Jurgen Klinsmann is a nice fellow. No matter what you think about the man’s managerial abilities, trust me on this one.
(FYI, my jerk-detector works pretty well; I’m not as quick as some colleagues to hand out willy-nilly the “he’s a great guy” medal. Too often in my biz, that translates to “He is pleasant when I talk to him in the locker room,” and that’s a pedestrian “nice guy” standard in my book. So, do believe this one.)
At any rate, I had a giggle when I read Grant Wahl’s interview with Klinsmann this morning, which begins with the U.S. manager commenting on Bayern Munich’s recent, splashy hire: former Barca boss Pep Guardiola will soon be on board.
Klinsmann says twice to Wahl that Bayern is “person-related.” I probably should not take too many liberties here, but I’m pretty sure that’s just a nice man’s way of saying “political.” It’s a big club with big history, and it always seems there are plenty of hands trying to stir the München soup.
Remember, Klinsmann is in a great position to comment on this one. He began that long and ranging playing career in Germany, circled back into his homeland to perform at Bayern toward the back half of those playing days and then later spent a year managing the club – and dealing with all those “person-related” challenges.
What Klinsmann told Wahl about Guardiola’s challenges ahead:
It’s going to be very interesting to see how he can implement his ideas, his philosophy, at a club like Bayern Munich where there’s a lot that’s “person-related,” you know. The club is led by three elephants with [Franz] Beckenbauer, [Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge and [Uli] Hoeness, and they got a fourth elephant in there last summer [Matthias Sammer]. So it’s all kind of ‘person-based,’ what’s happened there. It’s not philosophy-based, like it was at Barcelona. Barcelona continues the build-up from [Johan] Cruyff over 20 years ago, and now [Tito] Vilanova is the next one continuing that path. And Bayern is just a different type of world. But I think it’s a fascinating decision for [Guardiola] to kind of jump into that water and give it a try.”
Klinsmann had more to say in Wahl’s piece at SI.com, about the ongoing U.S. camp, about Omar Gonzalez, about how many points he wants out of the early matches in final stage World Cup qualifiers, etc.