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Jurgen Klinsmann

Latest Team: United States

2014 FIFA World Cup

  • 4GP
  •  
  • 1Won
  •  
  • 1Draw
  •  
  • 2Lost
  •  

Profile

Previous Teams: Germany, Bayern Munich

Honours: CONCACAF Gold Cup: 2013

Klinsmann's appointment as U.S. manager presents a massive opportunity for the former German international on several fronts. Not only is he aiming to drive the U.S. into the elite level of international football, but it's also a chance to hit back at his critics who consider him a managerial lightweight after his difficult spell in charge of Bayern Munich.

As a player, Klinsmann won nearly every trophy available. He started out his professional career with Stuttgarter Kickers before moving on to city rivals Stuttgart. From there he joined countrymen Andreas Brehme and Lothar Matthaus at Inter Milan, with whom he won a Supercoppa Italiana in 1989, as well as the UEFA Cup two years later. Klinsmann later played for AS Monaco and Bayern Munich, and it was at the latter club that he won his only league title, claiming the Bundesliga championship in 1997 and another UEFA Cup crown a year earlier. Klinsmann finished off his club career at Sampdoria, as well as English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, with whom he had two successful spells.

But it was at international level that Klinsmann arguably enjoyed the most success. He earned 108 caps and scored 47 goals, which made him Germany's joint-second top scorer alongside Rudi Voeller at the time of his retirement. He reached the pinnacle of the game in 1990 when helped Germany to a World Cup title, and later led Die Mannschaft to victory at Euro '96.

Klinsmann retired as a player following the 1998 World Cup, and settled into a quiet life, living in Southern California with his wife Debbie and his two children. So it was something of a shock when Klinsmann was named manager of Germany in 2004 after the country's poor showing at that year's European Championships. Klinsmann introduced several reforms, bringing in fitness and sports psychology experts, which very much went against the grain of the German soccer establishment. The early results were uneven, but Klinsmann's faith in young players, as well as a vibrant attacking approach paid off, as Germany reached the semifinals, falling to eventual winners Italy in extra-time.

In the aftermath of the World Cup, Klinsmann was widely praised, but he confounded the public again when he resigned his position, handing over the reins to Joachim Loew and returning to California.

At this time, Klinsmann was widely tipped to take over the U.S., whose managerial position was open after the dismissal of Bruce Arena. But Klinsmann failed to come to terms with U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati, and the post went to Bob Bradley instead.

It would be another two years before Klinsmann would return to management, taking over for Ottmar Hitzfeld at his old club Bayern Munich. At Bayern, Klinsmann tried to introduce many of the same reforms he had instituted as manager of Germany, but with much less success. After an inconsistent campaign -- by Bayern standards at least -- he was dismissed with just five games left in the season with the club sitting just three points off first.

At the time, it was widely speculated that Klinsmann would never manage again, but when Bradley was fired by the USSF in the summer of 2011, the U.S. made another run at the one-time Germany manager and came to terms on July 29, 2011.

Upon his hiring, Klinsmann vowed to introduce a more attack-minded style, but like his initial results in Germany, there were few early signs of progress. After dropping its opening match to Honduras in the final round of World Cup qualifying, a published report in the Sporting News detailed allegations of widespread unrest among the players.

But Klinsmann soon righted the ship, combining the promise of attacking football with more pragmatic elements. The results began to arrive, with the team enjoying a 12-game winning streak over the summer of 2013, and ultimately the Americans qualified for Brazil in comfortable fashion.

Strengths: Klinsmann is renowned for his ability to motivate players, and get them to perform beyond what they thought was possible.

Weaknesses: Doubts remain about Klinsmann's tactical acumen, despite the fact that he has shown a golden touch over the last year with game-changing substitutions. Much of this recent success has come against CONCACAF opposition, so the World Cup will be his ultimate test.

Career high: Leading Germany to a third-place finish at the 2006 World Cup, all while blooding a new generation of players.

Career low: Fired by Bayern Munich in 2009 with the team just three points off first place with five matches to play.

Tactics: Under Klinsmann, the U.S. have tended to operate out of a hybrid 4-4-2, with Clint Dempsey partnering Jozy Altidore up front, but also dropping back into midfield when needed in order to spark the U.S. attack.

Quotes: "[Clint Dempsey] hasn't made s---. You play for Fulham? Yeah, so? Show me you can play for a Champions League team, and then you start on a Champions League team. There is always another level. If you one day reach the highest level then you've got to confirm it, every year." Jurgen Klinsmann as told to the Wall Street Journal.

Trivia: Klinsmann recently acquired a license to fly helicopters, a better way to save time by avoiding the Los Angeles area's notorious traffic jams.

Words: Jeff Carlisle