The sacking of Hansi Flick on Sunday completed a disastrous two-year spell in charge of Germany, after he had been tasked with restoring the four-time world champions’ dented reputation and leading them to glory at Euro 2024 on home soil.
The 58-year-old took over from Joachim Loew in September 2021 after the Germans crashed out of the Euro that year in the last 16.
Three years earlier, they had suffered their quickest World Cup exit in over 80 years when they were eliminated in the group stage of the 2018 tournament in Russia.
With two consecutive early tournament exits — unthinkable for success-spoilt German fans — the football association (DFB) had to bring in someone who could guarantee success, especially with a home tournament looming.
The timing of Flick’s arrival could not have been any better with the coach fresh from a six-trophy record run in 2020 with Bayern Munich that included the Champions League and the Club World Cup.
He was also seen someone who knew the inner workings of the national team better than most, having worked as a long-time assistant coach under his predecessor Loew which was crowned with the 2014 World Cup crown in Brazil.
“My joy is great because I see the quality of the players, especially the young ones, in Germany,” Flick had said at the time of his appointment.
“So we have every reason to approach the next tournaments, for example our home Euro 2024 with optimism.”
But in his two years at the helm, Flick failed to improve the team and any optimism German fans had about playing a successful Euro next year quickly evaporated.
Despite an eight-game winning start, his defensive plans never seemed to work even with experienced defenders such as Antonio Rudiger, Niklas Suele and Joshua Kimmich.
Germany could not stop the leaking at the back and managed just two clean sheets — against Oman and Peru — in their last 17 matches. Their four goals conceded at home in their 4-1 loss to Japan on Saturday proved to be the last straw.
The absence of an out-and-out striker for much of those two years was also painfully obvious with forward Niclas Fuellkrug only brought in just before the World Cup.
In the end it was the DFB who opted for change now, hoping there is still time to build a battle-worthy team that can excite soccer-mad Germany and also have a chance of winning next year’s tournament.