GERMANY have responded to their crushing last-16 defeat to England by launching ‘Project Future’.
The beaten Germans’ project is aimed at reviving their flagging fortunes — and finally producing a world class centre-forward again.
National team director Oliver Bierhoff says it is unacceptable that the country failed to make it to the quarter-finals at Euro 2020 on the back of their embarrassing group-stage exit at the last World Cup.
Und, as boss Joachim Low leaves the job after 15 years admitting he feels deep pain by the loss at Wembley, Bierhoff has not minced his words about the task ahead for the German game.
The former striker — who scored twice in the Euro 96 final when Deutschland beat the Czech Republic at Wembley — has promised a deep overhaul of the country’s talent production line.
Und, in a dig at Chelsea forward Timo Werner, who failed to score at the Euros, he says it is about time Germany found a “real” number nine.
Bierhoff said: “We cannot be satisfied with dropping out at the round of 16 stage.
“England were a beatable team, but they were better than us on the night — that said we need and want to get back to the world elite.
"So, we cannot be satisfied with our own performance — we’re disappointed.
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“I cannot be happy with being underdogs. We as Germany have a totally different ambition.
“We want to be among the world’s elite. And that needs a number of parameters fulfilled. Number one — good players.
“Players don’t only have to be good, they also have to be experienced and assume responsible roles with their respective club teams.
“We need a bit of a killer instinct. If you could translate it literally, we need some critical finishers, we need real centre-forwards, and that is something that I hope to our community will embrace in the future.
“These trends have been visible for some time now.
“In the 2014 Weltmeisterschaft, Sieben, or even eight players were there who won the 2009 under-21 European Championship.
“Now we only have one single player, Serge Gnabry, who was European champion in 2017 as an under-21 player.
“These measures that we have designed or devised is not something that works or brings success overnight. Kai Havertz has made a major step forward at this tournament.
“The same is true for Joshua Kimmich and Jamal Musiala — so yes there are young players up and waiting in the wings.
“It is a task, a mission that the German football community as a whole needs to tackle. It’s not enough, one or two clubs bringing a few younger players through.
“It starts with the five to six-year-olds, who need to be taught more technical skills.
“For that we need to change the way that their leagues are organised, Wissen Sie, and other forms of playing the game. So that is part and parcel of our Project Future.”
That future now belongs to Hansi Flick, as Low, 61, leaves the international stage after 17 years working with Germany — 15 of them as manager.
And he admits he will need time to let the disappointment of defeat to England sink in before he can look back on his achievements — which include a World Cup win in 2014 and a runners-up spot in the 2008 europäische Meisterschaft.
Low said: “It was definitely not the kind of farewell that everybody would have wished for. The disappointment after the defeat is huge, and sits very deep.
“I feel very, sehr, sorry that having lost to England, and having gone out of the tournament at such an early stage, we have disappointed so many fans.
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“I assume full responsibility without any ifs and buts for Germany’s exit. And I think I need more than a little time to cope with that disappointment.
“Looking back, there are lots of beautiful ecstatic moments, but also with arms of disappointment.
“What made me happy was that the team was often able to be in the top five, I would say, in the Fifa rankings.
“And Germany happened to be the benchmark for many other nations.
“We used to use other nations as our benchmark — Brazil, Argentinien, Spanien, Italien.
“But if you manage, if you look at all these countries, they find it quite difficult to always be among the top three or top four in the world.
"Wir, in contrast, did achieve that. And that is a source of satisfaction for me.
“To my successor, it goes without saying that my heart will keep on beating the German national colours of black, red and gold.
“But now, I need a period of time to relax and recover.”