BERLIN (AP) — Germany hired Julian Nagelsmann to lead the men’s national soccer team Friday, trusting the former Bayern Munich coach to do a better job than the last Bayern Munich coach who tried.
The German football association announced that Nagelsmann would take over on a short-term contract until next year’s European Championship. Germany hosts the tournament.
“We have a European Championship in our own country. It’s something special, something that only happens after a few decades,” Nagelsmann said. “Organizing a big tournament in a big country is the priority. I really want to take on this challenge… We will be a united group next year.
At 36, Nagelsmann is Germany’s youngest coach since 34-year-old Otto Nerz was appointed in 1926.
Nagelsmann succeeds Hansi Flick, the first German coach to be fired. The federation cut Flick on September 10, the day after a 4-1 loss to Japan, which extended the team’s losing streak to three games and its winless streak to five.
Nagelsmann previously took over from Flick when he became Bayern coach in 2021, with Flick leaving to coach the national team. Nagelsmann led his team to another Bundesliga title – his 10th in a row – but was fired by the Bavarian powerhouse in March amid management concerns he was not getting the best out of the team.
Germany will next play friendlies against the United States in East Hartford, Conn., on Oct. 14, then against Mexico in Philadelphia four days later. The team will continue their preparations for Euro 2024 against Austria in Vienna on November 21.
Nagelsmann had a five-year contract with Bayern – although he was dismissed as coach – and his salary demands were said to be a sticking point for the federation. Kicker magazine said Bayern agreed to terminate the contract and Nagelsmann accepted a lower salary to take charge of the national team.
Flick had led Bayern to back-to-back league titles but struggled to replicate his success with the national team, where he was expected to oversee a smooth transition after 16 years under Joachim “Jogi” Löw.
Löw led Germany to the 2014 World Cup title with Flick as his assistant, but could not stop the team’s decline after a dismal performance as defending champions at the 2018 World Cup.
Flick’s team fared no better at the 2022 World Cup and began this year looking like they had forgotten how to win games before the federation ultimately decided to end his tenure after the embarrassing defeat against Japan.
The German national team’s sporting director, Rudi Völler, took over as interim coach and oversaw a morale-boosting 2–1 victory over France in the next match. Völler, who was Germany coach from 2000 to 2004, had made it clear he only wanted to take over the job on a temporary basis.
The federation hopes that Nagelsmann can draw inspiration from Völler’s example rather than Flick’s. Before coaching Bayern, Nagelsmann enjoyed success in charge of Leipzig and Hoffenheim, where he became the Bundesliga’s youngest manager in 2016.
Some former German players like Lothar Matthäus, Stefan Effenberg and Michael Ballack have expressed their preference for an older coach like the experienced Louis van Gaal to shake up the team.
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