Germany coach Joachim Low faces a daunting task at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. The German footballing public is yearning for an end to a trophy drought now stretching a full 18 years. Germany’s most recent triumph at a major international tournament came at UEFA EURO 1996 in England, and 24 years have passed since the Germans last won the World Cup, back at the 1990 edition in Italy.
Low joined the German Football Assocation (DFB) as a coach in 2004. As Jurgen Klinsmann’s assistant he was jointly responsible for the hosts’ stirring and reputation-changing campaign at the 2006 World Cup. He stepped up to the head coach position after the tournament and continued Klinsmann’s philosophy of bringing on young, technically gifted players and an attacking style of play.
Instead of the three-time World Cup winners’ previous attributes of discipline, effort and application, the hallmarks of a Low team are tactical refinement and skilful passing football.
It cannot be said that Low has been unsuccessful in recent years, but the Germans have frequently come up short with the tape in sight. Low’s team lost the UEFA EURO 2008 final by the only goal of the game to Spain. The Iberians also eliminated the Germans at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, this time in the semi-finals. And at UEFA EURO 2012 Low’s team lost to Italy in the last four.
Low, still the all-time leading scorer on 81 goals and honorary captain for life at Freiburg, did represent his country at U-21 level but spent the bulk of his playing career in the German second division. He failed to collect honours as a player but rectified that omission on switching to the coaching side. His Stuttgart team won the German Cup in 1997, and he led FC Tirol to the Austrian title in 2002.
Low is now seeking his first trophy as a national coach when he leads his team to Brazil in the summer. The Germans made short work of booking their place at the global showdown, tying with the Netherlands for the most points in European qualifying with 28 from nine wins and a draw in ten games. For this and many other reasons the German public expects the national team and Low, whose contract as Germany head coach runs until 2016, to turn in as good a performance as in South Africa, or even to go one better and lift the trophy.