Klinsmann mission falls flat at Bayern

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STUTTGART - Jurgen Klinsmann joined Bayern Munich as coach in July, promising to improve the side that won the German double the season before.

However, after less than a season in charge Klinsmann was sacked on Monday with the team out of all but one competition.

Some hardcore fans, used to winning domestic titles, reacted at the time of his appointment by saying he lacked the toughness of many of his predecessors who could stand the massive pressure and expectations at powerhouse Bayern.

Klinsmann was unfazed, saying he would make Bayern's players better and expand their abilities.

The former striker, a hero after steering Germany to a surprise third place at the 2006 World Cup on home soil but without any club coaching experience, brought in his own assistants and fitness experts when he took over in Munich, causing ripples at Bayern early in the season.

Manager Uli Hoeness and general director Karl-Heinz Rummenigge backed him, after all he was their choice to succeed Ottmar Hitzfeld who won the Bundesliga and German Cup double the previous season.

Club president Franz Beckenbauer was less enthusiastic.

After a rocky start the team started getting results with Franck Ribery and Luca Toni in good form and were on track to retain the league title at the midway point when they were second to newcomers Hoffenheim.

"It will just take a little longer until we get to the top," Klinsmann said at the time. Bayern, though, failed to reach the summit at any stage.

KLINSMANN ERA

After the winter break all of his carefully-crafted plans for a successful season unravelled.

Injuries started piling up and with three league defeats in the first four matches of 2009, Bayern were again forced to play catch-up.

"We will draw our conclusions at the end of the season. This is the first year of the Klinsmann era," Rummenigge said at the time.

Then came a 4-2 defeat by Bayer Leverkusen in the German Cup quarter-finals before Bayern were destroyed 4-0 in Barcelona in the last eight of the Champions League.

All four goals came in the opening 45 minutes of the first leg to put the tie beyond the Bavarians. The return leg ended in a 1-1 draw and the fans' chants for Klinsmann's dismissal grew louder in the Allianz Arena.

Bayern were left defending only the Bundesliga title but were a shadow of the team that secured the 2007-08 double.

With five matches left this season, Bayern have conceded 37 goals compared to the 21 they let in during the previous campaign.

The air of invincibility they possessed last season also evaporated, losing seven times in the league compared to twice in 2007-08.

Saturday's 1-0 home defeat by Schalke 04 was the last straw for the Bayern management, who put a swift end to the 44-year-old Klinsmann's era less than a year after it had begun.