Juergen Klinsmann leaves California for Munich hot seat

13th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Juergen Klinsmann will give up his California dream to move into the Bayern Munich coaching hot seat in a spectacular coup announced on Friday by Germany's leading football club.

Munich (dpa) - Juergen Klinsmann will give up his California dream to move into the Bayern Munich coaching hot seat in a spectacular coup announced on Friday by Germany's leading football club.

Klinsmann, 43, who led Germany to a third-place finish at the 2006 home World Cup before returning to his family home in the US, will take over on July 1 from Ottmar Hitzfeld.

Klinsmann's playing career included a term at the German Bundesliga top club Munich 1995-1997, but he has never coached at club level before.

He was due to be formally presented at a news conference at 1500 GMT Friday.

"I am looking forward to the time with Juergen Klinsmann. I don't consider this decision brave but rather very intelligent and well thought over. Juergen Klinsmann had success with his new methods at the national team. And I am convinced he will have success at Bayern as well," the Bild daily on its website quoted Munich president Franz Beckenbauer as saying.

Munich's midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger named his former national team coach "a great motivator" and Hitzfeld praised Klinsmann as a "first class coach."

But team captain Oliver Kahn, who will retire after the season and was in 2006 dropped by Klinsmann in favour of Jens Lehmann as starting Germany goalkeeper, wondered out loud whether Klinsmann was really a coach but not rather a team manager.

"I doesn't affect me. I wish Juergen Klinsmann a lot of luck but don't want to comment further," Kahn told a Munich news conference. "No one knows how he will be as club coach."

Munich took only a few days to find a new man in replacement of Hitzfeld, who would not stretch his second term at the club beyond the season. He has been linked with the Swiss national team job.

Hitzfeld's announcement prompted huge speculation about his successor, with names including Jose Mourinho, Rafael Benitez, Marcello Lippi and Klinsmann floated in the German and international media.

Munich's high-profile leadership of Beckenbauer, chairman Karl- Heinz Rummenigge and general manager Uli Hoeness wanted a prominent coach for the star-studded team featuring the likes of Franck Ribery, Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose.

But an important precondition was that the new coach has a knowledge of the German language. Klinsmann also speaks, French, Italian and English.

At the Germany team, he revolutionised training methods and team tactics to lead Germany back to the world elite and made the team popular among the fans again.

The highlight was Germany's third-place finish at the home World Cup in 2006. The event created a fan frenzy around the players and Klinsmann, but the coach decided not to renew his deal and returned to California where he lived with his American wife and their children since the end of his playing career.

Klinsmann was since then linked with various coaching jobs including the national teams of the US and England. The latest speculation was that he would replace Benitez in Liverpool next season.

Klinsmann won the 1990 World Cup and captained Germany to the Euro 1996 title, scoring 46 goals in 108 Germany caps. His club career 1984-1998 saw the prolific striker play at VfB Stuttgart, Inter Milan, Monaco, Tottenham Hotspur, Sampdoria and Munich, with whom he won the Bundesliga and the 1996 UEFA Cup.

His relationship with the prominent Munich leadership was far from perfect at the time, but it appears that Beckenbauer, Hoeness and Rummenigge agreed that he is the best solution now.

Munich not only want to win titles since spending around 100 million dollars on new players last summer, the team is also to play attractive football - similar to the new Germany style Klinsmann imposed during his national team reign.

Germany coach Joachim Loew, who was the assistant under Klinsmann 2004-2006, said: "What a surprise. I had a few phone conservations these last few weeks and months, and I felt certain that he would return to coaching. German football profits tremendously from this development.

"I think it is exciting that a successful former national coach now joins one of the elite Bundesliga clubs. I look forward to working with Klinsmann."

Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel commented on the day's top news in the country through government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm.

"Like millions of German football fans the Chancellor (Angela Merkel) is delighted that Juergen Klinsmann returns to Germany to perform his art," said Wilhelm.

However, Kahn insisted that the team must first concentrate on the current season where it has slumped after a strong start to lead Werder Bremen only by goal difference in the current winter break. Munich's aims are winning the league, German cup and the UEFA Cup.

"As captain I must make sure that we concentrate on the season. The team is capable of winning all three titles," said Kahn.

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