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Euro 2020

The dispute at FC Bayern can only mean one thing – Euro 2020

by: Adam Smith

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Fortuna fires Funkel, Nagelsmann counts his players, Bayern stars go on top of each other and a discarded world champion trio suddenly convinces again. In the Bundesliga, things are going well. This has consequences not only for Bundestrainer Löw.

Two games have been played since the winter break – and already the first club has lost its nerve. After two defeats in the return series, the last-placed Fortuna Düsseldorf sacked Friedhelm Funkel, ending his career, at least for the time being. At Fortuna, they hope to give the change of coach an impulse through which they keep the class. Personally, I do not feel good about this decision at all.

This time there is no going back for Düsseldorf

I remember last season, when Düsseldorf had six points more on their account at the same time and were four places ahead, but in the end they managed to maintain their class with a fantastic return series and ended up finishing the season in tenth place. has concluded. Even then, there were many indications in the winter of a separation from Funkel, after the officials could not agree with him on a contract extension. At that time, however, they still came to their senses and also rethought and extended through the protests of the fans. That was clearly the right decision. Again, I think it would have been the right decision to continue. This time there is no going back.

It should not be forgotten that Düsseldorf lost the two best attackers of last season with Dodi Lukebakio and Benito Raman. They have scored 25 goals. Funkel couldn’t do anything about the fact that they were not adequately replaced. He had to work with the players he had at his disposal. And in terms of the quality of the squad, Funkel has also made the most of this season. Funkel himself has also praised the character of the team after his departure. When he said goodbye, tears flowed from players and coaches. Funkel had such a good connection to the players that I would go so far as to say: There is only one coach who could save this Fortuna from relegation: Sparkle. And no one else. This has nothing to do with the successor Uwe Rösler, whom I naturally hope will succeed.

But those responsible will be judged on this decision in three months’ time.

It’s remarkably much about the coaches

I really want Friedhelm to think again at the end of his career. Perhaps once he has let some time go into the country, there is still a job that would irritate him and give him the farewell he deserves. There aren’t many coaches from this older generation anymore and Sparkle is just good. He himself said that his wish would have been to quit when his contract expires. In Düsseldorf, he was wrongly denied this. There is little humanity and little gratitude in football.

In Düsseldorf Funkel flies, at RB Leipzig Julian Nagelsmann publicly criticizes his players, at Hertha Jürgen Klinsmann polarizes, Werder with Florian Kohfeldt and Paderborn with Steffen Baumgart tumbling towards the second division and Hansi Flick stands at Bayern every Week put to the test: The coaches in the Bundesliga are really strikingat in the spotlight at the moment.

FC Bayern has the right to wait

And even though Düsseldorf may have made a mistake, I see a pleasing trend. There are certainly clubs that have the strength and conviction to continue with their coaches , even in a difficult phase. Werder Bremen and SC Paderborn are taking a clear line and I am convinced that it will pay off in the end.

Every club is looking for a long-term solution – few find it. In the end, all coaches work on probation.

Like Hansi Flick at FC Bayern, who still has only one contract as head coach until the end of the season. I am basically in favour of trusting a coach first and giving him a longer-term contract, but in this case the club is doing everything right. FC Bayern is currently calm – and the right to watch the coming weeks and months. Hansi Flick has not expressed any various offers on the table or the idea of emigration. Therefore, both sides have no pressure.

Should the players give themselves flowers?

It should not be forgotten that Flick started with four wins and 16-0 goals and was applauded from all sides. But then he lost to Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach in the league – and thus could not show the consistency as hoped. Now he has come with Bayern excellently with two victories from the winter break. I hope that this time he will be able to continue successfully. But you can see how quickly things can go the other way. And that can be fatal, especially when it enters the hot phase in February or March. In the Champions League and the Cup, it can be over quickly anyway – and there are three more clubs in the championship. Here, too, it is thin ice on which Bavaria moves.

