Germany woke to gloomy headlines of “chaos” and “humiliation” on Monday after the defending World Cup champions fell 1-0 to Mexico in a shock opening defeat in Russia.
Long used to the dominance of their national team, Germans are digesting their team’s first defeat in a World Cup opening match in 36 years and wondering what will come next.
“Defensive chaos at the world champions,” splashed the country’s best-selling newspaper Bild across its sports section. “Now it is about survival at the World Cup.”
Berlin’s Morgenpost wrote, “Germany have lost their way.”
The Germans, World Cup winners in Brazil four years ago, were one of the pre-tournament favourites but the defeat means there will be no room for error when they face Sweden and South Korea in their remaining Group F games.
The four-time winners have reached at least the semi-finals at every World Cup since 2002.
“(Joachim) Loew does not want to change his plan,” wrote the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper. “Now Germany is under pressure.”
The German coach is in the crosshairs after sticking with a lacklustre Mesut Ozil instead of speedy in-form winger Marco Reus, and setting his team up in such a way that allowed the Mexicans to launch countless counter-attacks.
Loew, who has been in charge since 2006 and recently signed a contract extension to 2022, also raised eyebrows a few weeks ago when he did not include Leroy Sane, the English Premier League’s young player of the year, in his final World Cup squad.
“Past good practices don’t work anymore,” wrote the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. “He cannot go on as he has done in the last 12 years.”
The Germans next play Sweden on June 23 before facing South Korea in their final group game four days later.
“The humiliation was homemade. Loew must now change direction,” said Die Welt.