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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 July, 2004, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Rehhagel top of German list
Otto Rehhagel
Greece coach Otto Rehhagel is the leading candidate to take charge of the German national side.

An emergency meeting of the German soccer federation (DFB) appointed a four-man panel to seek a coach to succeed Rudi Voeller.

"Such a successful coach as Rehhagel cannot be bypassed," said DFB vice president Hans-Georg Moldenhauer.

"Rehhagel has had so many successes and he can prepare a team very well. That's why he is playing such a big role."

Rehhagel has jumped to the top of Germany's wish list after guiding Greece to victory at Euro 2004.

But German newspaper Bild quoted Greek federation chief Vasilios Gagatsis as saying he will not be released from his contract.

"We won't consider it at all. Otto just extended his contract, not just until 2006, but until 2008. He will be with us until he retires. He told me that himself," Gagatsis said.

But Rehhagel denied Bild's report and has refused to be drawn on whether he would be keen on the post.

"That's incorrect, because my contract runs until 2006. I haven't signed anything," he said.

Franz Beckenbauer and Rudi Voeller have both backed him for the appointment.

Voeller, who stood down as coach after their disappointing Euro 2004 campaign, said: "It would be the crowning achievement of Otto Rehhagel's career.

I am not in the right state to do what is needed for the national team in the run-up to the 2006 World Cup
Ottmar Hitzfeld
German legend Beckenbauer, who is on the four-man panel appointed to find a new coach, also tipped Rehhagel.

"Rehhagel is one of our most experienced and successful coaches," said the former coach and captain.

Former Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has already ruled himself out of the running to succeed Voeller.

Germany are looking for someone to guide them in the lead up to the 2006 World Cup finals, which they are hosting.

"We need to find a man for the next two years, with the main goal 2006. What happens afterwards is not important," Beckenbauer added.

"We can try to organise the perfect tournament. But that won't help us if the team's performance isn't right."

Rehhagel led Werder Bremen to two German titles and then after a difficult spell with Bayern Munich he joined Kaiserslautern and won another Bundesliga in 1998.

Hungary coach Lothar Matthaeus, the skipper of Germany's 1990 World Cup triumph, has also expressed interest in the vacant post.

Former Bayer Leverkusen coach Christoph Daum has been linked with the post.

Hitzfeld claimed he was not in a position to accept the offer from the German Football Federation (DFB).

The 55-year-old said: "This decision was very, very difficult for me. The post of national coach is an honour, the World Cup at home a dream.

"But I am not in the right state to do what is needed for the national team in the run-up to the 2006 World Cup."

Hitzfeld, who was sacked by Bayern Munich in May, had been the leading candidate to succeed Voeller after he stepped down after Germany's early exit at Euro 2004.

The 1996 European champions failed to make it through Group C after two draws and a defeat to a below-strength Czech Republic side.





Links to more Germany stories


 

SEE ALSO
Voeller quits Germany role
24 Jun 04  |  Germany


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