MUNICH, May 2 – Jurgen Klinsmann's dismissal as Bayern Munich coach on Monday may have raised some eyebrows around the world, but few were surprised here after the poor results which proved unacceptable to the German giants.The low point of Klinsmann’s ten-month reign came on April 8 in the cauldron of the Nou Camp when Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and co won 4-0 to make a mockery of Bayern’s Champions League ambitions in the quarter-final first leg.
It came on the back of a 5-1 mauling at Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga four days before, and cries of ‘Klinsmann out!’ started to echo around Munich’s Allianz Arena in the following games until the fans’ wish eventually came true.
In the end, Klinsmann lasted exactly 302 days in his first domestic coaching role and iconic memories of him hugging German Chancellor Angela Merkel after Germany reached third place at the 2006 World Cup are now fading fast.
"He should have made more out of the team," said a disgruntled Bayern fan after hearing the news. "It’s a shame, but he was a bad coach."
As is the current trend in football management, Klinsmann was given little time to bring success to a club used to dominating the Bundesliga and his players did little to help with occasionally poor and often erratic performances.
"The man got the German team to third place in the World Cup. They should have given him more time," said another sympathetic fan.
Klinsmann, who became known for his trademark dives as a player, was appointed in January 2008 to replace Ottmar Hitzfeld, who won the domestic treble of league, Cup and League Cup last season before departing to coach Switzerland.
Doubts were first raised when ‘Klinsi’ started work on July 1 and began by making sweeping changes that did not impress the Bayern faithful.
Flashy renovations meant the training centre was now state-of-the-art, with Buddhist statutes on the roof (which were later to disappear), while an eight-hour training day was introduced with players expected to learn languages.
And the decision to close the public restaurant overlooking the training ground for the sake of privacy did not please the devoted fans who traditionally enjoyed watching their heroes while sipping a beer.
Having drawn their opening two league games this season, a 4-1 win at home over Hertha Berlin implied Bayern were on the right path, which seemed to be confirmed when the side then won 3-0 at Cologne.
However, things went spectacularly wrong in September when Werder Bremen raced into a 5-0 lead at the Allianz Arena before Germany midfielder Tim Borowski pulled back two late goals to save some face.
But the seeds of doubt had been sown and puzzling decisions did not help Klinsmann’s cause as captain Mark van Bommel was left on the bench, while the coach failed to coax Germany star Lukas Podolski into any kind of form.
The writing was on the wall when Bayern were hammered 5-1 at Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga on April 4 and then four days later they were given what chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge described as a "football lesson" in Barcelona.
And German daily Tageszeitung summed up the mood before the home second leg when they ran an image of Klinsmann being crucified under the headline ‘Always look on the bright side of life’.
Klinsmann sued, but it reflected his failing luck when he lost that one too after a court dismissed his claims.
Barcelona strolled into Munich for the second leg and and barely broke sweat in the 1-1 draw which put Bayern out of the Champions League with their high hopes of a European crown crushed.
And when Schalke 04 inflicted the seventh defeat of the season on Bayern last Saturday, leaving Munich with a 1-0 win, Rummenigge’s patience finally snapped.
Former Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, who won consecutive Bundesliga titles in 1989 and 1990, will take over as manager for the remaining five league games, with Hermann Gerland as his assistant, and the pair begin work on Tuesday.
Rummenigge will now scour the planet looking for a replacement and while the Bayern boss has dismissed rumours that he has approached Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, he hopes to have Klinsmann’s successor in place by May 31.
Hamburg boss Martin Jol has also been linked to the job by the press here, but whoever gets the job will already know that immediate success is both expected and demanded at a club where victory is the only acceptable option.