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FOOTBALL

Klinsmann was his own worst enemy

A much-hyped era at FC Bayern Munich is over after just ten months. Jürgen Klinsmann left a lot to be desired as a coach despite his grand plans, says Alexander Ludewig from Germany’s Netzeitung.

Klinsmann was his own worst enemy
Photo: DPA

Uli Hoeneß noted that Jürgen Klinsmann had been “surprised” to be sacked. It’s a reaction that testifies to the Swabian’s honest, straightforward character, and at the same time it neatly illustrates one of the reasons for his failure – Klinsmann was a visionary who lacked insight into the necessities of detail and what’s doable.

On his road to “re-establishing Bayern at the top of Europe,” Klinsmann overlooked humble domestic stumbling blocks like Hannover 96, 1. FC Köln and finally Schalke 04. He did not acknowledge these Bundesliga defeats for what they were, but spoke instead of minor setbacks, saying that “we’ll just have to wait” to climb to top the table. But now he will go into Bayern’s history as the manager who never once led the league.

Last summer Bayern meant to start “a new era” with Klinsmann. The 44-year-old was supposed to bring a new spirit to the club’s Säbener Straße headquarters. But by the end it was the Klinsmann-factor that was Bayern’s chief handicap. “We had to remove that psychological barrier that everyone saw in the team on the pitch,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, explaining the necessity of the split with Klinsmann. “We need a new beginning,” added Hoeneß.

Big plans scuppered by small details

This must wound the ambitious Klinsmann’s pride, who has stood for the reinvigoration of German football since the last World Cup. But the daily grind has disenchanted the fairytale-weaver of the summer of 2006. While the ever-smiling optimist had great intentions, he failed at the smaller tests. In the league, a team lives by its results, not its vision. But even at his dismissal Klinsmann refused to doubt his own efforts. “We’ve laid the foundations for the future,” he said confidently as ever.

But what did Klinsmann mean by this? He could not even begin to justify his cocksure announcement that he would “make every player a little better every day.” In fact, the opposite has happened: Lukas Podolski’s form has disappeared into a deep hole, goalkeeper Michael Rensing has been sidelined, Bastian Schweinsteiger is stagnating and Martin Demichelis, outstanding last season, is way below his best. Even the reliably solid Philipp Lahm is weakening. And there is no evidence of any exceptional fitness so often touted by Klinsmann either.

What philosophy?

Nor can he claim to have brought in his much-vaunted system and “new philosophy” to the club. He wanted to overwhelm opponents and win over fans with inspiring offensive football. But following the worst start to a season in 31 years, this ambition was abandoned all too quickly – at the cost of Klinsmann’s authority. Both the Bayern management and the players demanded a tactical re-think.

But for Klinsmann the world still seemed to be in order. After a decent run before the winter break and safe passage to the last 16 of the Champions League, he again started to make lofty statements: “We have no-one to fear. No team in the world.” What followed is now well-known – a humiliating exit from the German Cup competition against Bayer Leverkusen (2-4), a master-class from Wolfsburg in the league (1-5) and a bitter decimation by Barcelona in the Champions League (0-4). “The pride of Bayern has been trampled underfoot,” said a wounded Rummenigge.

So what is left of Klinsmann’s legacy at Bayern? Perhaps he meant it literally when he spoke of a “foundation for the future,” since the new and obscenely expensive elite training centre will always be associated with his name. But it does not seem to have made a single member of Bayern’s team a better player. Yet the monumental modernity of this complex is perhaps a perfect image of Klinsmann’s short reign in Munich. He failed miserably at his first attempt to be a club manger because of his own grand schemes.

This editorial originally appeared in the online newspaper Netzeitung. Translation by The Local.

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MUNICH

Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.

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