None of this, of course, does not mean that I would not trust Flick to be the right Bayern coach for the next few years. On the contrary. The team is alive – and that is the only significance of the incident in training. This is exactly what the tangible confrontation between Jéréme Boateng and Leon Goretzka has proved. Nothing else. That’s better than when the players give each other flowers before they go to the training ground.

Thomas Müller is a player Löw has to take with him

Even a player like Thomas Müller obviously lives up under Flick. 16 goals in 14 games under Flick is an impressive record. It is no wonder that Müller is again associated with the national team and participation in Euro 2020. I too have a clear opinion on the subject.

Joachim Löw, as the national coach, will have to send a signal towards the European Championship at some point – and possibly come back to Müller in this process. Thomas Müller is a player Löw has to take with him if he is ready to jump over his shadow. Whether as a regular or substitute, Müller is always all about the team and success. He has also been in the role of substitute or substitute at Bayern several times. Nevertheless, he has always behaved 100 percent correctly. He was never a stink boot. This character is extraordinary, you need just that kind of people.

Löw should consider a return at three world champions

Is that size or lack of credibility? Joachim Löw has to answer this question for himself – not only in this case, by the way. Löw has to think about a return with Thomas Müller AND Mats Hummels AND Jéréme Boateng, because all three are currently convincing. The fact is that the principle of performance must apply in the national team. This means that Löw has to stand up at the end of the season and say: these are my 23 players who, because of their performance and fitness, deserve to go to the European Championship. And he can also admit that perhaps not everything he decided was right. Or maybe it was right at the time – but now it would be right to invite the players back. So, in my view, this is size – and not an implausibility.


But back to the coaches who are in focus and are as ambitious and strong in character as Thomas Müller.

Julian Nagelsmann has caused a stir in Leipzig because he has publicly called his team to account. Players would need to know if they want to reach the summit cross and do everything for success, or just enjoy the view and drink coffee. For me, these statements are the right sign at the right time. Sometimes you have to address things in public for them to arrive. I’m sure the team understood that and showed a reaction. They have put themselves in an excellent position in the back-row with the autumn championship. Leipzig has the opportunity to become champions. And that can only be done if everyone is willing to do everything for success. Nagelsmann has gained so much experience at a young age that he knows exactly what he can say. He is well advised – and simply has the right attitude. He has this hunger to win titles. He lives it.

Klinsmann and Hertha are the most exciting project

In ten days and after the games against Gladbach, in the cup against Frankfurt and then against Bayern we know the trend for the next weeks and months. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be positive.

Trainers like Nagelsmann or Klinsmann have a clear vision and high goals – I take my hat off to it.

Jürgen Klinsmann and Hertha are the most exciting project in the Bundesliga for the next two or three years, along with Leipzig. It is Jürgen Klinsmann. He doesn’t go there and say, “It’s just against relegation and in perspective we want to get into the midfield.” No, that’s where the announcement goes towards Europe or championship. These are courageous statements, but I think they are good. We like to get excited when someone pushes forward and is researched. But why? The objectives are not unrealistic. If Paderborn rises and says: we want to go into international business now, then that is certainly far from reality. But at the capital club, that must be the claim.

What next for Klinsmann and Hertha? He also stays over the Saison out coaches?

A new role for Klinsmann?

I believe that this role is very important right now – and the right one. But Jürgen is always good for surprises – in a positive sense. I can imagine that Niko Kovac will join from the summer. With Alexander Nouri he already has a seasoned coach at his side. He thinks freely, is knitted a little differently. Maybe Klinsmann will become a kind of coaching whisperer. A head coach who is close and acts as a sparring partner for his coaches. Perhaps a completely new role, which does not yet exist.

What is certain is that this Bundesliga offers a lot of fun and entertainment. And now it’s just the hot phase in all competitions.

t-online.de columnist Stefan Effenberg will be in action live on Sport 1 next Tuesday as an expert in the DFB-Pokal-Achtelfinal between Eintracht Frankfurt and RB Leipzig.

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