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FOOTBALL

Van Gaal picked to replace sacked Klinsmann at Bayern Munich

German giants Bayern Munich confirmed on Wednesday that Dutch coach Louis van Gaal will take over as head coach on July 1 having signed a two-year contract to replace the fired Jürgen Klinsmann.

Van Gaal picked to replace sacked Klinsmann at Bayern Munich
Photo: DPA

Having led AZ Alkmaar to the Dutch title this season, the 57-year-old has signed a deal with the Bundesliga champions, ending weeks of speculation over whether or not he would succeed Klinsmann, who was fired on April 27.

“We are happy to have signed an experienced and successful football coach for Bayern Munich such as Louis van Gaal,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in a statement.

Having steered Ajax to the Champions League title in 1995, the fiery Van Gaal has a wealth of experience having led the giants from Amsterdam to consecutive Dutch titles between 1994, 1995 and 1996.

In 1998 and 1999, he also won La Liga with Barcelona before taking charge of the Dutch national side in 2000, but failure to lead them to the World Cup finals in 2002 meant he was replaced by Dick Advocaat.

Then followed brief spells at Ajax and Barcelona, before he joined AZ in 2005 which culminated in Alkmaar winning the Dutch title on April 19 this year just after their decisive 28-game undefeated run was brought to an end. Not lacking in self-confidence, Van Gaal boldly stated: “I am the best” after winning the Dutch title and Bayern’s bosses seem to agree.

The Dutchman inherits a squad who are still bidding for the Bundesliga title and are level on points with leaders Wolfsburg with two games league remaining having beaten neighbours Bayern Leverkusen 3-0 on Tuesday.

He replaces Klinsmann who was sacked as Bayern coach after only ten months in charge following a poor run of results.

The writing was on the wall for the ex-Germany coach in early April when the German giants were hammered 5-1 at Wolfsburg before being beaten 4-0 at Barcelona as they made an early exit from the Champions League. While Klinsmann took an innovative approach, Van Gaal is not afraid to make waves or speak his mind.

Bayern captain Mark van Bommel insisted recently: “You won’t find a player who has anything negative to say about him.”

Not everyone would agree and Bulgaria striker Hristo Stoichkov contradicted Van Bommel when he once famously remarked: “Van Gaal is a total fool” after the pair worked together at Barcelona.

But Bayern boss Rummenigge has said he wants to bring in a no-nonsense football man to forge Munich into a powerful side to challenge for their first Champions League title since 2001.

“If we had wanted someone who is everyone’s darling, we would have signed George Clooney,” Rummenigge commented only a few days ago.

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MUNICH

Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.

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