DFB Team: Van Gaal as EM General?
“Aloysius Paulus Maria ‘Louis’ van Gaal, Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau, is a former Dutch football player and current coach,” says the Wikipedia entry of 72-year-old Louis van Gaal.
A 1.85 meter tall knight, known in football Europe as “General”, who stands for authority, offensive football, courageous decisions and uncomfortable honesty: Isn’t that exactly the type of national coach that the German Football Association is currently looking for?
DFB President Bernd Neuendorf, currently probably Germany’s best-known headhunter, outlined the professional profile of the next national coach as follows: “In my view, you need a person who is assertive and resilient. It’s stressful, we still have nine months until the European Championships, everyone knows the expectations,” he said ARD after Germany’s 2-1 win against France.
Before the game against France, Neuendorf emphasized that the association was explicitly not blocking a national coach from abroad: “We are not ruling out any option at the moment. At the moment we are not slamming any doors. We also expressly allow this option.”
Van Gaal as German national coach? The DFB President didn’t want to rule that out!
Also Julian Nagelsmann, loudly SPORTS1-Information, currently the DFB’s top candidate, has already demonstrated the desired assertiveness and resilience at FC Bayern.
Van Gaal’s experience: Bundesliga, Barca, England and the World Cup twice
However, Van Gaal is not only twice as old as the 36-year-old Nagelsmann (who can do nothing for his great career as a young boy).
Unlike Nagelsmann, van Gaal has already worked outside of Germany – just like 14 of the 23 professionals in the current DFB squad.
Van Gaal was on the sidelines at two World Cups, most recently in the winter of 2022, when his Orange team wrested a 2-2 draw from eventual world champions Argentina – and was only eliminated on penalties in the quarter-finals against Lionel Messi & Co.
The Knight of Orange-Nassau has served his home country as national coach three times. In the history of the Elftal, which dates back to 1905, no man on the sidelines has a better points average than van Gaal (2.35 points/game).
“He has a unique ability to shape a team,” Wesley Sneijder said in 2014 The Telegraphafter the Dutch finished third at the World Cup in Brazil.
Van Gaal can deal well with leading figures, Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger have also campaigned for Van Gaal’s option in recent days. On Tuesday evening, Thomas Müller went one better in the mixed zone: “What he stands for, from Philipp (Lahm, the editors) I’ve already read the quote, it’s clear: structure, discipline, principles.”
For divas or sensitive ball artists who are labeled “difficult”, van Gaal is like a strict father figure. “Van Gaal has a big personality, he knows how to lead a team,” said Franck Ribéry in 2010 The Team.
14 of 23 national players have experience abroad
Today’s DFB team is a complicated structure made up of successful legionnaires like Real Madrid’s Antonio Rüdiger and Arsenal’s Kai Havertz, proud Bayern stars like Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, some Dortmund players who were ignored by Hans Flick, and other valued kickers like Robin Gosens or Florian Wirtz, who all have the right to play in their own country at the 2024 European Championship.
Nine months before the home European Championship, the future DFB coach has a lot of world-class players to choose from. In the 1:4 debacle against Japan, there were eight (!) players in the starting line-up who had already won the Champions League.
What the German team perhaps needs above all is leadership. Rudi Völler breathed life back into the team as interim coach against France.
The new national coach has to start with this. Van Gaal could definitely do that.
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