‘Red alert!’ – Klinsmann calls for ‘complete rethink’ to German football

The ex-Germany striker and coach is worried about the state of his nation’s game and called for changes to the league and youth development methods

Jurgen Klinsmann says Germany must be on “red alert” to deal with the country’s decline in world football, suggesting they look to England for inspiration to fix it.

It has been six years since a German team won the Champions League and no Bundesliga teams are left in this season’s edition after Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke were knocked out at the last-16 stage by English opposition.

The clubs’ upset comes less than a year after Germany suffered a humiliating group stage exit from the World Cup, and former Die Mannschaft star and manager Klinsmann says a “complete rethink” is needed to address the issues plaguing their game.

“We have talked about the results in European club competitions for two or three years, but now everything has become even worse,” the former Bayern and Tottenham player told Bild am Sonntag. “The national team’s results have been fatal recently. There is a red alert!

“A feeling of arrogance has crept into the German national team in 2014. We leaned back because we were the best.”

While German clubs are struggling to compete, English football has been rejuvenated in recent years. Premier League sides make up half of those competing in the quarter-finals of the Champions League this term, while the national team has been boosted by the emergence of a new generation of talented players.

With players like current Bundesliga stars Jadon Sancho and Reiss Nelson coming through, the Three Lions are expected to have a bright long-term future, too.

And Klinsmann feels the German Football Association (DFB) must learn lessons from its English counterpart if they are to catch up.

“They first questioned everything, then looked outside the box, and then they change happened very quickly. The clubs build competitions for their youth teams.”

According to Klinsmann, the way Germany develops young players also needs to be reconsidered, while he also pushed for a change to the 50+1 rule that ensures clubs are majority-owned by supporters. 

“We always think: ‘the main thing [for a player] is that he can kick, everything else is unimportant’. No, it is not! Nutrition, sleep, training – all this is important.

“Of course there are positive examples in the Bundesliga too, I think of Hertha Berlin, Hoffenheim or RB Leipzig.”

He added: “I understand the 50+1 rule, it stems from the old club idea, but you can only get money from investors if they are allowed to have a say in the club, which is why the rule is a disadvantage for the Bundesliga on the international stage.”

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