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'Germany should thank Klinsmann'

As the United States gears up to face FIFA's No. 2-ranked squad on Thursday, U.S. assistant coach Berti Vogts says Germany should be thanking his current boss, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

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Klinsmann, who has been living in the United States since 1998, has become "Germany's best ambassador in a country with more 300 million citizens," Vogts said in German tabloid Bild. "The [German] politicians should think about how to thank him."

Thursday's Group G finale against Germany was always going to be special for Klinsmann, who won the 1990 World Cup with Die Nationalmannschaft and, as its manager, led the three-time champions to the semifinals in 2006, when his native country hosted the tournament. Vogts joined Klinsmann's staff ahead of the 2014 World Cup, reuniting with his former Nationalmannschaft captain. As coach and skipper, the pair was responsible for the last big title for Germany, the 1996 European Championship.

In Recife, the two will be facing their former team on the biggest stage for the first time. Vogts, who will continue to work as the Azerbaijan national coach after the tournament, has praised his current boss in an interview with Bild.

"Jurgen is the face of US football, he has triggered a boom," Vogts said. "When travelling in the United States in May, I saw more football pitches than ever before. Kids between the age of 8 and 10 kick the ball around everywhere. This reminded me of my childhood in Germany," said the 67-year-old, who grew up in post-World War II Germany.

Vogts had recommended Klinsmann as Germany's Nationaltrainer back in 2004, when the German football had sunk to a new low after the European Championships that year. Klinsmann formed a new team, and moreover implemented new coaching methods and gave the Nationalmannschaft's staff an update.

Elsewhere, as German media hypes up the meeting between Loew and Klinsmann, the U.S. coach told Sport Bild that "it is the ideal time" to have his job.

"This World Cup is a threshold," he said. "And a debacle would have had its consequences. But after the opening win [2-1 against Ghana], it was clear that there will be no debacle. I work for a country, which is still developing. Yet, we soon, if possible over the next four years until the 2018 Russia World Cup, want to be among the eight to 10 best teams in the world."

Germany has never failed to advance at a World Cup. The goal differential Germany accrued in its 4-0, tourney-opening win over Portugal basically assures it will move on once again, even if it does lose to the United States.

Klinsmann has insisted he has no plans to collude with German coach Joachim Loew for a tie. Besides giving the Americans an easier second-round foe, victory in Recife would also provide some vindication for the U.S. coach, who was fired by Bayern Munich in 2009 after less than one season in charge.

Klinsmann has five German Americans on his side. Four, all of them the sons of American servicemen, have represented Germany at the youth level before switching allegiances to the United States. They also have Bundesliga experience could help him get the result he covets.

Jermaine Jones, 32, has spent the majority of his career with Champions League mainstay Schalke. Another starter, Fabian Johnson, just moved to Borussia Monchengladbach -- Michael Bradley's former club -- after three seasons with Hoffenheim. Reserve defenders John Brooks (Hertha Berlin) and Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt) also call the German top flight home, while 19-year-old Julian Green is an up-and-comer with two-time defending champ Bayern.

"It's definitely an advantage that a lot of our players know the players from the German team," Klinsmann said. "They faced them in Bundesliga games, so they're a little bit more familiar with them, they can read them a little bit better than if you don't know them at all.

"I'm looking forward to seeing all of them -- not only the players, some of whom I worked with 10 years ago -- [but] the staff is pretty much the same as I left it when I stepped out in 2006," he said.

"It's a special moment because it's [against] the team that you kind of started building, so I will give them big hugs before the game, and then leave it aside. We're going there to get the job done."

ESPN FC's Doug McIntyre contributed to this report.

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