Klinsmann close to being fired at 2006 World Cup


FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -The German Football Federation (DFB) had a secret plan to sack coach Juergen Klinsmann during the 2006 World Cup at home if the tournament had gone badly for the host team, according to former DFB president Theo Zwanziger.

Zwanziger says he and three other top DFB officials, including World Cup organizing committee chief Franz Beckenbauer, devised the plan to fire Klinsmann during the tournament if it turned into a "sporting disaster" for Germany. Only the four men knew about the plan to replace Klinsmann with sporting director Matthias Sammer, who was unaware of the idea.

Zwanziger was never a friend of Klinsmann and installed Sammer over Klinsmann's objections. Klinsmann led Germany to a third-place finish. He now coaches the United States.

Now retired, Zwanziger has written a book about his time at the head of the DFB and revealed the plan to possibly sack Klinsmann. Bild newspaper is publishing excerpts ahead of publication.

In excerpts published on Wednesday, Zwanziger says "Plan B" was devised after Germany lost 4-1 in Italy ahead of the tournament.

The DFB was also angered that Klinsmann skipped a World Cup workshop for coaches shortly after the loss in Italy and returned to his home in California, according to Zwanziger.

"I have to admit that I was beginning to have doubts about our team chief. Publicly, I expressed loyalty to Juergen Klinsmann ... but internally we set up a plan B," Zwanziger wrote.

"If a sporting disaster began to develop at the World Cup and Klinsmann was no longer acceptable, we decided to have Matthias Sammer jump in at short notice."

Klinsmann's assistant, Joachim Loew, was never considered because he was thought to be too close to Klinsmann and part of his inner circle, Zwanziger said. Klinsmann quit after the World Cup and the DFB gave the job to Loew, who remains the coach.

Klinsmann then had an unsuccessful stint as coach of Bayern Munich.

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