Coach Jürgen Klinsmann has been at the helm of the German national team for five months. After the Asian tour, it's time to take a look at just what the former international striker has accomplished since August.
German soccer's sunny boy: Jürgen Klinsmann
When Jürgen Klinsmann was appointed national coach five months ago, experts and fans were wondering if the German soccer federation hadn't gone a little mad. The former international striker who helped lead Germany to victory in the 1990 World Cup had almost no coaching experience. Aside from spending his time assisting with an American soccer franchise in Los Angeles, Klinsmann didn’t really have much coaching clout to his name.
But the soccer federation DFB was in search of a new national head. The former coach, Rudi Völler, had just thrown in the towel after a devastating showing at the European Championships in June, and many people thought it was time for some old-fashioned discipline to come in and whip the tired team into shape.
Birds of a feather -- coach and former striker Klinsmann with goal-shooter Kevin Kuranyi
The candidates from the old school, most notably Greek national coach and Euro 2004 champ Otto Rehhagel and former Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, had rejected offers to take over the squad. With World Cup 2006 taking place in Germany, the DFB began looking further a field.
That’s when German soccer big-wigs focused on Klinsmann. It was time to bring in some California sunshine. And everyone agreed: optimism is one quality not lacking in Klinsmann's personality.
A firm believer in miracles
Soccer’s sunny boy came to Germany and immediately made waves. "I know that the fans in our country have one wish -- to win the 2006 World Cup. That is also my aim," Klinsmann told the media at his first press conference.
But he quickly realized and admitted to the public that the nation’s No. 1 goal could not be achieved with the squad that showed up at the Euro 2004, or at least not with their attitude. So, Klinsi, as he’s affectionately called, went to work. New players, new tactics and a new mentality were part of his game strategy.
Before the friendly with Brazil in September, he called in a fitness trainer from the US to consult with the players, a first on the national squad. He also started bringing on new players, which caused more than a few eyebrows to rise.
Germany's red uniforms part of new team mentality
Klinsmann wanted to form the team according to his wishes. He told the German sports press agency, sid, that he and his assistant coach, Joachim Löw, and team manager, Oliver Bierhoff, wanted to create a new basic philosophy and convey it to the players. In addition, Klinsmann firmly believed that a new team identity would help Germany reach the ambitious goal of raising the World Cup trophy in 2006.