Coaching: German Football’s Greatest Strength

For three consecutive World Cups (Espana 82, Mexico’ 86, Italia’ 90) Germany made it to the final. It was a golden era of glittering achievements but a pregnant pause soon followed.

Bright Lights, Dark Spots – The Revolution

In Italia 90, Germany’s triumph had its spectacle. They defeated a Maradona-led Argentina in the finals and were managed by legendary sweeper Franz Beckenbauer. It was a coaching masterclass at the final and the better side won. Then Germany slept. 

They could have been caught nodding and waking intermittently between 1994 and 98. They were defeated by Croatia in the quarterfinals in France but if that brought them to the crust, what happened two years later buried them farther beneath.

Germany finished bottom of their group, which had Portugal, Romania and England. Their football had gone to the back of beyond.  They finished with just a point and were kicked out of the Euros held in Belgium and Netherlands. It however kickstarted the future. It was the reality check and wake-up call they needed. 

“If the talent of the century happens to be born in a tiny village behind the mountains, from now on we will find him”. 

– Jorg Daniel, 2002
Franz Beckenbauer leads Die Mannschaft to their third World Cup

Scouting in Germany went to sleep after their success in England in Euro 96. The English said they would bring football home but the Germans took the prize away. Presented by the Queen herself, Germany ran away as European champions on British soil. It is their last continental silverware till date. 

Miroslav Klose, the World Cup’s highest goal scorer in history wasn’t discovered until he turned 21. He was in the fifth division and was neither seen nor heard until a coach went into the villages downtown. He was the toast of the 2002 World Cup, aged 24, three years after his discovery. 

Rudi Voller eked out potency from Klose for the Die Mannschaft and he rose on to become one of the most important men in German football’s history, bagging eight goals in the 2002 World Cup.

It took failure for the nation to rise to its present level and it had never looked back since. 

Coaching Revolution, Evolution & Talent Discovery 

Before the 2002 World Cup, an African-born player had never played for the German national team, but Ghanaian-born Gerald Asamoah made history when he featured at the World Cup. It indicated the wide and inclusive scouting network of the new German programme. 

From the usual brawn-over-brains, kick-it-to-nick-it style known back in the day in Germany, the approach changed and gave credence to more technical details. 

Most coaches in Germany now adopt the system of breaking through the centre and hitting with diagonals through some of the best midfielders and wingers in modern football. German wing-play is one of the most electric in Europe.

With less fanciful but highly-effective footballers, they are taught to be devastating, competitive and effective with and without the ball. The effects of players like Joshua Kimmich who is less fanciful but very effective typifies the rudiments of the German game. Impact over effects. 

The players who benefitted from the 2000 debacle are some of the best in the history of German football today. Some immediate products of that school are the Phillip Lahms and Bastian Schwensteigers of the world. Footballers are trained with details in the academies, taught to do the basics in the best manner and win a football game by tiring opposition out. This was largely seen at the 2014 World Cup.

As Brazil presented a team of highly skilful footballers at the Maracana in front of over 70,000 home fans, Germany had its bunch of effective bulldogs taught to fight and bite when the skin is bare. They ate Brazil raw at the Semifinal of the 2014 World Cup and taught them new football lessons- the game has gone beyond the gloss. It is now riddled in technicalities and collective brilliance. Not ever in its history will fans be as numb and toothless as that day in Brazil. They were served a new, hurtful reality in the coldest way possible. 

In that victorious German team in 2014, there was a mix of diversity in style and roots but what stood them out was the unification in training and desire to win. It was absent four years later in Russia and group stage exit was the result. 

Germany schools Brazil in a 7-1 thrashing at the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup

The victory in 2014, masterminded by Joachim Low was not just a German victory on the surface, it was a testament to the structure that was laid more than a decade before their eventual success. 

While the structure is still on ground, it will take patience to see its new highs as a new school of coaches and footballers are beginning to emerge. 

Super Structures & Growing Methods 

Technology is key to Germany’s growth and their stadiums are some of the most advanced in the world. Their coaches are open to machinations and methods that will make the difference they seek. 

There are facilities that are of global repute for player and coaching development and this is the hallmark of their progress and growth. There is also the love and desire for football. 

Germany has 28,400 coaches with the UEFA B licence, while England has 1,759 coaches in that category. There are more than 5,000 coaches with the UEFA A licence in Germany and there are about 1000 in England. More than 1000 coaches have Pro Licence in Germany and just above 100 have the same, which is the highest coaching qualification in England.

Germany has more than 30,000 coaches in total, with Spain the only country with more coaches in Europe while England has a tenth of that. There is a wide basket of ideas to tap from and it is why German coaches are stepping up to other teams and making their presence count.

Local clubs in the country spend a fortune on football development and coaches are not left behind in their ascent. From Jupp Heynckes to Julian Nagelsmann, the difference between the knowledge shown by German coaches is riddled in the quality of materials at their disposal.

Bayern Munich’s Hans Dieter-Flick

Annually, more than 52 centres of excellence are being erected with an additional 366 regional coaching bases where 1,300 professional, full-time coaches are educated on the new trends and development in the game.

When two coaches were named on the list of the 3 final nominees for FIFA The Award, many would have felt hard done that three Germans didn’t make the final cut, with Tuchel also widely believed to deserve a place on the list. 

Jurgen Klopp turned things around at Liverpool, Hans Dieter-Flick is doing wonders at Bayern Munich, Julian Nagelsmann is consistently and impressively getting in coaching conversations and Ralf Ragnick has been a beautiful go-to head, and one full of ideas. Others like Leverkusen manager, Peter Bosz, Borussia Mochengladbach’s Marco Rose and Hoffenheim’s 38-year old manager Sebastaian Hoeness are holding their own and showing great knowledge of the game. 

Many more German coaches are making a difference in the world of football, and are turning things around. It is a product of desire, and the results are just as expected.

Coaching has brought value and identity to German football, and it is why they dominate their opposition. New ones are on the horizon, you may want to check that space.

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  1. Germany can pride itself in having a collection of arguably most of the effective coaches in the world, with their national team not having any silverware except the confederations cup in the last 25 years or so the team however has been somewhat dominant over the years but has not found that cutting edge to lift the cups. It’s something that could still happen cause I mean they have the players with such capacities, they just require a perfect blend of their players and they would get it right.