Eternal Joachim Loew who 'shaped an era' turns 60

Joachim Low celebrates his 60th birthday as Germany coach, just as his 50th. But he says he won't be around anymore when he turns 70.

By Klaus Bergmann,  Germany coach Joachim Loew turns 60 on Monday but is not really thinking about retirement - although he doesn't see himself still working in 10 years time.
The former Freiburg striker has spent the last 16 years with the national team, first as Juergen Klinsmann's assistant between 2004 and 2006, and since then as head coach.
His career culminated in Germany's fourth World Cup title 2014 in Brazil, but he also had to swallow an embarrassing group stage exit 2018 in Russia, and is now in the process of reshaping the team for Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup.
But first comes the big day Monday, and Loew readily admits it feels different than turning 40 or 50.
"You have a little respect for the age and the number," Loew said. "It was the retirement age in the past. Maybe it is not the case today."
Loew names coaching at 70 "unthinkable" but even though he has a contract until 2022 he is aware that his future will depend on how new-look Germany fare at the Euros in summer where they face world champions France, title holders Portugal and a yet to be determined opponent in a tricky group stage.
"Of course you are measured by your success as a coach," Loew told the Bild am Sonntag and Welt am Sonntag Sunday papers.
"The years of taking things for granted are over. We must start from zero and work for everything, step by step, with passion, enthusiasm and conviction."
None of his current players have ever played under a different coach, even captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer who has been part of the team since 2009.
"He has been around for a long time. But he has always moved with the times," Neuer said of Loew who has been in charge of a national record 181 games.
Klinsmann, now coach at Hertha Berlin, praised Loew as always being relaxed even in the most tense times, and Loew's former assistant Hansi Flick, now at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, said Loew has "shaped an era."
"He shaped the change of the game plan. He can lead a team very well and give it strength," Flick said.
Loew likes the thrill of big tournaments but has never been a man for the spotlight, despite often standing out with his sunglasses and trademark scarf.
He can move around freely in his home town of Freiburg and even the separation from wife Daniela in 2016 went almost unnoticed.
Loew has climbed Africa's highest Peak, Mt Kilimanjaro, and keeps fit, not only through kicking around a ball with friends.
"I live more consciously as in younger years, also for health reasons," Loew has said.
However, his fitness regime also made him miss games for the first time in his Germany coaching era - two matches last year after a barbell hit his chest which squeezed a artery.
"That wasn't without danger," Loew admitted, while the team went out to win the matches with assistant Marcus Sorg.
That showed things also work out without the eternal Loew.

Sunday, February 2nd 2020
By Klaus Bergmann,

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