[U.S. SOCCER] U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann's previous coaching stint, at Bayern Munich, lasted less than a season, but his former bosses at the German powerhouse believe he can find success with the USA.
“It was not a good time for us,” said Bayern President Uli Hoeness. “But it is not correct to say a definite sentence about Jurgen Klinsmann being a good or a bad coach. If you get the national team coach of Germany in the year when the World Cup is in our country, and the next step is Bayern Munich, it’s a big step. And therefore to consider Jurgen as a good or a bad coach is only possible after he has four or five stations.”
Klinsmann took charge of the defending Bundesliga champion in July of 2008, two years after he coached Germany to third place at the 2006 World Cup on home soil.
“I wish him all the best that he’s successful, first of all,” said Hoeness during the club’s International Media Days. “And secondly, I’m always a friend of another big nation to rise in soccer. If America comes up, it’s good for all of us. It’s such a big market and such a big part of the cake that it would change the view on soccer worldwide, absolutely, totally.”
Klinsmann was fired after Bayern was eliminated from the German Cup, from the Champions League (5-1 on aggregate in the quarterfinals by Barcelona), and shortly after a 5-1 loss in the league, which Bayern never led that season. Klinsmann oversaw the renovation of Bayern’s training grounds, but club officials say he was not responsible for the inclusion of Buddha statues on the grounds, which was widely reported and ridiculed.
“I believe a country like America should be among the strongest five-six countries in the world,” Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said. “I believe Jurgen can do well. He had been here unfortunately just one year but in the collaboration with him he was fantastic as far as organization. He was fantastic to develop soccer. I’m convinced that he can do very well.”
Hoeness said, “Jurgen has a lot of ideas and is very passionate and will try to do everything to make America succeed. But he needs the right players and for that the America league [MLS] needs to be strong. And from what I understand it’s getting stronger.”
Hoeness did mention one issue on which he clashed with Klinsmann:
“Klinsmann always wanted closed practices,” Hoeness said. “I want fans to be able to come to practices. It helps them connect with the team. Maybe the day before the game when they practice set plays, I understand a closed practice. But otherwise they should be open.”
Regarding the U.S. national team, Rummenigge -- a former Bayern star and German international like Hoeness -- recalled Germany’s meeting with the USA at the 2002 World Cup.
“My first experience with the U.S. national team was in 2002 when Germany beat the USA, 1-0, in the World Cup quarterfinals,” Rummenigge said. “And in that game America was unlucky because they played better and should have gone through to the semifinals. They had much better opportunities, but Germany was lucky.”