When the curtains close on this summer’s rescheduled Euro 2020, the managerial doors will also slide shut on Joachim Low’s staggering 15-year tenure in charge of the German national team.
The long-serving World Cup winning manager, who will step aside a year early, replaced Jurgen Klinsmann back in July 2006; at a time when current England manager Gareth Southgate had just started his own managerial journey with Middlesbrough, while The Three Lions were in the process of swapping Sven-Goran Eriksson for Steve McClaren.
In his first tournament Low led Germany to the Euro 2008 Final, where they lost to Spain. His troops then fell to the same opponents at the semi-final stage of the 2010 World Cup, finishing 3rd.
Italy beat Germany in the Euro 2012 semi-finals (3rd), however it was Germany who claimed the spoils at the 2014 World Cup thanks to an injury-time winner from Mario Gotze against Argentina.
At Euro 2016 they again reached the semi-final stage (4th), this time losing to France, while they endured an uncharacteristically poor defence of their World Cup in Russia where they failed to get out of the group stages.
Low will now have the chance to bounce back from that disappointment and end on a high by winning Germany the Euros, but for the moment attention will turn to the identity of his successor.
Below we take a look at five potential candidates to succeed Low as manager of the Germany national team…
The Blockbuster Name: Jurgen Klopp
“If I am asked one day and I am available then I would think about it,” Jurgen Klopp said in 2018.
He’s widely expected to take charge of his country at some point but aged just 53 he still has plenty of time ahead of him in managerial terms, so whether he's ready to depart club management just yet is debatable.
He’s conjured up tremendous success at Liverpool, with whom he’s led to domestic, European and Worldwide glory since taking charge in 2015.
But the Reds have endured a rotten 2021 to date, during which they have exited the FA Cup and dropped to 8th in the Premier League - 22 points adrift of leaders Man City and seven points off the top-four - leading to rumours (only rumours) that Klopp could potentially leave.
Only Klopp, who contracted until 2024, knows what he wants to do next but if he is considering a fresh challenge then this could be a tempting opportunity.
Jurgen Klopp will inevitably be linked to the Germany job
The Favourite: Stefan Kuntz
A Euro 1996 winner as a player, during which he scored against England in the semi-finals, Stefan Kuntz has been installed as the early favourite to replace Low.
In the late-90s/early-00s Kuntz had brief spells in management at the likes of Borussia Neunkirchen, Karlsruher SC, Waldhof Mannheim and LR Ahlen, before he became athletic director of VfL Bochum then the chairman of 1. FC Kaiserslautern.
Since 2016 he’s been tasked with developing the country’s young players at the helm of Germany U21s. He won the U21s Euros the following year with a side that contained the likes of Serge Gnabry and former Crystal Palace player Max Mayer.
Could Germany now look to appoint within the national set-up once again?
The Young Gun: Julian Nagelsmann
He’s been and continues to be linked with pretty much every high-profile job, so why not the German national team?
Julian Nagelsmann is currently mounting a Bundesliga title charge with RB Leipzig, with whom he’s been in charge of since 2019 following a breakthrough couple of years at Hoffenheim.
He famously took over the latter aged just 28 and has since swiftly become famed for his innovation, tactically flexibility and social competence.
Whether he fancies a leap into the international arena so early on in his career is unknown, but we get the feeling he’ll cross that bridge later on in his career.
For now we expect him to stay on at RB Leipzig next season, or alternatively bag himself a top European job. Real Madrid perhaps?
Could Julian Nagelsmann be an option?
The Experienced Head: Ralf Rangnick
The German managerial maestro may not have managed his homeland yet, although he did come close to taking the England job in 2016, only to lose out to Sam Allardyce.
The 62-year-old is famed for his pressing philosophy which has influenced an abundance of managers in his homeland and further afield; from Jurgen Klopp to Thomas Tuchel and Julian Nagelsmann.
The timing could suit both parties with Rangnick, who was recently linked with Chelsea and Celtic, looking for a new project following his exit from the Red Bull franchise.
The Outsider: Jesse Marsch
A non-German has never taken charge of the German national team, but could the country change direction in a bid to bring success flooding back?
Currently managing in the Austrian league with RB Salzburg, Jesse Marsch is a 20/1 outsider to land the german gig. The American coach, who now speaks fluent German, led his troops to the league and cup double in his first season at the helm (2019/20), a thrilling campaign during which he was placed in the wider European spotlight following an engrossing 4-3 defeat to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the Champions League.
Marsch, who is on course for a second successive league title, was previously named MLS Coach of the Year at New York Red Bulls and like many managers is influenced by the pressing football of the aforementioned Ralf Rangnick.
Other foreign managers in the betting market include Rafa Benitez (14/1), Jose Mourinho (20/1) and Arsene Wenger, 8/1, who is a fairly short price in what would be a shock return to management. However, you don’t get more experienced bosses out there than the Frenchman who may fancy one more managerial adventure before he officially retires.