Miroslav Klose: Record goalscorer, somersault artist and Footballer of the Year
World champion, record goalscorer, Footballer of the Year -- Miroslav Klose played for FC Bayern from 2007 to 2011, during which time he enjoyed his greatest successes at club level. The 2014 World Cup winner celebrates his 42nd birthday on Tuesday and to celebrate, fcbayern.com looks back on his career in Munich.
The stats don't lie: with 16 goals across four World Cup tournaments, Miroslav Klose is the top goalscorer in World Cup history. He's also Germany's all-time leading marksman with 71 goals in 137 international appearances. The list of his successes goes on: World Cup winner in 2014, World Cup runner-up in 2002, third place at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, European Championship runner-up in 2008, two-time double winner with Bayern (2008, 2010) and a Coppa Italia winner with Lazio in 2013. The former striker can look back on a highly successful and decorated career.
Golden Shoe winner at 2006 World Cup
Klose was a relatively late bloomer in professional football. After finishing school he trained as a roofer and he was still playing for village club SG Blaubach-Diedelkopf at the age of 20, before joining regional league side FC Homburg in 1998. One year later he moved to Kaiserslautern, where he made his Bundesliga debut in April 2000. After four more years in the Pfalz, Klose -- now an established Germany international -- signed for Werder Bremen. There he racked up 63 goals and 47 assists in 132 games, was top goalscorer in both the World Cup and Bundesliga in 2006 and was also named Germany's Footballer of the Year.
Klose completes Bayern's "dream frontline"
It's no wonder, therefore, that Bayern became interested in the prolific forward and lured him to Säbener Straße during the summer of upheaval in 2007, after weeks of a tug-of-war with Bremen. "It's been a difficult one, which makes me even happier to be able to welcome our second striker target, who completes our dream frontline," said then FCB general manager Uli Hoeneß. He was referring to the new forward duo of Klose and Luca Toni, with fellow new signing Franck Ribéry brought in to provide the assists.
Klose's aim: winning trophies
"I know that expectations are high -- but they are with me too," said Poland-born Klose at his official unveiling, embracing the pressure to succeed: "Up to now I've only watched when others have lifted trophies. I want to experience it myself!" And where better to do that than with the German record champions? "I chose FC Bayern because the whole package fits. It wasn't a difficult decision," explained the striker, who coach Ottmar Hitzfeld described as the "cherry on the cake" among all eight of the new signings.
Ten goals in first nine games
Klose hit the ground running and fired Bayern to success in the former Ligapokal with the only goal of the game against Schalke 04, in just his second competitive appearance. In total he bagged 10 goals in his first nine games as the new forward duo of Klose and Toni (10 goals in his first 10 appearances) caused a furore. "When Miro Klose and Luca Toni get near the ball up front, the opposition are in trouble," said Hitzfeld, who was happy with his new goal-getters. Hoeneß even called Klose "already a leading player" after his first few weeks In Minich.
Goalscorer, provider, double winner
That early high was followed by a lull. Klose did bag nine goals in the UEFA Cup and DFB Cup, but only managed two more in the rest of the league campaign. However, he also impressed as a tireless worker and provider for the team, setting up 11 goals. "I know I could be more selfish, but it's in my nature to pass the ball. The team comes first," he said, adding: "I certainly want to score more goals." Nevertheless, at the end of the season he was able to celebrate the double and with it the first two honours of his club career.
Goals keep flowing in second season
Jürgen Klinsmann took charge of Bayern in 2008 and the former Germany boss also put his faith in the experienced striker. Klose started in 35 of his 38 appearances in all competitions, registering 20 goals and 10 assists. However, Bayern's main goalscorer missed eight games in the crucial closing stages of the season due to a tendon injury and could not help as the Reds ended the campaign without silverware.
New coach, new system, new competition
Fitness problems also prevented him from hitting top form during the first half of the 2009/10 season. On top of that, there was a new coach in Louis van Gaal, a new playing system plus the signings of Mario Gomez, Ivica Olic and Arjen Robben in attack. Things did improve in the second half of the campaign, but a final tally of 18 starts and six goals was not enough by Klose's own standards. Another domestic double and a Champions League final were scant consolation.
Back with confidence
After finishing third with Germany and scoring four goals at the 2010 World Cup, Klose returned to Munich from South Africa with confidence and the aim of getting back to his best with the club. But the season didn't start well for the trained carpenter ("I learned the trade and still love the trade"), with a muscle strain ruling him out for most of the first half of the campaign. Even after the winter break, he was often only used as a substitute. His record of six goals and three assists that term was unsatisfactory and at the end of the season, Klose couldn't reach an agreement with Bayern on renewing his contract.
Second career as coach
"I had a great time at Bayern," said Klose, after 53 goals in 151 competitive appearances. "We won the double twice, but I also had the experience of not always being in the starting XI. I learned a huge amount during that time. Now, after four years, I've chosen to go a different way." He moved to Lazio in Italy, where he ended his playing career in 2016. Two years later, the World Cup record goalscorer returned to Munich and began his coaching career with the under-17 team, with whom he won the South German title straight away. As of the 2020/21 season, Klose will assist first team head coach Hansi Flick.
Klose was in Brazil with the FC Bayern Legends in December 2019. See the highlights here 👇