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Status report

Klinsmann: 'We're right on schedule'

Three and a half weeks of the six-week pre-season period have passed, during which time Bayern have played a total of four friendlies, with a first defeat on Wednesday away to Borussia Dortmund. exclusively asked Jürgen Klinsmann for a status and progress report after his first few weeks in charge.

Interview: Jürgen Klinsmann Jürgen Klinsmann, how would you assess the situation at the club halfway through pre-season?
Klinsmann: "Very, very positively. We're right on schedule, the players are coping very well and they're all very committed. We've also had our last few Euro 2008 players back with us for about a week. They're just beginning to work on their fitness and get back into the rhythm. The players who've been here since we started on 30 June obviously have an advantage in this respect, and we saw that against Dortmund. In our remaining friendlies - Dortmund, Köln, Tokyo and Inter Milan – we're up against opponents with a certain degree of quality. After playing these teams, we'll have a much better idea of where we stand, and it'll indicate to each individual player where he needs to improve. The team is growing and coming on with every passing week.“ The trip to Dortmund ended in a first defeat. Should we read anything into that?
Klinsmann: "The result tells us nothing. Obviously we'd rather have won, but we used the match to try a few things out. For example, we wanted to see how Tim Borowski fitted into the team, how we moved as a unit, how well the players communicated during the match – lots of small but vital elements. We also tried out two distinct formations, 4-4-2 with a midfield diamond in the first half, and 3-5-2 with a man in the hole behind the front two in the second. We told the team what we were doing beforehand, and they dealt with it relatively well.“ Could 3-5-2 be an option for the Bundesliga?
Klinsmann: "It's important we're flexible, so we want the players to be comfortable with at least one other tactical option alongside our favoured 4-4-2. It's not really important whether that ends up being 3-5-2. It also depends a little on our opponents. We expecting a lot of teams to use only one striker when they visit the Allianz Arena, so we have to ask ourselves: do we want to mark this one man with four defenders, or should we take someone out of defence and give ourselves an extra man in an attacking role? These are the things we're trying out in pre-season.“ What's it like having Uli Hoeneß next to you in the dug-out?
Klinsmann: "It's really nice. We're constantly talking about what's happening out on the field. Uli boasts unbelievable experience, he's been sitting in the dug-out for more than 30 years after all. You can bombard him with questions and comments, he's an expert at reading every player's body language. Having someone like that at your side is fantastic. You can learn a huge amount from him, which is why I expressly wanted him to remain down on the touchline in the dug-out. Obviously, it's completely up to him whether he continues to do so. He's my boss and he can do whatever he feels like. But we're happy he's with us in the dug-out.“ It's three and a half weeks since you took over at Bayern. How are you enjoying working with the team on a daily basis?
Klinsmann: "Obviously, it's different at club level compared to the international set-up, but I was prepared for that. I had certain expectations of how the job would be, and they've turned out to be correct. The working conditions offered by Bayern are unbeatable, and I mean that in a European context too. I'm enjoying it a lot because you have more time to work with the players at a club than you do with the national team. My coaching staff and I have more influence on the players' progress and development. Obviously, we hope we're supporting [Germany coach] Jogi Löw and the national team. We want our internationals to be in peak form when they join up with the national team.“