“Joachim Löw and his dream of the perfect game” is the title of a book about Germany’s national soccer coach. The author, Christoph Bausenwein, is a founder member of the German Academy for Football Culture. He describes a person who pursues his dream of modern football with determination, but who has also had to cope with setbacks in his career. As a national league player he was a good average performer. As club coach in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Turkey, Löw can boast no major successes – with the exception of VfB Stuttgart who won the DFB Pokal (German Cup) in 1997. But he is still pursuing his dream as national coach.
Following Germany’s disappointing 2004 European Cup contest, Jürgen Klinsmann took over as national coach with Löw as his assistant ten years ago and started a cultural and generation change. From then on play was to become faster, bolder, more appealing and more aggressive. This resulted in the “summer fairy tale” of third place in the 2006 World Cup which was held at home in Germany. In the same year Joachim Löw became the successor to Jürgen Klinsmann who was already living in the USA at that time. Klinsmann is now national coach for the USA’s World Cup team which is one of Germany’s group competitors in the preliminary round.
Löw listens to the “tactics whisperer”
Joachim Löw perfected the system of the “Schweinsteiger generation” – together with the help of his game analyst Urs Siegenthaler. For instance, the “tactics whisperer” advised him to do without a classic midfielder. With the strength of today’s central defences, he would be running up against a brick wall. For the World Cup in Brazil, he also advised against a system with long periods of ball possession, one of Bayern Munich’s keys to success. “Ball possession means movement, and movement devours energy,” he says, meaning a disadvantage at such high temperatures. That is also why he asked the players to be patient. He says that it would be impossible to go the whole distance in seven matches at the usual pace in the tropical heat. “It’s probably much better to retain your stamina through to the last match.”
By the time the World Cup final takes place in Brazil, Joachim Löw will have been national coach for eight years – longer than all of his predecessors following Helmut Schön (1964-1978). Up to now his team was runner-up in the 2008 European Championship and third in the World Cup of 2010. Despite these impressive successes, still no title. In Brazil we shall see whether Joachim Löw can rise to the ranks of Germany’s world championship coaches alongside Sepp Herberger (1954), Helmut Schön (1974) and Franz Beckenbauer (1990) – or whether “the perfect game” remains simply a dream.
FIFA World Cup in Brazil until 13 July 2014