Just ten months into a two-year contract, Bayern Munich have decided to fire trainer Juergen Klinsmann from his post. Goal.com looks at Klinsi’s brief tenure at the Allianz Arena.
"My philosophy is easy: to make every player better each day. There will be a lot of individual work on and off the pitch. We have unique foundations and want to bring every player to the next level," Juergen Klinsmann said at his inaugural press conference back in July.
"Munich has the highest expectations. The fans want both titles in Germany and to be in Champions League until the end. That is Munich's ambition and we want to meet it. We are looking forward to it.”
At the time, his words resonated around the press room and there was seemingly no reason why Bayern, who had dominated the league the previous season under Ottmar Hitzfeld, would not attain Klinsmann’s stated aims.
Fast forward to the present day and Bayern are in danger of conceding their Bundesliga crown to either Wolfsburg, Hertha Berlin or Hamburg, and humiliatingly crashed out of the Champions League at the hands of Barcelona at the quarter-final stage.
It all however started so positively, with the Bayern hierarchy all singing from the same hymn sheet that Klinsmann was their chosen candidate and giving him carte blanche to change things at the club and introduce what came to be known as the ‘Klinsmann Philosophy’.
The club’s training headquarters at the Sabener Strasse were completely renovated at a cost of an estimated €4 million, with Klinsmann’s new-age thinking to the fore. There were relaxation zones, yoga classes, study rooms for a good read, Buddha statues on the roof, and the players were expected to stay for an eight-hour working day. "Many players expect to be stimulated and motivated," Klinsmann reasoned.
While a few scoffed at the thinking, for Bayern it was seen as quite a coup that they had been able to lure the former Bundestrainer. There was of course the accusation that it was a big risk seeing as Klinsi had limited experience.
All the optimism slowly seeped away though and the doubts set in as the club made their worst start to a season in over 30 years. Klinsmann’s first game was lost - in the Super Cup against Borussia Dortmund - and they then conceded three goals in their DFB Pokal first round tie with Rot-Weiss Erfurt.
The Bundesliga opener saw Hamburg the visitors to the Allianz Arena, but it wasn’t to be a winning start for Klinsmann as the Bavarians had to settle for a 2-2 draw despite having led 2-0 after 16 minutes. An away draw with Dortmund followed before normal service was seemingly restored with successive wins over Hertha Berlin and Koeln.
However, Werder then hit five past them at the Allianz Arena and they then lost the following week at Hannover. Letting slip a 3-1 lead at home to Bochum a week later witnessed the first calls of ‘Klinsmann out’ at the Allianz Arena. That point saw Bayern down in 11th place.
Eight wins however from their remaining nine games before the winter break, including a 2-1 win over leaders Hoffenheim, saw pride and a bit of faith restored, and covered up the cracks a little. In the meantime the club had made light work of qualifying from the Champions League group which included quality opposition in Olympique Lyon, Fiorentina and Steaua Bucharest.
The second-half of the season, however, began worse than the first - with Juergen Klinsmann’s side suffering three defeats in their first four Bundesliga matches of 2009. Defeats to Hamburg, Hertha Berlin and Koeln put them fourth in the standings, and at no point had the club actually topped the table.
A huge aggregate Champions League win over a dire Sporting Lisbon side briefly ignited hope that Bayern may be able to achieve success in the premier European competition, but those hopes were dashed by Barcelona at Camp Nou as the German side were humiliated by a stunning display from the Catalans, which exposed some gaping holes in their defence.
Four days before, Bayern were well and truly trounced at the Volkswagen Arena by title rivals Wolfsburg - trained by none other than ex-Bayern boss Felix Magath. That result, combined with the Barcelona debacle, put the first nail in Klinsmann’s Bayern coffin.
The board were unlikely to accept any more defeats, so when Schalke secured their first ever win at the Allianz Arena under temporary trainers the writing was well and truly on the wall that Klinsi’s tenure was under threat.
The strange thing is, Bayern could well go on to win the Bundesliga this season and Klinsmann will claim that his methods worked. The board however seem to have lost faith in the ‘Klinsmann Project’.
Those who still support the newly-fired trainer point to the fact that he was let down by his players, and to a certain extent that is true. Luca Toni hasn’t been as prolific as he was in his first season; the defence has been leaking goals at an alarming rate, while poor Michael Rensing has constantly had the legend of Oliver Kahn to live up to.
That said, it is hard to explain away how the team, which has the same players as last season, has failed to perform so often. It seems that ‘Klinsmann the Motivator’ wasn’t able to do that at Bayern, or develop the tactics to achieve his goals.
In the end Klinsmann was hoist by his own petard. His words from his opening press conference have come back to haunt him and ultimately cost him his job.
"My philosophy is easy: to make every player better each day. Munich has the highest expectations. The fans want both titles in Germany and to be in Champions League until the end. That is Munich's ambition and we want to meet it.”
Patience it seems it not a virtue inside the corridors of power at the Allianz Arena.
Mathew Burt, Goal.com