Q&A with Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
SI.com: Here in the United States, Jurgen Klinsmann is the national team coach. He has done a pretty good job here so far and qualified the U.S. for the World Cup. Why do you think Klinsmann didn’t succeed as the Bayern manager in his short time there [2008-09]?
Rummenigge: First of all, I’m happy for him that he is successful in the States. I believe he’s perfect to be a national team coach. He did a very good job with the German national team in 2006. It is very different to be a coach of a national team and a coach at a club like Bayern. The expectations in a club like Bayern are very high. He was fired in 2009 being in second place, which under normal circumstances is not a drama. But (laughs) for Bayern it is a kind of drama, unfortunately.
I’m sorry about that for him, because he was always very serious doing his job. He was a very modern coach, and I’d say thanks to him we got some things like the modernization of our training center. That was an important step Jurgen did. At the end, maybe we went different ways because there was something in the relationship that was not working very well between him and the media on one side and between him and a certain part of the supporters. It was probably much more difficult for him than for the other parties, but it was not possible to avoid. I’m a bit sorry about that fact.
SI.com: I had to laugh when the U.S. drew Germany at the World Cup draw. The German coach, Joachim Löw, was Klinsmann’s assistant on the German team at World Cup 2006. How motivated will Klinsmann be to face Germany? I know there was discussion in the German media in ‘06 that Klinsmann was the motivator and the man-manager, while Löw was the tactician.
Rummenigge: Maybe there is a kind of truth in that story. But I believe he’s more than just a motivator. Because he understands football. He played football at the highest possible level. He qualified the States for the World Cup, and now he’s in a very interesting group with Germany. Knowing him well, he’ll be very motivated, especially to face the German team.