NAME: Miroslav Klose
BORN: 9 June 1978 in Opole (Poland)
HEIGHT: 1.82 m
WEIGHT: 81 kg.
CLUBS: 1987 – 1998: SG Blaubach-Diedelkopf. 1998 – 1999: FC 08 Homburg. 1999 – 2004: 1. FC Kaiserslautern. Since 2004: SV Werder Bremen
HONORS: Winner of the adidas Silver Shoe for second-highest scorer (five goals) at the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan TM. German Cup finalist in 2003. Bundesliga top scorer in 2006. Third place at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany TM. Winner of the adidas Golden Shoe for top scorer at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany TM (five goals). 2006 Footballer of the Year in Germany. 67 senior appearances for Germany (33 goals).
MISCELLANEOUS: Klose is married to Sylwia and the father of twins.
“There are no troublesome opponents”
Miroslav Klose was one of the outstanding figures at the 2006 FIFA World Cup TM. The world-class German striker ended the tournament as the leading scorer. Klose, 28, is also a key performer for his club, Werder Bremen.
Q: In an interview some months ago, you mentioned a cousin of yours who’s a joiner. You wanted to have a second display cabinet made for your trophies. Is it ready yet?
Miroslav Klose: Yes, it is. My cousin did the job quickly because he knew how important it was to me.
Q: Don’t your many trophies fit in the old cabinet any more?
Miroslav Klose: No, there are so many now, especially after last year; I’ve had to create more space.
Q: Your Bremen Team-mate Diego has put his trophies on show at a prominent location in his house. Where do you showcase yours?
Miroslav Klose: One cabinet is in my office, the second in the guest room.
Q: Do you have a favorite among all the cups, awards and honors you received in 2006?
Miroslav Klose: They’re all important because they all have their own special value. But if I’m honest, I was particularly happy to win the title of leading scorer at the World Cup. That’s what I was focusing on, especially as the World Cup took place in my home country. Scoring the most goals in this competition in indeed something special.
Q: You’ve now scored ten goals at two World Cups. Are you happy with your haul?
Miroslav Klose: I wouldn’t have believed if it anyone had told me before the World Cup in Asia. Ten World Cup goals is a great return and it makes me proud.
Q: Even though you didn’t quite reach the target you set yourself?
Miroslav Klose: In 2006 I wanted to improve on my World Cup debut and I set myself a target of six goals. I only got five in the end, which did annoy me a bit because I’d always achieved my personal targets before.
Q: Is the adidas Golden Shoe award so important to you because the number of goals you scored is a measurable statistic?
Miroslav Klose: Of course, at the beginning of 2006 I would never have dreamed of such a fantastic result.
Q: In the European award, the Strikers Henry and Eto’o finished ahead of you even though you were the World Cup’s leading scorer. Do you think that’s fair?
Miroslav Klose: I have to accept it. Ultimately all that’s important to me is performing well on the pitch week in, week out, not how many votes I get for this or that award.
Q: In both these polls a defender Fabio Cannavaro, was voted number one. The previous years have largely been dominated by attacking players. Were you surprised by this unusual result?
Miroslav Klose: Not at all, Cannavaro captained the World Cup winning side, Italy. He was one of their most valuable players and left his mark on the tournament. He deserved to get these awards. Even as a striker I think it’s good for a defender to win for a change.
Q: You’ve played against Cannavaro on a number of occasions. What makes him stand out?
Miroslav Klose: He’s almost unbeatable in the tackle, tactically well versed and incredibly strong in the air for his height. Italy reaped the benefit from that. The Italians won the title thanks to their strength in defense, as illustrated by the fact that they hardly conceded any goals.
Q: Looking back, is Cannavaro the most troublesome opponent of your career to date?
Miroslav Klose: For me there are no troublesome opponents. If you think like that you’ve alredy lost the battle. I face each challenge as it comes an I am ready to take on any opponent.
Q: Back to what was a great year for you: was 2006 the best of your professional career to date?
Miroslav Klose: Yes, without a doubt.
Q: What do you hope to achieve in 2007?
Miroslav Klose: I hope things will continue as they are and carry on getting better, both for Werder and Germany. We have the important task of qualifying for the European Championship ahead of us.
Q: How do you see the qualifying campaign for EURO 2008 in Austria and Switzerland?
Miroslav Klose: We’re on the right road. At the European Championship we can continue what we started at the World Cup, where we were one of the youngest teams. We’ll benefit from that in the next few years.
