"Klinsi, today you see stars!" The German tabloid Bild told the former German coach and national team star in advance of his U.S. team's game with Germany.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Today's World Cup meeting between the United States and Germany would be interesting enough without the sidelights. A tie would send both teams through to the event's Round of 16, a loss for either would make things dicey, with tiebreakers and the currently-played game between Portugal and Ghana coming into play.
For the Americans, who have seen an unprecedented amount of attention during their first two World Cup games, a loss here would feel like pulling the plug on a lifeline the sport has been waiting for.
But Germany fields one of the best teams in the tournament and is a favorite to win the whole thing.
Nobody knows that better than the Americans. They're coached by a German soccer hero, Jurgen Klinsmann, who helped his home nation to the 1990 World Cup title and coached it to the 2006 semifinals. Five U.S. players also hold dual-citizenship in Germany.
There are no secrets. Of the 46 players in this game, 31 have spent time in Germany's first division, the Bundesliga. Here are ten thoughts heading into today's high noon (Eastern time) showdown.
1. Klinsmann says it's okay for you to miss work. No, really. The official Twitter site of U.S. Soccer published a note, signed by Klinsmann, excusing fans for taking the afternoon off to support the U.S. men today against Germany. Take a look at it here.
2. All five U.S. players with dual American-German citizenship are the sons of U.S. servicemen and German mothers. Jermaine Jones was born in Frankfurt, lived in the U.S. before his parents split up, then moved to Germany.
Fabian Johnson's father was a Michigan native, but played basketball for Bayern Munich, where his son grew up watching Klinsmann play for the Bayern Munich club.
John Brooks has a tattoo of Berlin on one elbow and the state of Illinois on the other. He speaks both English and German well, though he grew up in Germany and has never lived in the U.S. His father now lives in Switzerland.
Tim Chandler, who plays for Eintracht Frankfurt of the Bundesliga, grew up in Germany after his parents split up shortly after his birth, and had visited the U.S. only twice before signing on to play for the national team.
Julian Green was born in Tampa, Fla., but moved to Germany when he was two years old. He represented Germany at various international levels but said he made the choice to play for the U.S. because his father lives in Florida and, "I have deep roots in the U.S."
3. Though a draw would secure moving onto the next round, Klinsmann says the U.S. won't be playing for one, and he doesn't expect Germany to, either.
“We have that fighting spirit, and we give everything in every game,” Klinsmann said. “We will go to Recife and we will give everything to beat Germany. That is our goal.”
4. The questions over whether there might be a friendly agreement not to press the issue from either side isn't without some historical merit. In 1982, West Germany and Austria played to a 1-1 tie in which little effort was extended on either side for both of the match, effectively knocking out an Algerian team that had beaten the West Germans one game earlier.
The Schande von Gijón (the Shame of Gijón) is a chapter of German football history that it is not proud of. Even though the team went on to reach the World Cup finals, it didn't escape the memory of that game. Read more about it here in a well-done piece from Sports On Earth. (That game in large part led to the FIFA practice of playing the final group games simultaneously.)
Klinsmann bristled at the suggestion that there could be any kind of repeat.
"You're talking about a game that is decades away that is only part of the Germany history and not the United States," Klinsmann said. "The United States is known to give everything they have in every single game."
5. The U.S. remains without striker Jozy Altidore, who injured a hamstring against Ghana in the World Cup opener. He could return to action if the U.S. advances. The U.S. will, however, have Matt Besler, who appeared to tweak his hamstring against Portugal, but is good to go, according to team officials.
6. The last time these teams met, the U.S. beat Germany 4-3 in a friendly on May 21 in Washington D.C. This game, of course, is not a friendly, and not in the U.S. A pair of goals by Clint Dempsey within a five-minute span sparked the Americans in that game.
Germany beat the U.S. 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup.
7. Germany is favored to win. Bovada gives odds for an American victory at 15-2, with Germany at 20-33. Fivethirtyeight.com gives the U.S. only a 14 percent chance of winning, but pegs their chances to advance at 76 percent.
8. Running men. In two games, FIFA stats show that U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley logged 15.5 miles of running. Midfield mate Kyle Beckerman totaled 13.6, Fabian Johnson 13.3, Jermaine Jones 13.2, Clint Dempsey 12.6 and Michael Beasley 12.5.
One concern for the U.S. today is how much physically the game in Manaus, on the fringes of the Amazon jungle, took out of the team in its draw with Portugal. Another is what the late goal from Portugal -- on the game's final competitive touch -- may have done to the team mentally.
The U.S. players have insisted there will be no hangover, but with one extra day of rest, the Germans have an advantage here.
10. If you can't get away from work to get to a TV, you won't be alone if you're streaming the game at work. ESPN estimates it averaged nearly a half-million viewers per minute on its WatchESPN app during the U.S. game against Ghana, with a total of 1.4 million unique visitors. It expects another record day on Thursday, according to this story from the Associated Press.