Das Reboot Back: The Second New Dawn of German Football

The German Football Association decided, after serious internal debate, and not a bit of conflict, that it needed to revolutionize youth football to remain competitive internationally.

After a two-year pilot project, the German Football Association will now review youth football programs across the country to increase skills, reduce dropout rates and increase fun. There is also a stylistic component to this: focus on improving the touches on the ball while decreasing the tilt of its head.

But like any change in DFB, a certain amount of blood was shed along the way.

The most significant changes will occur at the U11, U9 and U7 levels. Regional associations must now have clubs to offer FUNIño The concept is in a gradual way so that it will be available to all players over the next three years. This youth training concept was developed by German coach Horst Wien and built around matches played on smaller pitches with fewer players attacking and defending “mini-goals” at each end of the pitch, rather than a big goal. It is placed centrally. Thus each side must attack and defend two small goals instead of one normal goal.

Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland embraced this concept some time ago and many experts were harsh in their criticism that Germany was late in raising youth training standards to the latest.

Matthias Lochmann, coach and professor at the Department of Sports Sciences at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, has been particularly critical of the reckless rate of change in the German Football Association. Lochmann worked with the German Football Association in the field until he was unceremoniously dismissed in 2019. Now it appears that the governing body has taken his way of thinking. This has not prevented the professor from speaking out on the issue, telling The Athletic, “Austria is now more advanced than Germany. Germany is doing everything it can to be slow and make a lot of mistakes.”

The new program also faces logistical and cultural obstacles. Coordination requires more coaches and new training for older coaches to get familiar with new concepts quickly. However, the German federation hopes that these changes will lead to the production of more professional players and national teams in the next six to ten years.

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