For Joachim Löw, a circle will come full circle on Tuesday (9 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the European Football Championship, on ZDF and MagentaTV), more precisely: for his last role as national coach.

Three years ago, after the disaster in Russia, he set himself the task of rebuilding the German national team.

Including a return to the top of the world.

Löw was convinced that despite the low blow at the World Cup and twelve years in office, he still had enough energy and esprit.

Michael Horeni

Correspondent for sports in Berlin.

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    The national coach's last project began in September 2018. The opponent was France (0-0).

    It was the first of 29 games in which Löw wanted to develop a new team for the European Championship.

    The pandemic even gave him an extra year and additional games.

    But before the European Championship kick-off against France, when looking at the German team, you have to be sober: The duel with the world champion not only closes a circle - the national coach just turned in circles for three years.

    Who is playing against France?

    Neuer, Ginter, Hummels, Rüdiger, Kimmich, Goretzka, Kroos, Müller and Werner.

    This is not, as one might think at first glance, a (somewhat shortened) preview of this Tuesday, June 15, 2021. This is a look back at the game against France on September 6, 2018, on which the German rebuilding actually took place should begin. The other two players, who were still in the German starting line-up alongside the nine named, could just as well have been imagined for the current European Championship game against France: Boateng and Reus. The fact that Boateng should not defend against Mbappé, Ronaldo and Co. has caused head shaking even with Löw's successor Hansi Flick. But whether with or without Boateng: The rebuilding of the national team did not actually take place.

    In the past three years, the national coach has only made attempts to reinvent the national team and himself.


    The path of the so-called rebuilding, which has not yet led to the goal, can be divided into five sections.

    Part one: keep it up.

    Part two: the sacrifice.

    Part three: the consolidation.

    Part four: the crash.

    Part five: the surrender.

    Löw's self-doubt and the inadequate analysis

    But first: In addition to the sporting, personal and tactical development, which in the past three years resembled a rollercoaster ride, the national coach also went through a personal development process. Löw drew attention to him in one of his farewell interviews shortly before the EM. In a conversation with Die Zeit, he talked about the burden that he has been carrying around for years as a national coach. Löw chose terrifying images and formulations for this.

    Over the years he has acquired a "tank" as a national coach. The public is a "heavy burden" for him on some days. He describes the national team as a "community of fate". And “after every tournament there is a void”. After his greatest triumph, winning the title at the World Cup in Brazil, he was “not far from a depressive mood”. “I sat there and thought: Now I'm so alone here. Where are my people, where is my team, where are my players, where are the goals? "

    After this admission of how much the job burdens him again and again, the question arises: How may the national coach have felt after the failure in Russia? And why did he go on anyway after such a severe and comprehensive defeat? In those moments there must have been an emptiness that could hardly have been greater after this sporting fall from hell and the human rift with his former favorite player Mesut Özil. But to this question and why he continued, Löw only gave vague answers. That he had the feeling that “we still have to make up for something”. And that after the 2014 World Cup he was more “plagued by self-doubt” than in 2018.