Monday, December 18, 2017

It was crazy! – Klinsmann saves penalty on Hertha debut

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 8 Dec 2017

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It was a performance any father would have been proud of, especially Germany legend Jurgen Klinsmann, whose son saved a late penalty in his debut for Hertha Berlin.

Jonathan Klinsmann emerged as the hero on Thursday after the 20-year-old goalkeeper saved an 87th-minute penalty to ensure Hertha drew 1-1 at home to Ostersunds FK in their final Europa League match.

With number one keeper Rune Jarstein absent and backup Thomas Kraft sidelined through illness, Klinsmann was given the nod for his first senior appearance and the United States youth international did not disappointing, diving low to deny Brwa Nouri from the spot with three minutes remaining.

Klinsmann – the son of former Germany, Bayern Munich and United States head coach Jurgen who signed a professional contract with Hertha following a successful trial in July – could not hide his delight post-match.

“It was definitely crazy. I don’t know how else to describe it,” Klinsmann told Hertha TV. “First starting XI, Europa League, the whole thing. It was just crazy.

“At the time, I was just nervous. A couple of days before the game and you start thinking and overthinking. I didn’t know what to think.

“I called my dad and told him. He calmed me down a bit.”

On the penalty save, Klinsmann said: “It was funny, right before the game we didn’t actually go over penalties until right before kick-off. It wasn’t really a thing we thought would happen but obviously you have to prepare for the worst.

“I just told myself, most of these guys go left so if I go and I have a feeling, just go 100 per cent to that corner and it worked.”

“Getting my first game, it’s a whole different atmosphere if you’re a goalkeeper. I have a lot of close relationships with the guys in the second team and then to get this win and you saw they were grateful for the save and happy for you and the team, it was great to see,” he continued.

Hertha head coach Pal Dardai, whose side finished bottom of Group J, added: “Klinsmann had a very good game, he stayed firm under pressure and saved the penalty. But it wasn’t just him who played well.

“Jonathan is a young man and he had a good game. But he needs to keep working hard, continue to learn and build on this showing. Today he gets an A.”

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