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Euro 2020: Jurgen Klinsmann on Joachim Low, who is in his final days as Germany manager

I still text Joachim Low to wish him luck before every big game, so I’ll be sending him a message before we play Hungary. I’m desperately hoping this isn’t his last game as Germany manager.

I got to know Joachim when we did our coaching badges together in 2000 and he has been one of my closest friends since we started our journey together with Germany in 2004, when I asked him to be my assistant.

He has been the manager himself since 2006, which is just incredible. This is his seventh major finals in charge, and that is a such a long time to have any job in football.

There is a lot for him to be proud of, too. Not only did he take us to win the World Cup in 2014, he has done 15 years of brilliant strategic work.

Germany manager Joachim Low celebrates winning the 2014 World Cup
Low, 61, was in charge when Germany beat hosts Brazil 7-1 on the way to winning the 2014 World Cup. He has a contract until the 2022 World Cup but announced in March that he will step down as boss after Euro 2020

Overall, he will be remembered for a time when there was so much joy for German football fans, and so much positivity around the team.

The most important thing, though, is that he is a great guy – loyal, trustworthy and always a lot of fun to be around.

Joachim is a brilliant manager but a humble man – I’d describe him as ‘one of the people’ because, when you know him, he acts just like a normal person, even though he is an outstanding one.

Graphic showing Group F after two games: 1st France, 2nd Germany, 3rd Portugal & 4th Hungary
The final round of fixtures in Group F take place at 20:00 BST on Wednesday, with only France certain of progressing. Germany would finish top if they beat Hungary and Portugal beat France, but they would finish fourth and be eliminated from Euro 2020 if they lose and Portugal draw or win. A Germany draw would be enough for them to progress, regardless of what happens in the other game.

It will be the end of an amazing era when he steps down after Euro 2020 and I am really happy for him to be going on to the next moment in his life. He’ll do well in his next challenge, wherever it is, I’m sure of that.

Before then, I really want him to go out on a high at this European Championship – showing everyone he is a fantastic manager. He deserves that so much.

I obviously wish him the title, but Germany don’t necessarily have to win Euro 2020 to make it a successful tournament. How we play will be a big part of that.

We have to get out of our group first, but if we can perform like we did against Portugal in our last game, with more exciting football, then even if we just reached the semi-final, I think people would give Joachim the utmost respect for what he has done.

Joachim Low and Jurgen Klinsmann in 2015
Klinsmann succeeded Low as Germany manager in 2006. The two were in different dug-outs in 2015 when Klinsmann’s United States side beat Low’s Germany 2-1 in a friendly

Portugal win a ‘big stepping stone’

I thought we played pretty well against a very strong France team in our first game in Group F, but defeat left us a little bit with our backs against the wall.

I still had a good feeling, though, because the talent and the quality is there in this Germany team.

The question we all had prior to the tournament was: how is the chemistry? How would the return of Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels to the squad influence the overall atmosphere and the group?

I think they showed with their response in that 4-2 win over Portugal that they are getting along – it’s only a stepping stone as a result, but it’s a very big one in the right direction because of what came before it.

Germany have had a rough three years, with the disaster at the 2018 World Cup where we did not get out of our group, followed by the disappointment in the Nations League.

The big shock was in Russia, where for some reason the team didn’t find a chemistry. We didn’t have any rhythm and the joy of playing was missing. Things did not really fit together afterwards either.

Now, though, it feels different. The way we kept going in that performance on Saturday made me believe this team have melted together and found each other again as a group. Joachim deserves some credit for that, of course.

Kimmich is Germany’s Kante

There is always a lot of young talent coming through the German system and we have some excellent youngsters now, such as Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry and Kai Havertz.

We also have a very young leader in Joshua Kimmich, who is a bit like N’Golo Kante for France – quiet but extremely influential.

Joachim made the decision to bring the experience of Muller and Hummels back for this European Championship. Muller is a little like a connector to everyone, while Hummels is technically gifted and has such great vision.

Joachim knows that Mats’ strength is not speed – we saw that against France, and that run by Kylian Mbappe when I felt sorry for him! – but the others can cover his lack of pace.

This is how we ended up in the 3-4-3 formation we play right now, and it looks as if the players are enjoying it. I just hope that continues against Hungary, and takes us into the last 16.

People are thinking ‘we can win this thing’

Before Euro 2020, a lot of people in Germany were just hoping we got out of such a difficult group.

Now, after beating Portugal – the reigning European champions – expectations back home have changed to: “Oh, we can win this thing!”

So emotions are going to the extreme now – and we will go game to game like that, until we win it or are knocked out.

It is Joachim’s job to ignore that and keep a balance within the camp, because it is the dynamic in the inner circle which will make the difference on whether we go deep into the tournament or not.

I played in six major international finals, have coached at more, and the other ones I did media work – and, from my experience, success comes down as much to the energy and drive of the squad, and whether they support each other, as the quality of the players.

I’m feeling positive for Germany because it looks like we have that hunger back. Anything could happen in the knockout stages, but of course we have to get there first.

Jurgen Klinsmann was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

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