Monday, August 4, 2008

How successful was Klinsmann's effect in football coaching across Europe?

In 2004, Jürgen Klinsmann has taken the coaching job for Germany national team that surprised everyone. He brought lots of changes to the national team in order to regain the pride of the national team. Even though there were failures before the World Cup 2006 started, the final result proved that the change had success. This season he coaches Bayern Munich in order to help the club to win the Champions League. To acheive this, it can be predicted changes will be happened to Bayern Munich. Now the fans and the players can see the changes such as more personalized training system to the individual player in order to boost up their morale and fitness. Before seeing more changes in Bayern Munich in the coming months, here I would like to talk a bit about how successful was the effect from Klinsmann in football coaching across Europe. There are some examples as follows:

Joachim Löw: Löw succeeded Klinsmann to coach the national team after the World Cup 2006. He continued the philosophy what Klinsmann was and implemented to the team before the Euro 2008. He kept trying new players to the team in order to keep the team fresh. More importantly, he tried to keep the team young as what Klinsmann did in order to remain the team to be more energized. I believe he is a successful example as Germany reached the final of Euro 2008. Many of people aruged that he did not do a lot to help the team into the Euro 2008 final and the team had the greatest draw ever. I believed what Löw did was keeping the team in high morale and fitness to face the challenge to the opponent. What Löw gave the player was the never give up spirit. He might not as passionate as Klinsmann, I believed what Löw did in the dressing room was encouraging the players to go through. This is the most important thing the coach should have done, and he did it. The match against Turkey in semi-final could prove that.

Dunga: Since Brazil had a tragic World Cup matches, they decided to change. They hired Dunga, the inexperienced coach, to coach the national team. Similar as Klinsmann, what he had was time, he had about a year to prepare the Copa America. During that period, the national team did not have any competitive matches so Dunga had space and time to try what he wanted to try. Dunga was dared enough to drop Ronaldinho and Gilberto Silva off the national team in order to allow the other players such as Diego from Werder Bremen more chance to play. Also, he created the national team to be more disciplined and more practical. It led the team to win the Copa America in the end. I believe the main reason of success is time, he had time to prepare and try, so the players and Dunga himself could adept each other before the important matches.

Roberto Donadoni: After Italy won the World Cup, the coach Marcello Lippi stepped down the position and they hired Roberto Lippi to take over the job. I believe the team would like to bring some changes to ensure Italy winning the World Cup was not a fluke. Unfortunately, it seemed it was a fluke. Donadoni did the right job to change the team as the main squad was getting old. However, time was against him. Donadoni did not have time to implement and experiment his philosophy to the team as the Euro 2008 Qualifier was around the corner. So he did not have chance to try his new thoughts thoroughly as he needed to take care about the result. Be frank, if the team could not qualify to Euro 2008 Finalists, his plans were not useful at all no matter how good it was on paper. Base on the reason of not having time to change, Italy failed to do well in Euro 2008 and he was sacked a month ago. Guess what, Marcello Lippi took over again!

Steve McClaren: This was tragic! Maybe it was because the upper management did not allow him to change the team thoroughly. I am not talking about that as there is not a solid root to prove that. McClaren did try to change, such as dropping out Beckham and allowed more young players to play, such as Micah Richards and Aaron Lennon. What he failed to do was to solve the fundamental problem of the team. In terms of formation, he failed to solve the problem of Steve Gerrard and Frank Lampard. Both of them did the same thing in the midfield and McClaren was not dared enough to drop one of them out. This is what he did not see or did not want to see. Beckham was not the main issue to make the team failed to qualify the Euro 2008, The combination of Lampard and Gerrard was one of the main problems. Meanwhile, what he failed to do was tactic change during the match. The last qualifying match against Croatia proved this. He failed to make change before the match and led the team trailed 2 goals. Also, he failed to make change to protect the draw when the match went on 2-2, as this result could bring them to the tournament. This is the main reason to make England failed last year. So he deserved to be sacked.

Pep Guardiola: Different from the previous coaches, he coaches Barcelona this season, not any of the national teams. Barcelona needed to change, so they dared to hire Guardiola to coach the team as his only experience was coaching the youth Barcelona team. I believe the upper management saw the successful examples and they wanted to be one of them. Guardiola had shown he is a coach who is dared to change. He sold Ronaldinho, Deco, Zambrotta, and dos Santos, then brought in the more practical players such as Keita, and Dani Alves. It seemed there will be more changes in the team and let us see how successul he is.

Why Klinsmann was so successful? He had time, he had 2 years to prepare the World Cup without any distraction from the qualifier matches, so he could use this period to try what he wanted to try. So I believe the successful factor is time. Löw maybe the exceptional, but we could not see what he did in the dressing room with the players.

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