Hooray for the basketball players! However, Germany’s top sports are still declining.

In Germany, there is an Institute for Generational Research that has just presented its latest survey and raised an alarm for sports: it is losing significance – on both the active and passive sides. The lives of Generation Z, today’s „young people,“ are dominated by social media consumption, especially TikTok videos, which only require 15 to 20 seconds of attention and then drive the user to the next, even bigger sensation through algorithms. A soccer game with its grueling 90 to 100 minutes cannot compete with that. And if you think that at least the 100-meter race at the Athletics World Championships should be captivating – well, people just run straight ahead. Can’t they do any tricks or something?

Das Zukunftsszenario ist ein düsteres, die kommenden Jahre werfen in Deutschland ihre Schatten voraus. Spitzensport „Made in Germany“ ist auf dem absteigenden Ast. Wenn er noch funktioniert, dann aufgrund privater Initiative oder weil Personen bewusst das deutsche Sportsystem aufbrechen.

Zur Ausbildung nach Nordamerika

Cheers to the basketball world champions! However, it must be acknowledged that the team was carried by players who pursue their profession in the USA, where they find the highest level in their sport. Over there, in the relentless competition, one becomes as good as they can never be at home. In ice hockey, where the Germans sensationally became vice world champions in May, the majority of players come from the domestic league, but almost everyone on the team has received training in Canada or the USA as juniors and has benefited from it, even if it didn’t lead to a top career in the National Hockey League. Putting oneself through a tough selection process in a training camp during the summer can be a valuable experience.

The most spectacular German athlete has also turned his attention to the USA: the decathlete Leo Neugebauer. At his university in Texas, 250 million US dollars are invested in sports, and athletes like Neugebauer are a flagship that the university proudly showcases. The young man from Leinfelden-Echterdingen is provided with three coaches and does not have to worry about his livelihood. In Germany, he would have to get by with a few hundred euros from the honorable foundation Deutsche Sporthilfe and would be allowed to use the facilities of the nearest Olympic training center. It is also a privilege – but not comparable.

No international training groups, please!

German track and field athletes have suggested that international training groups could be formed in Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, Kornwestheim, or wherever the national coaches of the disciplines operate. However, this is not possible – national coaches are paid with taxpayer money and are only allowed to strengthen their own people, not the competition.

The football, which recently failed in all tournaments, has conditions that other sports can only dream of. The problems here are self-inflicted. Clubs and associations have basked in success, considering themselves „too big to fail“ and overlooking the fact that the transfer of know-how, which they believed to be exclusive to them, has taken place worldwide. The German Football Association should focus on TikTok: cool short videos could be made from recent mishaps. Excitement everywhere!

Günter Klein ist Chefreporter Sport beim Münchner Merkur und monatlicher Sport-Kolumnist sowie Autor des Freitag.