Joachim Loew remains German national coach until 2014

They were sitting peacefully in total unison in the library at the DFB headquarters with its more than 1,000 football books. After just six months Joachim Loew and Theo Zwanziger together signed a new contract at 1300 hours on Tuesday, March 15. On behalf of the Executive Committee of the German Football Association, DFB, Zwanziger happily placed his signature on the paper written only that morning. Smiling, Loew added his signature to the contract. He, as national coach, and his closest staff members, Oliver Bierhoff (team manager), Hansi Flick (assistant coach) and Andreas Koepke (goalkeeping coach), who also received new contracts, will be responsible for the German national team until after the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Joachim Loew signs the new contract with the German Football Association running until July 31, 2014. President Theo Zwanziger is pleased. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)

“I am pleased that we could agree early on a continuation of our co-operation”, Loew said. The meeting was a surprise during the very turbulent times being experienced by many coaches in the Bundesliga. A few weeks ago Zwanziger sounded out Loew on this issue for the first time. On Monday, Harun Aslan, Loew’s and his team’s manager came to Frankfurt and an agreement was swiftly reached.

The DFB underlined their intention of continuity by extending at this early stage Loew’s contract, valid until after the 2012 UEFA European Championship, by 24 months. Peace and quiet should now dominate this area. Contrary to many clubs, such as Hamburger SV, Bayern Munich, Schalke 04 and others who have either sacked their coaches or intend to do so, the DFB and Loew demonstrated harmonious co-operation. This had become necessary from the DFB’s viewpoint, for according to media reports Loew had become a sought after coach for some clubs. He was seen as a shoe-in as either a medium or long term coach with Bayern, the media in the Bavarian capital guessed. Loew has certainly strengthened his profile since 2004 when he joined the DFB setup, first as Klinsmann’s assistant, and then as head coach since 2006. If he had entered the market in the summer of 2012, he would have been the ideal candidate for many top clubs.

New contracts for all apart from Zwanziger: Hansi Flick, Wolfgang Niersbach, Joachim Loew, Theo Zwanziger, Oliver Bierhoff, Andreas Koepke (from left). (Photo: GES/Augenklick)

Loew will soon have had the job longer than Beckenbauer

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But it was not just the signals outside that were important to the DFB, as a new internal peace was also documented. Negotiations over the last extension of the contract was a long drawn out affair lasting for more than half a year until after the World Cup finals in South Africa, sullied by mutual declarations of distrust. In December 2009 Zwanziger and Loew had clashed, with an assumed extension of the contract beyond the 2010 FIFA World Cup being sealed with a handshake turning out to be a misunderstanding. At the beginning of last year, the DFB accused Loew, and particularly Bierhoff, of making excessive demands, among them a “signing fee” of one million Euros, interpreted as a charge for the signatures of the coaches and manager. It hurt Loew that this was made public. He seriously considered retiring from the job after South Africa and still gave Zwanziger the cold shoulder at the beginning of the World Cup.

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Loew will soon have served as national coach as long as Franz Beckenbauer: The “Kaiser” with Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl in Rome after the 1990 FIFA World Cup final. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)

The successful finals strengthened his position, with the team standing behind him as “one man”. Even those within the DFB who had their doubts about Loew acknowledged that he was a top coach who received the highest international recognition for his work as a football teacher and for his behaviour which lacked airs and graces. “The harmonious negotiations over this contract once again showed clearly the amount of mutual trust. This respectful, open co-operation is the best basis for this”, said Zwanziger.

DFB General Secretary Wolfgang Niersbach, who was sceptical of Loew for some time, led the negotiations this time. Skilfully he circumnavigated all hurdles, so avoiding possible controversies. As a successful negotiator, Niersbach also gained a vote of confidence. His contract with the DFB will be extended until 2016. Within the DFB Loew is considered the best man to continue his concept of the team’s rejuvenation and attacking style – totally independent of the team’s results at the European Championship in Poland and the Ukraine. However, the team still have to take the last step into the European Championship finals. At the World Cup in Brazil, Loew, at first considered just an interim solution, can boast an eight-year term in office, as did Berti Vogts. The man from Freiburg near the Swiss border will then have surpassed not only Erich Ribbeck, Rudi Voeller, Juergen Klinsmann, but also Franz Beckenbauer and Jupp Derwall.