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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bayern calls time on Klinsmann's leadership

BERLIN (AP) Bayern Munich fired Juergen Klinsmann as coach Monday, ending his two-year contract at the defending German champions after less than a season.

News photo
Auf Wiedersehen: Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich has dismissed coach Juergen Klinsmann. AP PHOTO

Klinsmann, who coached Germany to third place at the 2006 World Cup, was told by club officials that he was dismissed with immediate effect, Bayern said in a statement posted on its Web site.

"This was a very difficult decision for us," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said. "But the results of the past few weeks, the way in which they came about and, above all, the situation five games before the end of the season, forced us to act out of responsibility to the club."

Bayern lost at home to Schalke 1-0 Saturday, leaving the team in third place in the Bundesliga.

Bayern said Jupp Heynckes will take over until the end of the season, with Hermann Gerland as his assistant.

The 44-year-old Klinsmann joined Germany's most consistently successful team this season in his first job as a club coach, but had faced growing pressure recently due to its poor form.

Speculation over Klinsmann's future increased after Bayern lost at Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals earlier this month, a performance club president Franz Beckenbauer described as the worst he had seen from Bayern.

Barcelona won 5-1 on aggregate, leaving the Bundesliga title as the team's only chance of silverware this season.

"Of course, I am very disappointed at the moment," Klinsmann said, thanking the club, its fans and employees for "an eventful time."

"We have laid the foundation for the future," he added. "I still believe that this team can become German champion this season."

Klinsmann did not comment on his future plans. He had left his California residence to return to Germany for the Bayern job.

Klinsmann's dismissal came after he vowed Sunday to stay on at Bayern, saying he didn't think he needed to worry about his position and pointing to "good chemistry inside the team."

When Klinsmann was appointed last year, he said: "We want to make every player better and so make the team better." However, he had a tough act to follow after his predecessor, Ottmar Hitzfeld, led Bayern to the domestic league and cup double last season.

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