With a lot of speculation surrounding Arsene Wenger’s future at Arsenal, Joachim Löw is naturally a name that has come up when fans are discussing who could replace the Frenchman. In addition there has also been some media talk surrounding him replacing Zidane at Real Madrid.
Unfortunately these rumours are often accompanied by scant knowledge of the Bundestrainer and his career to date from many. So, here is my updated guide to all those common misconceptions on Jogi and some food-for-thought for those unable to see beyond the most briefest of summaries of his career.
“Does he have any club experience?/His club coaching record is [insert derogatory adjective]/Can he cope with club football?/Look at his club record!”
Joachim Löw had 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 it good, bad or indifferent. Even his rather tempestuous short stay at Adanaspor has been quoted by Jogi as proving useful to him in later life as part of a career and character building process.
Does having to start at the bottom and work his way up make him less of a coach than one who has been spoon-fed talent from the outset at a mega-rich club? Certainly not. In fact I could easily argue it makes him a better one, and certainly more able to cope better with the ups and downs that football always brings.
Very few coaches move into elite clubs (we are talking the Barcelonas here) early in their career, and if they get the chance in their thirties it is normally because they have moved up from within the ranks (such as Pep Guardiola) or had playing links with the club in question. Joachim Löw did not have the advantage of links with a top club as a player, mainly because of an early setback of a double leg-break at age 20. He truly had to work his way up from the very bottom of the coaching ladder, starting at youth level in Switzerland. Does that make him less talented or less able to get his message across to players. Again, I might suggest it makes him more able.
My own personal opinion is that his achievements at Stuttgart, are and probably always will be, very under-rated.
Premier League fans, let’s take a scenario of Mark Hughes next season securing a 4th place finish in the league for Stoke City, winning the FA Cup and the following year taking them to the final of the Europa League. I am sure he would receive universal praise. .
Continuing the Premier League comparisons, could you imagine a English coach in his late thirties (Eddie Howe, for example) taking his club to a European Final? Would he be then be described as having “no experience” or “unproven”. I doubt it. More likely he would be touted for every top club going.
Yet that is precisely what Joachim Löw did with Stuttgart.
Stuttgart have, incidentally, never reached a European final since.
“But he got sacked from every club when he was a coach! That means he must be hopeless!”
No he didn’t. For example, at Innsbruck the club went into liquidation. Hardly his fault. Not that it prevented him winning the League the year before though.
At Stuttgart he was dismissed by a Chairman who thought he was too nice to be successful. Thankfully Jogi has knocked that particular piece of rubbish back to the Stone Age, where it belongs, and proved that you can be both a gentleman and a winner.
Another sacking, at Austria Vienna, was made for purely political reasons and had nothing to do with Jogi as a coach, we assume, as the team were top of the league at the time!
Do look a little bit further than screencapped Wikipedia pages, and you’ll find out so much more!
“But he’s not coached in the Champions League?”
Actually. He has.
“He’s done nothing with Germany. He took over a successful team.”
The biggest fallacy of all.
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 high ranking 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.
“My grandmother could have won the World Cup with Germany!”
Ah, but I bet she wouldn’t have looked as good jogging along the Campo Bahia beach in a wet t-shirt….
“OK, I/Anyone could have won the World Cup with Germany!”
But you didn’t. He did. The easiest things to claim are the things you can never be asked to prove.
“Germany are a top team, He’s got top players. His job is easy.”
The one trouble with doing a great job is that often one makes the task look so easy, any idiot thinks they could also do it.
And in Jogi’s case, they frequently do.
Do not let anyone fool you into believing that he has gone into every tournament with a team expected to sail through and that the current German team were just handed to him on a plate. Though we now look at Müller, Ozil, Khedira, Kroos as top stars, in 2010 Löw received considerable skepticism for his selection of the ‘young’ lesser-known brigade to go to South Africa, and Germany began the tournament at 16/1 dismissed out of hand by many in their own country. For his semi-final defeat to Spain, ranked by many as one of the greatest sides of all time, to now be dismissed as an underachievement simply because his players are now household names is ridiculous. His Euro 2012 team were the youngest at the tournament, and, again, in Brazil, Germany were not the ‘favourites’ to win the tournament so many now claim they were. Also let’s remember, he has quite often had one or two good players playing against his team. For example, he is unbeaten against both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in competitive football.
His achievements in Brazil and why he should be fully credited for them, have been more than adequately covered in my previous “Who Built the Rocket” blog. You are welcome to read it.
And if you think all that is required to be successful at the top level is to throw eleven of the best players together, you really have been playing too many computer games.
But he didn’t discover/find/create the German players did he?
He fully played his part in all their developments. If you disbelieve me, look on youtube at the video of him watching a 17 year-old Mesut Ozil and tipping him to play in the World Cup one day, or try to remember back to his decision to chose young players for the 2010 World Cup, much criticised in some quarters. That decision, and the experience it gave the squad, fully paid off four years later in Brazil.
