A new book from former German football federation president Theo Zwanziger reveals that he and three other top executives had a secret plot to sack former manager Jurgen Klinsmann during the 2006 World Cup if his reign turned into a "sporting disaster." Never terribly fond of Klinsmann, who is now in charge of the U.S. team, Zwanziger, Franz Beckenbauer and two other officials conspired to replace him with unwitting sporting director Matthias Sammer at a moment's notice.
German officials were spooked by a 4-1 loss to Italy in a friendly several months before the tournament, which came with added pressure since Germany also served as the host nation. Klinsmann then tested their patience further by not attending a World Cup coaches workshop.
From the AP:
"I have to admit that I was beginning to have doubts about our team chief. Publicly, I expressed loyalty to Juergen Klinsmann ... but internally we set up a plan B,'' Zwanziger wrote. "If a sporting disaster began to develop at the World Cup and Klinsmann was no longer acceptable, we decided to have Matthias Sammer jump in at short notice.''
Klinsmann's assistant, Joachim Loew, never was considered because he was thought to be too close to Klinsmann and part of his inner circle, Zwanziger said. Klinsmann quit after the World Cup and replaced by Loew, who remains the coach.
Of course, Klinsmann led Germany to a third-place finish with their only loss coming in extra time against that pesky Italian that would eventually win the whole thing and the "regeneration" he and Jogi Loew established has resulted in another third-place finish at the 2010 World Cup, a second-place finish at Euro 08 and another semifinal loss to Italy at Euro 2012. So it's a good thing they didn't push that plan B.