Klinsmann's tactics key to German revival

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/a/ap_klinsmann.jpg' class='caption'> German football hasn't always been attacking and attractive, but Jurgen Klinsmann seems to have changed all that.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:34 IST
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German football hasn't always been attacking and attractive, but Jurgen Klinsmann seems to have changed all that. Under his tutelage, fast and attacking football has become a style that the likes of Ballack, Klose and Podolski seem very happy to be playing. However, it wasn't all hunky dory in the build up to the World Cup though. Despite a big win over the US, Germany's 1-4 loss to Italy in March set the tone for some bitter pre-tournament rhetoric. Everyone from the media to the organizing committee chairman Franz Beckenbaur was taking shots at Klinsmann. He was criticised for being ineffective and blamed for the team's poor form along with his decision of staying in the United States rather than in his native Germany. But all that changed when Germany topped their World Cup group. Thereafter, their professional win against Sweden and their dogged victory against Argentina resulted in completing the transformation of Klinsmann from a failure to a hero. Once again, the German fans, 97 per cent of whom didn't think their team would go too far, began believing in their team. Also, the bookmakers now pick Germany as joint favourites with France to lift the cup. The Klinsmann effect Klinsmann's fresh approach to German football can perhaps be explained by the fact that he was playing as recently as 1998 in the English Premier League for Tottenham Hotspurs. His manager, Oliver Bierhoff, a striker in the late 1990s and early 2000s has also infused a more attacking style of football. His success also comes from the fact that he's turned his back on the traditional defensive technique of previous German teams, choosing to look ahead to building an attacking force with youthful exuberance. Another master move by Klinsmann has been to give Jens Lehmann the job of the number one keeper. Of course, Italy wouldn't have expected to be second favourites in a World Cup semi-final facing a side they beat 4-1 about four months ago. However, given the odds, the 11 goals that Germany have scored in the last five games, and the resilience that Klinsmann and his team has shown few people will be betting for a repeat of the Italian job.

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