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Mata jokes after eating turf

The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Klinsmann to coach Bayern from next season

MUNICH, January 11 (Bundesliga) - Jurgen Klinsmann described Bayern Munich as 'one of the top clubs in the whole world' after accepting an offer to take charge of the Bundesliga giants from the start of next season.

Klinsmann will succeed Ottmar Hitzfeld who announced in early January that he would be standing down from the post when his contract expires this summer.

Bayern's search for a big-name replacement ended when former Germany boss Klinsmann agreed to move back to Bavaria from his home in California.

'We always said we could get the one we wanted, whoever it was,' said Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness. 'And we wanted it done early.'

Klinsmann has agreed a two-year contract with Bayern, who currently lead the Bundesliga on goal difference from Werder Bremen.

'I am really happy to be able to be part of Bayern Munich,' he said.

'This is a really special situation, similar to three and a half years ago when I became coach of Germany.

'It is a real honour to work here and, in a way, continue the job I started with the national team.'

Since leaving his job as Germany coach immediately after leading them to the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup, Klinsmann has recharged his batteries in his home in the United States.

However, the 43-year-old did not hesitate when Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge came calling.

'It was just an honour when Karl-Heinz called me,' he said.

'Bayern are one of the top clubs in the whole world and whenever you think of the Bundesliga, Bayern is the first team which comes to your mind.

'I discussed moving back to Germany with my wife, and she spontaneously agreed.

'It was very emotional for us both after the World Cup and things eventually returned to normal, but that is now behind us and from July 1, it will be part of our lives again.'

Klinsmann's decision to return to a club with whom he enjoyed great success as a player will see him link up once more with Franz Beckenbauer.

The Bayern Munich president was Klinsmann's coach when the club won the 1996 UEFA Cup and the pair also combined to lead West Germany to World Cup glory in 1990.

Beckenbauer is delighted they can renew their working relationship.

'I am looking forward to the time with Jurgen Klinsmann,' he said.

'I don't think it is a courageous decision, but rather a clever and thought-out one.

'Jurgen had success using his methods with the national team and I am sure he will also have success with Bayern.'