Bayern Munich president Franz Beckenbauer has taken a swipe at Bundesliga rivals Hoffenheim, saying he detected "delusions of grandeur" at the club which has come from Germany's lower leagues to top its first division.
Franz Beckenbauer says Hoffenheim must come back down to Earth
"I am following with concern the beginnings of delusions of grandeur at Hoffenheim," the former soccer great said in an interview in Friday's Bild newspaper.
He said some statements coming from the Hoffenheim camp contrasted sharply with the behavior of the club's billionaire investor Dietmar Hopp, who "is exemplary in his modesty."
Already halfway through the season, Hoffenheim currently sit atop the Bundesliga, level on 35 points with champions Bayern but with a more favorable goal difference.
Beckenbauer did, however, pay credit to Hoffenheim, which he said deserved to be table toppers "because they were the only team to be consistently strong" throughout the first half of the season.
Middle East sojourn
The Bayern squad was set for a gentle indoors workout at the club's performance center on Friday, Jan. 2, before flying out to the United Arab Emirates for a specialized training camp.
Bayern will swap the German winter for Dubai warmth
The club's South American quartet of Ze Roberto, Lucio, Jose Sosa and Breno will fly direct to Dubai from their home countries.
The team will stay in Dubai until January 10 in what is their fifth visit to the emirate for a winter training camp.
"The coaching staff will spend the training camp analyzing what we can improve compared to the first half of the season," coach Juergen Klinsmann said.
"We want to measure ourselves against the biggest and best in the Champions League, and maintain our position as the number one club in Germany."
Bayern will play a friendly against Al-Jazeera on January 10 and then make a brief stopover in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for a friendly against Al-Wheda on January 12 before returning home.
Bayern still targeting Olic
The Bundesliga season resumes for Bayern with a visit to Hamburg SV on January 30, following a German Cup last-16 match against VfB Stuttgart on January 27.
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has said the club would not be seeking new recruits during the January transfer window.However club officials are hopeful of signing Hamburg's Croatia striker Ivica Olic for season 2009-10.