very good". DFB director Oliver Bierhoff stressed that Flick had been "at the top of my wish list right from the start": "I have known and appreciated Hansi Flick's human and professional qualities since our many successful years together at the national team." Bayern boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge even sees the Munich triple coach as the "perfect coach for the national team".
Flick himself had recently described the post as very appealing and "something special," but stressed after an initial exchange with Bierhoff: "As far as the future is concerned, nothing has been decided for a long time yet." He had also held "other talks". Was that more than coquetry? There are said to have been offers from Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Now Flick succumbed to the lure of the DFB job.
Low's longtime assistant, as "faithful Hansi" until the World Cup coup in Brazil at his side, had asked the Bavarians to terminate his contract, which runs until 2023. The club granted him this wish against the backdrop of the internal power struggle with sports director Hasan Salihamidzic and has already signed a successor in Julian Nagelsmann of RB Leipzig for a world record fee.
DFB now has clarity after Flick's signature
Flick's signing with the DFB, where he was also sports director from September 2014 to early 2017, has given the federation the clarity it had hoped for in the most important employee position before the European Championship. "We have an incredibly good, close and very trusting relationship," Bierhoff, who is in charge of the national coach search, said recently, "but it's no secret that Hansi is an interesting man and attracts high interest from other clubs and associations." But the crisis-ridden DFB now stung them out.
After winning the German championship again, his seventh title with Bayern, Flick had still stressed that he was "open to everything". However, there had already been a clear tendency to recognize. "Working with Oliver Bierhoff, Jogi Low and Andreas Kopke at the time was a lot of fun," he said, "There was tremendous appreciation, tremendous loyalty, which drives me. These things are given there, I have a deep trust in Oliver Bierhoff."
Tricky tasks await Flick: The upheaval interrupted by Low for the European Championship must be continued, young players must be built up and firmly integrated. He also has to build a new framework of experienced leaders until the 2022 World Cup in just a year and a half – further with returnees Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels? Or again with younger forces?
Flick can count on his excellent relationship with the Munich block of the national team – around captain Manuel Neuer and Muller belong equal eight (!) Bayern pros join the European Championship squad. They had all publicly mourned his departure from Munich, Neuer called it "very sad". Flick had risen to become the "best coach in the world" in Munich in just one and a half years. Club colleague Leroy Sane therefore spoke of a "good catch" for the DFB. (sid)