Goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann was on the scene exactly when his team needed him. He has also really shown improvement in training.
Berlin – Jonathan Klinsmann could not stop smiling when he spoke to journalists after Hertha’s home fixture against Östersunds FK. On that December evening, everybody in the room wanted to speak to him. The young goalkeeper answered every question professionally even though it was only his professional debut. “I said to myself before the match: I will make the save if I just jump,” he laughed. And he did that so well to make a spectacular penalty save in the dying stages of the Europa League match.
Klinsmann makes his debut for Hertha
The match against Östersunds FK was unfortunately Hertha Berlin’s last game in the UEFA Europa League this season. Klinsmann was picked to start in goal as Thomas Kraft was unavailable and Pál Dárdai wanted to rest regular number 1 goalkeeper Rune Jarstein. “He is under a lot of pressure. He has to live up to his name,” said Pál Dárdai, referring to the fact that Jonathan is the son of former World Cup winner Jürgen Klinsmann. This pressure only spurred the 20-year old on. The young goalkeeper said: “The trainer told me I would be playing a few days before and quite honestly, I have not had a good night’s sleep ever since. I telephoned my father one day before the match and he wished me the best of luck.”
All that commotion clearly was not necessary as the young goalkeeper put on a spectacular performance on his debut by making some key saves against a tough opponent. The head coach was full of praise for Klinsmann: “He was under a lot of pressure and made almost no mistakes. He did particularly well to save the penalty.” Klinsmann was lost for words after the match. “To be honest, I just do not know what to say, but it really meant a lot to me that my teammates thanked me for saving the penalty,” he said.
From the very front to the very back
But did you know that Jonathan Klinsmann was looking for a club just under half a year before this important match against Östersund? After a number of trials at German and English football clubs, Klinsmann convinced the coaching staff at Hertha BSC and signed a professional contract for the club in July 2017. “Klinsmann is a calm and confident player. He has a very good right foot and is at a very good level technically and physically,” said goalkeeping coach Zsolt Petry. The young goalkeeper was very excited about this opportunity. “It was an unbelievably emotional moment for me because Hertha has such a big place in my family’s history. My father and grandfather were both Hertha BSC fans. I am looking forward to everything at the club and the challenge in the Bundesliga,” said Klinsmann.
Klinsmann began playing football in his home country, USA. Unlike in Europe, young athletes often begin their sporting career at their school or university. But when his father became manager of FC Bayern München in 2008, he got his son into the academy. That is where Klinsmann learned how to play as a goalkeeper. He continued to play in this position when he returned to his high school in America and eventually played for the University of Berkeley.
Football at American high schools is very different to Bundesliga football. Klinsmann began playing and training with the under-23 side at Hertha to work his way up into the professional side, but the new signing injured his ankle after just one appearance. “It really was not easy for me when I was injured, but injuries are part of the sport,” said Klinsmann. Since then, Hertha’s number 33 has made six appearances for the under-23 side and he trains regularly with the first time. No one is going to forget his impressive performance against Östersund anytime soon. The 20-year old has already proved his talent, just like Pál Dárdai wanted him to.