Q: What effect has the change from Jurgen Klinsmann to Joachim Low had?
Miroslav Klose: Hardly any at all. Obviously, Low has his own views and his own style, but essentially he’s carrying on Klinsmann’s legacy. And Low had already proven he was an excellent tactician while working under Klinsmann.
Q: What goals have you set for yourself for continued development?
Miroslav Klose: I’m only 28, so as a footballer I’m on my prime. My career isn’t over yet. I believe I’m capable of more and aim to carry on playing to a high standard for another few years yet.
Q: Anyone who’s done as phenomenally well as you have over the last twelve months is likely to find it difficult to play any better. It is now about maintaining high level of performance? Or do you feel there is still room for improvement?
Miroslav Klose: it would be bad if I couldn’t improve any further. It would be bad if I didn’t set myself any new targets. Then things really would be going downhill for me. During my career I’ve always wanted more. I’m ambitious and have always wanted to improve. I still think like that today. And from experience I know that a development is never fully completed. It can always get better.
Q: Is that a basic personality trait of yours?
Miroslav Klose: I’ve always been underestimated. My entire life, I think. I’ve always had to fight adversity, but I’ve always won through, I’ve always succeeded.
Q: Can you give an example?
Miroslav Klose: As a youngster on a weekend training course in Edenkoben I was sent home on the first day with the following: “You’d better off learning a better job because you’ll never have a career as a footballer.” All that did was motivated me even more. Turning professional was my biggest dream. And as everyone has seen, I made it in the professional game.
Q: But you did learn a “civil profession” nevertheless?
Miroslav Klose: Yes, I did. I became a carpenter. It was important to me and my parents for me to learn a trade.
Q: And why a carpenter?
Miroslav Klose: I enjoyed climbing around on the roof. I wasn’t afraid of heights and was good at keeping my balance.
Q: Your international career really took of in the team that finished runners-up in the 2002 FIFA World Cup TM. Four years later you were one of the stars in Germany. How do the two tournaments compare?
Miroslav Klose: Though they were only four years apart, the difference is like night and day.
Miroslav Klose: Four years ago I thought I was already a big superstar. I thought everything would carry on automatically from there. A colossal mistake, as it proved. I then had two difficult years and didn’t find my feet again at all at Kaiserslautern.
Q: Did the move to Werder Bremen bring about an upturn in your fortunes?
Miroslav Klose: Absolutely, Werder were a godsend for me. I was able to develop in every respect.
Q: Bremen are now a top Bundesliga side and the equals of Bayern Munich, Germany’s most successful club. Werder have enhanced their image in Europe, especially the season following the performances against Barcelona and Chelsea in the “group of death”. Are you good enough to win the title?
Miroslav Klose: Most definitely, we can go all the way. We have a good team with the right blend of young players such as Mertesacker and Nalso and experienced performers such as Frings, Borowski and me.
Q: How important is Diego, the outstanding Brazilian, to Weder’s game?
Miroslav Klose: Diego is an excellent footballer and does indeed dictate much of our play. He’s very advanced for his age – he’s still only 21. And he can get even better once he’s played at this level for a few years.
Q: Werder have never been in such a strong position and yet you’re toying with the idea of joining another club. Why?
Miroslav Klose: Nothing has been decided yet. Nothing has been ruled out. I’ve always said I like the idea of playing abroad. But I haven’t said when. I have a contract with Werder until 2008 and we’re holing talks about an extension. Bremen have first priority.
Q: Which European league tempts you?
Miroslav Klose: I don’t want to tie myself down. I know I can play anywhere. I can cope with the physical game in England and the discipline in Italy. I also believe I could hold my own in the technically strong Spanish League.
Q: Do you have a favorite club, a team you’ve supported since you were a boy?
Miroslav Klose: No, I don’t, but if I were to move, there are only five clubs I’d consider.
Q: What role does money play in your thoughts?
Miroslav Klose: The financial aspect is important, of course, but it isn’t the main factor. It’s about the overall package. Everything has to be right: my gut feeling, the team, the coach, the surroundings, simply everything.
Q: At the beginning of your career you often celebrated scoring a goal by doing a somersault. Why don’t you do it anymore?
Miroslav Klose: It’s a very spontaneous thing. I decide from game to game, depending on the importance of the goal and the risk of injury according to the state of the pitch. I’m not gymnast after all.