The debate about high admission prices, late kick-off times and public training sessions flared up again at the restart following the debacle of the German national football team at the World Cup.
The DFB only managed a stutter start around the matches against world champions France and Peru. Mats Hummels said after the 0:0 against France: "Football is entertainment and a sport for the fans. We want to get people excited about us again."
The fan debate on the weekend also mixed with excitement about the venue of the test against Peru. Sinsheim instead of Frankfurt was the vote of the association. Allegedly because DFB President Reinhard Grindel was afraid that Frankfurt Ultras could torpedo the German bid with negative pictures of riots or Bengalos shortly before the European Championship 2024 was awarded. This was reported by "Der Spiegel" and referred to an internal mail change by the DFB leadership. The association presents this in a different way.
Another aspect had been at the forefront of the choice of location. "It was a thought to have a sold-out stadium," team manager Oliver Bierhoff said on Saturday evening on ZDF's "Sportstudio". The Rhein-Neckar-Arena, which is half the size of the Frankfurt stadium, could actually be filled with 26,000 spectators.
"The thoughts that I have also put forward in this e-mail - one week after the actions for the Monday match Eintracht Frankfurt against RB Leipzig - are understandable. But they were not decisive. The decisive factor was that we wanted a full stadium," said Grindel on Sunday evening at a DFB event in Heidelberg.
He was angry about the leakage of his concerns: "Nothing remains secret in football, so you have to accept that. It's not nice, I say that quite frankly."
Two full stadiums in Munich and Sinsheim as well as "an insanely large number of children" (Löw) on Saturday upon arrival at the team hotel in Heidelberg proved that interest in the national players had hardly suffered despite the sporting failure in Russia. Hummels and colleagues also eagerly signed autographs. The affection of the fans "did us all a lot of good", Marco Reus reported already in the Munich days. Nevertheless, an opportunity was missed. "We will work on the closeness, open the doors more often", Bierhoff had announced. The good resolution remained stuck in rudiments.
Löw tried verbosely to justify the continued renunciation of public training sessions. "The first days before the game in France were important, the team was together again for the first time," said the national coach about the isolated practice in Munich. And a final training was "not necessarily meaningful" for an open unit. Also in Sinsheim the stadium remained empty. "But in October and November we have planned to do that, that's where we'll do it," Löw promised. In Berlin and Leipzig, the fans should be able to watch Manuel Neuer and Co. training once each. "I take the needs of our fans seriously," Bierhoff said.
Löw would like to see more international matches in the early evening. "My opinion has been known for several years," he said on Saturday in Sinsheim: "Then the children could see the game. They are also the future. Especially at that age they have to be sensitized to football. We would all wish that we could play at 6 p.m., so that these children could see their idols."
However, the national coach referred to "decision-making processes that I, too, cannot influence to the same extent". The DFB is bound by contracts. The TV broadcasters achieve higher ratings for kick-off times after 20.00 hrs. In addition, UEFA dictates kick-off times for matches such as the newly introduced Nations League.
This makes fan campaigns outside the matches all the more important. "We were complacent, we took the support of the fans for granted," Bierhoff said self-critically.
In the match against France there was a special choreography in the Munich Arena. The German supporters waved black, red and gold flags on the stands and formed a heart. This was on the one hand a message to the national players, but at the same time a message to other European countries. The DFB's bid for the 2024 European Championship runs under the motto "United by Football - United in the Heart of Europe". SuperLenny Sports is a nice sportsbook with neat and clear design.