2008/09 season: The new BVB coach Jürgen Klopp tells a crazy story, Jürgen Klinsmann fails miserably as Bayern coach and Uli Hoeneß suddenly doesn’t want to have anything more to do with an old promise to the new German champions VfL Wolfsburg!
Completely surprisingly, VfL Wolfsburg, under coach Felix Magath, became champions of the 2008/09 season. It was also surprising because the Wolves were nine points behind Hoffenheim and Bayern were only ninth in the table after the first half of the season. After many intensive training sessions on the specially erected “master hill” (a raised hill on the VfL training ground), Wolfsburg played a colossal successful second half of the season with a score of 43 points. VfL was the first club to be included in the list of German football champions in 39 years. The highlight of the season was without a doubt the 5-1 win on matchday 26 at home against a completely confused FC Bayern Munich team.
And it was precisely this rough defeat that probably also meant that Bayern’s Uli Hoeneß no longer wanted to know anything more about an old promise from 2004 (“If VfL Wolfsburg should actually become champion, I’ll buy them a champion’s balcony”) (“That doesn’t apply now more”). A contractor jumped in and helped the city of Wolfsburg out of trouble. His company set up a mobile master balcony and made it available free of charge. Balcony farmer Marian Pokuta: “100 people would easily have enough space to celebrate! We could now put it in the middle of the town hall square. That would of course also be a feast for the eyes.”
Hoeneß delivers a message to Klinsmann
Unlike at VfL Wolfsburg, things never went so smoothly at FC Bayern Munich this season. A lot was new at the start of the season, but one thing remained the same despite all the changes: Uli Hoeneß, who actually wanted to exchange his place on the bench for a seat in the stands, was asked by the new Bayern coach Jürgen Klinsmann to accept this idea discard. Hoeneß was visibly happy about the request of the former national coach and took a seat between him and his assistant Martin Vasquez. Klinsmann on his unexpected decision: “Uli is my boss, but also my adviser. That’s 30 years of experience next to me. It would be stupid to do without it. That’s why I asked him to stay on the bench.”
But in the end, even Uli Hoeneß Klinsmann could no longer help. When Bayern were in danger of losing direct qualification for the Champions League five games before the end, they acted quickly and threw Jürgen Klinsmann out after the 1-0 defeat at home to FC Schalke 04 on matchday 29 – even if on the following day Bayern’s competitor VfL Wolfsburg also lost 2-0 in Cottbus. After Uli Hoeneß Klinsmann had broken the news, he said: “I think Jürgen was surprised that we are so consistent with the decision we made yesterday. He also saw our friends’ game in Cottbus yesterday and maybe thought so that the decision is so deferred.”
For Klinsmann, Bayern unexpectedly brought Jupp Heynckes back from his coaching pension. Hoeneß: “I’d like to say hello to my old pal Jupp Heynckes, with whom we’ve fought many battles. I’m delighted that he accepted our request to step in for the five games.” And Heynckes hadn’t forgotten anything. As if at the push of a button, he unwound the phrases of a practiced coach at his first press conference: “It’s my job that the players are free, that they enjoy playing. That they are freed from the shackles they have.” With so much bony seriousness, Heynckes’ new assistant Hermann Gerland found it easy to entertain the group with a few light-hearted remarks. After his boss had already answered the journalists’ question about what his wife would say about his commitment, Gerland also spoke up without being asked and said with a mischievous smile on the corners of his mouth: “I didn’t have to ask my wife beforehand. I had to I’ll probably only ask her if I wanted to leave Bayern Munich, but she probably wouldn’t give the okay.” The plan of the Munich management team worked. Bayern confidently secured second place in the table.
King Klopp now reigns in Dortmund
The quarrel with Klinsmann – with whom, as usual, they had actually agreed to remain silent – followed after a TV appearance by the former Bayern coach on Günther Jauch’s “stern TV” program. Hoeneß reacted audibly with a sniffle: “I learned Latin: Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses – that means: If you had been silent, you would have remained a philosopher.” And the manager was also angry with Jauch: “He gave Jürgen a platform to tell things that weren’t true without asking critical questions.” On the other hand, Hoeneß can only laugh at the TV presenter’s announcement of Jürgen Klinsmann as the “Barack Obama of German football”: “If Jürgen is the Obama of German football, then I’m Mother Teresa.”
And BVB also had a new coach: Jürgen Klopp. And together with the club’s PR department, he first set about bringing the scared fans closer to the club emotionally. On his introduction, Klopp said: “I’m really excited to work here. We’ll run some full-throttle events. I’ll never have lawn chess. If games are boring, they lose their justification.”
Actually, Klopp had been acting as a future trainer at HSV for a long time, but that failed because of a few small details, as Klopp recalled in an interview with the “Hamburger Morgenpost”: “The board members Bernd Hoffmann and Katja Kraus wanted me. But the sports director Didi Beiersdorfer I just couldn’t make up my mind. So he sent a scout to see what I look like. And then they were surprised that I looked the way I did. So I called Mr. Beiersdorfer and said: ‘If you’re still interested – I hereby cancel!’ No, that wasn’t possible! Anyone who works in this business must know how I work. And then they said I always came to the training ground after the team, was badly shaved and had holes in my jeans. So , this assessment was really wrong. Well, stop! The thing about the badly shaved, that was true, of course.” And so began the adventure of Jürgen Klopp in Dortmund in the 2008/09 season. As we now know: it was an incredibly moving and great time for today’s Liverpool FC coach!