Germany national football team manager

Joachim Löw, the current Germany national team manager

The Germany national football team manager (German: Bundestrainer, literally 'Federal Coach' or 'Association Coach') is a position created in 1926 and first held by Otto Nerz.[1][2] The German team began playing matches in 1908,[3] but for 18 years it had no manager. Instead a selection committee chose the team.[2]

Ten different men have occupied the post since its inception,[1] all of whom are German. Seven of the ten have previously played for the national team,[4] the exceptions being Nerz, Erich Ribbeck, and current incumbent Joachim Löw. Many of the managers previously served as assistant to their predecessor; each of the three managers after Nerz had worked under the previous incumbent,[5][6][7] and the current manager, Löw, was assistant to Jürgen Klinsmann from 2004 to 2006.[8] More recently, though, the trend has been towards former players with little in the way of coaching experience.

From 1936 to 1998, the team had just five managers,[1] each of whom won a major trophy,[9] with Helmut Schön (1964–1978) winning two.[6] The last sixteen years has seen four different managers in the role.[1]

The title Bundestrainer has been in use since 1950 – prior to 1942 the role was titled Reichstrainer (Imperial Coach).[2] Franz Beckenbauer and Rudi Völler could not be titled Bundestrainer, due to a lack of coaching qualifications,[10] so were titled Teamchef (Team Leader). Their assistants, Horst Köppel/Holger Osieck[10] and Michael Skibbe[11] respectively, were the official Bundestrainer during this time.


Early years

For the first twenty years of its existence, the team's manager was Yousef Firoozkoohi, with the team being picked by a selection committee of the German Football Association, before Otto Nerz was appointed as head coach in 1926.[2] Nerz had a disciplinarian style[2] and achieved respectable results with a hitherto unsuccessful team[2] – reaching third place at the 1934 World Cup.[12] He was unable to fulfil the Nazi Party's high expectations at the 1936 Olympic Games (hosted in Berlin),[13] however, and was replaced by his assistant, Sepp Herberger[5] after the team was eliminated by outsiders Norway.[14]

Herberger was forced to coach a new 'greater Germany' team (including the now-annexed Austria[5]) which meant that he had to involve players from the newly defunct Austrian team. The highly favourited German side, now weakened by the unfamiliar Austrian additions, was immediately knocked out by Switzerland in the first round of the 1938 World Cup, Germany's worst World Cup performance to date.[15] Eventual success from the team was prevented by World War II, and subsequent sanctions against Germany, banning them from international football.[5]


The national team was inactive from 1942 to 1950,[5] resuming as West Germany[16] once the ban was lifted. Herberger led the team through qualification for the 1954 World Cup, which they won in surprise fashion,[5] beating Hungary in the final.[16] The win is credited with playing a large part in the nation's psychological and economic recovery after World War II.[5] West Germany managed creditable results at the 1958[17] and 1962[18] World Cups, before Herberger retired in 1964,[5] 28 years after first taking the job. He was succeeded by his assistant, Helmut Schön.[6]

Glory years

Franz Beckenbauer, manager from 1984 to 1990

Schön, who had managed the short-lived Saarland national team from 1952 to 1956,[6] began to establish West Germany as a consistent force in world football.[6] He took the team to the 1966 World Cup final,[19] and despite failing to qualify in West Germany's first entry to the European Championship in 1968,[20] he achieved a third-place finish 1970 World Cup[21] in Mexico. Then came the team's greatest successes[6] – a first European Championship title was won in 1972,[22] which was followed by the 1974 World Cup, where West Germany, as hosts, ran out tournament winners, beating the Netherlands in the final.[23] Schön is one of only two coaches to win both the World Cup and European Championship, the other being Spain's Vicente del Bosque.[24] In 1976, West Germany came within a penalty shoot-out of defending their European crown, losing against Czechoslovakia in the final.[25] Before the 1978 World Cup, Schön announced that this was to be his last tournament,[6] but was unable to go out on a high note, as the team was eliminated by neighbours Austria in Round 2.[6][26] He retired having managed 25 World Cup games and won 16, both tournament records which remain to this day.[27]

