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Bayern chairman says Klinsmann’s choice of assistant led to downfall as club’s manager


Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/ USA Today Sports


Two years before assuming the role of head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team, Jurgen Klinsmann occupied the same post at Germany’s biggest club: Bayern Munich.

But after just 29 league games, Klinsmann was dismissed for what Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge called  “an important mistake”.

Rummenigge told Goal USA that Klinsmann’s tenure was cut short due to the appointment of assistant coach Martin Vasquez, whose unfamiliarity with the Bundesliga proved to be a major hindrance in the club’s view.

“I believe it’s not a surprise that he’s successful,” Rummenigge said to Goal USA, “because when he had been coaching here for one season I believe both parties, him and ourselves, made one mistake. It was looking like something little but in the end it was an important mistake.

“His second coach, the Mexican who was a nice guy and a very good coach, didn’t know anything about the Bundesliga or about German football, and I believe at the end that was a mistake done by us and done by (Klinsmann). Maybe we had to choose a German who knew the Bundesliga who could have helped him, like maybe Joachim Low helped him during the 2006 World Cup. It was little, but in the end it was a very important mistake.

“I have to excuse him,” Rummenigge added, “because I know he suffered about that and in the end got fired here. But it was not his mistake alone. We also made a mistake.”

Upon his dismissal from Bayern, Vasquez, who managed Chivas USA for less than a season in the aftermath, remained Klinsmann’s assistant right up until the buildup to the 2014 World Cup, when the German replaced him with Tab Ramos.

What do you think of Rummenigge’s comments?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. There are certain ways certain leagues play that make the underlying psychology of individual players very important. This could be seen in the BPL with people like Jozy Altidore and Brek Shea. I don’t believe this is racial. It’s a kind of knowledge of the game that players presume to have and are expecting of other players in their countries’ leagues. Drogba did really well in the BPL. But De Bruyne did not do well, but he is really doing well at Wolfsburg. He has quite a bit of experience with the Bundesliga. I remember how good he was when he played for Werder Bremen. But it took him to play in England to realize that they have a different style and different expectations.

  2. Hahahaha “The Mexican.” I’m sorry, but that was just hilarious. I literally laughed out loud when I read that.

  3. Its interesting to note that the USA under JK had its best run of success while Vasquez was still the assistant. After he was fired before the World Cup, thats when the USA started this horrible run they are on.

    I am not saying it is because Vasquez is gone, but that fact does seem to go against any “Vasquez was holding JK back” narrative. Atleast when it come to the USMNT.

    • Yeah, that horrible run the USMNT is on started right when Vasquez was fired…
      You mean before advancing out of the Group of Death?
      At least have your narrative fit the real-world narrative.

      • Yes we advanced, but statistically speaking (Possession, shots for, shots against, etc..) that was one of the worst WC we’ve had in recent memory. The results have only gone down hill since then so really his narrative is pretty accurate

  4. It is no surprise that JK’s poor choices at BM has followed him to the USMNT. When Martin Vasquez was hired by JK as assistant coache, I mentioned that someone with no experience coaching or playing in Europe would be a severe handicap as assistant coaches frequently are asked to assess strategic and tactical play against opponents.

    While loyalty is an admirable trait, National team coaching is cutthroat at best, and you are only as good as the staff you surround yourself with. Unfortunately for the US, JK’s selection of assistants can be a precursor to bad selections and more importantly omissions for or from ,the the USMNT team.

    I do think the recent spate of losses, and losses coming after leading, are the result of poor player selection. poor preparation and tactics and poor game management. A coach can only get by by blaming players for so long, or make examples of their omissions as a warning to players about loyalty to the coach (not the team).

    In all his time with the USMNT, JK has not built a solid team based on the best MLS, MX or euro performers, and supplemented that team with good second and third choices/subs who can play multiple positions. Instead he has experimented and experimented again, with formations, with player selections and players playing out of position with no experience. The USMNT has developed no rhythm, to its passing, or even player position, or player field coverage. Instead in every game, it finds itself adjusting to new players, new formations, new tactics and strategies. This requires constant on-field adjustment, frantic defending and lots of running to correct bad or to help out in field positioning and defending .After an hour of this, even the most conditioned players will suffer from tiredness, and a fall in concentration which will lead to allowing late goals.

    I still wonder when Gulati will pull the plug on JK. If the US fails to win the Gold Cup,(and automatically qualify for the Confed Cup) it would be a good time as any to call it a day and move on.

    • Gulati cannot pull the plug on JK without pulling a plug on himself…short of JK committing homicide or saying something flat-out r@cist…

      USMNT losing in the Gold Cup would be dismissed as a “speedbump on the way to long-term progress”

      the only natural point of departure is post WC 2018, assuming a full out player revolt after a 0-0-3 group stage

    • You state that Vasquez had no European experience when he was hired to become JK’s assistant on the USMNT. I have news for you. At that point in time, JK’s and the USMNT main and really sole goal was to qualify for the WC by doing well in the qualifying. Our main opposition was expected to come from Mexico. Vasquez is Mexican. Now can you see how this makes sense? Then when the WC approached, he replaced Vasquez with Bertie Vogts who knows a thing or two about Europ-ean soccer, especially Germany. I see most posters here never let rational analyses get in the way of their pre-conceived notions.As for experimenting and trying new players and formations, if you don’t do it during meaningless friendlies right after a World Cup, then when do you do it? Or do you stick with all the same players and formations, even if those same players will be too old for the next WC or the formations don’t fit new players? I swear, some people here not only don’t understand soccer, they don’t have any knowledge of what makes successful coaches. A successful coach either gets players to fit his style of play or, if he can’t get the right players, he adjusts his style of play to fit the players he has.The best example is John Wooden and UCLA basketball. JK is limited in his selection pool, he has been trying out a lot of players in a lot of different positions and then he has to decide what works best with what he has. Is this so hard to discern?

    • Why would the assistant have to know the league? I mean, Klinsy could handle that part.

      This kind of reeks like the low-level racism that pretty much everything reeks of in Germany. Well, maybe not racism, maybe nationalism or xenophobia? It sure seems all the African-American-German players note how uncomfortable they were in German youth locker rooms but don’t every use the “r” word.

      • I would say racism. Vasquez was Klinsmann’s assistant coach at Bayern at the time and Karl only refers to him as “the Mexican”. That’s just ignorant and disrespectful.

      • the only problem with your statement is that “Mexican” isn’t a race, so the race card can’t be played. It is definitely German arrogance showing it bright shinny face. Doesn’t everyone know by now, only the German know anything worth while about the beautiful game. Only German know how to play the correct way.

  5. in assuming one of the favorite lines of defense by JK’s fanboys against any criticism, I’d like to point out that this guy never won a World Cup-what does he know?

    • Rummenigge played in the WC finals twice and won the Euro. He can critique Klinsmann and other players or coaches. It is another matter when folks like Garber, who had zero connection to soccer before becoming MLS Commissioner, start dispensing advice on how to run the national team.

      • Yep, the same applies to Gulati. If you look at the names of board members of the USSF, many of them had absolutely no connection to soccer before getting their board positions. Sad.

      • I wish you were a Knicks fan so we could laugh at this line of thinking and post a picture of Isiah Thomas

      • Lol, I am not a Knicks fans. Knicks should have hired one of their own instead of Isaiah- didn’t Phil Jackson used to play for them? How many titles does Phil have as a coach? Not every player becomes a great coach, but many do. You have fails like Maradona, but also successes like Cruyff or Guardiola. But frankly I would rather listen to coaching tips from Maradona, than from Garber.

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