dpa/GNA – World Cup winning Joachim Loew, will step down as Germany coach after 17 years, following this summer’s Euro tournament.
The German Football Federation (DFB) said in a statement on Tuesday that Loew, had asked to be released out of his contract until the 2022 World Cup, after the June 11-July 11 continental tournament.
“I’m absolutely sure about taking this step and do so full of pride and with immense gratitude, but at the same time still with great motivation as far as the upcoming European Championship tournament is concerned,” Loew said.
“Proud because it is something very special and an honor for me to represent my country, and because I have been able to work with the country’s best footballers for almost 17 years and support them in their development.We’ve experienced great triumphs and painful defeats with them, but above all many wonderful and magical moments – not only winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. I am and remain grateful to the DFB, which has always provided me and the team with an optimal working environment.”
Loew, 61, became national team assistant coach of Juergen Klinsmann in 2004 and his successor two years later.
He led Germany to the 2014 World Cup title, with the memorable 7-1 over hosts Brazil in the semi-finals, the 2017 Confederations Cup trophy, the Euro 2008 final, plus semi-finals at the 2010 World Cup and Euro tournaments 2012 and 2016.
Loew coached a golden generation of players including Thomas Mueller, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira and Mesut Oezil.
But fortunes changes when Germany crashed out in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup.
A subsequent reshaping of the team is yet to bring top results, with Germany qualifying for Euro 2020 postponed to this year, but playing poorly last autumn highlighted by a 6-0 defeat against Spain.
The DFB and Loew were criticised by their behaviour in the aftermath, and there has been an ongoing debate whether Mueller and other players should be recalled.
Loew, who spent most of his playing career at Freiburg and whose teams as club coach included VfB Stuttgart, Fenerbahce and Austria Vienna, is the most-capped Germany coach with 189 matches to date, of which he has won 120, drawn 38 and lost 31.
DFB president Fritz Keller praised Loew as “one of the greatest coaches in world football” who “has shaped German football like no other over the years and helped it achieve the highest standing on the international stage.”
DFB director Oliver Bierhoff said: “Under Jogi, the national team once again stood for enjoying the game and attractive, attacking football. This team and players have developed incredibly under him. I regret that we will go separate ways professionally after the Euros.”
Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke praised Loew for having done “great things for German football” during his tenure and added that “Loew’s decision deserves respect because it is a decision of his own strength.”
Loew will be in charge for three upcoming World Cup 2022 qualifiers and then the build-up to the Euros and the tournament, where Germany face tough group games against world champions France, title holders Portugal and Hungary in Munich.
“For the upcoming European championship, I still absolute will as well as great energy and ambition. I will do my best to be successful at this tournament and bring great joy to our fans. I know that the whole team feels the same way,” Loew said.
Keller said Loew’s early announcement “is giving us at the DFB the time needed to appoint his successor with calmness and a sense of proportion.”
Potential successors include Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp and former RB Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick while current Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann swiftly ruled himself out with a simple “no” on Tuesday.