Los Angeles Soccer: Germany national team

Klinsmann understands, brushes off Lahm criticism

August, 29, 2011
MANHATTAN BEACH -- Jurgen Klinsmann has heard the criticism thrown his way by Philipp Lahm, and the new U.S. coach says he understands the German defender's sensibilities, even if what has been said misses the point.

Lahm, a star outside back for Bayern Munich and Germany's national team, lashed at Klinsmann and two more of his former coaches, former Germany coach (and forward, before that) Rudi Völler and ex-Bayern boss Felix Magath, in his autobiography The Subtle Difference, which was released Monday in Germany. The German tabloid Bild has been printing excerpts, and they've caused an uproar.

Lahm calls Klinsmann tactically inept and writes that “the experiment with Klinsmann [at Bayern] was a failure. We were only working on our fitness in training. He didn't care much for tactical stuff. It was up to the players to come together before a match and discuss how we were going to play.

“'All the players knew after about eight weeks that it was not going to work out with Klinsmann. The remainder of that campaign was nothing but limiting the damage.”

Lahm, who captains Germany and Bayern, has been called in for discussions with the Deutscher Fussball-Bund, Germany's soccer federation, and apologized last week on the DFB's website: “I certainly did not want to personally insult or slander in any way Rudi Völler, Juergen Klinsmann and other people. I apologize. For misunderstandings that have arisen in this way, I hereby apologize to all those involved.”

Klinsmann, a legendary forward who played in three World Cups (winning with West Germany in 1990), told a group from L.A.'s soccer media Monday that Lahm's comments were uneducated but understandable.

“It's basically a player's perspective that never has the coaching perspective,” said Klinsmann, who has called Orange County home since 1998. “He doesn't see the big picture, what actually the work of a coach means. In many different elements. ... As a player, there's no perfect coach to you. And as a coach, there's never a perfect, perfect player. And it's just normal.

“I had wonderful coaches throughout my career, from an [Arsene] Wenger [at AS Monaco] to a [Cesar Luis] Menotti [at Sampdoria] to a [Franz] Beckenbauer [with West Germany's champs and at Bayern] to a [Berti] Vogts [with Germany's national team] to [Ossie] Ardilles [at Tottenham and Giovanni] Trapattoni [with Bayern] -- they've won everything. I am so thankful I had that opportunity. Was there a perfect, perfect one? For sure not. Because when you work with each other, you [work through] ups and downs. It's just normal.”

Klinsmann was asked if he considers himself a tactician.

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