Jonathan Klinsmann saves penalty on Hertha Berlin debut
BERLIN -- Jonathan Klinsmann, the son of former United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann, saved a late penalty on his Hertha Berlin debut to secure a 1-1 draw against visiting Ostersunds FK in the Europa League on Thursday.
The 20-year-old goalkeeper denied Ostersund captain Brwa Nouri from the penalty spot with three minutes remaining.
"It's good for competition in the squad that Jonathan played so well. Under pressure, he made no mistakes," Hertha coach Pal Dardai said.
Klinsmann produced a brilliant fingertip save to stop Sotirios Papagiannopoulos scoring in the first half, but was powerless to prevent the Greek defender from finding the net with the aid of a deflection after the interval.
Peter Pekarik replied almost straight away for Hertha, which was already certain to be eliminated after the group stage of Europe's second-tier competition.
Ostersund finished second in Group J to become the first Swedish side since Helsingborg in 2007 to reach the knockout stages.
Klinsmann, who previously made six appearances for Hertha's reserve side in the fourth-tier regional league, got his chance with the senior team as regular goalkeeper Rune Jarstein skips the side's international games and his back-up Thomas Kraft was out with a cold.
"He did well," Dardai said of Klinsmann. "He also gathered experience with the under-21 team, not always without mistakes, but he has stepped it up in training. The fitness coach has been working with him. But we don't need to turn it into the Klinsmann show. We can talk a lot about him when the time comes."
The 1.94-meter (6-foot-4) tall Klinsmann, a goalkeeper with the United States Under-20 team, was handed his first professional contract after impressing Hertha during a trial in the offseason. He previously played for the University of California.
"I don't want to make a big deal out of it. He's a young player," Dardai said.
Dardai also handed a first start to his son Palko, who struck the crossbar with a powerful shot in the first half.