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Klinsmann’s first six months

‘There’s no mistaking what he’s achieved’

Jürgen Klinsmann and his family will spend Christmas in California, but the former world-class striker’s thoughts will never be far from Bayern. “I’ll be talking to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on the phone all the time,” revealed the head coach, who even feels “it’s a shame we have the winter break just now.” The reason is simple: Klinsmann has just begun to see a payback on his efforts since arriving in Munich.

“Jürgen has given the club a good shake-up,” commented Franz Beckenbauer after Klinsmann’s first six months in charge. Immediately after his arrival last July, the new boss introduced the performance centre, an eight-hour day for the players, innovative training routines, a new approach to the game, and a lot more besides. “We’ve made a lot of changes,” Klinsmann admits, “naturally, it’s not all been easy for the players.”

The right balance

Beckenbauer for one is very satisfied: “Jürgen’s style is bearing fruit.” A patchy start has been followed by 16 games without defeat, sending Bayern joint top of the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim, and through to the Champions League first knockout round with the best record of all 32 group stage hopefuls.

“We’re extremely pleased. Jürgen’s doing a good job, and there’s no mistaking what he’s achieved,” Rummenigge declared. The chairman feels the coach has found “a good balance” between the traditional values espoused by the club, and the trends in modern football. “Jürgen has come up with a good solution.”

Change needs time

Klinsmann himself is satisfied with his first six months. “We’re exactly where we wanted to be,” commented the 44-year-old after “a very emotional and lively six months. It’s been an exciting process and very enjoyable. I’ve never for one moment doubted coming to Bayern was the right move.”

The new boss had to confront a number of problems at the start. A clutch of key players were sidelined with long-term injuries, the Euro 2008 stars arrived late for pre-season, and Klinsmann had to convince his new charges to trust in his methods. “It worked once the lads noticed: Jürgen’s not here just to do his own thing. He’s here to help us develop, so we can match the best, and get even better. They were convinced eventually, but it takes time.”