The Most Important Man in Germany This Month Is Its Soccer Coach


The rise of the far right, though, is not the only crisis facing Germany. The economy is in the doldrums: Only 28 percent of businesses say things are going well, according to a recent survey, and trust in Mr. Scholz’s government has slumped. Southern Germany is reeling from flooding that killed six people in June, while the major transportation waterways of the Rhine and the Danube dry up so frequently that shipping regularly has to be suspended.

“There is the economy, a lack of innovation, problems with infrastructure, inflation, sluggish bureaucracy,” Dr. Echterhoff, the psychology professor, said, ticking off Germany’s woes like a grocery list. “And that is before we come to multiple international crises, like Russia’s war in Ukraine. All of it together has put German self-esteem under real threat.”

It is little wonder, then, that the buildup to the European Championship has been relatively muted.

“The thing about the mood, especially the mood in the country, is that you can’t really measure it,” Dirk Peitz, a columnist for the newspaper Die Zeit, wrote this week. All he could do, he said, was use himself as a sample of one. “I don’t feel it, this tournament. Not at all.”

In the buildup to the Euros, Germany’s team has leaned into the iconography of its diversity. Adidas, the team’s primary sponsor, crafted an advertising campaign playing with the idea of what is, and what is not, “typical German.” Gundogan, born in Germany to Turkish parents, features prominently. Nagelsmann, unconventionally young, does, too.

Most telling, though, is one of the ad’s opening shots, which follows a fan wearing a Croatian jersey under a German one. In a country where about 30 percent of the population can claim immigrant roots, supporting two teams is now as “typically German” as Goethe, Schiller and winning on penalties.



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