DUSSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - German football will need to undertake major steps to remain competitive globally, the world champions’ team manager Oliver Bierhoff said on Wednesday ahead of their friendly against Spain this week.
Along with the World Cup they won in 2014, the Germans were also successful at last year’s Confederations Cup and are Under-21 European champions. However, Bierhoff said changes were needed to remain at the top.
“I am convinced good work is being done in German football, we are Confederations Cup winners, Under-21 European champions but we cannot only look at this generation,” former Germany striker Bierhoff told reporters.
“We have to look at the development. You don’t have to be an expert to see that we need to take the next big step. We need to take a big step united.
“We must be able to react quicker to things. We must give the coaches information, guidelines and pointers to react to certain things.”
Bierhoff’s comments come after Germany coach Joachim Loew said Bundesliga clubs were teaching players to play against the ball too much and not what to do when they have possession. He warned that could affect the country’s future prospects as other nations had caught up.
Germany, four-time World Cup winners, overhauled the youth training system after disappointing results at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.
Around 80 million euros ($98 million) per year flowed into new and obligatory youth training centres of Bundesliga clubs as an exciting generation of players was forged.
The result has been Germany reaching the final or semi-final stage in the last six consecutive tournaments.
“There is a lot of working against the ball, a lot of systems, everyone knows them by heart but maybe we neglected the individual aspects a bit,” Bierhoff said.
“It is important to invest in football and not just in transfers.”
The Germans, who play Brazil four days after Friday’s match with Spain, have been drawn in Group F at the World Cup in Russia starting in June, along with Mexico, South Korea and Sweden.
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Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Christian Radnedge