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Fan of 4-4-2

Klinsmann gives full backing to Podolski

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The 4-5-1 formation is flavour of the month right now. European champions Spain, Germany from the Euro 2008 quarter-finals onwards and 2006 World Cup finalists France and Italy are among the most high-profile practitioners at the present time, but Jürgen Klinsmann has no intention of following the fashion at Bayern.

“I’m no friend of 4-5-1. It’s a brutal job for a striker, going it alone up front against four defenders. You run the risk of your striker suffering burn-out over a longer period of time,” Klinsmann declared on Thursday. The new head coach is a strong proponent of 4-4-2: “A lot of clubs are intensely jealous of us because we have three top strikers. I’m not about to leave two of them on the bench.”

Klinsmann sees Poldi as central striker

Klinsmann emphasised his intention not simply to rely on last term’s leading scorer Luca Toni and seasoned Germany international Miroslav Klose, but to give a far greater role to Lukas Podolski as well. “I helped him a lot when I was in charge of the national team, and I know him well as a character and a sportsman. I know how to deal with him, and I think we’ll get a great deal out of him in the future,” the 43-year-old remarked.

In contrast to current Germany boss Joachim Löw, Klinsmann is unlikely to deploy Poldi on the left of midfield. “I don’t regard Lukas as a wide player, but as a central striker, probably playing off a target man, but definitely in the centre. He scores his goals in and around the box, not from the left wing.”

No further squad changes

Podolski was still developing as a player, Klinsmann argued, “and I’m determined to bring him up to the next level.” The former world-class striker thus put an end to speculation regarding the 23-year-old’s future. “Lukas has two years to go on his contract with us, so there are no questions to be answered. I’ll go to great lengths to make sure Lukas feels happy at Bayern,” Klinsmann declared.

The Bayern coach also announced that the club would contest the coming season “with the squad as it stands today. Our plans are based on the players we have now, and we’re happy with this squad. We have fantastic quality, and in numerical terms, almost too many players.” However, Klinsmann did conclude with a proviso: “If something suddenly came up, which might lead to internal discussions with the board, we’d go ahead and do it.”