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Klinsmann interview, part 1

'There’s no progress without change'

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A year ago today, on 11 January 2008, FCB unveiled Jürgen Klinsmann as Ottmar Hitzfeld’s successor. Some 240 reporters and more than 30 camera crews watched as the former Germany boss laid out ideas and principles for his first club coaching role. Exactly 12 months later, sat down with Klinsmann to review the events of the intervening period, and especially his first six months as head coach.

Jürgen Klinsmann interview, part 1 Jürgen, you were unveiled as the new Bayern coach exactly a year ago. What have been the really big changes in your life since then?
Jürgen Klinsmann: “For us as a family, it meant coming back to Germany after ten years in the USA. It was a big decision and a big step for us. Obviously, it was connected to the honour of coaching Bayern Munich and the chance to take on a seriously unique job at Germany’s biggest club.“ The announcement that you were to take over at Bayern was sensational news, and a surprise to almost everyone. You included?
Klinsmann: “Yes, it was a surprise when Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeneß rang just before Christmas, asking if I was interested in the job. It certainly came out of the blue. The step of returning to Europe was a little less surprising. It was only a matter of time, as I had any number of enquiries after leaving the national team. The business with Bayern was settled inside five minutes, because my wife spontaneously said yes at once. I had two wonderful years in Munich as a player, even though it was a turbulent period on the field back then, and our son was born while we were living in the city.“ You officially took up your new job on 1 July, but you actually started work a lot earlier, didn’t you?
Klinsmann: “Even though I wasn’t contracted to the club for the first half year, preparing for the first of July was very intense, and there was the business with the performance centre on top of that. The idea came to me the minute I heard that the construction of the ServiceCenter would free up space in the old building. It meant I was basically on it full-time as of January.“ Was it difficult doing all of that without somehow getting in Ottmar Hitzfeld’s way?
Klinsmann: “No, it wasn’t difficult at all. I deliberately didn’t give any interviews, in order to leave Ottmar in peace. It’s what we’d agreed beforehand. I just stayed in the background and worked with the board. Obviously, I needed to meet with the board from time to time to discuss projects for the future.“