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Klinsmann: Lack of Cash No Excuse for Failure in European Soccer

It's been six years since a Bundesliga team graced the final of the Champions League. The most popular reason appears to be lack of cash. However, the Bundesliga's newest coach doesn't want to hear excuses about money.

New Bayern head coach Juergen Klinsmann, center, reacts during a friendly soccer match between SV Lippstadt and Bayern Munich in Lippstadt, Germany, Sunday, July 13, 2008.

Klinsi will not resort to tired excuses about lack of funds should Bayern falter in Europe

New Bayern Munich coach Juergen Klinsmann is a man who doesn't go looking for excuses in the event of defeat and won't be resorting to the currently popular argument that German teams lack financial clout should his team fail tot perform in Europe this season.

Klinsmann not only faces a baptism of fire in his new job when he attempts to retain the Bundesliga title in his first season as a league coach but he also takes on the heavy burden that all Bayern coaches have been saddled with; that of bringing the European Cup back to Munich.

Bayern were the last German club to deliver in the Champions League way back in 2001, but the Bavarian giants and their compatriots have faltered annually in Europe's premier cup competition ever since. Bayer Leverkusen were the last German side to feature in the Champions League final in 2002.

Analysis of the situation has left many scratching their heads and has led to some lazy conclusions; mainly that it is the lack of financial fire-power which undermines German attempts to win the prize.

Juergen Klinsmann faces the media next to the club's logo at a press conference in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, Jan. 11, 2008.

Klinsi believes success comes from player development

"I do not accept the argument about the lack of finances amongst our clubs compared to Europe's top clubs," Klinsmann told Sunday's edition of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. "The Top 15 clubs are all equipped with good international players and in the long-term, it is more important to have a good, hard-working team ethic than a hundred transfers.

"If I can work with a top team, we can do the same at Bayern as if we had 50 million euros ($78.4 million) to spend on players, given enough chances this team will develop," Klinsmann added. "My job is to improve my players in such a way that we can compete against the financially strong clubs such as Chelsea or Milan."

Klinsi echoes Loew's view of Germany's European efforts

Klinsmann's view echoes that of his successor as national team coach, Joachim Loew. Last season, at the point when it looked as though no German teams would make it to the knock-out phase of the Champions League or UEFA Cup, Loew said the lack of financial resources was not the only reason why Bundesliga clubs continued to struggle in Europe.

While he accepted that the top teams in other European countries, like England for example, have an infinitely larger budget than their Bundesliga counterparts, Loew insisted there was much more than just finances behind the issue.

Germany's head coach Joachim Loew

Loew says factors other than just money lead to success

"The money is only part of the reason, I see no reason to believe Norway's Rosenborg are any richer than the German clubs," Loew told German tabloid Bild in November. "But the Norwegians are a good example of a system where they develop players, while Arsenal and Manchester United focus on continuity and have had the same coaches for years."

At the close of the 2007/2008 season, Germany's Schalke 04 had made it as far as the quarter-finals of the Champions League, losing over two legs to Barcelona, while Bayern lost to eventual winners Zenith St. Petersburg in the semi-final of the UEFA Cup.

Rummenigge bemoans size of Bundelsiga TV pot

Klinsmann's comments on the financial situation of the Bundesliga clubs comes hot on the heels of a statement from his club's chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge who said that the future for Germany clubs in Europe was bleak.

Juergen Klinsmann, right, with Bayern Munich's CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

Rummenigge, left, says the Bundesliga's future is bleak

Rummenigge said that the on-going wrangle in Germany concerning the amount of money Bundesliga clubs will get for the screening of live soccer would ultimately affect their ability to contest the big prizes.

Rummenigge deplored the situation in Germany where the Federal Cartel Office has ruled the current television contract to broadcast live Bundesliga games is a monopoly and must be re-negotiated -- which could cost Germany's clubs millions of euros in lost revenue.

Rummenigge's comments come less than two months after an independent report showed the Bundesliga to be the most profitable league in Europe, beating even the English Premier League.

Report shows Bundesliga in healthy financial state

The Annual Review of Soccer Finance, published by accountancy firm Deloitte at the end of May, showed that the 18 clubs in Germany's top league earned a profit of 250 million euros, or 18 per cent of its revenue, in the 2006/2007 season.

Although Premier League income soared above the 2 billion-euro mark for the first time to reach 2.3 billion euros, profit came to 141 million euros as the league's growth in revenue has been offset by higher wage bills.

The report said the Premier League generated about a quarter of the combined 13.6 billion-euro revenue of Europe's leagues, an increase of one billion euros over the previous year.

But English clubs spent much of their spiraling revenue in attracting and keeping players, with wages growing by 13 percent to more than 1.77 billion euros -- more than twice that in Spain, Germany, France or Italy, the report said.

However, German clubs had benefited from the ability to keep players' salaries at a lower level.

While salary levels as a percentage of turnover was between 62 percent and 64 percent of the leading leagues in England, Spain, Italy and France, the Bundesliga was around 45 percent.

Fans of Alemannia Aachen

The Bundesliga consistently boasts huge, enthusiastic crowds

Stefan Ludwig, senior manager of Deloitte in Germany, said the financial gap to the Premier League would grow but the Bundesliga was well-equipped to compete for second place in view of booming spectator levels and increased television income.

"Against the general trend of increased income being invested in equal measure in transfers and wages, Bundesliga clubs are continuing their spending policies of the previous years," he said. "As a result, the Bundesliga will become more attractive for potential investors who in the past had shown little interest in the league."

All of which could mean that Russian or American billionaires, soccer's current sugar-daddies, could turn their attention to Bundesliga clubs in the future and kill the poorhouse excuse forever.

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