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Portrait of an iconic manager – Joachim Low

Joachim Low has been at the helm of the German national team for over a decade now and has overseen some of the biggest talents in modern football during his reign at the national team.

Low started out as midfielder for SC Freiburg in 1978 and had a nomadic career after leaving them two years later. He went on to have short spells with VfB Stuttgart, Eintracht Frankfurt, Karlsruher, FC Schaffhausen, FC Winterthur, FC Frauenfeld and in between two more spells with SC Freiburg, for whom he went on to make close to 300 league appearances, scoring around 80 goals.

His initial managerial career was no less nomadic as he went on to manage Frauenfeld, VfB Stuttgart, then the Turkish giants Fenerbahce, before returning to Germany with Karlsruher, then back to Turkey again only this time with Adanaspor. Low then had season long spells with Tirol Innsbruck and Austria Wien before becoming assistant to then Germany national team boss Jurgen Klinsmann in 2004.

However, after Klinsmann left the German national team following a successful 2006 World Cup campaign that saw the Germans reach the semi-final, the national team job fell to Low. And he has led them admirably since, taking them to World Cup glory in Brazil at 2014, World Cup.

Tactics and man-management (Strengths)

When most managers continue to be demagogues – sticking to tried and tested methods despite having alternatives to try especially when the original tactics do not work, Low has shown great flexibility.

He isn’t afraid to drop big names and change tactics mid tournament or even during the course of the match, if it is advantageous to his team.

The manager opted for a 4-3-3 formation at the successful 2014 World Cup campaign, and adopted Pep Guardiola’s tactic of employing Philippe Lahm at the base of midfield, during the initial stage of the competition. However, he switched the team captain to right-back once it became clear that Lahm added more to the team as a defender.

Low has been employing a 4-2-3-1 in the recent friendlies as well as the 2016 Euros.

Best Spell as a manager

Undoubtedly, Low has been most successful during his stint with the national team. To break it down further, his team have looked at their best since their third place finish at the 2012 European Championship.

Greatest players in his legendary teams

It is no exaggeration to say that Low’s spell has been greatly helped by the emergence of some of the players that will surely go down in football history as greats. Michael Ballack, Manuel Neuer, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil, Miroslav Klose to name a few, have all been fantastic.


Low’s success with the national team means, his shoes will be big to fill for whoever comes in next.

Place amongst greats

Low’s success has been confined to the German national team, and it is hard to call him a modern day managerial great with only one notable success.

VfB Stuttgart
DFB-Pokal: 1996–97
UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup Runner-up: 1997–98
FC Tirol Innsbruck
Austrian Football Bundesliga: 2001–02
FK Austria Wien
Austrian Supercup: 2003
FIFA World Cup: Winner 2014; Third place 2010 World Cup
UEFA European Championship: Runner up 2008; Third place 2012

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