Germany coach Hansi Flick had started his tenure in 2021 with an eight-game winning run and a promise to fans to get the four-time world champions back on the right track.
But Tuesday’s 2-0 home loss to Colombia in a friendly is their latest setback less than a year before they host Euro 2024.
Luis Diaz’s 54th-minute header and Juan Cuadrado’s late penalty gave the visitors their first victory over the Germans, who were booed at the end.
“Obviously I am very disappointed that we could not apply what we had set out to do,” said Flick, who is under mounting pressure since the early World Cup elimination.
“There are things that we wanted to try but they backfired.”
Germany, who have less than a year to build a battle-hardened team for the continental tournament, needed two late goals to draw 3-3 with Ukraine last week before Friday’s 1-0 loss to Poland.
They delivered an even worse performance against Colombia in Gelsenkirchen with Flick’s players lacking urgency in their game and any punch up front.
“What can I say? The arguments are not on our side at the moment. We have to analyse it, draw our lessons,” added Flick after three games without a win.
“This is a cycle that we need to break through. In September we have to bring a different performance. We will see a different team and then the results will start coming.
“We are convinced we have a good team and good players.”
The four-time world champions have won just one of their last five matches since their shock World Cup group-stage exit in December. They have also won only three of their last 11.
“Is he the right man for the job?” asked several German media in their online polls on Wednesday.
“A year before the Euro it looks like the coach and his team have lost all orientation,” Kicker football magazine wrote in a comment.
Midfielder Leon Goretzka said: “[The situation] is dramatic. We have to say that clearly. It’s difficult to explain.
“Everything is missing, all in all it’s far too little. It feels like the end of the season we had at Bayern – everything is going against us at the moment. We will keep going. We have to fight our way out of this – complaining about it doesn’t help now.”
When Flick took over two years ago Germany had just suffered a last-16 exit at the Euro in 2021 following their first World Cup first stage exit in more than 80 years in 2018.
Flick looked to be the perfect man for the job after his six-trophy run with Bayern Munich in 2020 and his years-long work with his Germany predecessor Joachim Low as his assistant coach which was capped by the 2014 World Cup triumph in Brazil.
But now his back is against the wall despite his assurances that the team will be completely different in their next set of internationals in September.
“We will see a different team,” Flick vowed. “We will stabilise the team and we will fine-tune it.
“We are positive for September because we are convinced we have a good team and good players.”
Germany host Japan on September 9 before entertaining France three days later. They then travel to North America to face the United States on October 14.
Flick has told Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller to expect a call-up for September’s games. Both captains have set their sights on next year’s Euros.
German fans, however, are quickly running out of patience having failed to see any clear signs of any recovery in recent months.
“Flick’s announcement that things ‘will be different in September’ now only sounds like a morale-boosting slogan,” Kicker said.
The Colombians looked far hungrier in attack, forcing Germany keeper Marc Andre ter Stegen to make a string of good saves in the first half, while Germany’s 21-year-old Malick Thiaw was impressive in defence.
The hosts had more than 65 per cent possession but did not manage a single shot on goal for the entire first period, often struggling to play the ball out of their own half.
The one-year countdown for the Euros has started as has the countdown for Flick to start delivering by September.
BILD slammed the head coach, however, running the headline: “He thinks he knows better. Totally puzzling what’s going on in Flick’s head!”
An additional poll running on Wednesday asked, ‘Is Flick the right man to be in charge for Euro 2024?’ At the time of writing, he only has 10 per cent of the vote. Jurgen Klopp is the favourite among readers, carrying 48 per cent.
Die Mannschaft have only won four of the last 16 games and only kept two clean sheets – against Oman and Peru.
Flick has been criticised for experimenting too much in the recent run of poor form, but BILD claim he does not see the severity of the situation.
His refusal to move away from using a back three despite the constant tinkering in personnel and the absence of a No 9 are chief among those criticisms.
“If the coach doesn’t take the games seriously, the fans should at least get free entry,” is one line from their report on the Colombia debacle.
Flick said defiantly: “My idea of football is exactly the right one for this team!”
Emre Can added after the game in Gelsenkirchen: “We shouldn’t question the coach.”
DFB technical director Rudi Voller said ominously: “There were some, we won’t see them again in September.”
But does that also apply to the coach?
Analysis: Voller must act now on Flick
Sky Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg:
“Abyss instead of a spirit of optimism. Whistles instead of cheers. The German national team has hit rock bottom. The team lacks quality and Hansi Flick is experimenting with the country in what is unsuccessful.
“It can’t go on like this, now technical director Rudi Voller has to act.
“There is no coaching discussion, the sports director emphasised three times speaking to the media since Sunday. After the latest, this whitewashing must be over. Voller must act now.
“As always, the truth is on the field: three failed tournaments in a row, three losses from the past four friendlies. Not a sense of accomplishment in the last two weeks. In addition, questionable personnel decisions against Colombia. For example, starting Robin Gosens, but only putting his difference-maker Niclas Fullkrug on the bench again.
“Even the national players criticise the team lacks a system and face. Tournament director Philipp Lahm even agrees with the public criticism in a Sky interview, so everyone at the DFB has to turn on the light.
“Unfortunately, Flick missed his chance to make amends.
“Everything was done on Tuesday evening at Schalke to finally create the spirit of optimism demanded by Flick for the home European Championship, which begins in a year. Instead, the DFB team was whistled at by their own fans after the game. One spectator even held up a placard. It said: ‘Flick out.’
“If he cannot show the DFB a 100-per-cent way out of the misery, then the paths must part immediately or Flick must resign.
“Julian Nagelsmann is available.”