Joachim Löw for Dummies – essential reading for EPL and La Liga fans

It is that time of year when many club supporters contemplate, in varying degrees, a possible change of managership for their club in the summer (I will mention no specific names, of course). It is only natural that a coach of Jogi’s calibre is quite often mentioned in discussions on social media, with sometimes a negative as well as positive response.

So, here is my take on some of the sentiments I have seen expressed over the past days, and hopefully with one or two misconceptions addressed.

“Joachim Löw is leaving Germany after the World Cup” (possibly with the addition of apparently/it is rumoured/someone told me) “Let’s ask Löw after the World Cup”

He has a contract until Euro 2016, extended in October 2013. Neither of the two parties that matter, the DFB and Jogi himself, have given any indication that they are not fully committed to each other for the immediate future. Obviously anything can happen in football and things can always change, but this could likewise apply to any of the other coaches at the World Cup, or indeed in football in general.

Rumours are what they are, rumours. And, just like that guy down the chipshop who swears he’s Elvis, just because you hear it, doesn’t make it true.

And while I am not a lawyer, I don’t think if someone is under contract it is as simple as just asking or going and getting them, admirable though that sentiment might be.

“He has little experience as a club coach. His club coaching record is {insert derogatory adjective]”

Joachim Löw has ten years experience as a club coach in four different countries, including Champions League matches and a European final appearance.

The debate as to whether a coaching record can be claimed to be ‘better’ or one that accumulates ‘greater experience’ when at a megarich club with an open cheque book as opposed to one with more limited resources is one that has no doubt been covered in wider read blogs than this one. Experience gained is experience gained, whether that experience be good, or bad.

“He’s only ever won against small teams. He never wins against the top players.”

Lionel Messi ‘big’ enough for you?
How about Cristiano Ronaldo ?
Or Luis Suarez ?
Neymar ?

Enough said.

“He never wins the important games.”

Let’s pass that one over to you to answer, Señor Maradona, shall we?

>

“He’s had three attempts to win a trophy, and has won nothing. I want Klopp/Heynckes!”

Yes, Jogi has not won a title at the last three opportunities. But in order to claim a similar parallel with a club coach, that would mean a club coach going just one season without winning a trophy. A fate, I believe, both the other-mentioned gentlemen have suffered during their careers.

“He’s done nothing with Germany. He took over a successful team.”

No, he didn’t.

In the tournament prior to him joining the management team, Euro 2004, Germany had exited at the Group Stage without winning a match. Shortly before he took over as Bundestrainer, they lay 22nd in the FIFA World Rankings, compared to the 2nd place they now hold based on years under his tenure. Whatever the odd anomaly the ratings may throw up, it is hard to argue against that one.

“But Semi-finals are not good enough. No-one remembers those who finish second/third.”

So why are we all still talking about the Dutch team of the Seventies then? A team that enthralled my generation, and successive ones, with their football and have left a lasting legacy in the game.

That aside, a shot against the post or an error by an individual may make all the different to the result of one match, and may mean the exiting of a tournament in the knock-out stage. It certainly does not, however, make the difference between a good coach and a poor one.

“I don’t like him/this Facebook group doesn’t like him/my followers on twitter who support BVB don’t like him/my uncle’s dentist in Cottbus doesn’t like him..”

Yet it would appear Johan Cruyff, Sir Alex Ferguson, Vincente del Bosque and Jose Mourinho have all extolled his virtues as a coach. In addition from within his own country Beckenbauer, Netzer, Rummenigge and Vogts, to name a few, have also praised him. You may value the opinion of your teenage followers, but I’ll leave you to decide whose opinions are actually worth more in the real world of football.

If we allowed popularity on social media to be indicative of the merits of an individual, Justin Bieber would be ten times the man Nelson Mandela was.

Plenty jump on bandwagons because they think a certain sentiment is cool or trendy, and will gain them attention, and are afraid or unable to validate their own point of view. I don’t expect your Club Chairman falls into that category.

“But look at these bad comments on [insert gutter press]“

I have already covered the misrepresentation of public opinion by the tabloid press, and how the comments section of any website can be manipulated in an earlier blog.

However, I will wrap things up with my own personal favourite:

“We need to get a young coach in, like Joachim Löw”

Jogi is (an admittedly amazing looking) 54. Thanks for the compliment. I doubt if the word ‘young’ will be attributed to George Clooney this year.

Germany 1 – 0 Chile, 5 March 2014

My match page for the game against Chile is now complete. Click on the link below to visit:

Germany 1 – 0 Chile

Chile provided formidable opponents in exactly the type of match Germany needed to prepare themselves for Brazil.

While Jogi himself admitted the team had not played well, the German media went into overdrive with their usual pre-tournament doom and gloom, with our friends at focus.de calling the match a ‘Horror Victory’ and winning award for the week’s best Oxymoron. Or perhaps make that just plain Moron.

