My name is Klinsmann

Jurgen Klinsmann. Master of diversion – so everybody be cool, keine Panik!

A year ago, it was all about The Bayern Munich revolution led by the General, birds chirping, sun rising, set to conquer the world, or at least to grab the UEFA Cup – again, thank you Felix. Now there is Californication, a man with a super secret action plan and a clear message from Bremen with love.

Sure, a coach needs time and patience until his theories incarnate into a Wundermannschaft. Sir Alex himself was a game away from being fired — some twenty years ago in a black November. Everybody is innocent until proven guilty, so let’s give Klinsmann the benefit of the doubt, hoping that his project is far from reaching its climax. However….

Project code 3-5-2
Without being too Ralf Rangnick — once cynically nicked as the Football Professor by propitious colleagues and fans, who were laughing their asses off seeing him tossing magnets on a board — I simply cannot understand the system applied at Munich. I can remember the Squadra Azzurra playing the same system under Zoff, as well as Brazil winning the World Cup in 2002. Unfortunately, the only parallel to be drawn is between Roque Junior and Lucio….

Using a format so old-fashioned might even be a stroke of a genius – I don’t know. What I do know is that it requires three central defenders while Bayern have only one: Demichelis. Good-old Lucio is not the same as he ever was. He still leads ferocious attacks with eyes closed / mouth wide open but it does more harm than good, not to mention his error level at the back. Van Buyten is more medicine than defender — comes in handy in an emergency, but shouldn’t be exposed to (lime)light. Bayern conceded twenty-one goals last season. It is September, and the counter is up to nine, which also means that Lahm and Lell simply can’t live up to the double expectation of being a fullback and a wingback at the same time. Bastards.

It leaves the midfield with three more spots to be filled. Schweini gets the ball, ready for some action. Squints at right — it is van Bommel. Squints at left — and, what do you know, it is Ottl. Or Borowski, maybe Zé Roberto on a lucky day. The lineup is jam packed with defenders, how the hell is the guy supposed to be constructive? No wonder he had to blow off some steam and went berserk attacking the perimeter board. He got left behind.

Licence to kill
Eat, or be eaten, it has always been the Bayern way. They have never looked for the joy in the game, instead they’re in it for the sheer triumph of victory at all cost. Every given fixture is only the opportunity to take scalps and fight for points with an evil desire to possess. This is the spirit you need for twenty Bundesliga titles, to put intolerable pressure upon those having the bad faith to cross you.

Not with this team, not with this lineup. I saw no signs of team-spirit in the Super Cup (it was silverware after all), not against HSV or this weekend. I didn’t even see a decent attack. I saw a team without a captain squirming in its own squeeze.

If Mesut Özil can pull out an amazing performance against Munich then why, why is Toni Kroos being left to shrivel on the bench? To avoid yet another Deisler-story? Or is it just an other act of the Klinsmann—Hoeness power play? I can not figure any argument good enough to keep him sidelined without giving him the opportunity to play twenty-some minutes at least.

Bayern made it through the transfer season without bringing quality players on board, instead reconstructing the players’ quarters to be the performance centre on suggestions by Klinsmann, even featuring statues of Buddha. To optimize the karma of the players. Or something. Anyway, the new winds of the Far East truly touched Klose and he ended up as the Holy Cow of the club — maybe a Brahma sanctuary is also hidden somewhere, while all the prayers of the world wouldn’t help Podolski to get a spot. As long as all the strikers are fit, the situation is ok, but an injury would leave Klinsi with no proper substitute.

Tomorrow never dies
Messiah, Ribéry is your name. The very minute he returns, things will be different. However, I cannot see Bayern playing with the same system, so why on earth was it introduced in the first place? Is this the strategic vision of management, a term said to be almost inseparable from Klinsmann?

Breno, Altintop or Oddo may also help to set the rusty machinery in motion. Better yet, to fire up the locomotion. Don’t forget, the world Bundesliga is not enough, they have to make it to Rome somehow.

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  1. Ahmed Bilal 24 September, 2008
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