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Klinsmann interview, part 2

'I’m a listener, and I’ve done a lot of listening'

In part 2 of a major interview, Jürgen Klinsmann takes a detailed look back over his first six months at the FCB helm. Why did he briefly drop captain Mark van Bommel to the bench? What is his relationship with Uli Hoeneß? And what does he feel about the situation regarding Lukas Podolski? The former world-class striker tells all, revealing he is "hungry for a trophy or two this season."

Jürgen Klinsmann interview, part 2 Jürgen, as Bayern coach you come under intense media scrutiny. Do you think your new training methods attracted too much scepticism?
Klinsmann: “There was a lot of speculation before I started, because nobody really knew what was coming. What I did with the national team was totally different compared to Bayern, but people still made comparisons and said: Klinsmann’s going to do exactly the same thing. But they were completely wrong. At some point I just decided to stop justifying myself. People will soon see what I’m really about, I thought.“ You named Mark van Bommel captain and then briefly benched him, causing a stir in the media.
Klinsmann: “When you have such a serious decision to make, you don’t worry how it will come across in the media. I just asked myself: what are we trying to achieve here? Mark was made captain, and we rightly placed a lot of faith in him, because he holds the dressing room together and he’s the most communicative. However, his performance is continually being assessed. Maybe he thought he was an automatic pick, or he didn’t realise his performance levels had dropped – whatever, I wanted to send out a signal to all the players, that even the captain is judged on performance. I knew the decision would spark a debate, but I was certain that if he was made of the stuff I believed he was, he’d show the right reaction. And that’s exactly what happened. He was totally fired up in training, and that made him more solid in matches. His improving fitness also began to pay off. Since then, he’s played very well.“ You’ve said the players had to acclimatise to change. You must have gone through the same process.
Klinsmann: “After arriving in a new place with certain ideas of your own, you always have to be open to course corrections for the benefit of the club and the team. I’ve continually been thinking – maybe I went a step too far here, maybe I need to change course and accept a compromise. We’ve always tried to optimise what we do. A coach always has to be open to change. I reckon after two or three months everyone saw I was capable of that, in the same way that I expect everyone else to be open to change.“ Has it been exciting watching the changes you’ve implemented taking effect on the team and the club?
Klinsmann: “The most exciting thing over the last six months is how everyone’s realised my sole priority is this football club, helping the team develop and succeed. That’s why it’s an honour to be Bayern Munich head coach. That’s what preoccupies me every day. But I also expect the maximum from the coaching staff and everyone who works with the team, so that at the end of the day, I can go to a player and say: look, we’ve done all this for you, so it’s time you hit the gas.“