BERLIN — German soccer faces a day of decisions amid questions over the futures of both national team coach Hansi Flick and league chief executive Donata Hopfen.
The German soccer federation was meeting Wednesday to discuss the fallout from Germany’s early World Cup exit and simmering issues of discontent among Bundesliga clubs and teams from the second division.
Federation president Bernd Neuendorf was to meet with German soccer league vice president Hans-Joachim Watzke to discuss the future for German soccer after three straight disappointing performances in major tournaments.
Germany’s management is under pressure for a marked improvement before the country hosts the 2024 European Championship.
The federation also needs a replacement for Oliver Bierhoff, who ended an 18-year stint Monday when he agreed to resign as managing director of Germany’s national soccer teams and academy.
Bierhoff is the first casualty from Germany’s group-stage exit from the World Cup in Qatar, the team’s second straight embarrassing failure in soccer’s biggest tournament. Germany also was eliminated from the same stage at the 2018 World Cup as defending champion.
Hertha Berlin general manager Fredi Bobic is a reported candidate to take over from Bierhoff, though he said Wednesday he was “very comfortable at Hertha.” Bobic, who has a contract through 2024 with the Berlin club, did not rule himself out, however.
Flick’s future as Germany coach remains uncertain amid questions about his team selection and tactics against group rivals Japan, Spain and Costa Rica in Qatar. Mistakes in defense, where Flick was unable to settle on his preferred back four, and an inability to put away chances cost Germany a place in the knockout round.
Germany's record under Flick was also poor before the tournament. The former Bayern Munich coach took over from Joachim Löw last year after Germany’s second-round exit from the European Championship and has a contract through Euro 2024.
Flick appeared to criticize the federation for Bierhoff’s exit on Tuesday, when he said both he and his coaching staff “are having a hard time imagining how the gap left by Oliver’s departure can be closed.”
The German soccer league was to meet separately later Wednesday, when confirmation of Hopfen’s departure after less than a year in charge was expected.
Hopfen took over from Christian Seifert in January as the first female chief executive of Germany’s top two soccer divisions but has struggled to impose her vision or resolve long-standing questions on issues such as the league’s 50+1 rule limiting the role of outside investors, marketing at home and abroad, and the sale of media rights.
Hopfen’s contract runs through 2024. Asked in October how much support she was getting from league members, she told Kicker magazine, “there’s always room for more.”
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