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What’s next for Germany with Euro 2024 approaching?

A 4-1 home defeat to Japan proved to be Hansi Flick’s last match as Germany manager. Pressure on the 58-year-old had been mounting for some time, but public opinion decidedly turned against Flick with many concerned about the national team’s dreadful form now that next summer’s Euros don’t feel so far away.

Japan ran over the top of Germany last week just as they did at the 2022 World Cup when Die Mannschaft failed to make it out of the group stage. Since then, Germany have drawn or lost against Belgium, Ukraine, Poland and Colombia. Flick has been blamed for failing to manage a generational transition within his squad.

Now that Flick is gone – his firing was confirmed on Sunday – Germany finds itself at a crossroads. This is a country accustomed to competing for major honours in international soccer, but Germany have been cut adrift from the elite level in recent times. Fans fear another disappointing tournament next summer.

Julian Nagelsmann is widely seen as the early frontrunner for the Germany job with the 36-year-old still out of work since leaving Bayern Munich last season. Nagelsmann was linked with vacancies at Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham Hotspur and has bided his time before getting back into management.

As a German, the national team post would surely appeal on some level to Nagelsmann, but it’s not clear if his hands-on approach would translate well to the international game. Nagelsmann might prefer to hold out for another job in club soccer – he is reportedly admired by Real Madrid who expect Carlo Ancelotti to leave next summer.

Jurgen Klopp would be the dream option for the DFB (the German FA), but there’s no suggestion he would be willing to leave Liverpool at this specific moment in time. Klopp is under contract at Anfield until 2024 and is in the midst of rebuilding the Liverpool squad. They could be Premier League title challengers this season.

Oliver Glasner is another name believed to be on the DFB’s shortlist with the 49-year-old available after leaving Eintracht Frankfurt at the end of last season. Glasner won the Europa League as Eintracht Frankfurt manager and is looking for a new challenge. He is, however, somewhat inexperienced at the top level.

Germany have never had a foreign manager and so the DFB is once again expected to hire a homegrown boss to succeed Flick. Zinedine Zidane has been mentioned as a potential option, but the former French midfielder is surely a long way down the shortlist. Germany will almost certainly be coached by a German at Euro 2024.

Not since Euro 2016 have Germany made it past the last 16 of a major tournament. They have crashed out of the group stage of the last two World Cups making this Germany’s worst run since the early 2000s. Back then, the DFB rebooted all levels of the German game to rebuild the national team. Something similar might be required again.

10 years ago, Germany were at the top of the international game. They won the World Cup in 2014 and had a core of players that included Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer. That generation, however, has faded and Germany have botched all attempts to bring a new generation of players into the national team.

There is a discussion across German football concerning the number of players being produced by clubs in the country. When Harry Kane joined Bayern Munich from Tottenham Hotspur this summer, national newspaper BILD ran a column calling his arrival in Bavaria an embarrassment for the German game. As they see it, Germany’s biggest club shouldn’t be led by an Englishman.

No country boasts the consistency of Germany in international soccer, but the national team faces a crossroads with the European Championships on home soil starting to appear on the horizon. “Times have changed,” admitted interim head coach Rudi Voller. “Other associations have caught up and we can’t escape the results of the last tournaments.”

The DFB and Germany must move quickly to give themselves a chance of recovery before Euro 2024. Whoever replaces must give the national team a new identity and point a new group of players forward into the future. Whether it’s Nagelsmann or Glasner or someone else, Germany must learn lessons from the mistakes they have made.

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