So let’s make that a ‘Yes’ as far as deserving credit, shall we?
It is of course nigh on impossible that any coach in the history of sport has ever done his job completely on his own and without others also aiding players at some point in their career. So if you apply it to Löw, you must also surely apply the same ridiculous logic to everyone else.
“He was lucky to get the Germany job…”
Quite the opposite in fact.
The story goes that in 2000 he and Jürgen Klinsmann attended a coaching course together, Jogi there in order to update his original Swiss qualifications to German ones. Klinsmann attended one of his coaching demonstrations and, seeing it from a player’s point of view, was so blown away by his manner and tactical knowledge, he took him on as his assistant in 2004 when appointed Bundestrainer, to cover for his own lack of tactical experience.
So, for a role which was, in the past, always given to a top player from the previous generation, Joachim Löw is one of the few who has gained it purely on his merit as a coach.
“But he only works once every two years!”
Yes, it would seem there really are people out there who think Jogi lives in an isolation cage, only wheeled out if the year is divisible by two, and the month is shorter than six letters, and has no contact or involvement with the world of football in between.
I suggest you take a look at my Archive Article section.
Some might argue that if you can bring the best out of players despite only spending short intermittent periods with them, and can mould a rival players from different clubs together as a happy well-knit trophy-winning unit, doesn’t that make you an even BETTER coach than one who can “get his act together” over a period of many weeks, even months, and can afford the odd slip up.
“But it was easy for him to win the World Cup. There were only seven games!
Wouldn’t that then make it just as easy for the 31 other coaches to win it?
“But he only knows about German players!”
Nonsense! Apart from the fact that he will see players from many countries in the Bundesliga, he travels throughout Europe watching football. His knowledge of players of all nationalities will be second-to-none.
More to the point, just think how those players would love the chance to work with a World Cup winning coach.
“I don’t rate him/this Facebook group doesn’t like him/this BVB fan account wants him sacked/my uncle’s dentist in Cottbus thinks he’s useless./Most Germans don’t like him.”
I do believe others are entitled to an opinion different to my own (so long as it is backed up with correct facts and explanations, and without the necessity of personal abuse) and you are fully entitled to read cut-and-paste comments from those scarcely old enough to remember the darker days in German football.
However it would appear Johan Cruyff, Sir Alex Ferguson, Vincente del Bosque and Jose Mourinho all extolled his virtues as a coach even before he became World Champion. This was followed in 2014 by his being elected FIFA Coach of the Year by his fellow peers. In addition last year there was the Deutscher Medienpreis, a prestigious award only given to those who exhibit exemplary conduct as a human being, awarded to him by a press who had previously been so disparaging towards him.
You are free to decide whose comments you trust most in football and the real world in general. But I am afraid I will always side with those whose opinions come from their own personal experiences at the sharp end and who know and value exactly how much goes into achieving success.
As for the popularity on social media that so many seem to use to justify how anyone should be judged, I am more than certain that if Twitter had existed in the ages of William Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci and Einstein, their genius would also have been dismissed in a mere 140 characters.
And just think how the world would have missed out.
So I’m suggesting you come back with someone reputable who ‘doesn’t rate him’ and without attention to seek or retweets to gain. Please.
“But what about Scolari? Look at what happened to him!”
Guess what, I have news for you. Football isn’t predictable..
He’s been linked with [insert club].
Bookmakers changing their odds aren’t ‘links’ or ‘rumours’ and mean nothing.
Apart from perhaps some good free publicity for the bookies concerned, and punters running to place their bets. Which is probably the idea in the first place.
“Does he speak English? He didn’t speak English at that press conference the other week.”
That’s because it was a German press conference. He speaks English. And I should know. I’ve spoken to him.
And finally, the situation as it is now:
“Let’s get him in now!” “But he has a contract until 2020! Buy out his contract!”
Joachim Löw has a contract with the German National Team until the summer of 2020. However the presence of a mutual cancellation clause previously written into his contract pre-2014 means, strictly, he would be free to leave the German national team if and when he wished. However he has constantly expressed a desire to coach Germany at the 2018 World Cup and become the first coach to win successive World championships. It is therefore highly debatable whether he would consider moving to club football this coming summer with the World Cup the following year.
In statements over the years, and including a recent interview with Eurosport.de, he has not ruled out coaching at a club in the future, but only when the time feels right for him. There have been NO and I repeat NO specific talk from him about any individual club.
So perhaps ultimately you should ask yourself not whether you and your club wants Joachim Löw, but whether Joachim Löw would want your club?
With grateful thanks to all who have contributed with their (sometimes stupid) ‘comments’ over the past years. You have inadvertently helped me write one of my favourite blog articles.
Updated February 2017