Oliver Bierhoff has admitted that ‘mistakes were made’ in the Mesut Ozil saga over the summer that resulted in the German retiring from international football indefinitely.
Oliver Bierhoff’s comments come a week after Reinhard Grindel, whom Mesut Ozil named in his letter as part of the structural racism problem at the German FA (DfB), was forced to stand down for accepting a luxury watch.
“A lot of mistakes were made, including by me,” he said. “In the end, nobody came out of it looking good.”
You probably don’t remember what Bierhoff said at the time, so let me remind you.
Before the World Cup kicked off in Russia, Mesut Ozil made a terrible error of judgement. For reasons he explained at length after initially refusing to explain, Ozil posed with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
With Turkish ancestry, it initially doesn’t seem like a strange thing to do. But coming on the eve of the World Cup, with the German nation already concerned about their team that looked like it was going through the motions, what might have been easily dismissed as stupidity from Ozil for posing with someone like Erdogan, turned into a major national incident.
Chancellors and MPs got involved. Pundits across the country called for Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan, who was also present, to be dropped from the team. Gundogan spoke about his regret, but Mesut Ozil stayed silent.
“We have never forced players of the German national squad to do something, but always tried to convince them of a cause,” Bierhoff said at the time, in reference to their attempts to get Özil to apologise. “We did not succeed with Mesut.
“In that respect, considerations should have been made about whether to leave out [of the World Cup squad] Özil from a sporting point of view.”
Bierhoff wanted Ozil to apologise or be dropped.
But don’t worry, after helping turn most of the nation against the Arsenal man, Bierhoff has realised ‘mistakes’ were made.