Former National Soccer Coach
As of: 27/02/2023 9:05 PM
Jürgen Klinsmann has returned to the big football scene. After nearly three years of unsuccessful adventure at German football club Hertha, the former national coach has taken over as head coach of the South Korean national football team.
It is planned that Klinsmann will lead the two-time Asian champion to the 2026 World Cup, which will be held in his home country of the United States of America, as well as in Mexico and Canada. Accordingly, Klinsmann has been awarded a contract by the South Korean Football Association (KFA) until the 2026 World Cup Final, as announced in Seoul on Monday (27 February 2023). No information was given about the financial terms of his contract.
The Swabian-born player, who succeeds Portugal’s Paulo Bento, is scheduled to make his international debut against Colombia on March 24, followed by a match against Uruguay in Seoul on March 28. After that, South Korea will participate in the Asian Cup from June 16 to July 16. The tournament will be held in Qatar, which hosts the World Cup and the defending champions.
“I am very happy and honored to be the coach of the South Korean national football team,” Klinsmann said in a statement issued by the federation. “I am well aware that the Korean national team has been improving and achieving results for a long time,” Klinsmann added. He said about his goals that he will do his best to achieve good results in the upcoming Asian Cup and the 2026 World Cup.
The Taeguk Warriors’ greatest success in the World Cup finals was reaching the semi-finals in the World Cup on their home soil in 2002 (0-1 against Germany), at that time under the leadership of Guus Hiddink. At the last World Cup in Qatar, South Korea reached the round of 16 when they lost to world champions Brazil. Pinto then announced his departure.
For Klinsmann, it is the fifth stop as a coach. From 2004 to 2006 he was responsible for the selection of the German Football Association (DFB), then also with the USA national team (2011 to 2016). His commitments at Bayern Munich and Hertha Berlin ended prematurely: he only worked with Bayern Munich for ten months in the 2008/09 season, and at Berlin he was head coach for only three months from the end of November 2019.
Above all, his early departure from Hertha, announced in a Facebook post, caused a stir three years ago. Especially when the differences of opinion between the Klinsmann and Hertha management then became known – and that the coach had passed inside information to the club’s investor Lars Windhorst for weeks (“Hertha minutes”).
South Korean media on Monday called Klinsmann an icon of German football. Michael Mueller was responsible for compliance. The 57-year-old German has been working in the KFA since 2018. In January, he was appointed technical director and tasked with finding a new coach.
South Korean newspaper Ilgan Sports reported that Klinsmann’s willingness to live in South Korea during his future coaching role played an important role in Klinsmann’s selection. The place of residence was Müller’s most important criterion for choosing a coach. She added that Pinto also stayed in South Korea and watched the local K-League matches to discover and monitor new players for the national team. The league said Klinsmann is expected to arrive in Seoul next week.
As other selection criteria, Mueller previously mentioned experience, motivation and ability to work in a team, but also strong leadership qualities. In South Korea, Mueller said in an interview with “Transfermarkt.de”: “What the coach says is the law.”
This must be in the spirit of Klinsmann, who has had a reputation as a self-assured reformer since his time in the DFB and as Bayern coach (keyword: Buddha), who likes to turn his entire shop around. Soon maybe also with the South Korean national team.
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