WASHINGTON — German national team manager Joachim Löw certainly has faith in his former boss.
Löw was an assistant to US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann when Klinsmann was in charge of the German team, from 2004 to 2006. And despite the pressure and criticism Klinsmann is facing during the current 2014 World Cup qualifying run, Löw believes it will all work out.
“When Jurgen was given the position of the US national team coach, the final objective was, and still is, to qualify for the 2014 World Cup,” Löw told the media on Saturday ahead of the USA-Germany friendly on Sunday afternoon. “I think he will definitely accomplish that with his side.”
Since taking over from Klinsmann as manager of die Mannschaft in 2006, Löw has become one of the most respected managers in international soccer. He has led Germany to the 2008 Euro final, the 2010 World Cup semifinals, and the 2012 Euro semifinals.
He maintains a friendship with Klinsmann, and the pair met for a half hour on Friday evening, two days before they will face off at RFK Stadium (Sunday, 2:30 pm ET, ESPN2, live chat on MLSsoccer.com). Löw said they talked about old times and also some of the challenges Klinsmann faces in the United States.
“Soccer here in the USA is still somewhat lagging behind what it is in Germany, not necessarily in terms of quality but in terms of tradition,” Löw said. “Soccer in Germany is enjoying much higher status than over here, where the other sports, the famous ‘Big Four,’ are ruling the roost.”
When the Los Angeles-based Klinsmann helmed the German team, he famously imported new training and thinking into the side. At the time, his critics complained about these unfamiliar strategies. But, playing in front of their home fans, Germany reached the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup, vindicating in the eyes of some, Klinsmann’s willingness to try new things.
Löw claims his former boss will do similar things here.
“What Klinsmann will do, what he has done, is introduce new ideas and fresh approaches to the game,” he said. “He’s been privileged to train under a whole array of coaches, and he was coach himself with Germany national team and Bayern Munich. So he has accumulated immense wealth of experience and knowhow. Couple this with the courage he has to effect change, and I think he will introduce a whole lot of new things that will do a load of good for the future of US soccer.”