ZNational coach Hansi Flick sat for two hours with the new DFB President Bernd Neuendorf and the influential 1st DFB Vice President Hans-Joachim Watzke on Wednesday outside the gates of Frankfurt. A crisis summit that Flick should not have particularly liked in principle. He should provide an analysis of the botched World Cup. And show a way how things should go better again in the national team by the time of the European Championship in Germany in 2024.
But the day, which was originally only intended for an analysis together with Oliver Bierhoff, turned into a day of decision. In a press release, Neuendorf made the announcement about “a friendly and constructive conversation about the current situation and the prospects of the German national football team”: “We have full confidence in Hansi Flick that he will master this challenge with his team. With regard to Oliver Bierhoff’s successor, we have agreed that we will first discuss the future structure of this area of responsibility within the DFB in order to then make a personnel decision.”
Hansi Flick, on the other hand, who left the crisis summit without comment more than an hour before the press release was published, was quoted as follows on his own behalf after the official continuation: “My coaching team and I are optimistic about the European Championship in our own country. We as a team can achieve a lot more than we showed in Qatar. We missed a big opportunity there. We will draw our lessons from this. I have confidence in the joint path agreed today with Bernd Neuendorf and Aki Watzke. We all want the whole of Germany to rally behind the national team again at the 2024 home European Championship.”
How this path should look in detail, what consequences the national coach wants to draw from the elimination in the preliminary round and how he wants to deal with his successor after the withdrawal of his friend and boss Bierhoff – those involved didn’t say a word about that on Wednesday. The commonality did not go so far that evening that Flick, Neuendorf and Watzke would have expressed it together in front of the public. An email had to be enough.
It can be assumed that there had been a sufficient need for talks in the two hours before. Especially since the day before, after Bierhoff’s withdrawal, the national coach had declared his loyalty to his friend and superior so strongly that the impression could arise that Flick sees the long-standing managing director, director and manager of the national team as almost indispensable for his job.
“My coaching team and I are finding it difficult at the moment to imagine how the gap created by Oliver’s departure can be closed professionally and personally,” explained Flick. “Our cooperation has always been characterized by loyalty, team spirit, trust and reliability. Cohesion was in the DNA of our team. ”His statement had led to suspicions that Flick could give up his position.
The quick agreement on Wednesday between the DFB leadership and the national coach should not hide the fact that Flick’s path to the 2024 European Championship is likely to be uncomfortable. This is not only due to Bierhoff’s personnel and the open question of succession. It is also due to the way the national coach led the national team in Qatar.
In both cases, one of Flick’s strengths became apparent, which turned out to be a weakness: trust when the conditions for it are no longer met; when trust decouples from the objective assessment of the situation. In the case of Bierhoff, this has no direct consequences for Flick, but it does with a view to the national team.