Germany's problems to continue like Spain's did - Fulham's Andre Schurrle
Fulham forward Andre Schurrle has suggested that Germany's current struggles might continue for years to come, just as Spain had problems after winning the World Cup in 2010.
Germany suffered a turbulent 2018, which included elimination at the group stage of the World Cup, Mesut Ozil withdrawing from international football citing racism and relegation from their Nations League group after finishing behind France and the Netherlands.
Schurrle viewed much of this from the outside as the forward was not picked in last summer's World Cup squad and hasn't subsequently been selected by Joachim Low, but he compared the side's fight to rediscover their 2014 World Cup-winning peak with Spain's similar process of transition, and warned it could take a long time.
"Seeing the team losing like this and going out at the group stage was not easy," Schurrle said. "Even if you are not selected, you still support your country.
"I wanted them to win because I know all of the guys and how much work they put in and how good they can be. Now is the time in Germany to have a transition. It will take time.
"You saw Spain after their three titles, and they are still in transition mode because they didn't find this team to be at [their] best. It's going to be the same with Germany."
Schurrle, on loan at Fulham from Borussia Dortmund, was cagey when discussing Ozil. The Arsenal playmaker stepped away from the national team in July, shortly after the World Cup exit, when he said that he would "no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect."
Ozil pointed to his treatment at the hands of the German football community and the wider public, after he and Ilkay Gundogan met Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May, for which both were strongly criticised. Ozil stated that this was simply the latest example of discrimination against him since he chose to represent the country of his birth in 2006, rather than his parents' home country of Turkey.
"No, I haven't spoken to him [since the announcement]," Schurrle said. "It was a huge discussion in Germany about his exit.
"I wasn't there so I cannot say what really happened or what the situation was. Obviously, he was a main person in the national team for so many years. To have him out of the team is not nice."
Schurrle moved to Craven Cottage after a difficult couple of years at Dortmund, who had paid Wolfsburg €30 million for his services in 2016.
"It was maybe not that much on my shoulders," Schurrle said, when asked about that price tag. "But everybody looked at me that way, the media and the fans as well: 'OK they paid €30m for this guy, let's see what he can do.'
"The media was not really on my side, the fans as well because they wanted to get more out of me because I cost that much. For me now it's completely different.
"I come to Fulham on loan, they haven't paid anything for me. I'm just here to play football and they see that I want to give everything. I get the feeling that they give me something so that I can be at my best.
"They don't think: 'OK, he cost this much, or he cost that much, he needs to score more goals or something.' That's a little bit easier for me, for sure."