German media outlets are reacting to the criticism of Jürgen Klinsmann at home.
Klinsmann’s South Korea national soccer team (ranked 28th in FIFA) drew 0-0 with Wales (ranked 35th in FIFA) in a friendly match at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, at 3:45 a.m. ET on Aug. 8. The draw extended South Korea’s winless streak since taking over from a foreign coach to five games.
The result was followed by a post-match controversy that is still brewing. The first was whether or not to participate in the Legends Match. Chelsea and Bayern Munich were playing a charity friendly and Klinsmann’s name was on the roster. Klinsmann was both a player and a manager at the club, so it’s no surprise that he was invited to play in the Munich Legends match, but it was held in the middle of the A-match.
It was a departure from the national team. While the KFA has since clarified that the story is “untrue,” the fact that the national team is staying in London, home of Stamford Bridge, has raised questions about Klinsmann’s involvement until the game is played.
Here’s what he had to say about the Aaron Ramsey jersey. “My son, who plays for the LA Galaxy, texted me and asked me to get him a Ramsey jersey,” Klinsmann told a broadcaster after the draw against Wales, laughing. Ramsey is an Arsenal midfielder and Wales international star. He has been criticized for a five-match winless streak amidst controversy and for giving interviews that were poorly written and lacked a serious attitude toward the national team.
Klinsmann’s insincere and unenthusiastic attitude and interviews have been repeated since he became the head coach of the Korean national team. German media outlets have been saying that the criticisms coming out of Korea are justified. I recall a conversation and question from a German journalist from Bild, who was at the Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium during the March A match.
Before we get to that, let’s take a look back at Klinsmann’s coaching career. As a player, Klinsmann was a legendary striker for Germany, but after retiring, he started coaching. He started by coaching the German national team. He started in 2004 and coached the 2006 FIFA World Cup in his home country. He didn’t win the title, but he did manage to reach the quarterfinals and finish third.
Nevertheless, the criticism was not kind. He was criticized for his performance, player selection, and overall management. The German coach was criticized because he was not in Germany, but in the United States. After leaving the German national team, he went to Bayern Munich and coached the US national team for a long time. He returned to the Bundesliga in 2019 when he was hired by Hertha Berlin, but after a shocking Facebook resignation, he stayed away from the field.
The South Korean national team coach is back in the field. If you don’t count his short stint at Hertha, it’s been seven years since he’s been in charge. There were many doubts about his appointment from the start, including domestic residency issues, questions about his tactical ability, and the existence of a division. Now, six months into his tenure as South Korea’s head coach, all of those fears have been realized. It’s rare to see a national team coach lose credibility so quickly in world soccer, let alone domestic history.
The biggest thing is passion. He shouldn’t have to work 24/7, 365 days a year, watching and working on Korean soccer, but he has been too lax. He broke his promise to stay in Korea and went abroad to serve on a panel. It is said that he observes and analyzes domestic players through videos and phone calls with coaches, but it is questionable whether he is doing this properly.
The lack of player identification was evident during the game. In every game, it seems that the players are given the wrong task instead of the position or role they are doing well in the team. A consistent attitude of watching and waiting from the bench, even when things aren’t going well. The same goes for cooling off periods, which in soccer is known as tactical time.
Back in Korea, the Bild reporter who was covering the Colombia game was on vacation and happened to be covering Klinsmann’s game in Ulsan. When asked about Klinsmann’s personality, the Bild reporter shook his head and said, “He was the best as a player and not so good as a coach.” He then asked me about this and that. The reporter then asked him more questions. I asked about the public opinion of Klinsmann in South Korea, the current situation of the national team, and whether Klinsmann would be willing to speak Korean. 먹튀검증
“Did the previous coach (Ventura) try to learn the language and culture?” he asked. “He didn’t speak Korean, but he was based in Korea. Colin Bell gives some of his answers in Korean,” he replied. After that, the press conference started. During the questions from the local reporters, a reporter from Bild asked Klinsmann, “Unlike your previous national team experience, there may be some difficulties due to the language barrier.” Klinsmann answered the question in German.
“As everyone knows, there is no language barrier, but we have meetings through an interpreter. We talk about tactics with interpreters. I’m trying to find an efficient way to do that. I started studying Korean. It’s a long road, and I’m trying to show that I can speak a little bit better in Korean. It’s still too early. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself. Korean is difficult. I’ll get better at it. The culture is different and the tournaments are different, like the Euro and the North American Gold Cup. I will take my time and adapt together with the coaching staff.”
The Bild reporter was trying to see if Klinsmann was serious. He asked him if he would be willing to work in South Korea, understanding the language and culture, as he had been criticized for his attitude at the national team and club in Germany. Six months have passed since then. The situation is as described above. Klinsmann is a shadow of his former self and is facing the same criticism he faced a decade ago.
Before the Wales game, Germany’s Sport1 reported, “Klinsmann was also criticized for his residency when he was in charge of the German national team 17 years ago. Despite criticism that he should live in Germany as a German coach, Klinsmann stayed in the U.S. Nearly 20 years later, Klinsmann is still in the United States. He is the head coach of South Korea. He seemed to be aware of the criticism directed at him: “In the end, the only way to solve it is to get results.
Against Wales, we drew 0-0. They didn’t lose, but it was a bad performance. We have a game against Saudi Arabia coming up. If they don’t get a result against Saudi Arabia, the situation will be very serious. Klinsmann must realize that if he wants to be the head coach of the Korean national team, he has to deliver results. If he continues to show a lack of seriousness and passion, the controversy will be just the beginning.