Germany struggling to find new coach
12 July 2004 , HAMBURG - Germany is struggling to find a new coach after Otto Rehhagel became the latest top-name trainer to turn down the offer of leading the German national side to the 2006 World Cup. The German Football Federation (DFB) - itself embroiled in a power struggle - seems to have run out of candidates for the job after Rehhagel's surprise snub in a telephone conservation Saturday with DFB vice-president Franz Beckenbauer. Rehhagel was regarded in Germany as almost certain to leave the Greek
12 July 2004
HAMBURG - Germany is struggling to find a new coach after Otto Rehhagel became the latest top-name trainer to turn down the offer of leading the German national side to the 2006 World Cup.
The German Football Federation (DFB) - itself embroiled in a power struggle - seems to have run out of candidates for the job after Rehhagel's surprise snub in a telephone conservation Saturday with DFB vice-president Franz Beckenbauer.
Rehhagel was regarded in Germany as almost certain to leave the Greek national side he had just coached to the Euro 2004 title for the honour of leading his home country to the next World Cup, which Germany is hosting.
Reports said the DFB was prepared to pay him EUR five million for the next two years, a sum he could have increased considerably in sponsoring and marketing deals.
But the 65-year-old coach said he wanted to finish the job he had started with the Greeks, fulfilling his contract until 2006 with the Greek federation EPO. The delighted Greeks are reportedly mulling increasing his wage to EUR 600,000 a year.
Rehhagel now follows former Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld in formally rejecting the job, while other potential candidates have ruled themselves out.
They include the Germans Christoph Daum (Fenerbahce), Jupp Heynckes (Schalke 04) and Volker Finke (Freiburg), Frenchman Arsene Wenger (Arsenal) and the Danish national team coach Morten Olsen.
Rehhagel's decision leaves only one question: Who's left?
"I wouldn't know now who could do it," said Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf.
"Now we've got a problem," said Borussia Dortmund club manager Michael Meier.
"It's tragic," said former international goalkeeper Toni Schumacher.
"Everybody had concentrated on Otto. The person who is now appointed would only be the third choice. Franz Beckenbauer won't be able to avoid doing the job himself. It's his World Cup after all."
Beckenbauer, who led Germany to the 1990 World Cup title and is head of the World Cup organizing committee, has categorically rejected any prospect of a return to coaching.
But the former playing great admits there is no one else lined up. Beckenbauer, a member of the four-man DFB team charged with finding a new coach, told ZDF television: "We had focused so much on Rehhagel that we had no room for any other thoughts. We now need time to think."
The search is proving to be a lot more difficult than even Beckenbauer imagined.
"You would think people would be queuing up to be coach of the national team, but it's not as simple as that," he said.
"Usually it's the case that the good people are under contract. First they have to let their interest be known. Then we have to negotiate with the respective association or club to see whether they would release him."
The crisis has come about following Rudi Voeller's resignation as coach after Germany's poor performance and elimination at Euro 2004.
Now there's talk of bringing Voeller back as a technical director or manager alongside any new coach.
And despite all the rejections there is one man who would not turn the coaching job down if asked - record German international Lothar Matthaeus.
The 43-year-old current coach of Hungary has signalled his interest, saying he would be able to quit his current contract with the Hungarian federation although it has another two years to run.
Matthaeus told Sunday's Bild am Sonntag newspaper that he as coach alongside Voeller as manager would be "the ideal solution for 2006".
Subject: German news