BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – When Jurgen Klinsmann took over as coach of the German national team for Rudi Völler in 2004, the change was a stark one. The former star forward brought an attacking style to his home country’s national team, and used a grassroots movement to implement the new system.
Chicago Fire defender Arne Friedrich, who played for Germany under Klinsmann from 2004-06, thinks his former coach’s influence has a huge amount to do with Germany’s recent success.
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“He changed many things with the national team, and he broke off many things with what the national team had done a few years before,” Friedrich told MLSsoccer.com. “He brought new stuff, new ideas, new impressions here from America, and it was a big help for us.”
Friedrich also said the change in culture was felt in the Bundesliga, where most of the German national team players plied their trade.
“There were many teams that were working the same like him,” the former Hertha Berlin defender said. “He affected us.”
Friedrich expressed optimism that Klinsmann can do the same as coach of the United States, even though American international players are spread across North American and European clubs.
“[Changing] the culture [isn’t a problem], but the travel is a big problem. So you have to acclimate to the time difference,” Friedrich said. “The [German] national team is still using his ideas, so you can see he developed the team. In my eyes, it was a very good start he had in Germany, and I hope he can do the same thing in America.”