German coach Jürgen Klinsmann said Lady Luck would need to look favorably on Germany if they are to win next summer's World Cup. He also said he may leave the team even if they lift the trophy in front of a home crowd.
Klinsmann won the Cup in 1990 as a player, in 2006 he wants to do it as coach
Not yet ready to write off his team's chances at winning next summer's tournament in front of thousands of ecstatic German fans, Klinsmann admitted Germany isn't his top pick.
"I think it will be possible for Germany to win the World Cup but we need luck, a lot of luck," he said. "The South Americans are very strong, and I see Brazil and Argentina as the favorites."
Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho and Adriano, left to right, are favorites again in 2006
Even if he seems to lack a bit of self-confidence, Klinsmann still has not backed away from his goal of winning the title.
The extra spark that comes from playing on home turf can often push a team to unexpected highs. In the last World Cup the home field advantage helped underdog South Korea into the semifinals.
Home turf n ot a guara n tee
"It helped a favorite like France win the title in 1998, and we also profited from it when we were the champions in 1974," said German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer, who captained the 1974 German side. "I find it courageous and correct that Jürgen Klinsmann has such a goal for his team."
Despite the "Kaiser's" words of praise, hosting the World Cup doesn't necessarily translate to success: Of the 17 finals so far, only seven have gone to the host nation.
Germa n y side struggles with youth
Sympathetic fans might be enough to perk up the German team after a series of lackluster friendly matches. Their best play came during last summer's Confederations Cup, where the home fans were treated to a German side that scored a tournament high of 15 goals and finished third, tying Argentina and losing to Brazil.
Germany's younger players had much to celebrate during the Confederations Cup
Much like during the Confederations Cup, Klinsmann has fielded young teams for Germany's most international matches. He said it's the team's youth that keep them from claiming international glory.
"We have a very, very young team, but our players are learning and getting better," Klinsmann said. "They need more time to develop, and I think that in four or five years we'll have a really strong team."
Kli n sma n n 's future still u n clear
Klinsmann, however, has left a question mark on whether he'll be around to guide a more experienced team. His contract is set to expire after the 2006 finals, which run from June 9 to July 9, and he has said he wouldn't commit to a new deal until after the tournament.
"Even if we are crowned world champions that alone will not decide my future with the German Football Federation (DFB)," Klinsmann informed the weekly Die Zeit newspaper.
Klinsmann, in red, spent much of his time integrating new players into the team
Klinsmann, 41, took over from Rudi Völler after Germany's disastrous performance during the Euro 2004 finals. DFB chiefs were so impressed by his work they wanted to discuss a contract extension before the finals to ensure a period of stability.
Since the departure of Berti Vogts in 1998, the German team has had three different managers with Erich Ribbeck sacked after a nightmare Euro 2000 and Völler resigning after Euro 2004.