• Germany's news in English

Klinsmann demands patience as Bayern faces roughs season start

Ben Knight · 8 Aug 2008, 14:06

Published: 08 Aug 2008 14:06 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

It always going to look like you’re compensating for something when you present someone a huge trophy you’ve named after yourself.

Italian football club Inter Milan won the honorary “Franz Beckenbauer Cup” on Tuesday night in the Allianz Arena in Munich, having beaten their hosts Bayern Munich 1:0 in the pre-season friendly. Beckenbauer himself, German footballing legend and still Bayern president, turned up to present the immense cup to Javier Zanetti. The Inter captain wrestled manfully with the torso-sized jug for a couple of seconds before its lid surrendered and clattered onto the turf.

Thankfully Beckenbauer is still limber enough to retrieve fallen silverware and laugh off the metaphors, but Bayern are going to need more of his Bavarian chutzpah to raise the darkening mood as their first competitive match looms this weekend – a cup-tie away in Erfurt. The eastern German city isn’t exactly considered a football powerhouse in Germany, however, Bayern’s new coach Jürgen Klinsmann cautiously called the match “an extremely difficult task,” much in the manner of a rookie heart surgeon sharpening his scalpel for the first time.

Klinsmann might still be adored in Germany for his efforts with the national team as the country’s hosted the World Cup in 2006, but the contrast between his Bayern side and Inter Milan was rather revealing.

Arriving with their own brand new star coach Jose Mourinho and the luxury of another three and a half weeks before the Italian season begins, they fielded a languid second-string team still tanned from time at the beach. That team contained Bayern’s early pressure with nonchalance, broke decisively down the left at the beginning of the second half to score, then retreated to let Bayern run at their defence like a disorganized English stag party trying to get into an exclusive nightclub.

Some of Bayern’s attacking midfielders distinguished themselves when they got the ball – particularly Hamit Altintop and the 18-year-old new hope Toni Kroos – but Germany’s favourite Polish strikers Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose might as well have sat in the stands.

It was a sorry affair, but then Klinsmann is presiding over a decimated team. As many as eight first-team players will be missing for the opening match of the season, including stars Luca Toni and Franck Ribéry, the Mediterranean geniuses who between them scored or set up virtually all of Bayern’s goals last season. On top of this, veteran French international Willy Sagnol suffered a career-threatening injury to his Achilles tendon, and the Argentinian Martin Demichelis went down with a calf injury during the Inter match. Two more South Americans, Breno and Jose Sosa, are away competing in the Olympics.

But even without these absences, Klinsmann admits that Bayern are not as ready as they would like to be. The inspirational leader of Germany’s 2006 World Cup is taking his usual chainsaw approach to management by replacing working methods at the club on all levels, including the spiritual, but the process looks like it will be a slow one.

He has introduced a system involving nine different trainers, talked sagely of a new philosophy, and decorated the fancy new training facility with Buddha statues – much to the consternation of some of the club’s Catholic Bavarian fans. Of course, he says, it will take time for his new regime to take effect. “How much time?” reporters asked, smelling a weakness. “Months, maybe one or two years,” came his typically cautious reply.

Alarm spread through the Bavarian media when Klinsmann’s glacial timescale sunk in. Bayern is a team that sets itself different standards than other German clubs. It considers the season a failure if they only win the league and the German Football Association Cup. The club’s power lies with a fearsome triumvirate of legends – Uli Hoeneß, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Franz Beckenbauer – that controls all aspects of the club’s affairs. Hoeneß spends every match glowering at the coach's shoulder like a highly-strung guard-dog and Rummenigge is quick to purge when standards slip.

Story continues below…

Ottmar Hitzfeld recognized this last season, leaving after guiding Bayern contentedly to the two domestic trophies while reaching the UEFA cup semifinals. Both sides decided he didn't have the necessary ambition to take Bayern further, and he left to take over the much friendlier job of leading Switzerland’s national side. He can now be heard making sceptical noises about Klinsmann’s coaching substance. “I managed Bayern for six years the first time round, but it scarred me,” he warned.

Bayern’s first four results under Klinsmann are not particularly flattering, even if they were only friendlies – one win (4:2 against the Urawa Red Diamonds in Tokyo), one draw (0:0 against FC Cologne) and two defeats (1:2 against Dortmund and now the 0:1 against Inter Milan).

Barring an unlikely strong start to the season, perhaps those Catholic Bavarian fans will need to get used to the Buddhist tenet that all life is suffering.

Ben Knight (ben.knight@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd