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Donovan is 'Klinsi's New Darling'
by Mike Woitalla, January 15th, 2009 7AM



[AMERICANS ABROAD] He's only played in two friendlies, against modest opposition, but by creating two goals and scoring a fine one on his own, Landon Donovan has the German press raving and is drawing praise from Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann. Bild newspaper dubbed the loaned L.A. player "Klinsi's Liebling" and speculated he could even challenge veteran striker Miroslav Klose for playing time.

Klose, who has 87 German caps, scored six goals and assisted on six in the first half of the Bundesliga season. His spot alongside Italian World Cup winner Luca Toni (9 goals) really isn't in danger. But Klinsmann confirmed that Donovan, on loan until March 15, would be the first striker off the bench.

Moving down on the depth chart is German international Lukas Podolski, who is expected to return to his former club, FC Cologne, in the summer.

"[Donovan] is automatically the striker No. 3 because of Lukas' injuries and problems," ," Klinsmann said. "[Podolski] starts rehab training next week and then will compete for a spot."

So far during Bayern's winter-break training camp, Donovan scored in a 3-1 friendly win over Saudi Arabia's Al-Wehda, and notched an assist and drew a free kick that led to a goal in a 3-2 win over the UAE's Al-Jezeera SC.

"[Donovan's] goal was beautiful," Klinsmann was quoted in Bild, "with ball control, the first touch, and a shot on the turn."

Donovan also drew praise from Klinsmann for his integration into the squad.

"To fit in overnight at Bayern Munich is no mean task," Klinsmann said. "The impression he makes, in my opinion, is very positive. Not just in the two exhibition games, but how he has fit in with the group. How he communicates with teammates. How he stays longer at the table. How he wants to find his way."

Donovan has stated that he hopes the loan stint turns into a long-term stay.

"Now he needs to really prove himself," said Klinsmann. "If something happens up front, he's the first choice."

Bayern faces a minor league opponent in a Jan. 14 friendly. On Jan. 19, it meets Second Division Kaiserslautern in a friendly. It plays VfB Stuttgart in the German Cup quarterfinals on Jan. 27 and returns to Bundesliga action Jan. 30 against Hamburg SV, the first of seven league games that take place during Donovan's loan stint.


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