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‘It’s been tremendously enjoyable so far’

A predictable hubbub and bustle accompanied Jürgen Klinsmann when he arrived at the Allianz Arena in Munich for his first news conference as Bayern head coach on Wednesday afternoon. Flanked by board directors Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeneß, Klinsmann was greeted by exactly 111 media representatives crowded into the media centre at the Bavarians’ home ground. Somewhat in contrast to the senior officials, Klinsmann appeared relaxed and beamed broadly as he took his place on the podium, ready to address the press officially for the first time.

“We’ve started pre-season with lots of spark and enthusiasm,” he reported. “I’m incredibly proud to be handed the job, and I’m delighted at the chance to take responsibility at Bayern,” he continued. The first competitive match of the season is still five weeks away, “but I’m already looking forward to it. It’s tremendously enjoyable.“

Praise for performance centre

A Bayern squad minus its Euro 2008 stars has completed four training sessions so far, although the coach revealed he had spent much more time with his new charges in the newly-constructed performance centre than on the practice ground. “It’s our centrepiece, the new jewel at the club,” Klinsmann remarked. Some 2,000 square metres have been given over to “a perfect oasis for the players,” according to Rummenigge, where they are likely to spend up to eight hours a day, at least during the pre-season phase.

Klinsmann regards the centre as a key tool in implementing his playing philosophy. “We want every player to improve, every day. We want every player to reach the next level, regardless of the level he’s at now. And if every player improves, we’ll automatically have a better team,” Klinsmann explained. The new performance centre also offered “the perfect setting for approaching the players individually.“

Kahn upbeat about new era

“None of this actually scores goals, obviously, but it provides the platform for playing better football and scoring goals,” Hoeneß commented. The general manager confessed he had been “totally overwhelmed” when he returned from vacation and saw the centre for the first time. “I want to praise Jürgen explicitly for this. Now it’s up to the team to make best use of it. If so, we can be confident about the new campaign.“

Unsurprisingly, there has been no substantial change to the club’s targets for the season. Bayern will seek to defend their domestic double, “but we also want to contest the Champions League right to the end,” Klinsmann declared. The new Bayern coach has thus set his sights exceptionally high, but no less a commentator than Oliver Kahn feels the former Germany supremo could deliver “the ultimate triumph.“

Plan is to dominate

The performance centre is not the only weapon at the coach’s disposal in the hunt for major international honours. “Step by step, we’ll develop a tactical system which is dynamic, imposing and dominant. It really doesn’t matter who provides the opposition,” he explained. Klinsmann feels he has “at least two options for every position, in some cases three. Obviously, that means I have a lot of communicating to do, but I’m really looking forward to it.“