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'There's no progress without change'

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'There's no progress without change'

Postby FCBayernNews » Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:45 pm

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." Did you hold any kind of hand-over meeting with Ottmar Hitzfeld?
Klinsmann: "Yes, but not at the end of the season, it was sometime in March or April. We went for a pleasant dinner, and obviously we talked about the team. I was curious to hear his views and analysis. Then I went and told the board I was basically happy with the squad as it was, especially as the club had invested heavily in the team a year earlier. I also wanted to form my own impression of each individual player. I wanted to assess each individual's potential, and how we could hopefully help them keep on improving." Were you excited on your first day at the club?
Klinsmann: "I was excited and proud. I wasn't nervous, I was simply looking forward to it, as I had been doing for almost six months. The working days were very long at the start, until things started running smoothly. It wasn't just the new performance centre, we had a completely new coaching staff." Talking of change, were you aware it might take a while to settle down, especially after a pre-season disrupted by players returning late from Euro 2008?
Klinsmann: "Yes, in the circumstances, it was obvious it wouldn't be completely smooth at the beginning. We didn't just redesign the players' working day, we totally changed their working environment. It wasn't easy for the team to settle at first. I was also curious about the sporting potential in every individual. We were always going to need three or four months." You experimented with a number of players and systems in the first few weeks. Was that part of the overall plan?
Klinsmann: "It was important to have a second system up our sleeves. The 3-5-2 formation actually worked very well, especially in Bucharest. It's a variant we can always pull out if necessary. It was also important to signal to the players that they'd need to acclimatise to changes. To use an Americanism, we forced them out of their comfort zone. That automatically leads to some unease, but we took that into account. Change is the only way to identify certain things and draw the right conclusions. If everything stays the way it is, you can't make progress, that's my going-in position. And we were interested to see how the players reacted." Were you not concerned about the average results at the start of the season?
Klinsmann: "We weren't worried, but there was a little nervousness surrounding the club. Bayern are always watched more closely than other clubs, and no matter what you're trying to achieve, you have to have results. So when you experiment, you're always on a knife-edge. But you have to opt for that tightrope. After all, the club signed me with a remit to develop the players." What did the players say about the changes?
Klinsmann: "I think the vital thing was for them to realise it was all for them, they were the sole focus of our work. We demand a lot of them, but what they get in return is respect, support and fantastic training facilities, which are up there with the best internationally at the moment, I believe."
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