Let’s remember that this very same Chile had previously, in November, outplayed England at Wembley 2-0.

And that a victory, albeit a horror one, is still a victory!

The words of Felix Magath. And why Joachim Löw said the complete opposite.

The winter break is over, and so the German media are back to their normal happy habits. Yes, that’s right, let’s find someone to criticise Joachim Löw.

And today’s it’s Felix Magath’s turn. In Bild, he has the following quotes attributed to him:

“What is already bothering now is the talk of the heat in Brazil As a footballer, you have to play whether it’s hot or cold.. These are just excuses.” Although I do not have a specific quote from Magath mentioning Jogi, the press have jumped on his words and come up with the headlines “Magath schimpft über Löw”, inferring that Magath is criticising a .’complaining’ and ‘excuse-making’ Bundestrainer.

So, let’s look at EXACTLY what Joachim Löw has said on the subject of conditions in Brazil in the past month or so.

Quote 1:

“In our preparations, we have to get used to the humidity and high temperatures,” said Löw.
“I have already been to Fortaleza and Recife, where we will find difficult conditions to acclimatise to. We will have to adapt our preparations.”

Complaining? Excuses? Absolutely Not.
Awareness that sensible preparation is required for a tournament held in different conditions than seen in Europe, Yes.

Quote 2:

“But if you start complaining about your lot, get annoyed about things and then take it onto the pitch, you have already lost.”

Complaining? Excuses?
I think that statement strikes me as the perfect example of the complete opposite.

(As for whether the pitch is blue, green or yellow – shall we just file that one with Uli Hoeness and his ping-pong tables)

Joking aside, Magath’s intention appears to be to attribute his own sentiments to the National Team, well aware that the average fan reading will not bother to go back and check what has actually been said. Meanwhile Magath’s shit-stirring and lies receive the publicity in the media that he fully intended them to.

So before you believe this article is in any way a true reflection of the German national team going into Brazil, do this one thing. Take the time to read exactly what Joachim Löw really said. As usual, you will find plenty on my website, on this occasion halfway down down the page of my December 2013 Archive

And if you happen to know Felix Magath, do send him the link with my blessing.

And for those of you who are fans of the TV series Suits, think about it. If you heard Louis Litt attribute a comment to Harvey Specter, would you believe Louis, or would you prefer to hear it from the mouth of the suave charismatic Harvey himself?

Exactly.

Stefan Kiessling’s claims of ‘Ausbootung’? It just doesn’t add up.

Stefan Kiessling has in an interview today on Express.de been quoted as saying that Joachim Löw had ‘booted him out’ of the German team. The term ‘booted out’ (a translation of the German “Ausbootung” used in the interview) has, in itself, caused maximum dramatic impact and visual imagery, and, I am sure, the desired effect of mass exposure in the media and social networks.

While naturally Mr Kiessling is entitled to claim, within the realms of free speech, exactly what he wishes, to my mind the article raises several questions.

In October 2013 there was a meeting between Joachim Löw and Stefan Kiessling, at which both Rudi Völler and Sami Hyypia of Bayer Leverkusen were present. This, as far as I am aware, was the last time there was any discussion of the selection or non-selection of Kiessling for the German national team involving the parties concerned. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong in this respect.

Shortly after this meeting, at the press conference for the Ireland World Cup qualifier, Joachim Löw stated “”If necessary I do have Stefan’s number, and I don’t have a problem changing my opinion. I know I can come back to him, that’s why I didn’t close the door”.

Hardly the ‘booting out’ Kiessling is now, nearly three months later, claiming.

The comments today appear even stranger when you consider that back in August 2013, Kiessling himself announced that he had no intention of playing for Germany under Löw and that talk of the issue ‘annoyed him’. A rather different standpoint to that which he is now adopting.

So, regardless on whether you believe Kiessling should be playing for Germany, might we all ask ourselves these questions:

1. At what point has Löw booted Kiessling out now or at any time in the past, or given any firm indication that it is his intention never to consider him again? Indeed the only person ever to have excluded Kiessling from the German National Team has been Kiessling himself, at the last count on at least three separate occasions, each time announcing his decision through his favoured means of communication – the tabloid press.

2. If it was in fact the meeting in October where Kiessling was told that he had no future in the German team, and Löw subsequently misrepresented what was said at the meeting, how come neither Kiessling, nor indeed Völler or Hyypia who were present at the meeting, came out immediately to contradict Löw and correct what he had actually said? One would expect anyone who had just attended a meeting, and where one party then misrepresented what had occurred, to retort immediately with the correct version.

The more you read into it, the less it adds up. I smell something very strange, perhaps it’s that certain piece of mouldy cheese still lurking somewhere at the back of the fridge?

