One can sense that German Coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who is a man of few words, is itching to say something. Especially after his fellow Germans derisively called him “Klinsi-grinsi” – a term that portrayed him as a clueless blonde German expatriate in sunny La La Land.
“Veni. Vidi. Vici.” Julius Caesar’s terse statement to the Roman senate after defeating King Pharmaces in the Battle of Zela (a place today located in Turkey) comes to mind.
But if victory is won on July 9 – should Germany make it all the way, this son of a Stuttgart baker may very well utter “Ich bin Berliner!” sans the donut jokes.As the German national team celebrated after defeating Argentina 4-2 in penalty kicks, Franz Beckenbauer, Klinsmann’s coach when their side won the cup in 1990, smiled from the stands. One of his former ward’s strongest critics in the DBF (Deutsche Bund Fusbal their equivalent of our own PFF), Beckenbauer has scored his former striker’s tactics since taking over the national team. Strangely, some of the German great’s attacks (prior to the start of the Cup Finals) was over the change from the traditional and defensive 3-5-2 formation to the more offensive 4-4-2 diamond this team currently employs.
Fortunately, the new attack mode has allowed for more scoring chances and the most goals scored in the tourney thus far making Beckenbauer’s attacks sound like the musings of an older generation that isn’t attuned to the 21st century.“Try not to become a man of success but a man of value,” once said his fellow Württemberg, Stuttgart native and Noel-winning physicist, Albert Einstein. And Klinsmann could very well be quoting him in a Zen-like manner.
The finals have brought out a wave of German nationalism not seen in a long time. The fact that US Football in the wake of its disastrous cup appearance has made overtures about Klinsmann’s availability (he currently resides in California with his American wife Debbie and their two children) means the man is doing something right.The Germans head into their semi-finals match against the Azzuri clear favorites now to win their third World Cup more so now that early favorites Argentina and Brazil are out. Their offense is humming and their formerly derided defense has been rock solid. His timely substitutions such as putting in David Odonkor and selecting Jens Lehmann over former goal-keeping stud Oliver Kahn now look like masterstrokes. With one more win, the Germans will be playing for the title in Berlin. And Jurgen Klinsmann may be just the second player after Beckenbauer to both play and coach in a World Cup title team.
“Ich bin Berliner?”Nein. Klinsmann may just settle for an easy grin.