Bal­lack ‘sur­prised’ Loew kept job

‘Poor men­tal­ity’ led to woe­ful re­sult in Rus­sia: ex-cap­tain

Global Times - - Sports -

Michael Bal­lack be­lieves Ger­many coach Joachim Loew should have lost his job in the wake of their woe­ful World Cup per­for­mance in Rus­sia.

Bal­lack, 42, who cap­tained “Die Mannschaft” be­tween 2004-10, is the first se­nior fig­ure in Ger­man soc­cer to say Loew, who steered Ger­many to the 2014 World Cup ti­tle, should have been fired after his team fin­ished bot­tom of their group in Rus­sia.

Ger­many’s Na­tions League clash with the Nether­lands on Satur­day in Am­s­ter­dam will be Loew’s 168th in­ter­na­tional since tak­ing charge in 2006, but Bal­lack says his 12-year reign should al­ready be over.

“I was sur­prised, as well as many other peo­ple, that he kept his job,” Bal­lack, who made 98 ap­pear­ances for Ger­many, told Deutsche Welle.

“For a long time, he worked with the team and some­times you should say that things don’t work any­more,” added Bal­lack on Loew’s 12-year ten­ure.

In May, Loew signed a con­tract ex­ten­sion with the Ger­man Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (DFB) un­til the 2022 World Cup.

How­ever, Bal­lack be­lieves Loew should have been “pro­fes­sional enough” to take the con­se­quences for such a woe­ful cam­paign in Rus­sia.

The ex-Chelsea and Bay­ern Mu­nich mid­fielder says Loew should have blooded younger play­ers rather than rely on se­nior play­ers.

“It’s not ab­nor­mal that a coach who won the World Cup trusts the play­ers with whom he was suc­cess­ful,” said Bal­lack.

“But that’s the dif­fi­culty, be­cause he is re­spon­si­ble for that. He should be pro­fes­sional enough.”

Bal­lack’s sharp crit­i­cism of Loew is no sur­prise given their his­tory.

In 2008, as na­tional team cap­tain, Bal­lack ac­cused Loew of show­ing a lack of re­spect to se­nior play­ers.

De­spite clear-the-air talks, ten­sion re­mained be­tween the pair un­til Bal­lack was in­jured be­fore the 2010 World Cup and never played for Ger­many again.

Bal­lack also crit­i­cized the DFB for al­low­ing Loew to con­duct his own anal­y­sis of their dis­mal World Cup per­for­mances.

Bal­lack says a poor men­tal­ity was the rea­son Ger­many strug­gled in Rus­sia.

“It was a kind of men­tal­ity is­sue, be­cause the qual­ity doesn’t drop down so much in four years that you can’t chal­lenge or you can’t ad­vance past the first round,” Bal­lack said.

“What was the prob­lem? The hunger, the de­sire, the fight­ing spirit – there was much spec­u­la­tion.

“The only true an­swer can be pro­vided by the play­ers them­selves.”

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