Let’s Celebrate Jogi’s 100th Match as Bundestrainer…..

Remember, my website can now be found at “A Whole Lotta Löw”

Meanwhile, as you must all know by now, next month’s friendly against Italy will mark Jogi’s 100th international as Bundestrainer. It is my intention to have a special page celebrating his Century to which YOU can add you congratulations.

For this I need a short message (any language will be fine!) together with a name (full name not necessary), and where you are from.

You can use one of the methods on my Contact Me page, or alternatively add a comment to the ‘Comments’ Section of this page.

From my site statistics, I can see we have regular visitors from all over the world, and it would be wonderful if we could show this and celebrate Jogi’s fantastic achievement on the one page!

I am ecstatic to have got a great seat for the England v Germany friendly! Anyone else coming???

“A Whole Lotta Löw” can now be found on…

My apologies for anyone who has been trying to visit my site on a link of wholelottaloew.net78.net. I have been advised by my host that this is currently subject to a DDoS attack.

My site can therefore be reached on the link

“A Whole Lotta Löw”

Once the attack has subsided, I will be setting up a re-direct from the previous host, so please feel free to alter any bookmarks to the URL of http://carochar.comeze.com.

Why a Contract Extension for Joachim Löw can only benefit the German team.

And is the right decision.

Here’s why.

Let’s clarify one thing for starters. The people in charge, the DFB, have decided that Joachim Löw is the right man to lead Germany into the 2014 World Cup. They are the ones to decide, and their belief has not waivered throughout the past sixteen months. No other opinions count. Not twitter, not polls set up by ex-players with websites to promote, not the gutter press and their manipulated opinion columns, and not club bosses with seemingly too much spare time on their hands.

So this debate is about one thing and one thing only. Two choices. Is a contract extension for the current management team the best thing for the German squad in the approach to the World Cup, or is it best to leave the matter unresolved?

Let’s go back to 2010. when the management team’s contracts were due to end halfway through the tournament. Negotiations had ended in stalement and the build-up to South Africa had been marked by constant talks of whether or not they would renew.

The first match arrived – A convincing 4-0 win against Australia. The post-match press conference? Rather than concentrating solely on what was a fine performance by his young team, Jogi was forced to talk again about his possible contract renewal, explaining to the media in response to comments made by the DFB: “We want to achieve something big here and I have to focus on this goal 100 percent.” Was this productive? Of course not.

Surely the desire of all involved not to have such a situation this time around is only natural.

The German players themselves certainly seemed keen for resolution going into the World Cup, Toni Kroos saying he looked forward to Joachim Löw contract extension and Mesut Ozil hoping his coach would continue. In addition Bayern CEO and former NT star Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has told the media Jogi “Macht einen guten Job”. One presumes they would understand and appreciate the delicate workings within such an environment far more than those outside looking in who have never experienced it.

For those who are ‘worried’ in the event of a poor World Cup, the contract extension for the management team makes no difference in this respect. Ultimately a poor performance, as shown by Netherlands at Euro 2012, brings about one result and one result only, and this will be the same for any top nation’s coach at the World Cup.

Alternatively, in the event of a successful World Cup, one would, perhaps optimistically, hope that any detractors might just be satisfied!

So now is the time to prove you want what is best for the squad in the approach to what will be a very challenging tournament for all European sides. It is now time to put aside your personal opinion and accept that this move is the only right one for the German national team in the stability it promotes and the focus it achieves for the most important people, and ultimately the ones who really matter.

That is the team.

Bias, Criticism and showing Jürgen Klopp how to behave

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In the absence of anything else negative to report following the two successful World Cup qualifiers and two clean sheets, the main talking point in the press on German national team matters this week has been Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp’s ‘attack’ on Joachim Löw. The Bundestrainer has, in his opinion, ‘singled out’ his Dortmund players for criticism. This ‘singling out’ appears to originate from just two incidents, the dropping of Hummels, going through a run of poor form, from said qualifiers, and criticism of Schmelzer a year ago.

Yes, just two incidents. In twelve months.

Conveniently forgotten appear to be the numerous times Löw has praised Dortmund players, such as Ilkay Gündogan: and indeed Klopp and the club themselves, in addition to his stressing Hummels’ ‘important role’ within the national team as recent as last week.

I hope the supporters of Klopp will not mind if I feel the action of making unsubstantiated allegations of favouritism against a colleague direct to a media always eager to exaggerate a story, well aware of the effect they would have in undermining his fellow professional in the run-up to what will be a very challenging year in his career, not a particularly admirable trait. Far better surely, the behaviour of Freiburg’s Christian Streich who recently refused to take the bait of a media desperate for another “XYZ kritisiert Jogi” headline, refusing to comment on the usual loaded questions against the Bundestrainer.

