Kimmich Muller Low Flick Germany GFXGetty/Goal

As Low leaves, how does Flick fix 'bleak' Germany?

Lukas Podolski's comments after Germany were knocked out of Euro 2020 echoed the feelings of a nation.

"A fire could break out in the stadium, and they would stay on the pitch," he told Bild,  referencing the team's attitude in Tuesday's 2-0 loss to England.

"There was a lack of ambition, a lack of fighting spirit. It all seems so bleak when you see the faces of the players; there's nothing that moves.”

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Elsewhere, Germany’s tournament post-mortem was being conducted on television, in newspapers and on podcasts, with big names such as Michael Ballack and Lothar Matthaus lining up to criticise Joachim Low’s substandard swan song as Germany head coach .

Many felt Low had more than overstayed his welcome already, with the German football association (DFB) sticking with their World Cup-winning manager again and again despite poor major tournament performances since 2014.

The 2018 campaign in Russia was Germany’s worst-ever performance at a World Cup, finishing bottom of a group containing Sweden, Mexico and South Korea.

That low was followed closely by poor performances against the Netherlands and France in the Nations League, but the DFB backed him again as calls for a change of coach continued.

The worst moment came in November 2020, when Germany were utterly outclassed in a 6-0 defeat at the hands of Spain in the Nations League, suffering their heaviest-ever loss in a competitive match.

Before he was pushed, Low confirmed he was leaving his post, but not until one last bite at the cherry. Having won the World Cup and the Confederations Cup, he wanted to add the European Championship to his collection, but fell a long way short.

GFX Thomas Muller 2021Getty/Goal

Germany’s Euro 2020 performances were inconsistent without a clear plan in place from game to game.

The fact that there did not seem to be a method was the oddest part of Low’s long goodbye, particularly since he had been one of the key figures of Germany’s reboot after the humiliations of the early 2000s.

Initially appointed as Jurgen Klinsmann’s assistant, Low helped bring a level of professionalism and preparation to Die Mannschaft, turning Germany into a superstar team rather than a team with a few superstars.

Low eventually took full charge of the team, guiding them to the Euro 2008 final and 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 semi-finals, before taking the crown at the 2014 World Cup.

In Brazil, Low moved Philipp Lahm from midfield to right-back during the tournament and it made Germany unstoppable. This summer, he tried a similar trick with Joshua Kimmich, but it ended up weakening his side, with the choice to play a back-five going against many of the things which once made Low’s Germany the world’s best.

A lot of the time at Euro 2020, Low’s tactics seemed reactive rather than proactive, with his time as coach really having run its course.

GFX Podolski on GermanyGoal

Luckily for Germany, his successor, Hansi Flick, is already planning what to do next and has a similar background, having worked as national assistant before taking the biggest job in the country.

Bayern Munich fans would argue their coaching job is the biggest job in the country, but Flick has done that too, winning every trophy possible with the Bavarians as well as back-to-back Bundesliga titles.

Low mostly leaned on veterans at Euro 2020, with Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller providing the backbone of the team.

These players could all be available for Flick, as well as some younger talent Low has brought through such as Jamal Musiala and Kai Havertz.

The DFB’s Oliver Bierhoff is optimistic for the future, believing Flick will have a long-term vision for the team, especially with Euro 2024 taking place in Germany.

"I haven't heard any of the older players say: ‘By the way, Oliver, I'll raise my hand, I'm thinking about retiring or I'll announce something in the press right away.’ It is good to let some time pass,” Bierhoff told reporters at Low’s last press conference.

“It will be Hansi Flick's task to decide which players and which strategy he chooses. As far as I know Hansi, he is someone who likes to bring in young players and take a longer-term view.

"What that looks like in concrete terms, what his philosophy will be, we will talk to him about that in August.”

Flick was an immediate success at Bayern, but he also paved the way for a successful future at the club, with Julian Nagelsmann taking charge for 2021-22 and beyond.

He will bring the urgency the Germany team has lacked in recent years, relighting the fire under the players and turn them into a world power once again.