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Hoping for parallels: Mertesacker credits Klinsmann for German power

Jun 20, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT

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Jurgen Klinsmann’s short tenure as the boss of Germany helped set the stage for the current squad’s power, according to Per Mertesacker.

The Arsenal defender was part of a young 2006 group that finished third in Germany and included Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski and Philipp Lahm.

Now that unit is older, stronger and just finished looking downright clinical in a 4-0 destruction of Portugal.

Our pals at Soccerly have the story:

“Klinsmann gave the younger generation the confidence which is still there now,” said Mertesacker, who would win his 100th cap against Ghana.

“We’re still benefiting from that time.”

The 49-year-old Klinsmann, a World Cup-winner in 1990, took over the Germany reins in 2004 after the team had embarrassingly crashed out of the European Championships in the group stages without even winning a game — they couldn’t even beat Lativia.

He went on to steer Die Mannschaft to third at the 2006 World Cup before resigning to be replaced by his assistant Joachim Löw.

While no one’s expecting Mertesacker to call Klinsmann a bum, it’s worth noting the defender’s sentiments.

Klinsmann has received plenty of guff for his youth movement on the 23-man roster, with John Anthony Brooks, Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin in the mix. Yet if his guidance of American youth can produce even a half of what’s happened in Germany, Klinsmann will have been an unbridled success.

  1. mazblast - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    We know that FIFA wants the USA to be competitive (so the money will keep flowing in) but not to be top flight. The other problem for Klinsmann is that it seems a lot of people within American soccer want our national team to be that way–always in it, but never nearly good enough to be a real threat to win. How dare he leave older, slower, known names off the roster so he can build for the next World Cup!

    • braxtonrob - Jun 20, 2014 at 9:19 PM

      @mazblast, Well said, that’s exactly right.

      I want EXACTLY that, the older LD and many other MLS’rs on the team every four years.
      If I thought I was REALLY trading that for the team holding that gold trophy in the air, I might reconsider, but I’m nowhere NEAR that optimistic, and the fact that so many Jurgen supporters ARE that optimistic (so soon) flabbergasts me!

      The USMNT is in a transition phase (from good-to-great) and we’re going to be there for quite awhile, especially when we default back to hiring (semi)-foreign coaches who have no idea what American soccer can be (or should be).

      In the meantime, several great (by American standards) are sitting at home watching, and one in particular is shamefully robbed of his deserved record of 4 World Cups.

      (I know my statements above are EXTREMELY unpopular on these boards, but come year about 2022, they’re not going to seem so ridiculous.)

  2. danielk1 - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:45 AM

    Poor John Brooks. He will be forever associated with serial killers because the media refuses to honor his request.

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