Jurgen Kilnsmann

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Unhappy reunion for Klinsmann as Bayern beats Hertha 4-0

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BERLIN — Jurgen Klinsmann endured an unhappy reunion with Bayern Munich as his former protege Thomas Muller started a 4-0 Bundesliga rout of his Hertha Berlin team.

“It was nice to see him again but of course even nicer to win,” Muller said after Sunday’s victory lifted Bayern to second place, four points behind Leipzig.

Klinsmann gave Muller the first of his so far 336 Bundesliga appearances when he brought on the then 18-year-old for the last 10 minutes of a 2-2 draw with Hamburger SV on the opening day of the 2008-09 season. Klinsmann was fired as Bayern coach in April 2009 as its title hopes faded.

But Muller has only fond memories of his mentor, who later went on to be United States coach.

“I have a special relationship with Jurgen Klinsmann. He made me a professional. I still have the mailbox message from when he called me up for the start of training with the professionals,” Muller said. “He gave me my chance to earn my spurs. He put me straight in. He was my first coach.”

Klinsmann was only cleared to face his former club on Saturday after the German soccer federation and league confirmed they received missing documents for his coaching license.

But Klinsmann, who also played for Bayern between 1995-97 and coached Germany at the 2006 World Cup, could only watch as his team was completely outplayed in the second half.

Hertha showed little initiative going forward and finally paid the price for sitting back when Muller rifled in from close range.

“The first goal opened the game,” said Klinsmann, who had been hoping to extend Hertha’s unbeaten run to five games.

The visitors thought they had another goal minutes later, but Robert Lewandowski’s goal was ruled out through VAR for heading the ball out of Rune Jarstein’s hands.

Lewandowski finally got his goal from the penalty spot in the 72nd after Lukas Klunter tugged Leon Goretzka’s arm.

“The turning point was the penalty,” said Klinsmann, who felt it was a harsh decision.

Thiago Alcantara sealed the result three minutes later with a brilliant strike in off the underside of the bar after Goretzka sent him through, and Ivan Perisic headed in Muller’s cross in the 84th.

Bayern had been missing defenders Niklas Sule, Lucas Hernandez and Javi Martinez through injury, with forward Kingsley Coman also out and midfielder Joshua Kimmich suspended. Canadian teen Alphonso Davies made his 10th consecutive league start.

Santiago Ascacibar started for his Hertha debut after his winter transfer from second-division Stuttgart. The combative Argentine is Hertha’s first signing following financier Lars Windhorst’s investment of $250 million in the club.

Also Sunday, Bayer Leverkusen won 4-1 at bottom side Paderborn to move sixth.

Klinsmann names Miazga, Nagbe in USMNT squad

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Jurgen Klinsmann has named his 23-man squad as the U.S. national team being 2018 World Cup qualifying next week.

Darlington Nagbe received his first call-up for the U.S. national team for these qualifiers, as the Portland Timbers attacker was born in Liberia but is now eligible to play for the U.S. after becoming a citizen in September. Nagbe, 25, scored five goals and added five assists during the 2015 Major League Soccer regular season to help lead the Timbers to the playoffs.

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Young central defender Matt Miazga, a product of the new York Red Bulls who has impressed in his debut MLS season and with the U.S. U-23 side, is just 20-years-old and this is also his first call-up to the full national team.

“Those are two players that have been on our radar for a long time,” Klinsmann revealed. “Matt is a youngster coming through our system. He played for the Under-20’ and he played for the Olympic team. In Darlington Nagbe we have a player who we’ve been following for quite a while and he finally became eligible for the United States. We are looking forward to having them with us. They will get their first taste of the senior national team. I’m pretty sure they will be excited and want to do well. It’s good to see that we have players coming through and give us more of an option.”

A star name to not be called up was Clint Dempsey, as Klinsmann has taken the chance to have a look at the younger forwards in his pool of players. John Brooks has also been left out as the German-American center back has played just four times for Hertha Berlin this season so far. Other players missing through injury include Nick Rimando, Brad Evans and Alejandro Bedoya.

“At this point in time, I want to give the younger strikers a chance to prove themselves and this is a good stage to do it,” Klinsmann said of his decision to omit Dempsey. “I communicated with Clint about it and it’s all fine.”

Premier League quartet Geoff Cameron, Brad Guzan, Tim Howard and DeAndre Yedlin were all included, as was LA Galaxy veteran Alan Gordon. Fabian Johnson was included in the squad as an issue between him and Klinsmann seems to have been cleared up. The Borussia Monchengladbach winger was sent home halfway through the last international break after Klinsmann publicly accused him of not battling through in an injury during the final stages of the CONCACAF Cup defeat to Mexico.

“We’re all excited about starting World Cup qualifying toward Russia 2018. Every time you say the words ‘World Cup’ it means so much to everyone involved that it gets you pumped up and energetic,” Klinsmann said. “The players realize it is going to be a long marathon towards Russia 2018 but we have to start it on the right foot. With St. Vincent and the Grenadines and obviously Trinidad and Tobago are good teams, especially Trinidad and Tobago who proved it at the last Gold Cup.”

The U.S. face St. Vincent and the Grenadines in St. Louis on Friday Nov. 13 and then travel to Trinidad and Tobago to face the Soca Warriors on Nov. 17.

Below is the squad in full for the two World Cup qualifiers as the Road to Russia 2018 officially begins.

USMNT squad in full

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan, Bill Hamid, Tim Howard

Defenders: Ventura Alvarado, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Fabian Johnson, Matt Miazga, Michael Orozco, Tim Ream, Brek Shea

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman, Michael Bradley, Mix Diskerud, Jermaine Jones, Darlington Nagbe, DeAndre Yedlin, Miguel Ibarra

Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Alan Gordon, Jordan Morris, Bobby Wood, Gyasi Zardes