The United States is facing off against Germany, the World Cup powerhouse that crushed Portugal in the first Group of Death match, 4-0.
This particular match up is the most dramatic of any in this year’s World Cup with a U.S. national team roster that includes four German-Americans.
Here’s what you need to know about the duo:
1. They Met at a Coaching School
Klinsmann and Low’s relationship began when they both attended a coaching school after their professional careers ended. In 2004, Klinsmann was named head coach of the German national team when Rudi Völler was fired.
As soon as the position was his, he brought in his good friend Low to be his right hand man.
2. Low Was Klinsmann’s Assistant in the 2006 World Cup
After Klinsmann appointed Low as his assistant coach, the duo brought the German national team to third place overall in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, a year after they dominated in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup.
The two were a perfect combination made up of Klinsmann’s charisma and authoritative nature and Low’s strategic genius leading to their huge success and notable statuses in Germany.
3. There is a Conspiracy Theory About the U.S. vs. Germany Match
Naturally, there has been much speculation between the match up between Germany and the U.S.
Both teams have an extremely high chance of moving to the knockout round of the tournament and escaping the Group of Death. All both teams need are a draw to secure the position which has prompted people to question whether the longtime friends have come to an agreement to tie the match.
Klinsmann and Low have both denied allegations about any accordance mentioned. Reporters also brought up a past discrepancy called “Gijon” (Gijon Spain) in the 1982 Olympics where West Germany and Austria secretly agreed on a draw in order for both teams to advance over Algeria.
It was because of the “Gijon” incident that FIFA has arranged final first round games to be played at the exact same time in order to ensure that none of the teams can make such an arrangement.
Klinsmann told press:
I think you’re talking about a game that is decades away that is only part of Germany’s history and not the United States. We’re not made for ties. The United States is known to give everything they have in every single game. We have that fighting spirit and that energy.”
He continued later:
So, we’re going to go into Recife very ambitious with a lot of confidence to beat Germany. This is our goal. The message is very simple: We want to beat Germany. We want to be first in our group, so we’re not thinking about a tie.”
4. Löw Became Head Coach When Klinsmann Didn’t Renew His Contract
In July of 2006, Klinsmann decided against renewing his contract as the head trainer of the German national team. That same day, Low was chosen to take over the position.
Klinsmann stated his reasons for resigning from the high power position in a press conference:
“My big wish is to go back to my family, to go back to leading a normal life with them … After two years of putting in a lot of energy, I feel I lack the power and the strength to continue in the same way.”
Exactly 5 years later, Klinsmann decided to take the job he was offered as the new U.S. national team coach after Bob Bradley was fired in 2011. Now, he finds himself facing the exact team he built head on.
Klinsmann told reporters that in Brazil, he and Low are not friends, but after, things will go back to normal.
There is no time right now to have friendship calls.”
Low agreed to keeping their relationship completely professional, telling reporters:
My relationship with Jurgen is brilliant, but we have not had any frequent contacts during this tournament, and I believe it will stay that way till after the tournament.”
5. Low Coaches Based on Klinsmann’s Philosophy
When Low became the head of the German national team, he chose to continue promoting and teaching his buddy’s coaching style. Klinsmann was particular to developing a strong offensive in opposition to the coaching style of the previous German national team coach.
The distinct style of coaching can now be seen on both German and U.S. national teams.