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Germany's Bierhoff steps aside after World Cup exit


Berlin, Dec 5, 2022 (AFP) - Germany's team director Oliver Bierhoff has stepped aside two years early after his country crashed out in the group stage for the second consecutive World Cup, the national association said Monday.

The four-time World Cup winners had a poor campaign in Qatar, which included defeat against Japan in their opening game.

Bierhoff and the German Football Association (DFB) have agreed "to terminate his contract, which runs until 2024, early," the association said in a statement.

Former striker Bierhoff, who scored two goals in the Euro 1996 final when Germany last won the tournament, had worked for the body since 2004.

Bierhoff was an influential and very public figure alongside coaches Juergen Klinsmann, then Joachim Loew before Hansi Flick took over in 2021.

DFB president Bernd Neuendorf said in a statement that Bierhoff had "rendered great services to the (association)".

While the last few tournaments "fell short", he would still be remembered for "great moments", Neuendorf said, highlighting his work at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which Germany won.

"Even in turbulent times, he always pursued his goal and vision, and leaves a lasting mark on the DFB," he added.

The early exit for coach Flick's team has left Germany's once fearsome reputation in tatters.

Germany also crashed out four years ago in Russia, and went out in the last 16 in last year's European Championship.

Neuendorf and Flick have called for an overhaul of Germany's youth development system before the country hosts the 2024 European Championship.

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