Created on 03-08-2008 at 00:00 AM
Jürgen Klinsmann has never forgotten the three seasons he spent at Inter Milan, more properly known by their full name of Internazionale. Between 1989 and 1992, the Bayern boss scored 34 goals in 95 appearances for the north Italians, winning the UEFA Cup in 1991 and the Italian Supercup in 1989. “Once an Interista, for ever an Interista,“ he explained to fcbayern.de, revealing an enduring fondness for the 16-time Serie A champions.
The coach is understandably delighted to be facing his former club in Tuesday’s contest for the Franz Beckenbauer Cup. Ahead of the meeting at the Allianz Arena, Klinsmann discussed the prestige friendly, the Italian club and their new boss José Mourinho with fcbayern.de. By the way: Tickets are still available in all categories for the match, which kicks off at 8.30 pm CET.
Interview: Jürgen Klinsmann
fcbayern.de: Jürgen Klinsmann, the Inter clash on Tuesday is Bayern’s last pre-season warm-up. How important is the match in your plans?
Klinsmann: “The game is extremely important to us. Inter Milan are a huge club, one of the biggest in the world, who are now coached by José Mourinho, a man with real charisma. Inter are also a former club of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and myself. We’re really looking forward to the match, and having such a terrific fixture to open the season is just fantastic for the fans.“
fcbayern.de: What are your personal links to Inter?
Klinsmann: “As the Italians say: Once an Interista, for ever an Interista. Inter Milan have a place in my heart. It was my first move abroad, it’s where I learnt the language and the culture, and I became a fan of Italy as a country. Inter is a special club within Italy too, and matters a great deal to the fans. Whenever Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and I travel to Italy, we’re always approached by Inter fans. You’re always one of them and you’ll be one of them your whole life, even though I’ve not lived there for 15 years. It’s really phenomenal.“
fcbayern.de: Inter have a new coach, José Mourinho. Do you know him personally and what’s he like?
Klinsmann: “I know him from my time as Germany coach, when Robert Huth was playing for him at Chelsea. I flew to London a couple of times, we ate together or sat over a cup of coffee. I think José Mourinho is a fascinating coach who’s his own man and has his own approach. When he was in the USA with Chelsea I had the opportunity to watch him run pre-season training. His work on the training ground is fantastic and very thoroughly planned. He’s a strategist, but he likes to have fun too – I think that’s very important because it radiates enthusiasm and joy. It’ll be interesting to see how he gets on at Inter. Just like at Bayern, expectations there couldn’t be higher, but he’s used to that from his time at Chelsea, and this is the next step for him.“
fcbayern.de: How do you rate Inter, and how can we expect them to play?
Klinsmann: “I don’t know how far Inter are in pre-season, although the Italians usually start later than in Germany. But Inter are one of the biggest clubs in the world, and their goal is definitely to win the Champions League. Obviously Serie A is very important to them, but the fans are dreaming of the Champions League – and José and his team will be judged on that basis.“