Bayern says Bremen no lasting threat

28th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

28 April 2004 , HAMBURG - German league leaders Werder Bremen will not be a long-term rival to Bayern Munich even if they win the Bundesliga this season, Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness has predicted. Hoeness told Stern magazine in an interview posted Wednesday on its website he did not believe Werder, who have a six point lead over Bayern in the league with four matches remaining, "can be a lasting danger to us". Instead Hoeness, who celebrates 25 years as Bayern general manager on 1 May, picks VfB Stu

28 April 2004

HAMBURG - German league leaders Werder Bremen will not be a long-term rival to Bayern Munich even if they win the Bundesliga this season, Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness has predicted.

Hoeness told Stern magazine in an interview posted Wednesday on its website he did not believe Werder, who have a six point lead over Bayern in the league with four matches remaining, "can be a lasting danger to us".

Instead Hoeness, who celebrates 25 years as Bayern general manager on 1 May, picks VfB Stuttgart and Borussia Dortmund as serious long- term rivals to the dominance of the Bavarians.

Although defending champions Bayern - who have won four of the last five league titles - could still overtake Werder for this season's trophy "perhaps second place is better for us. This enables you to change things, and we really do have to change things here".

Hoeness said the players rather than coach Ottmar Hitzfeld were to blame for what has been a disappointing season so far for Bayern.

Hitzfeld had helped Bayern achieve sporting and financial success, but Hoeness said that despite the club's gratitude to the coach he also had "critical thoughts concerning Hitzfeld's work with the team".

The club would have to "bear" the fact that Hitzfeld's contract had been extended until the end of June 2005, he said.

Hoeness, who has been a figure of hate in the Bundesliga over the years for his plain-speaking and aggressive management style, admitted he had become more mellow.

"I said some provocative things at the beginning (of my management career), was aggressive, dished things out and was pretty ruthless," he said.

Now Hoeness said he sought harmony and no longer wanted to be "the bad guy every day". But he warned it might be a dangerous development for Bayern, who should be on their guard against becoming "too nice". Bayern "have to hurt the other clubs again", he said.

For this reason Bayern should not be too sympathetic to Borussia Dortmund's financial problems and continue to pursue the Dortmund midfielder Thorsten Frings, he said.

Hoeness, who became Bayern club manager at 27 after a playing career curtailed by injury, left open the question of his successor when he plans to succeed Franz Beckenbauer as Bayern president in 2006.

Goalkeeper Oliver Kahn has been touted as the next Bayern manager, but Hoeness said although the club has not talked with any other candidate Kahn was not the only possibility.

 

DPA

Subject: German news 

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