It’s really not a surprise that Miroslav Klose is brimming with confidence at the moment. 3 goals in the last two matches while playing less than a full 90 minutes combined will do that. “When I am fit, I am the best, and now I am fit” he’s quoted as saying.
So, you’ve got an established striker who’s starting to feel it again, but he’s not just any striker: he’s the Golden Boot winner of the last World Cup and a consistent starter and scorer for a highly ranked national team. Add to that, he’ll be matching up against his former team on Saturday and under most any circumstances, the fans would be clamoring mightily for his re-insertion into the starting lineup and the coach would be only too happy to oblige.
And yet in the case of Miro Klose, neither the minds in the stands nor on the bench are likely to change quickly. Sure, there is the nail-biting group out there who are so disgusted by Mario Gomez’s rough day on Friday that they are ready to exile him on the bench again. Ivica Olic certainly has the burst and creativity to assert himself as a fantastic Joker. But the results have been consistently good for a while now, and with another test under the team’s collective belt, fans are buying Louis van Gaal’s approach, which has been “continuity first”.
It’s become the conventional wisdom, that as Van Gaal tinkered with the lineup week after week in the first part of the season, the team floundered. Only when he stuck with the same lineup did the results start to come. The big question I have though, is whether Van Gaal will be able to see deficiencies before they happen and make the appropriate adaptations. I’m not ready to say Gomez’s play on Friday is symptomatic of a regression, or that Olic is due for a dry run for a time. But Louis van Gaal is paid to spot these things. Might we look back on this week a month from now and say “Shoulda’ been starting Klose after the Hoffenheim match?” It’s not that difficult to make the case for it even now. But there aren’t many among us who feel the need to make that case just yet.
Take your birthday and shove it
I had hoped to find some good video from Sunday’s edition of DSF’s “Doppelpass” program. It served as a celebration for panelist and former long-time Bayern coach Udo Lattek’s 75th birthday, and featured an extensive interview with Christian Nerlinger. Alas, while you can watch some clips at the show’s site there hasn’t been much from the program that I’ve been able to find in the back alleys of the internet. However, I did find this clip, which shows some German football giants wishing Udo the best on his 75th, and one particularly sour journalist
who’d rather not. Sorry, no subtitles though. This sort of frankness is reserved for late night talk shows in the U.S. of late!
Apparently, there will be no team training on Tuesday, and so the boys will have the day off. So, what can a pro footballer do on a day off? If you’re Bastian Schweinstieger, you can film a commercial, and perhaps damage some studio equipment while you’re at it.