Winning Is the Name of the Brand

Oliver Bierhoff-Christian Charisius-dpa
German national team manager Oliver Bierhoff has kept a firm hand on the national team's brand.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The national team is a brand, said Mr. Bierhoff, and product is constantly changing. The basic requirement is winning, and losing has an immediate impact.

  • Facts


    • After the war, German teams were allowed to compete again beginning in the 1954 World Cup. The West German team won the title that year.
    • The far-right Alternative for Germany party has criticized national team player Mesut Özil for posting photos of his pilgrimage to Mecca on social media.
    • German national team jerseys are not selling as well as they have done in the past.
  • Audio


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Oliver Bierhoff knew how to market himself as a player and he knows how to market the national team today.

The striker, who played on the German national soccer team from 1996 to 2002, scored the title winning “golden goal” 20 years ago in the Euro 1996 final.

In an interview with Handelsblatt, before Sunday’s match against Ukraine, which the Germans won 2-0, the friendly, straight-talking team manager talked about the many changes and challenges afoot in professional soccer today and also shared this views on politics and his possible plans for the future.


Handelsblatt: Mr. Bierhoff, you want to make a brand out of the German national team. What does it stand for today?

Oliver Bierhoff: For fairness, diversity and tolerance. But also for commitment and the will to win. The national team has always stood for something. For example, when the German team was allowed to compete in the 1954 World Cup, there was a feeling, “We are somebody again!” With the 1990 world championship, it was a feeling of greater strength immediately before unification. And the 2014 World Cup showed a completely new image of German players, some of them with immigrant backgrounds. The national team is Germany’s darling.

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