Klinsmann takes on compatriots

Jurgen Klinsmann (File)
Jurgen Klinsmann (File)

Berlin - USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann says he is relishing taking on his old team Germany in Wednesday's friendly - and admits he needs to make sure not to cheer the wrong team.

"I will sing the German anthem as well as our own," said the 50-year-old ex-Mannschaft star ahead of the friendly in Cologne in a rare joint press conference with Germany coach Joachim Loew.

"It's clear I'm still a fan and I will certainly take care not to cheer the wrong team," he quipped.

"I'm very proud to be the American coach, but I am also German through and through."

Having coached Germany to third place at the 2006, Klinsmann has coached the Stars and Stripes since 2011 and his team enjoyed a shock 4-3 win over the Netherlands in Amsterdam in Friday's friendly.

He coached the losing side when the USA were beaten 1-0 by the Germans in the group stages on their way to winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as his US team reached the last 16.

Having been Klinsmann's assistant coach, Loew took charge of Germany in 2006.

This will be the third time the two sides have met since with honours even after the USA enjoyed a shock 4-3 win over the Germans in a Washington friendly in 2013.

"It's a special experience to come here and play the world champions," said Klinsmann, who now lives in California.

"Football isn't yet as big in the US as the main American sports, but we're getting there.

"We want to use this as a yardstick and like Jogi Low, we also don't have our best players here.

"Germany is the world leader and the reality is that the other countries look and admire what has evolved here."

Klinsmann says his goal is to reach the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia and he has brought his side to Europe to gain experience ahead of the Gold Cup they will co-host with Canada.

"American football has evolved tremendously over the past two or three years," says Low, whose world champions play minnows Gibraltar in a Euro 2016 qualifier in Faro, Portugal on Saturday.

"I am impressed by the speed and intensity of this team."

With his first-choice centre-backs Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng unavailable, Low is expected to name an inexperienced back four with midfield star Bastian Schweinsteiger as Germany's captain.

Low has already sent several of his stars on holiday and Moenchengladbach winger Patrick Herrmann is set to win his first cap alongside Arsenal's Mesut Ozil as the attacking midfielder.

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