World Cup: German Media, Fans Start Trash Talk Ahead of USA Match

Jurgen Klinsmann - H 2014
AP Images

Jurgen Klinsmann - H 2014

German tabloid Das Bild draws MLS ire for depicting USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann as a punch-drunk loser.

The USA-Germany World Cup match is only hours away and the trash talk has begun.

The U.S. and German governments may be the closest of allies, but when it comes to soccer, Germany's media – at least the tabloids – are not playing nice.

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Das Bild, the country's most read newspaper, slapped a Photoshopped picture of German-born Team USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann on its front page Wednesday. The image shows Klinsmann (nicknamed “Klinsi”) with a black eye and stars dancing about his head. The headline? “Klinsi, Today You'll See Stars.”

It was the first salvo in a series of (mostly) well-meaning jabs from official German media and ordinary fans as the country gears up for today's deciding match.

But the Major League Soccer association was not amused. “Not cool, Germany. Not. Cool.” the MLS tweeted in response to the Bild headline. To which Bild tweeted in response: “Heult doch!” which roughly translates as “Cry me a river!”

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Newsweekly Der Spiegel was more restrained in its home-team boosterism. Instead of jingoism, Spiegel opted for cold, hard science, with this graphic that shows Germany has outperformed the U.S. on all major metrics this World Cup, including goals, passing percentage and possession.

At least 11 Freunde, a popular German soccer magazine, appears to support Team USA. Though this post is hardly a 100 percent endorsement.

Online, German fans have begun their own trash talk. This old American advertisement for German soccer jerseys has been making the rounds on Twitter.

And this fan tweet takes a poke at Klinsmann's former reputation as a “diver” (a player who fakes being fouled) when he was a player for Germany's national team.

The German media have pounced on the supposed rivalry between Klinsmann and German coach Joachim Low. Low used to work for Klinsmann when the latter was coach of the German national team during the 2006 World Cup. Pundits claim Low was the tactical genius behind Klinsmann's revitalization of the German squad.

But the men are actually close friends, which has led some to speculate they could decide to “hack” today's World Cup match by agreeing on a draw, a result that would see both teams advance to the second round. German notoriously did just that in the 1982 World Cup in Spain when it fixed a 1-0 win against Austria that allowed both sides to go through. The incident has gone down in World Cup notoriety as the “Non-Aggression Pact of Gijon.”

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But this time around, both sides are vehement they will be battling for a win. That hasn't stopped some from suggesting the fix is in. Like this tweet featuring German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama.

Fans will find out for sure in a few hours. The kick off for USA-Germany is at noon ET on ESPN.

Twitter: @sroxborough