p>Germany legend Michael Ballack has said he expected the DFB (German Football Association) to show Joachim Löw the door after he oversaw their worst World Cup campaign since 1938.

"I was surprised as well as many other people that he kept his job," Ballack told DW. "For a long time he worked with the team and sometimes you should say that things don't work anymore when you're so long with a certain team.

"As an outsider, I wished for German football that Löw had gone out on top, because when you have talented players you shouldn't talk about other things, which was the case before the World Cup."

"You must pay attention to the result you achieved," Ballack, 42, said. "The World Cup was a huge disappointment and there were reasons for that. You should analyze it, really, and not just say 'we will analyze that' when you have already made the decision to keep the coach. That's not a real analysis.

"There should not just be one person who is making these decisions. There should be more people in the German federation and a better structure,” Ballack said. "I think they can improve this for sure. But this has nothing to do with the performance on the pitch. That's an excuse for players sometimes, but we shouldn't forget these things. 

‘Mentality issue' 

For Ballack, Germany's struggles in Russia and beyond are a mental issue rather than a decline in the team's ability. He believes that only the players can explain why they were so poor in Russia, with many of the 23 having been part of the team that won the tournament four years earlier. 

"It was a kind of mentality issue, because the quality doesn't drop down so much in four years that you can't challenge or you can't advance past the first round. So of course it was a mental thing," Ballack said. 

"What was the problem? The hunger, the desire, the fighting spirit, there was much speculation. The only true answer can be provided by the players themselves." 

Ballack didn't criticize Löw for sticking with the core of players that won Germany the World Cup in 2014, saying it was "completely normal" to keep the faith in those circumstances. But he added that Löw must still answer for his decisions and that he should have been "professional enough" to make the right decision on his future. 

"It was obviously the case that some of them were not at that level. And you could see it before that one or more positions were doubtful or questionable... that's why there are people who are responsible for judging whether he is still the right guy. 


‘No one needed' Özil-Erdogan affair 

"There was an issue that was... yeah, no one needs that before the World Cup and no one needs that in general, that discussion. He made the decision he did, we have to accept it and the German national team has to move forward.

"We know in football that sometimes things move quickly, and he should be focused on Arsenal now, on his football, he should be happy again when he's on the pitch. Because that's what footballers should do, make headlines on the pitch, not off it.

'Golden youth'

"I'm positive [for the future] because I see really good players that compare with France. France did a really good job in the recent years with the way they play and the kind of players they have, so that's something we could look at.

"Even if we have been really good for eight years before becoming world champions, you must still ask yourself [questions] every day in football, because football is really quick. We shouldn't lose our advantage which we had in the years before just because we think we are good.

"We must pay attention to the youth and have an idea, and put the best people in [charge of] the youth, because that's the gold we have. If we put the quality in the youth then you have a good chance of bringing more talents out."