He last coached Germany over eight years ago, but somehow his love affair with the DFB team has never really died. Ahead of USA's clash with Germany, Klinsmann shows he still has a soft spot for the side.
When you see Jürgen Klinsmann up close, he looks like the perfect prototype of a Californian native. Athletic, tanned, sun-kissed hair and plenty of smiles: you could swear he comes straight from Venice Beach.
But once he opens his mouth, that accent is unmistakable. The former national team striker is still German through and through - no doubt about it. No matter how long he lives in the USA, Klinsi – as the Germans like to call him - will probably never lose that classic German twang.
“I got very nervous when Germany played in the World Cup finals,” Klinsmann said, to members of the press on Tuesday in Cologne, as he thought back to the tournament in Brazil last year.
“I was probably more nervous in front of my big TV, watching in the US, than Jogi was on the sideline. It's just in your blood.”
Trip down memory lane
While Klinsmann left the DFB's coaching staff in 2006 and has been head coach of the USA since 2011, you could think he just gave the German coaching team job yesterday, if you listened to the local press.
Each meeting with Löw seems to exceed the last one, for the amount of endless reminiscing that takes place. The fact that the two were scheduled for a combined press conference, says it all. The DFB knows what sells newspapers.
Klinsmann's praise for Löw was at one stage so unabating, that a journalist on the sidelines rolled his eyes in boredom. At the end of all the questions, one journalist even dared ask whether Klinsmann and Löw were glad that the combined press conference had finally come to an end. A small smirk was the first answer from both coaches.
Despite when Germany lines up against the US, Klinsmann's national team legacy has faded from the public eye while Joachim Löw and Klinsmann have stayed in touch and watched each other's work. There's a sense now that Klinsmann, who was criticized at times for his pioneering approach when coaching Germany – and especially later on when he guided Bayern Munich – may have been right all along, with his specialized fitness coaches and quirky team initiatives.
"What we achieved in 2014, started in 2004 with Jürgen,” Löw explained. “The structures that he created still exist. We will always be thankful."
No doubt about allegiance
But anyone who doubts Klinsmann's will to win against Germany on Wednesday in Cologne, is mistaken.
“I love the US anthem - just as much as I love the German one - and I'm honored to be the coach of this national team,” Klinsmann said. “Our work here is very different. Sometimes it's one step forward and two steps back. But, we are able to think long term.”
When he decided to not renew his DFB coaching contract in 2006, Klinsmann said that a desire to re-join his young family in California was one of the main reasons for his decision. His drive to establish soccer in the US seems to also be a big motivating factor though. All told, Klinsmann has lived in the US for 17 years now.
But there is one small glimmer of hope for Germany-based Klinsmann fans. The idea that Löw and Klinsmann could work together in the future again, just like they did at the 2006 World Cup, is not completely out of the question it seems.
“You never know what life will bring,” Klinsmann said. “The important thing is that we stay in touch, and keep up with what each other is doing.”