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New era beckons

Klinsmann keeps watchful eye on the stars

The official four-week summer break at Bayern comes to an end in just 19 days’ time, when incoming head coach Jürgen Klinsmann supervises the first training session of a new era at the club. Preparations for the 2008-9 campaign have been in full swing for some time, and not only at the Säbener Strasse, where the finishing touches are currently being applied to the new performance centre.

Klinsmann’s base in far-off California has also been a hive of activity in the long build-up to 30 June. “I’m unbelievably excited about the challenge,” Klinsmann exclusively told The former Germany boss also revealed he is spending plenty of time in front of the TV at the moment, as Euro 2008 features no fewer than ten of his playing staff.

Interview: Jürgen Klinsmann Jürgen Klinsmann, how are you keeping in touch with Euro 2008?
Jürgen Klinsmann: “Up to now, I’ve watched every game in full on TV. It’s the most effective method. It wouldn’t be as sensible for me to go there personally. As the former Germany coach, people would just be talking too much about me. This way, I can watch the games and analyse them in peace.” What are your impressions after seeing all the teams play once?
Klinsmann: “It’s had everything you always see at these tournaments. Good games, poor games. Favourites winning, favourites losing. Fantastic teams like Holland, Spain and Portugal, disappointing displays so far from France and Italy. However, and I know this sounds facile, but you can’t pass any judgements yet. After the first round of matches at the World Cup, you wouldn’t have said Italy would end up winning it. It’s interesting that every team which has taken the lead has gone on to win. That tells you it’s getting more and more important to pursue the lead with drive, dynamism and the right body language, and not just go looking for a result.” How would you rate Germany?
Klinsmann: “First of all, let me praise Joachim Löw, the coaching staff, and the players too. They’re putting in some first-class work. Their attitude has been terrifically positive and they’ve played accordingly. I really enjoyed watching them.” Can Germany win it?
Klinsmann: “I hope so. But there are two phases in a tournament: the group matches and the knockout round. You always need a certain amount of luck in these two very different phases.” Have you been in touch with the Bayern players?
Klinsmann: “Of course. I’m proud we have ten players at the Euro, so we’re up there at the top of the clubs providing international players. I’m impressed with the German players in the Germany team. Philipp Lahm was very strong. Marcell Jansen supplied plenty of impulse going forward, although he had a very tough job in defence. Bastian Schweinsteiger gave a positive display, Miroslav Klose worked tremendously hard for the team and showed his quality as a provider, and what more is there to say about Lukas Podolski? I wished him this taste of success with all my heart. And I’m sure Tim Borowski will still play an important role at the tournament.” What about the other Bayern players?
Klinsmann: “They suffered from unlucky circumstances. Italy’s performance was characterised by very poor defending and uninspired build-up play. I thought France were too restricted tactically, so Franck Ribéry and Willy Sagnol were unable to make more of an impact. Hamit Altintop gave a good performance after such a long time out, although the Turks faced very strong opposition with Portugal.” What’s the situation with the South American players?
Klinsmann: “I was in San Diego for Argentina versus Mexico and met up with Martin Demichelis and José Sosa. I then spoke to Argentina coach Alfio Basile for a couple of hours – diligently trying out my newly-acquired knowledge of Spanish.” Finally, how’s the state of preparations for the new season with Bayern?
Klinsmann: “We’ve been working towards it with a lot of dynamism since January. I’m unbelievably excited about the challenge, and I’m sure all Bayern fans are looking forward to it too.”