One complaint I continually read whenever a German squad is announced is that Joachim Löw has ‘favourite clubs’ when selecting for the national team. It matters not, it would seem, to fervent club fans that these ‘favourites’ are always their closest rivals. Borussia Dortmund fans say he favours Bayern Munich (the main contention), Schalke fans think he favours Borussia Dortmund, and so it goes on. And on.
I have been thinking for a while now it would be an interesting idea to carry out a short objective survey to see whether this is the case and, with the selection of a new provisional squad for Euro 2016 being accompanied by the usual barbs being thrown, thought this was indeed an ideal opportunity.
However, to me, the pivotal factor to take into account is not who these players are with now, but who they were with when given their debut by Joachim Löw. After all, this is the crucial time for a player. It is when he is first spotted by the coach and the time when, if there was a bias in who is being called up for the squad, it should naturally occur.
So here goes:
Each player from the Euro 2016 provisional squad is taken and the club he was with when called up to play for Germany by Joachim Löw is noted. Two players (Schweinsteiger and Podolski) were not given their debuts by Löw and so they are excluded, leaving 25 players in total. Those on loan are included with their loan club, not parent club, as the former is, strictly, who they were playing for at the time of selection. In the case of players yet to make their debut, their current club is naturally used.
So here are the results:
Tying for first place are two clubs on four players each. Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen. Surprised?
Then, on three players, come Stuttgart and Borussia Dortmund.
“Excuse me, is this right? Haven’t you missed someone out?”
Where are Bayern Munich? Yes, that club that, above all, Jogi is accused most of ‘favouriting’ or, worse still, ‘supporting’, when choosing his players. For once they don’t finish first, they finish joint fifth, with two players, along with Borussia Mönchengladbach.
This proves a long-held belief of mine that perhaps so many have it wrong. It is not Jogi that is choosing Bayern Munich players, Bayern Munich are simply exercising their might and recruiting top players for their club, players who have already made their debut for Germany while at other clubs, obvious examples are Neuer, Boateng and Götze.
So we have six clubs with only a margin of two debutees difference between them. I don’t see that favouritism tag bearing out at the moment, do you?
Finally, with one player each, there remains Hoffenheim, Hamburg, Werder Bremen, Mainz and Köln, meaning that Jogi has recruited players for the national team from nearly two-thirds of the past season’s Bundesliga teams. I would wonder whether any other national team coach has statistics approaching that.
In addition, Jogi has shown that national boundaries are no inhibitor of German selection, also choosing one player each from teams in Italy and England.
I’m sure you will again see those misplaced beliefs over the next few months as Euro 2016 approaches. Read that Jogi can’t look beyond the ‘top two’, that he has his favourite club when calling players up, that he supports this side, or discriminates against that one. Sit down, and study the real facts. It probably couldn’t be further from the truth.
Remember, you heard it here.
Favoritisme? C’est ne pas vrai.