Klinsmann returns to Germany
Ein gutes neues Jahr, Fussball Freunde!! After the summer signing spree that occurred in Munich and how the team played in the first half, it was clear that FC Bayern were not in the market to get another big name for the second half. But after current head coach Ottmar Hitzfeld announced that he would not continue after his contract runs out at the end of June, the team had a huge hole to fill. And in the same vein as the Capello signing by England, FC Bayern signed the biggest name after Murinho – Juergen Klinsmann. He is signed for two years and will make around 8 million Euros each year. And why not?? Despite severe criticism from the German football establishment during his time as national coach, Klinsmann stayed true to his training regiment, international staff, and match preparation that helped revitalize the program that won 21 of 34 matches, including 3rd place finishes in the Confederations Cup in ’05 and the World Cup ’06. FC Bayern would like to capture some of that ‘lightning-in-a-bottle’ formula created in the country during the summer of ’06 to reinvigorate the team, the fan base, player development – with the goal to return as one of the top 5 European clubs.
Uli Hoeness and Franz Beckenbauer, both who were the top Klinsmann critics especially after he benched Oliver Kahn right before the World Cup, saw firsthand what Klinsmann can do with young stars Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski. ‘Schweini’ and ‘Poldi’ were among the best players in the tournament but have struggled during their years at Bayern. Bayern’s leaders are hoping that Klinsmann can do the same for the team’s youngsters. And after the team’s summer investment signing Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose to win titles this year, it’s clear that they are looking to next year as well to get back in the Champions League to win it. But first they have to get back in. The timing of the signing will allow the team to concentrate on winning the league title with Hitzfeld and not be distracted with who will lead them in the future. As I write this blog, Bayern just completed a 7-2 trouncing of the Chinese national team as part of their preparation for the second half of the season. In two weeks, they play Wuppertaler in the German Cup and then restart the league and UEFA Cup. If Bayern continues to be focused, the goal for a ‘treble’ lives and now the future is set… for now… with Klinsmann.
Other notes: Jens Lehmann rejected an offer to return to Dortmund in the second half. He needs to play to continue to be the #1 goalkeeper on the German squad and has been relegated to the bench at Arsenal. After his success under Klinsmann in the World Cup, could he come to Bayern? Does he want to stay in England? We’ll track this…. Joseph Ngwenya had a tryout session with SK Austria Kaernten back in December and a transfer from the Dynamo looks inevitable to a team that is looking to strengthen their attack by spending in this winter’s transfer market (thanks to a few more Euros from a new sponsor). Will track this as well. Bis dann, Sal