If the day ever comes when a coach cannot drop and select players as he feels fit, and is not allowed to comment on a poor performance or respond to a lack of form for fear of accusations from others within his profession, I seriously fear for the future of football.

I have found in my experience that all those allied to any particular club adopt an approach best suited to the most neurotic of soap opera teenagers, feeling that their club is somehow being ‘picked on’ if the left out player comes from within their ranks. They remain, of course, conveniently silent on the matter of bias when one of their players is the one to benefit on another occasion.

As someone who sees the whole picture from another viewpoint, I see absolutely no favouritism whatsoever towards or against any club from Jogi. Any coach has the right to pick the players he wants, those he feels are in form, and those who best suit what he requires on any particular match occasion. To structure his team, and to replace and call-up as he sees fit. And that is the way it should stay. For any sport. At any level.

And those who provide the media with ammunition to fire at others should be careful. One day the tables may be turned and that metaphoric gun might just be pointing at them.

At the press conference after the Austria game, Jogi explained his reason for selecting Boateng over Hummels were purely down to the form both has exhibited in the early Bundesliga games. While match reports and player ratings don’t always tell the full story, reading them makes it very hard to counter his opinion.

Every week throughout every land, coaches in schools and in youth sport make difficult decisions that involve selecting ‘a’ over ‘b’. For someone in such a prominent position as Klopp to accuse Löw of “favouritism” gives every schoolkid the chance to do likewise.

I have a talented 14-year-old daughter who has competed in youth sport at a national level. She was recently ‘dropped’ from her school’s ‘A’ hockey team, by a new coach who wanted to try out different defensive formations and rotate his squad. So what did I do? Did I go running and screaming into the school and accuse him of ‘singling out’ my family’? No, I told my daughter to play her best-ever game for the B’s, and make herself invaluable for the A team when she was re-instated the next week.

Guess what? She did, she was and she has.

Perhaps those at grass roots level can sometimes teach the ones higher up the sporting ladder how to behave.

As for the resurrected comments about Schmelzer, those of us with good memories might just recall that in the days immediately following the criticism he appeared to up his game threefold, so much so that he won two man-of-the-match awards for his club within the following ten days and universal praise for his rejuvenated performances.  The predictable yellow-and-black wall of smug self-satisfaction cried out: “Jogi is being proved wrong”.

Oh no he wasn’t.  Jogi was being proved right.

——————-

Revised 19 September 2013
As it is not possible to subscribe to German Sky TV in the UK and such interviews are not available online, I am only able to refer to what Klopp is quoted as saying in the press. It is believed a later interview with ZDF, he appeared to back away from any criticism.
However the reported critical comments from Klopp’s Sky interview have been repeated in the media, with numerous discussions on social networks, particularly from Dortmund fans supporting the alleged claims. I therefore feel I have every right and make no apology for giving my opinion and defending Jogi and his management team against what is being reported and subsquently discussed.

Joachim Löw and One Year on from the Italy defeat – have the media the greatest case to answer?

As you probably won’t need reminding, it is now exactly one year since Germany’s defeat to Italy in the Euro 2012 Semi-Final. Since that day, and flying out to Germany for a two-week holiday and full exposure to all that went on in the press afterwards, I have asked myself many times – was it warranted? Does a defeat, even such a disappointing one, warrant everything that was seen in the media then and all that has gone on since?

On so many occasions, on social media platforms, and in fact even recently on the DFB_Team facebook page itself, I have debated the difference between legitimate football comment (Did Jogi select the right team? Were his tactics correct?) and personal abuse. So many appear to think that term ‘free speech’ gives them the right to say whatever they wish, about whomever they wish, and, yes, legally to a large extent it does. But do we have an obligation to ourselves to keep personal insults, about someone we are unlikely to ever meet or really know, out of the equation when discussing what is, in effect, sport?

I am hoping to start writing an article on this, and would love YOUR observations.

- Do you think the media have the right to behave in this way over a football defeat (the hotel room pictures, etc.)? Or have you seen anything in particular that you consider went beyond the bounds of acceptable journalism?

- Does the social media network make personal abuse so much easier?
- Have the likes of other figures within German football exacerbated the situation by being quick with the adverse comment, some of which contain little constructive element, and thus promoted a negative mentality.

- What is your opinion of online newspaper sites who have been proven to delete positive comments – are they under an obligation to show a fair and true representation of what people are saying. Or can they just include only negative remarks if they consider it is more newsworhty.

- ‘Loaded’ polls which manipulate answers? Can ‘public opinion’ be manipulated by a few choice comments on a social network site?

- Has this constant criticism helped or hindered Germany’s preparation for the 2014 World Cup?

I would love to hear from you (please use comments section below or, alternatively, you can contact me via the website) !

I told you I would write a thesis about you all one day.

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