The international match against Turkey had several lows, but also some positive aspects. A few questions remained unanswered for the public – and gave national coach Löw various tasks.
Of course I turned on the television on Wednesday evening to watch the German national team play against Turkey. However, I have to admit that the game in my living room was just a casual game. Because the kick didn’t really interest me despite the six goals.
What bothered me? In Cologne, it was not the best eleven in Germany, but the ones that remained. That’s not what I imagine an international match for the German national team.
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What should the audience think?
Please don’t get it wrong: you can continue to organize such games, but they should be clearly identified as a DFB test match. Because an official international match is something different for me. In a truly international competition, the best players compete against each other. A reserve player of a club has no place in the starting line-up of the DFB. What should the audience think? As a football fan, I would feel confused watching the Turkey game. Where were the stars? Where is the unconditional will? What happened to the special flair of an international competition?
A game like that used to be something very special for everyone involved. The fans were looking forward to the duels against England, Italy or Spain. For the players – also for the top stars – it was a great honor to be on the field. And today? The Bayern players stay at home to take it easy. Hello? That should have been said to national players like Franz Beckenbauer or me back then! If our trainer Helmut Schön had wanted to spare us, we would have hit the roof. I would have immediately asked him on the phone if he had anything against me or if he was not satisfied with my performance in the competition.
But okay. Football has just changed. And yet I think it would be good for us if you could play a few fewer international matches and play in the remaining matches against top countries – always with the best players available.
DFB players abroad
But it wasn’t all bad against Turkey either. Let’s take a closer look at the squad. It is striking how many players in the German selection are now under contract abroad. Only against Turkey there were five players in the starting line-up of DFB who did not play in the Bundesliga. Draxler lives in Paris, Waldschmidt in Lisbon, Rüdiger, Leno and Havertz in London. Although two players in this quintet usually sit alone on the bench with their clubs, the legionaries of the expanded DFB squad will help us out for years to come. Because professionals who are regular players in the English Premier League – for me the strongest league in the world – will also bring their valuable experience abroad to the national team.
I like to remember. When I became national coach in 1990, many of my national players, such as Lothar Matthäus and Jürgen Klinsmann, were under contract in Italy, the best league in the world at the time. That was a huge advantage for us. They have grown up there in terms of football, but also human.
Intertrainer Trapattoni (center) with Matthäus, Brehme and Klinsmann (from left) 1989: The three players formed the framework for what would later become the German World Cup team. (Source: WORK / image images)
I have enjoyed watching the exchange of legionnaires in the national team with the Bundesliga players. No one got up just after breakfast and went to their room. The team stayed put. Everyone listened to the stories from Milan or Rome. Something like that welds a team together – and that is why I hope that the team of national coach Jogi Löw will also benefit from it in the future.
Götzes moves to Eindhoven
Perhaps the most exciting international move for a German currently has little to do with the German national team.
Our 28-year-old World Cup hero Mario Götze will play for PSV Eindhoven in the future. A surprising transfer. And yet I think it will be good for Mario to play in a different league. He finally escapes the German culture of envy and the ridicule he last faced in the Bundesliga – because this culture does not exist in the Netherlands.
I wish him that he can return to his old form in Eindhoven and maybe even recommend himself for a return to the national team. Because if there is one thing that I have learned as a national coach, it is this: the age of a football player is not important. It’s all about performance. And when Mario finally plays the way he can, he’s an option for Low again.