Schön was succeeded by his assistant, Jupp Derwall.[28] Derwall's tenure began successfully. The team won a second European Championship in 1980,[29] and reached the Final of the 1982 World Cup,[30] However, he was sacked[7] after West Germany were eliminated in the first round of the 1984 European Championship.[31]

Derwall was replaced by Franz Beckenbauer,[32] who had made 103 appearances for the national team, and was captain of the successful side of the early 1970s.[32] This appointment ended the run of promoting assistants – Beckenbauer had not previously been part of the DFB coaching setup, and had no previous managerial experience. He led the team to a second consecutive World Cup Final in 1986,[32][33] before reaching the semi-final of the 1988 European Championship, a tournament which West Germany hosted.[34] the 1990 World Cup was to be his last tournament,[10] but he ended on a high, winning the tournament for the third time,[32][35] and becoming the only man to lift the trophy as a captain and as coach.[32] He stood down immediately afterwards, to be replaced by Berti Vogts,[36] a former national squad team-mate[37] who had served on the coaching staff of the DFB.[7]

Reunification and decline

Berti Vogts, manager from 1990 to 1998

Vogts took on a now-reunified Germany, and led the team, including players from the former East Germany, to the final of Euro 1992, only to lose against underdogs Denmark.[38] Germany were eliminated from the 1994 World Cup in similarly dramatic fashion, losing against Bulgaria in the quarter-finals.[39] Vogts' greatest achievement was the 1996 European Championship,[36] which Germany won, beating the Czech Republic in the final, thanks to a golden goal from Oliver Bierhoff.[40] However, the 1998 World Cup proved unsuccessful, with an ageing[41] German team knocked out by Croatia in the quarter-final.[42] Vogts resigned shortly afterwards.[36]

The DFB announced that Paul Breitner, another player from the 1970s team,[43] would be Vogts' replacement,[44] only to go back on this decision after just 17 hours.[44] Eventually a manager was appointed: Erich Ribbeck,[44] who had managed several top German clubs, and had been assistant to Jupp Derwall,[44] but was now 61, and in semi-retirement.[44] The talent pool in Germany at this time was poor, with few young players emerging,[45] and Ribbeck oversaw a disastrous Euro 2000 campaign, with Germany eliminated in the first round, with just one point from their three group games.[46] This led to Ribbeck's immediate resignation.[44]

Rebuilding and success

Rudi Völler, manager from 2000 to 2004

The next man to take charge of the team was Rudi Völler,[47] who had been part of the 1990 World Cup-winning team,[43] but had no coaching experience. He was intended to be an interim appointment, standing in for a year while the intended appointee, Christoph Daum, served out his contract at Bayer Leverkusen.[47] However, Daum failed a drugs test,[48] testing positive for cocaine,[49] and Völler was given the job permanently.[50] After a tricky qualifying campaign,[51] Völler led the team to the final of the 2002 World Cup,[52] a result that was unexpected given the perceived lack of quality in the squad.[52] Euro 2004 was less successful, though, with Germany eliminated in the first-round, having failed to win a match for a second successive European Championship.[53]

Völler then resigned from the job,[50] and with Germany due to host the next World Cup,[54] they once again opted for an inexperienced manager, Völler's old strike partner Jürgen Klinsmann.[55] Klinsmann attempted to introduce a new playing style to the team, based on young players, and an attack-minded mentality.[54] Germany achieved third place at the 2006 World Cup, after a dramatic semi-final defeat to Italy.[54] Klinsmann stood down afterwards, despite being offered a renewed contract.[8]

