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Klinsmann heads crop of new coaches in Bundesliga

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 14 Aug 2008

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The biggest signing in the Bundesliga will spend the season on the bench.

Bayern Munich invested more than $105 million in new stars last season and the club-record outlay paid off when it swept the German league and cup titles. This season, Bayern did not spend a cent on new players. Perhaps GermanyÂ’s richest club could not afford any after the arrival of Jurgen Klinsmann as coach.

Klinsmann replaced Ottmar Hitzfeld, who left to coach SwitzerlandÂ’s national team. Klinsmann, who two years ago turned down the chance to coach the U.S. national team, left his southern California home and brought along an 11-member international support staff that includes Canadians, Americans and Brazilians.

He set up a new high-tech training centre, a chill-out lounge with Buddha statutes supposed to exude positive energy, meals designed by a three-star chef and language classes. To make communication easier among his international staff and players, Klinsmann has hired simultaneous interpreters.

Klinsmann electrified Germany when he led the host nation to a third-place finish at the 2006 World Cup, but he has never coached a club. Now, he is in charge of GermanyÂ’s biggest, most successful and most scrutinized team.
Bayern is seeking its 22nd league championship. It lost in the semi-finals of last seasonÂ’s UEFA Cup and returns this season to the Champions League.
With television income at home lower than in England, Spain and Italy, Bayern needs the Champions League cash to remain competitive.
Klinsmann has not had a smooth start. Bayern lost to Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund in warm-up matches and needed a late goal to overcome third-division Rot-Weiss Erfurt 4-3 in the first round of the German Cup.
Midfield star Franck Ribery, voted player of the year in his first season in Germany, is out until at least September with an ankle injury sustained during FranceÂ’s disappointing Euro 2008 campaign.
Luca Toni, who topped the Bundesliga with 24 goals last season but did not score for Italy at Euro 2008, may not be ready for Friday nightÂ’s seasonÂ’s opener against Hamburg. Defenders Willy Sagnol and Martin Demichelis also are out with injuries.
Klinsmann has blamed poor preparations for the unconvincing start and he expects the fine-tuning to go well into September.
“We have a lot of work to do,” he said. “We had a really staggered preparation after the European Championship.”
German players such as Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski reported to the camp nearly three weeks late following vacation.
“There is little coordination between different sections of the team,” Klinsmann said.
Klinsmann inherits a virtually intact squad boosted by the arrival of German midfielder Tim Borowski on a free transfer from Werder Bremen. Michael Rensing steps in for long-time captain and goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, who retired.
It wonÂ’t be long before Klinsmann feels pressure.
“He has to get the team to play successful, good football, as we are used to,” Bayern chairman Franz Beckenbauer said. “The club has done everything to make his job comfortable. Jurgen has turned many things upside down, now we need the results. Otherwise the changes and the investment are useless.”
The arrival of new coaches has overshadowed the interest in new players. Hamburg has former Tottenham coach Martin Jol, who will have to compensate for the departure of playmaker Rafael van der Vaart for Real Madrid.

Schalke also has a new Dutch coach, Fred Rutten, and has signed Peru striker Jefferson Affran and Netherlands midfielder Orlando Engelaar. BrazilÂ’s Rafinha is at the Olympics and will miss the start.

Runner-up Werder Bremen has released more players than it has signed and may add another striker before the transfer period ends. Playmaker Diego is also at the Olympics.

WolfsburgÂ’s ambitions have been underlined by the addition of the pair of Italian defenders, Andrea Barzagli and Cristian Zaccardo, and coach Felix Magath wants to team to become one of BundesligaÂ’s top sides.

Few Americans figure to make an impact in the Bundesliga this year. Among the U.S. players are Steve Cherundolo and Sal Zizzo (Hannover), and Kamani Hill (Wolfsburg).

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