Germans pin soccer hopes on Klinsmann
TWIG - Former captain Juergen Klinsmann was introduced as the youngest-ever coach of Germany’s national soccer team on Thursday, beginning the race to rebuild the slumping squad in time for the World Cup it will host in 2006.
"The fans hope that we will be world champions in 2006, and that’s my goal too," Klinsmann told reporters. "I think the potential is there. I think we’ll go at it with a different attitude than we’ve seen at the soccer federation in recent years."
Observers expect "Klinsi," who has a contract until after the 2006 finals, to lead a major shake-up of the erstwhile soccer superpower — in part by introducing innovative U.S. coaching methods to the old-fashioned world of German soccer.
Specialist teams of tactical and mental coaches schooled in the latest university research are expected to figure prominently in Klinsmann’s bid to restore the German team to its former glory.
Germany reached four of five World Cup finals between 1974 and 1990, but has slumped in recent years, coming up short each time it has faced one of the world’s top teams ever since beating England 1-0 back in 2000.
A 108-times capped international, Klinsmann was a fixture of German soccer’s glory days. He was part of the Germany team that lifted the World Cup in 1990 and won the European Championships in 1996.
The former Stuttgart, Bayern Munich, Monaco, Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur player obtained a coaching licence in 2004, but has yet to coach a team.
Since 1998, he has worked on sports marketing in the United States, most recently as a technical adviser to Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy.
He will be assisted by Joachim Loew, a former VfB Stuttgart coach, and former striker Oliver Bierhoff, his team-mate on the 1996 European Champions
Klinsmann’s appointment ended an arduous month-long search for a replacement for Rudi Voeller, who resigned in the wake of Germany’s embarrassing first-round exit from the European Championships in Portugal last month.
Both former Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld and Greece
boss Otto Rehhagel turned down the job before officials turned to Klinsmann.
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