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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 July 2006, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
After Klinsmann
By Chris Bevan

Jurgen Klinsmann (l) and Joachim Loew
Loew (r) has worked alongside Klinsmann since 2004

Jurgen Klinsmann's decision to step down as Germany coach has confirmed the World Cup party is well and truly over for the host nation.

It is less than a week since Klinsmann's young side capped an impressive showing by beating Portugal to claim third place.

His future following the tournament was always in doubt - and on Wednesday he confirmed the worst fears of every German fan by announcing he is to quit.

Those supporters had grave reservations about Klinsmann before the tournament began, but fell in love with him all over again once the World Cup actually got under way and his team played with such flair.

In replacing Klinsmann with his assistant Joachim Loew, the German FA have shown they have faith in the system he put in place.

Loew's appointment will mean Germany will continue to use the innovative training methods Klinsmann introduced - and keep playing the same attacking and entertaining football that became his trademark.

But can Loew maintain the momentum built up during the World Cup finals when Germany begin their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign in the autumn?

Paul Chapman, a journalist who has covered German football for 30 years, believes the transition will be seamless and that Loew is the right man for the job.

Chapman told BBC Sport: "Joachim's appointment makes it clear there is no new era, this is going to be an extension of the Klinsmann era. The German FA have decided his way is the right way.

"As Jurgen himself has said, all he has been is part of a team, so there will be no major change. All that will happen now is that Joachim becomes number one.

The fans are happy to see Joachim get the job, he is very likable and good at handling the press but his forte is handling young players

German football expert Paul Chapman

"Jurgen has revolutionised the way German football operates and it is just a case of continuing what he has put in place."

Loew's cause will be helped by the youth of the squad he has inherited - of the 23 man World Cup squad, only Oliver Khan and Jens Nowotny have now ended their international careers.

"No major players are disappearing," Chapman added. "Khan and Nowotny are retiring but everyone else is available.

"If Germany had gone for a different manager you would have seen new players come in and a different direction tactically.

"But that isn't going to happen. The squad will be the same - injuries allowing - for the first game of Euro 2008 qualifying as it was in the World Cup. "

However, Chapman is not convinced that Germany will find things easy as they try to negotiate a group that includes the Czech Republic, Republic of Ireland and Wales.

"It's going to be a hard and rocky road to Euro 2008," he added. "There are many reasons why Klinsmann has stepped down but the only reason I can think of for him to have stayed on would have been if he thought the players he had were good enough to win it.

"I don't think the team are quite as good as that. They had home advantage for the World cup and made the most of it.

"I don't think the fantastic optimism which has been rife in this country for the past few weeks will continue for long, but there should be enough left over to carry the team through the early stages of qualifying. They are a young side and they can only get better."

GERMANY'S EURO 2008 QUALIFYING OPPONENTS
Czech Republic
Slovakia
Republic of Ireland
Wales
Cyprus
San Marino

Loew, 46, won the German Cup as Stuttgart manager in 1997 and reached the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup the following year.

He has also coached Austria Vienna and managed Fenerbahce and Adanaspor in Turkey.

His personable approach has endeared him to the German players, and the public are also behind his appointment.

"We will miss Klinsmann looking like an excited schoolboy jumping up and down on the touchline. We all love him in Germany and he has been great for football as a player and a manager," Chapman added.

"But I can't see that too much will change under Loew. He is a personality too - not quite as bubbly as Jurgen, but near enough.

"When he became assistant manager in 2004 he was not in a job but he would have found one quickly.

"He is one of the more popular men in German football. The fans are happy to see him get the job, he is very likable and good at handling the press but his forte is handling young players.

"Success for him is probably going to be measured by reaching the last four in Austria and Switzerland.

"That will be very tough but if he gets the rub of the green with injuries early on I think things will go well for him. Nobody is going to be more successful with these players than him."

SEE ALSO
Germany team guide
22 May 06 |  Germany
Pick your Germany XI
31 May 06 |  Squad selectors
World Cup schedule
25 May 06 |  Schedule
Have your say on the World Cup
28 Apr 06 |  Football
BBC World Cup coverage
27 Apr 06 |  BBC coverage


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