Former Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said Pep Guardiola is partly to be blamed for the national team’s decline, telling British radio station Talksport that Germany lost some of their values because of the way the Spaniard coached during his time in the Bundesliga.
“When Pep Guardiola joined Bayern Munich, when he came to the country, everyone believed we have to play this kind of football, like short passes and everything. We were kind of losing our values,” Schweinsteiger said.
Schweinsteiger, who works as a TV pundit, played under Guardiola for two seasons at Bayern following the former Barcelona coach’s arrival in Munich in 2013. Schweinsteiger left the club in 2015, while Guardiola left for Manchester City in 2016.
It was a trophy-laden spell for the Bavarians under Guardiola, winning three Bundesliga titles, two German Cups and a Club World Cup. However, the Bavarians lost in the semifinals of the Champions League in each of their three seasons under Guardiola.
“I think most of the other countries were looking at Germany as a fighter, we can run until the end and everything. The strengths got lost through the last seven, eight years. We forgot about that and were more focused on playing the ball nicely to each other. That’s one of the reasons,” Schweinsteiger said of Germany’s decline since 2016.
Joachim Löw was Germany coach at the time, having led the team to the World Cup title in 2014 with Schweinsteiger playing a key role. Germany reached the semifinals of Euro 2016, but has disappointed at major tournaments since.
Germany flopped with a group stage exit at the 2018 World Cup, reached only the second round of Euro 2020, and was knocked out in the group stage again at the World Cup last year.
Under Löw’s replacement Hansi Flick, Germany won only three of their 11 games last season. The team was whistled by their own fans during and after a 2-0 loss at home to Colombia last month and confidence is low before the country hosts Euro 2024 next year.
Meanwhile, Guardiola has been enjoying success with City, leading the Abu Dhabi-backed club to their first Champions League trophy last season, as well as the Premier League and FA Cup titles.