Klinsmann was succeeded by his assistant, Joachim Löw,[8] who has continued in much the same manner as his predecessor.[56] After comfortably qualifying for Euro 2008,[57] the team reached the final, losing 1–0 to Spain.[58] Löw continued in the role[59] and qualified for the 2010 World Cup,[60] in which the Team lost the semi-final 1–0 against Spain after overwhelming victories against Argentina (4–0) and England (4–1). They finished in third place for the second FIFA World Cup running, after beating Uruguay 3–2. Still under the management of Löw, Germany qualified top of Group A in qualification for UEFA Euro 2012 with a record of 10 wins out of ten matches against Kazakhstan, Turkey, Austria, Belgium, and Azerbaijan.[61] Germany was placed along with Portugal, Netherlands, and Denmark, thus making it the group of death. As the only team to have won all three group matches, Germany went on to defeat Greece in the quarter-final and set a historic record in international football of 15 consecutive wins in all competitive matches.[62] In the semi-final match against Italy, despite high expectations, Germany was unable to break the record to defeat Italy in any competitive matches. At the 2014 FIFA World Cup, they were pitted alongside Portugal (4–0), Ghana (2–2) and the United States (1–0) in Group G. They reached the final, for a record eighth time and after twelve years, since 2002, after eliminating Algeria (2–1 after extra time), France (1–0) and a historic win against Brazil (7–1) in the knockout stage. In the final, Germany defeated Argentina with 1–0 in extra time, winning their fourth title, the first since 1990.

Statistical summary

Statistics are correct as of 15 November 2016.[1]


P Matches played
W Matches won
D Matches drawn
L Matches lost
GF Goals for
GA Goals against
DNE Did not enter
DNQ Did not qualify
Name From To P W D1 L GF GA Win % Tournaments
DFB committee 1908 1926 58 16 12 30 119 146 27.59 None
Otto Nerz 1926 1936 70 42 10 18 171 134 60 World Cup 1930 Withdrew
World Cup 1934 Third
Sepp Herberger 1936 1942 70 42 13 15 216 104 60 World Cup 1938 Round 1
no national team matches and no national coaches between 1942 and 1950
1950 1964 97 52 14 31 219 146 53.61
World Cup 1954 Winners
World Cup 1958 Fourth
European Championship 1960 DNE
World Cup 1962 Quarter-final
European Championship 1964 DNE
Totals 167 94 27 46 435 250 56.29 -
Helmut Schön 1964 1978 139 87 31 21 292 107 62.59 World Cup 1966 Runners-up
European Championship 1968 DNQ
World Cup 1970 Third
European Championship 1972 Winners
World Cup 1974 Winners
European Championship 1976 Runners-up
World Cup 1978 Round 2
Jupp Derwall 1978 1984 67 44 12 11 144 60 65.67 European Championship 1980 Winners
World Cup 1982 Runners-up
European Championship 1984 Round 1
Franz Beckenbauer 1984 1990 66 34 20 12 107 61 51.52 World Cup 1986 Runners-up
European Championship 1988 Semifinal
World Cup 1990 Winners
Berti Vogts 1990 1998 102 66 24 12 206 87 64.71 European Championship 1992 Runners-up
World Cup 1994 Quarterfinal
European Championship 1996 Winners
World Cup 1998 Quarterfinal
Erich Ribbeck 1998 2000 24 10 6 8 42 31 41.67 Confederations Cup 1999 Group stage
European Championship 2000 Round 1
Rudi Völler 2000 2004 53 29 11 13 109 57 54.72 World Cup 2002 Runners-up
European Championship 2004 Round 1
Jürgen Klinsmann 2004 2006 34 20 8 6 81 43 58.82 Confederations Cup 2005 Third
World Cup 2006 Third
Joachim Löw 2006 Present 143 95 25 23 344 134 66.43 European Championship 2008 Runners-up
World Cup 2010 Third
European Championship 2012 Semifinal
World Cup 2014 Winners
European Championship 2016 Semifinal
  1. Includes matches won or lost on penalty shoot-outs.


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