Germany national soccer team head coach Jürgen Klinsmann drew on memories from 18 years ago when he was in charge of the German national team to bolster his resolve a day before the match against China.
“We are looking forward to tomorrow’s game as we have prepared quite well,” Klinsmann said at a press conference at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen, China, on Tuesday afternoon, adding, “I don’t think there are any easy games in the second qualifying round of the World Cup.”
“I think it will be a very difficult game against China. We will respect the Chinese team and their players,” he added.
Klinsmann’s team will face China at 9 p.m. ET on Sept. 21 in the second Group C match of the 2026 World Cup North America Second Qualifying Round.
Klinsmann previously led the German national team to China in October 2005 ahead of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Germany had just earned a 1-0 victory over China, a team that was not exactly a powerhouse in Asia, despite its reputation as a European soccer juggernaut.
When asked about the game by local reporters, Klinsmann said, “I think (the 1-0 win) shows how difficult tomorrow’s game will be. It’s going to be a tough game and we will prepare with respect for our opponent,” Klinsmann reiterated.
“I spoke to the AFC officials briefly and they told me that the stadium was sold out in about an hour. It shows how much the local people are looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”
In fact, all 40,000 seats at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center are sold out, according to sports event and performance ticketing site Sina Weibo.
Klinsmann also revealed some of the reasons why he was drawn to the job of coaching the South Korean national team.
“I told Coach Chaduri, who I worked with when I was a member of the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG), ‘This team has a lot of things and the players are good,'” said Klinsmann, who watched all four of South Korea’s matches at last year’s World Cup in Qatar.
“I met with the president of the Korean Football Association, Chung Mong-kyu, and told him that I would be honored to lead this team. I told him that I would be honored if I could lead this team at the Asian Cup, and even the upcoming World Cup in North and Central America.”
Klinsmann, who has recently won four straight A-matches between national teams, is also proud of his players.
“I don’t doubt the ability and quality of our players,” he said, “but it’s a long road, a marathon to the World Cup, to the second round of qualifying, to the World Cup. “If you look at the team we have now, I can tell you that (I am) with players who are capable of winning,” he said.
“We are a team that can clearly say that our goal is to win,” he emphasized.
When asked by local reporters if Klinsmann was on the shortlist when Marcello Lippi was appointed as China’s national team coach in 2019, Klinsmann said, “There was no offer from the Chinese Football Association at the time.” He added, “He is a close friend of mine.
“Coach Lippi is a close friend and a very close colleague of mine, so I’m not going to talk about him, but I’m just going to say that it means a lot to me that he came to China to lead the Korean national team,” he added. 파워볼