Euro 2024: Germany is dreaming of a fairy tale and “could be a good surprise” at home according to Marc Pfertzel

Euro 2024: Germany is dreaming of a fairy tale and “could be a good surprise” at home according to Marc Pfertzel

L’entrée en lice sera déterminante pour la Mannschaft de Florian Wirtz, estime Marc Pfertzel. maxppp – midi libre

Géant endormi depuis 2018, la Mannschaft débute “son” Euro, ce vendredi 14 juin (21 h) face à l’Écosse, à Munich. Marc Pfertzel, ex-entraîneur de Sète et Narbonne et ancien joueur de Bundesliga, croit au sursaut.

The affair was a priori harmless. But she ended up saying a lot about the climate around the Mannschaft. Last March, the German Football Association (DFB) announced a change of equipment supplier. From 2027, Adidas, a national brand for 70 years on the selection's jerseys, will give way to Nike. A question of big money that has become eminently political and even patriotic, sparking an identity debate. Which the Mannschaft would have done well without as “its” Euro, this Friday, during which she hopes to sweep away years of hardship.

"It’is a great football nation, like France or Italy. So be careful, especially at home. It could be a good surprise", believes Marc Pfertzel.

The former right-back knew Germany well. Before training in Sète or Narbonne, the native of Mulhouse left Italy, Livorno and its hot fans to play, from 2007 to 2015, in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2, in Bochum, the Union Berlin then SV Sandhausen. "At first, I told myself that the Germans didn't like football. But not at all, it’s just another way of seeing it", he remembers.

Non-stop in the last four from 2004 to 2016… then the fall

Pfertzel's move to the East coincided with a blessed era for the Mannschaft. From 2004 to 2016, she entered the final four of each competition, winning her fourth global star in Brazil in 2014. "Germany took ten or fifteen years of copying our French system of training centers. And very strong players began to emerge, with infrastructures better than ours", notes Pfertzel, today coach of the Qatar youth teams, within the Aspire academy.

Yet, if its clubs perform well, like Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen, finalists this season in the Champions League and Europa League, the German team has since foundered. The day after a semi-final lost to the Blues at Euro 2016, at the Vélodrome stadium (0-2), it accumulated disappointments, with eliminations in the first round of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. . Two fiascos interspersed with a single round of 16 at Euro 2021.

If football is played eleven against eleven, the Germans no longer win in the end. Inconceivable for a country that is a four-time world champion and three-time European champion, where supporters are torn between euphoria and indifference. The proof in Paderborn, the north German city which hosts the French team, where rare flags and giant screens flourished on the eve of the entry into the running.

A “racist” and “crappy” survey that doesn’t pass

"Do we need more white players in the German selection ?" The question, posed at the beginning of June by the public channel ARD, has not gone beyond the Rhine. As part of a documentary dedicated to à the Mannschaft, 1300 people were taken into custody. surveyed. Result: 21% of this sample answered in the affirmative, while 17% considered that a Player of foreign origin cannot wear the armband. As is currently the case with Ilkay Gündogan, with Turkish roots. The reaction from interested parties was not expected, with national coach Julian Nagelsmann describing it as "crappy& quot; this investigation. While his player Joshua Kimmich judged; "racist" and "absurd to ask such a question. Because for us, it's about uniting a country". The ARD channel justified its decision this survey by "the expression of the social situation in Germany". In a country where the 44 flocking had to be removed because of its resemblance to the acronym “SS”, the debate may not have finished polluting the Euro. Marc Pfertzel nevertheless remembers an open country. “Not for a moment did I feel a problem during my nine years there. But from the echoes I have, Germany has changed on this point recently", he concedes.

"A generation expected at the turning point"

"We can't talk about a lack of love. But if things go badly against Scotland this Friday, the criticism will rain down, warns Pfertzel. They are a people who like to complain a lot, like us, and the newspapers can be very harsh. Germany is waiting for this generation to turn the corner."

She expects him so much that she no longer hesitates to break his codes. In addition to the change of equipment supplier, the Mannschaft cut off the head of its coach Hansi Flick, nine months ago, after one rout too many against Japan (4-1) and a cataclysmic year 2023 (six defeats in eleven friendly). A rarity for a selection which had not sacked any of the ten predecessors of the new Barça coach.

To get going again, she chose Julian Nagelsmann, 36 years old and youngest child of her goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. Reminder of Toni Kroos (34 years old), glory of Real Madrid, construction around the nuggets Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz… The ex-Bayern coach breathed new life into the Germans, winners of France (2-0) and the Netherlands (2-1) in March.

Enough to bring back to the surface the memories of 2006 and of a Mannschaft semi-finalist of its World Cup. A moment that has remained in collective history as the “sommermärchen”. A “fairy tale” which awaits a sequel.

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