Euro 2004: Germans in disarrayin hunt for new coach
2 July 2004 , HAMBURG - What now for German football two years ahead of the World Cup on home soil, the team failing to perform on the pitch and the federation in disarray as it searches for a coach? "German football - it's in ruins. And that 23 months before a World Cup in our own country," Bild newspaper wrote Friday, a day after former Bayern Munich coach shocked the federation by turning down the job of Germany team coach. What's worse, there aren't many candidates left for a post which reports said wo
2 July 2004
HAMBURG - What now for German football two years ahead of the World Cup on home soil, the team failing to perform on the pitch and the federation in disarray as it searches for a coach?
"German football - it's in ruins. And that 23 months before a World Cup in our own country," Bild newspaper wrote Friday, a day after former Bayern Munich coach shocked the federation by turning down the job of Germany team coach.
What's worse, there aren't many candidates left for a post which reports said would have earned Hitzfeld EUR four million.
"I'd rather be the pope than be head of the team under this DFB (German Football Federation)," former international Paul Breitner said.
Breitner was one of nine candidates asked by Bild if they were ready "to save German football". Only Cameroon's German coach Winfried Schaefer signalled any interest at all.
It leaves the DFB executive going into a meeting in Frankfurt Monday without any real idea who to choose to replace Rudi Voeller whose resignation after Germany's Euro 2004 elimination precipitated the chaos.
DFB president Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder, whose role in the affair has come in for heavy criticism, admitted after Hitzfeld's rejection of the job: "I have no plan B in my pocket."
Hitzfeld says he is physically and mentally exhausted after six years at Bayern. "My heart said yes but my mind told me no," he explained.
Mayer-Vorfelder is now said to favour Christoph Daum, whose coaching credentials at club level are impressive but who would be a highly controversial choice. Daum was set to be Germany's coach after Euro 2000 but fell into disgrace after admitting taking cocaine.
Otto Rehhagel, who has sensationally taken Greece into the Euro 2004 final, is another obvious candidate, but not all in the DFB see Rehhagel - 66 next month - as the man to modernize and rejuvenate German international football.
Rehhagel so far been sidestepping any questions on the coaching job, but his intentions will become clearer after Sunday's final in Lisbon.
Others being mentioned are Jupp Heynckes, coach of Schalke 04, and former international Lothar Matthaeus, now in charge of Hungary.
For the first time there is even talk of approaching a foreign coach, although Mayer-Vorfelder says any foreigner would have to speak German. Dutchman Guus Hiddink, Denmark coach Morten Olsen and even Arsenal's French coach Arsene Wenger have been cited.
Former playing great Franz Beckenbauer, who is on the DFB executive, is just one who believes the federation might have "to think about an external solution".
However, the Bayern Munich president warned Friday against any hurried decisions. The DFB should also consider appointing an interim coach for the international against Austria on August 18 if no permanent solution can be found, he said.
Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness agrees, saying Michael Skibbe, Voeller's co-trainer, could take over for the first match. Hitzfeld's decision "is a shock for us all", he said.
Meanwhile the pressure grows on Mayer-Vorfelder. Bild columnist Alfred Draxler wrote "We have a team that plays a series of poor games and is unable to win a single match in its group at the European Championships. A controversial DFB president who is fighting for his own survival. And now we don't even have a national team coach."
Unless the right decision is made, the World Cup could be a fiasco for Germany, he said.
Subject: German news