Perhaps it is because of Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s boring charisma that his successor is already being discussed. I think four Union members are promising candidates – including Armin Laschet.

The legendary Sepp Herberger was the first to recognize it: “There are hundreds of thousands of national coaches in Germany.” His estimate was modest. Eighty million now feel competent enough to be the national coach.

I acknowledge myself as one of them. In this capacity, I wonder why my colleague Nagelsmann doesn’t want the experienced and strong kickers Leon Goretzka (Munich) and Mats Hummels (Dortmund) on his team.

My insight: He dreams of a harmonious team focused on football. The political zealot Goretzka could have interfered. In Qatar, he played a key role in ensuring that even national players who had little interest in politics publicly covered their mouths. As an avowed activist, he should prepare for a career in a left-wing party. Hummels can also become a source of trouble when he’s not playing. Harmony comes first.

The example of Thomas Müller shows that it is not the age of the two of them. He is only two years younger than his coach, but can become the good spirit of the team. Even if he doesn’t play much.

It may be due to Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s boring charisma that speculation about his successor broke out so early. The Bavarian CSU leader Markus Söder was the first to be named. The highest office in Germany could compensate him for not standing in the way of CDU boss Friedrich Merz’s candidacy for chancellor.

I don’t believe in this castling. The powerless position of the top representative speaker cannot be an incentive for Söder’s temperament and enthusiasm for creativity. But it is true that it will be the Union’s turn next time. If it remains the strongest party in elections – as in the polls – it can propose candidates. There is enough choice.

The Hesse Volker Bouffier is powerful in his speech, but probably too old. Although he is currently 72 years old, he is well below the American presidential candidates and the Pope, but there is a certain age discrimination in Germany. I think the following four Unioners are more promising. Armin Laschet represents the great state of North Rhine-Westphalia. He can talk and sing and has a sense of humor.

One of his favorite terms is “consideration”. Thomas de Maizière knows all of the country’s problems from his many high offices. He is as familiar with the old republic as with the East where he lives. I heard him speak clearly and without phrases. Ursula von der Leyen is the first to be mentioned when it is said that a woman finally has to go to Bellevue Palace. What speaks in her favor is her outstanding international experience and the fact that she can represent in many languages.

In addition to the female bonus, Ilse Aigner has the advantage that she has to fight against fewer affairs and fewer enemies than Ursula von der Leyen. She was a minister under Merkel and Söder. As President of the Bavarian State Parliament, she has earned a reputation for treating all sides fairly and warmly.

FOCUS founding editor-in-chief Helmut Markwort was an FDP member of the Bavarian state parliament from 2018 to 2023.