The German Football Association yesterday confirmed that Hans-Dieter Flick (or Hansi Flick for short) would be taking over the reins from Joachim Löw once Euro 2020 has concluded, with the former Bayern Munich boss signing a deal that runs to 2024.
After a recent period of highs and lows with the Bavarian giants, Flick has decided to take on a new challenge with the German national side – a role that Löw has held for 15 years. In his time at Bayern, Flick originally joined the club as assistant to Niko Kovač in July 2019.
After an underwhelming start to the 2019/20 campaign, Kovač and Bayern parted ways in November and Flick took over on an interim basis. His first game saw Bayern defeat Olympiakos 2-0 in the UEFA Champions League group stage. After an up and down start, including a 4-0 victory over Der Klassiker rivals Borussia Dortmund, as well as defeats to Bayern Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach, Flick and Bayern did not look back. He had impressed enough to be awarded the role until the end of the season.
That decision paid dividends as the 56-year-old guided them to the Bundesliga title, the DFB-Pokal and UEFA Champions League, completing the continental treble for the second time in the club’s history. This success earned him the prestigious UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year Award. He finished the season with 32 wins in 35 games in all competitions – boasting the best ratio of any coach in Bayern’s history. Flick also led Bayern to the DFL-Supercup, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup in the following season, becoming the first ever Bayern manager to win the sextuple.
In April, Flick expressed his desire to leave at the end of the season as he wanted to coach the German national team. He left Bayern having won another Bundesliga, taking his trophy tally to seven - the same amount of games Bayern had lost during his tenure. On top of that, Flick ensured they were the first team in Champions League history to win all their matches as they lifted the trophy in 2019/20 as well as winning 23 domestic matches in a row, breaking a record in German football.
Many people will be familiar with his record-breaking time with Bayern but some may still be unfamiliar with his story and pathway into football, leading him to his new appointment as manager of the German national team.
Flick was born in the picturesque German town of Heidelberg in 1965. He enjoyed football, playing as a midfielder. When he was 18, he was part-way through an apprenticeship to become a bank clerk. He wanted to ensure that he had alternative career options if football did not work out. At the same time, he received an offer to join VFB Stuttgart, which he declined – and they subsequently went on to win the 1983/84 title.
His football breakthrough came at Sandhausen where he played as a midfielder in the German lower leagues from 1982 to 1985. He caught the eye of Bayern Munich and at age 20, he was snapped up by the German giants where he went on to make 137 appearances in five years. In that period, he won four Bundesliga titles as well as the 1986 DFB-Pokal. Moving on from Bayern he joined FC Köln, where he won another DFB-Pokal. Sadly, he was forced to call time on his playing career in 1992 after continuously struggling with serious injuries, at the age of 28.
Thinking ahead is a trait that always stuck with Flick, and he started his coaching badges in plenty of time. He received his professional license in 2003 after finishing joint-top of his class, alongside former Hamburg, Borussia Dortmund and Hannover boss Thomas Doll.
After several years on the touchline at his local amateur side in Bammental, Flick was appointed as Hoffenheim head coach in 2000. He helped lead the club's development over the next five years, earning promotion from the fourth to the third division and laying the groundwork for Ralf Rangnick to take the side up to Bundesliga 2 in 2007. Flick then had a short spell on the coaching staff at Salzburg under Giovanni Trapattoni.
On 23 August 2006, only a month after Joachim Löw had been installed as Germany head coach, Flick was appointed as Löw's assistant. Coincidentally, Löw's brother Markus had been the player signed to replace Flick at Sandhausen in 1985.
It was the first time in history that neither the Germany head coach or assistant had ever played for the country at the highest level, with Flick having only featured twice at U18 level. That made no difference to the drive of the pair, however, as they took the team to the peak of the international game. After finishing as runners-up at UEFA Euro 2008 and in third place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Die Mannschaft conquered the world at Brazil 2014 to earn Germany their jersey’s fourth star.
The World Cup glory earned Flick a special hometown honour. In November 2015, he was given the freedom of Bammental, the small town just outside Heidelberg where he lives with his wife Silke. He is the youngest-ever recipient of the award in the town, where he also runs a sports shop.
Joachim Löw was sensational at the helm of the German side and it looks like the future will be bright under his successor too.