Germany is reeling from seeing its football team fail to make it fast the first stage of a World Cup for the first time in 80 years, when they were beating in the round of 16 by Switzerland in 1938.
Joachim Low took his side to Russia as holders and as one of the favourites to emerge victorious. But it all went badly wrong and the shock exit was confirmed by Wednesday's catastrophic defeat to South Korea in Kasan in calamitous circumstances.
The German media has not held back in its outrage.
Bild: "Low must change!"
"What a disgrace! Bundestrainer Joachim Low led Germany to the title, and now has to take on responsibility for this low. It was not down to misfortune we crashed out. Losing to Mexico and South Korea only happens when you did things wrong. It's out of all reason why [Sami] Khedira and [Mesut] Ozil returned after their disastrous display against Mexico. Low underestimated the Erdogan scandal surrounding Ozil and Gundogan. He got it wrong when not selecting Manchester City star Leroy Sane. [...] An era has come to an end: Also for the coach?"
Suddeutsche Zeitung: "Cordoba, Gijon, Kasan"
"Who can beat this team?" had an awfully obvious answer: South Korea. Whoever thought Toni Kroos' free kick was the take-off moment tournament, now knows better: It was the take-off moment into the void. Kasan now forms a line with Cordoba [1978s defeat to Austria] and Gijon [the non-aggression pact with Austria in 1982]. It's a code for one of the darkest hours, that kids whose parents haven't even met will know about one day. [...] Low has not only failed to convey a clear structure to this team, he also from the first day of the training camp did not manage to wipe a certain vanity from his world champions. His Germany was not sharp enough. He must decide whether he will bear the consequences."
Kicker: "Collective failure: No team showed up for Russia!"
"Younger generations didn't even know that a major tournament for Germany might end before the semifinals. It just hadn't happened since the three winless matches at the European Championship in 2004. And even to older generations it was unthinkable that the world champions might fail miserably in this comparably favourable group. [...] It was to be feared that they would not be able to defend the title after the constantly poor performances in the last eight months. But such a collective failure by a team shaped by World Cup winners in their prime, it was just unthinkable. They were spiritless, without ideas and helpless in their matches against Mexico and South Korea. And, despite the late goal, also for large parts against Sweden. It was worrying and disconcerting. [...] The public pressure on Low will be immense, in the eyes of many deeply disappointed fans he has lost nearly all the trust he has won over the past five tournaments with a catastrophic overall display."
Zeit Online: "The end of arrogance."
"It looks like the national team's leadership overlooked in their analysis that the team has had trouble beating strong teams since that triumph in Rio. And back home Bundesliga clubs crash out of the European cups against teams from Bulgaria, Turkey, Slovenia ... from countries with significantly less money. Only Bayern are competitive and they are not the team they used to be. The league's weakness is also a reason for the exit in 2018. ... German football should bid goodbye to the illusion and become humble again. Who came up with the idea that this squad was the strongest ever, like some pundits said, when Philipp Lahm, the best German footballer of past decades, was no longer there?"
Spiegel Online: "Low facing an uncertain future."
"The debate over Low's job will start, and that's just normal. The fall from Rio to Kasan was just too big. And it's just too disappointing if you go to the starting line as title holders and leaders in the FIFA Ranking and return home as early as Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica and Panama. Names pop up out of the blue, Arsene Wenger for instance, as possible Low successors. You did not think about that for years. [...] Five weeks ago when [DFB president Reinhard] Grindel announced the contract extensions for Low and his staff, it was unthinkable that there will be discussions over the coach's future. But it was also unthinkable that Germany would crash out in the group stage. Everything is uncertain for the DFB since Wednesday in Kasan, and Low's future too."
B.Z.: "Low must step down!"
"Low got to the starting line with the biggest possible confidence. But it unfolded into a disaster. Low must step down now. Despite all the success he had. The World Cup in Russia showed that the team and his leadership have slipped out of his hands. It was the sum of all his wrong decisions that led to disaster. Already the squad selection was flawed. His changes and sticking to Khedira and Ozil led Germany into the abyss. He must bear the consequences now."
Berliner Kurier: "We are mourning Schland. 2006 to 2018."
"It all started with a summer fairy tale, and we thought the party would never end. But yesterday we learned that it is over. A match like a funeral leaves Germany shocked." – Kwese ESPN