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Culture

Klins the Man for 2006 World Cup

Jürgen Klinsmann put pen to paper on a two-year contract on Monday and became Germany's new national coach, ending one of the most embarrassing episodes in German soccer history.

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The DFB finally got its man, albeit not its first, second or third choice

Jürgen Klinsmann has agreed to a two-year contract to coach Germany, the German Soccer Federation (DFB) announced Monday. The former star striker becomes the ninth coach of the three-time World Cup champions and the youngest to fill the spot, at 39, in the country's history .

"The subject of the continuing talks is now strictly about the sports side," said Harald Stenger, a spokesman for DFB.

Klinsmann had not confirmed until the final moment which role he would play in the new coaching line-up after flying back to Germany from his home in Los Angeles for final negotiations on Saturday. Now it is clear that the former Stuttgart, Monaco and Inter Milan forward will take the lead in a new coaching team that hopes to turn around the slumping national side in time for the 2006 World Cup, which Germany will host.

Klinsmann, who won the World Cup and European Championships along the way to collecting 108 cups for his country, has a valid coaching license, but hasn't led a team since retiring from the pitch in 1998.

Experience coupled with innovative approach

Deutschland Fussballweltmeister 1990

Klinsmann worked under Osieck in the World Cup winning team.

His coaching team is expected to include former Canadian national team coach Holger Osieck as assistant coach. The 56-year-old veteran held that job on the 1990 team under Franz Beckenbauer, who also never guided a side before leading the German team to its third World Cup crown. Fellow retired striking icon Oliver Bierhoff, who played alongside Klinsmann when Germany were crowned European champions in 1996, is expected to take over the new post of team manager, a liaison job between the coach, media and DFB officials.

Klinsmann has long been one of the most outspoken critics of the creaking DFB and his appointment is likely to be the start of a major overhaul in German soccer. He is already asking the organization to augment his staff with experts in areas like psychology and speed training, copying the training techniques used in the American basketball leagues.

"The most important thing is the DFB needs to develop dynamism. We have to look around the world," Klinsmann said recently.

German soccer ready to wake up to new dawn

Ex Bayern Trainer: Ottmar Hitzfeld

Hitzfeld preferred to take a break.

Klinsmann's new employers have long been accused of sleeping through soccer's modern developments and have been publicly embarrassed by the saga surrounding Rudi Völler's resignation after the disastrous Euro 2004 campaign. The red faces deepened when Germany's top two coaches, Ottmar Hitzfeld (photo) and Otto Rehhagel, turned down the job after a public courtship.

Now it hopes that lining up Klinsmann will undo some of the damage. His selection came as a huge surprise in Germany, since the striker's name had never been raised in connection with the job but those in the game have endorsed his appointment. "This is an ingenious solution. It's a very good choice," said Hitzfeld, who turned down the job to take a year off coaching.

Klinsmann said he also hopes to rely on the experience of the previous coach in his new role. Former team mate Völler, another member of the 1990 world champions, is a close friend and will be able to pass on valuable knowledge on the pitfalls Klinsmann should avoid.

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