BERLIN — Germany on Thursday decided to drop the name die Mannschaft (the team) for its men's national soccer team, saying it may be a recognisable term abroad but was viewed critically at home.
The name was officially introduced a year after Germany won their fourth World Cup crown in Brazil in 2014 and was part of the branding around the national team.
But a first-round exit at the 2018 World Cup and a round of 16 elimination at last year's European Championship did not help consolidate the name among disappointed German fans.
Soccer officials, including Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, have said it was not respectful towards other national teams and was too arrogant a term.
A recent poll conducted showed it was time to drop it, DFB President Bernd Neuendorf said.
"Football unites, that applies to a youth team as well as to the men's national team, which represents the whole country and is as colorful and diverse as Germany itself. Every fan can and should find themselves in it," Neuendorf said in a statement. "According to polls and analysis the name die Mannschaft has a high degree of recognition especially abroad where it stands for team spirit and success.
"But it is also fact that among fans here in this country it is viewed critically and is part of an emotional discussions. The national team's demeanor is more important than its name anyway, that they live the values that the DFB stands for on and off the field, that they show attitude, that they inspire their fans, form a unity with them I have full confidence in Hansi Flick, Oliver Bierhoff and the players who made an impressive restart last year."
Germany has qualified for this year's World Cup in November/December in Qatar.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)