Bayern munich v Barcelona

Klinsmann demands proud response

April 13, 2009

Bayern Munich coach Jurgen Klinsmann insists his side have a duty to their fans to restore some pride with a victory over Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals, even though they have virtually no chance of going any further in the competition.

A 4-0 defeat at the Nou Camp last Wednesday has practically decided the tie in Barca's favour, but Klinsmann still wants his side to leave the European stage with their heads held high.

"We have a duty to our fans to play a great game," he said.

"We want to play well and leave the Champions League, unfortunately in the quarter-final stage, with respect."

Last week's crushing defeat left Klinsmann's position in doubt and he admitted it has not been the best of Easters for him with speculation mounting by the day that he has no future in charge of the record German champions.

But he admits it is part of his job to stand up to the critics when things go badly without getting carried away with the praise.

"It has been a tough last couple of days," he admitted.

"Nobody likes to take what I have had to take these days. I tried to enjoy Easter with my kids yesterday, but it was always in the back of my mind.

"This is a very special club, one of the biggest in the world, and we reached the quarter-finals in a very impressive way (beating Sporting Lisbon 12-1 on aggregate).

"We hit the wall in Barcelona with a weakened team and you go from one extreme to another when things go well and people give you compliments, but if things hit you like last week with Wolfsburg and Barcelona, they show you another face.

"You have got to live with it. This is an amazing club and I am proud to be head coach here. I have got to look forward and ignore it."

Klinsmann's job may not depend on the outcome of tomorrow's game anyway.

Before the season started, when Klinsmann arrived to replace Ottmar Hitzfeld, his priority was to win the Bundesliga and establish the club back in the Champions League by successfully coming through the group stages.

They did that impressively, boasting the best record of all 16 qualifiers before sending Sporting crashing to a record Champions League aggregate defeat.

That, according to Klinsmann, appears to have been forgotten in the aftermath of the lesson his team received at the Nou Camp last week.

"We still have the aims we had at the start of the season," he said.

"That is to win the German title, which is still possible and we are up for doing it.

"Of course the experience in Barcelona was bad, but the aim was to take Bayern into the knock-out phase and then we played a great game and were unfortunate to draw Barcelona.

"But our aim in the Champions League has been reached. We have got one round further than originally planned and now we have the (German) title in our sights and then we will plan for next season."

Klinsmann therefore appears confident that he will be around next year while the return of several key players gives him increased confidence for tomorrow night.

"We had a depleted team in Barcelona, but we have Philipp (Lahm) back and Lucio back so they will give us more stability," he revealed.

"Daniel van Buyten is also back in training today. Apart from (Miroslav) Klose, I have a full squad to choose from and I will see who is up for it the most."

Klinsmann confirmed that Hans-Jorg Butt will play his third consecutive game in goal, making him the new number one "for the foreseeable future" after surprisingly taking the place of Michael Rensing last week.