Joachim Low is without doubt one of the most popular Germany coaches of all time. With his natural, personable style and class, he has secured a place in the hearts of German football fans. However, it is Low's outstanding technical knowledge, demonstrated by his meticulous match preparations and razor-sharp analysis that has really impressed. The 50-year-old may not have been one of the greatest footballers to come from the home of the three-time world champions, but his coaching credentials have long been held in the highest esteem.
Born in the Black Forest, the popular figure made four appearances in the German U-21s, but a senior debut eluded him. ‘Jogi’, as he is affectionately known, left his greatest legacy as a striker with Freiburg, where he remains the all-time leading goalscorer to this day. However, it is from the dugout that he has enjoyed far greater success, reaching the coveted position of Germany coach.
Low was taken to Stuttgart as assistant to new coach Rolf Fringer in summer 1995. A year later, he was handed the reins on a caretaker basis and, after a run of six games unbeaten, was offered the permanent position of head coach. In his first full season in charge, Low lifted the German Cup and a year later, reached the final of the European Cup Winners Cup, losing out 1-0 to Chelsea in Stockholm.
In the summer of 1998, Low moved to Istanbul with Turkish giants Fenerbahce, heralding a phase where he would accrue experience with a number of clubs in a short space of time and allowed him to develop his own style. After just one season in the Turkish metropolis, he returned home to Karlsruhe before heading back to Turkey with Adanaspor and finally trying his hand in Austria with Tirol and Austria Vienna, winning the Austrian championship with Tirol.
When Jurgen Klinsmann succeeded Rudi Voller as Germany coach following a disappointing UEFA EURO 2004, he brought ‘Jogi’ into the German set-up as assistant coach. The duo struck up an incredible partnership as they set about replacing the static and defensive style of the three-time world champions with a more attacking philosophy. Low was cast as the tactical genius in the background from the outset and Germany went on to enjoy exciting and successful campaigns at the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2006 FIFA World Cup™.
Following the FIFA World Cup on home soil, Low replaced Klinsmann as Germany coach to continue that evolution towards a more offensive style. This footballing philosopher has had a particular obsession with the amount of time his players hold on to the ball before passing. During his tenure, he has reduced this time significantly, increasing the pace of the German game.
At UEFA EURO 2008, Low led Germany into the knockout stages for the first time in 12 years and progressed all the way to the final, where his side went down 1-0 to Spain. In Austria and Switzerland, Germany were not always able to emulate the attacking performances seen at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but further progress was evident in qualifying for South Africa as Germany booked their place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup emphatically and without tasting defeat. Now Low is looking to take his side’s progress a stage further in South Africa. As he told FIFA.com: “We have the quality to go a long way. We saw that at the European Championship. And we will give it everything."