• Germany's news in English

Klinsmann: Not German enough for Germany?

Josie Le Blond · 26 Jun 2014, 15:46

Published: 26 Jun 2014 15:46 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Jürgen Klinsmann tweeted a note on Wednesday excusing the entire US workforce from their offices to watch the Germany-USA match on Thursday. That's the kind of guy he is.

All employees had to do was print off and fill in Klinsmann's signed note and sit back to watch the clash, scheduled for the middle of the working day in the States.

But he is not only a working man's hero - the 49-year-old is also a family man.

Born in Stuttgart in 1964, Klinsmann married his American wife Debbie, 43, a former model, in a secret ceremony in California in 1995. Together they have a 13-year-old daughter, Leila, and an 18-year-old son, Jonathan, who plays as goalkeeper for the US under-18s team.

But the Klinsmanns don't always stick together. His brother Horst, who owns the Bäckerei Klinsmann bakery in Stuttgart, has said he will be supporting Germany, not the US tonight. 

Although it is clear where Jürgen Klinsmann's footballing loyalties lie, Germans seem unsure about where his national pride is. Klinsmann has even indicated he would one day consider renouncing his German citizenship to become an American.

And Welt newspaper called him "misunderstood and dangerous" before the match.

"Somehow he was always not quite German enough for Germany. Or Germany was not enough Klinsmann," wrote the paper.

Certainly in his long sporting career, the 1990 World Cup winner has shown many sides. 

As a player Klinsmann proved himself one of Germany’s finest ever goalscorers, scoring 231 goals in 514 appearances in club football, and 38 goals in 80 appearances for Germany.

He played for several prominent European clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich.

Known as a serial diver, while playing for Tottenham his signature celebration was to slide on his belly towards the fans.

But although he is often blamed in England for bringing diving to the Premier League, it was his contribution to the German game that got him his reputation as a revolutionary.

Bringing sexy back

Ten years ago, the German game was at its lowest point for half a century, the national team a laughing stock. 

From his appointment as head coach in 2004, Klinsmann set about changing that, picking younger, more exciting players and demanding fast, attacking, entertaining football.

Story continues below…

With his right hand man, Joachim Löw, he led Germany to an unexpected World Cup semi-final at the home World Cup in 2006.

Not only that, his philosophy set in motion a nationwide revolution in youth development. Today, German football is among the top producers of young footballing talent.

After the 2006 tournament, though, he threw in the towel as Germany coach, handing the reins to Löw. Following a brief, disastrous spell as Bayern Munich coach in 2009, he eventually ended up in his spiritual home: the USA.

Jürgen the American

As coach of the US national team, he speaks of “the American desire to win”, and does so in a thick Californian accent, with only the faintest hint of his infamous Swabian twang.

True to his ideology, Klinsmann’s US team is also built on youth talent, much of it plundered from Germany. In his World Cup squad, there are five German-born players, all of whom played in the Bundesliga last season.

SEE ALSO: Klinsmann ready for emotional Germany clash

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Josie Le Blond (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Eurowings braces as cabin crew union proclaims strike
Photo: DPA

A union representing cabin crew for Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings announced that strikes could take place at any time over the next two weeks, starting on Monday.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
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