Former Germany midfielder Michael Ballack has expressed his confusion over Joachim Löw being offered a contract extension just before the World Cup.
Ballack questioned the timing of the German FA’s decision to extend Löw’s contract a further four years until 2022, with the agreement signed in May just before the squad’s preparations for Russia began.
“After a European (Championship) or World Cup, you can judge the work that has been done in the previous two years.” said the former Bayern Munich man, speaking to Sky Sports.
“Friendlies and tournament qualifiers for a footballing nation like Germany are not proper indicators of the state of our team.”
“For this reason, it was unnecessary to give Joachim Löw a four-year contract extension just four weeks before the World Cup started.”
Germany’s defence of the trophy they won 4 years prior in Brazil was nothing short of catastrophic, as they finished bottom of Group F with just 3 points. They opened their campaign with a shocking 1-0 loss against Mexico, before beating Sweden in their second game thanks to a last-gasp winner from Toni Kroos.
This left them needing at least a draw against South Korea on Wednesday to have any hope of qualifying for the next round, but they succumbed to a woeful 2-0 defeat.
The damnation of the team has been severe, particularly because it was the first time since 1938 that a German side has failed to progress beyond the group stage of a World Cup Finals.Embed from Getty Images
Ballack continued: “Whether Löw is still the right person to manage this team, I cannot say.
“There is no explanation as to how a team with this quality can end at the bottom of this group. How can this group of players struggle with all these basics of football?”
Löw has been in charge of the national side since 2006 and overseen 5 major tournaments with Germany. He masterminded their triumph in Rio four years ago when they lifted the World Cup after beating Argentina 1-0 in the final, but his current squad is a million miles away from such success.
He has remained bullish since his side’s exit, insisting that it is not the end of an era when speaking to reporters: “Until quite recently we were probably the most constant in terms of performance in the past 10, 12 years.”
“We were always in the final four for a long period, including the 2014 and 2017 wins in the World Cup and the Confederations Cup.”
“We have young players who are very talented and still have the potential to go forward. This has happened to other nations before. We just have to draw the right conclusions.”
Whether or not his comments will reassure the German Football Association and supporters remains to be seen, but Ballack’s comments certainly suggest that maybe Löw should never have been given such a strong vote of confidence before kick-off in Russia.