Terry Duffelen
Tue 28 April 2009

Bundesbag Week 29: Tschüss Klinsy

Well, the story of the weekend would have been about Wolfsburg finally losing after a ten-match winning streak and missing out on the record by one game. Alternatively, you could spin it another way, and make the story about the victors, Cottbus. Their stunning 2-0 win comes just one week after they were humiliated at Schalke and the club refunded their travelling supporters for the price of their tickets.

Unfortunately for them, it pales somewhat into the background thanks to those perennial attention seekers Bayern who, like a jealous dog seeking to distract people from a new born baby, dramatically sacked their manager on Monday morning.

It would be fair to say that Jurgan Klinsmann never really won the majority of the Bayern fans over. In fact, it would be understating things to say that. Furthermore, the Bavarians are a very traditional club and while they engaged Klinsy to instigate a revolution and change the set up, bringing it into the 21st century and all that, they did not bank on him changing the winning football matches part. That’s the bit they wanted to keep. One can imagine the conversation now:

Karl Heinz Rummenigge: Now Klinsy, I specifically remember saying when you arrived that, you could do what you like as long as we kept winning things.

Klinsy: Ja, sure Karl, but first you have to alter the karmic balance and adjust the feng shui of the training ground...

KHR: Yes Jurgen but karmic balance is no good to us if we cannot beat Schalke at home. For the love of Buddha, Klinsy: Schalke!
And that was that. A single goal from Halil Altintop and a red card for Franck Ribery was the final straw on the camel's back and Klinsy was gone.

Former coach Jupp Heynckes (famously sacked by Real Madrid after winning the European Cup in 1998) has been given the gig until the end of the season and despite all the broohaha, he has a good chance of winning a third Bundesliga title to add to the ones in 1989 and 1990.

Quite where this affects Bayern’s future is uncertain. Klinsmann's brief was to reinvigorate the club. Something they obviously feel they must do in order to take their place on the top table of the major European clubs in Spain, England and Italy.

Speculation on long-term replacements has been restricted to the likes of Roberto Mancini or Martin Jol. Neither come across as the Svengali types that the Munich club seek. But the trouble with your average revolutionary is that they are volatile, they want to do things their own way and they’re expensive. Three attributes not really associated with Bayern Munich.

Personally, I'm struggling to see why it was necessary to fire Klinsmann now. OK, the Schalke result was a bad one, but the team are still in the hunt for the title. No one gets any prizes for speculating that Jurgen was out the door at the end of the season, title or no title, so why run the risk of further upheaval right in the middle of the league run in?

My guess is that it was more of an emotional reaction. The Bayern board simply lost their collective temper and sacked the coach accordingly. Nothing wrong with showing a bit of emotion in sport but surely this is the time of the season for cool heads?

Anyway, it's done now so lets move on to the title race and there's a new kid on the contender's block in the shape of Stuttgart. The Swabians join three teams on 54 points by virtue of a 2-0 win over Eintracht. The other two are Martin Jol's Hamburg who lost to the all conquering Dortmund and of course, Bayern.

In second are Hertha, ruled out of the race two weeks ago after three straight defeats. The Berliners have bounced back with two wins and sit just two points behind Wolfsburg.

So we have five teams at the top within three points of each other. There are big questions attached to all of them: How will Wolfsburg react to their first defeat since the introduction of the Euro? Will Stuttgart's momentum continue for another five rounds of fixtures? Will there be a post-Klinsy Bayern bounce? Does Hamburg's poor goal difference equate to a dropped point? And Berlin... Who would have seriously predicted that they'd still be in the thick of it?

At the bottom, Karlsruhe are now four points away from the coveted fifteenth spot thanks to a great away win at Leverkusen. That spot is currently held by Cottbus who should be congratulated for their efforts last Sunday. The Sechs Punkter between 'Gladbach and Bielefeld finished 1-1 which is damn all use to either side. The bottom four are squeezing up nicely and the Bundesliga is set for a dramatic climax at both ends of the table.

That's it. Results and tables are here.

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