Bierhoff to Bundesliga: Play National Team Members | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 18.03.2006
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Bierhoff to Bundesliga: Play National Team Members

Quick to add that he doesn't want to force the hand of Germany's club coaches, national team manager Oliver Bierhoff said he hoped they'd give German internationals plenty of playing time before the World Cup.


Bierhoff wants German players to get a work out at their club teams, too

After watching their national team get embarrassed 4-1 by Italy last week and three out of four club teams be eliminated from European competition, German soccer fans have reason to be wary as the World Cup approaches.

The situation, however, must be dire if even the habitually positive national team manager Oliver Bierhoff is anxious.

German players need more support

"When you evaluate the past few weeks you have to be fundamentally concerned," he told the German sports newsagency sid. "We have to try to support and promote the German players even more."

Länderspiel Italien-Deutschland

A 4-1 loss to Italy has German players, and fans, wondering what the World Cup will bring

Germany were left with the perennial World Cup host dilemma. On the upside, they didn't need to struggle through a stressful qualification campaign, but were also left having to make a series of friendly matches -- ones opponents often don't take seriously -- suffice as international preparation.

German players aren't even getting much experience on the top European level, Bierhoff pointed out. While there are 43 Italians, 33 Frenchmen, 31 Brazilians and 30 Spaniards still playing in the Champions League, Arsenal's German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann is the only German in the tournament.

Though there isn't much Bierhoff and national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann can do to give their young defense a shot of high-pressure international experience before the World Cup starts on June 9, Bierhoff said he hoped Bundesliga coaches would be willing help keep their Germany players in top-form.

"It would be great if the clubs, as the season winds down and they realize their goals, give the German national team members as much playing time as possible," he said.

Deutsche Fans feiern den Sieg gegen Südkorea

Many believe German fans will give the team the boost it needs

Fans act as a support group

But as the German league remains close at the top, it could be up to German fans to prop up their team. A task they became acquainted with during the 2005 Confederations Cup.

"The crowd was unbelievable, they even supported us in our weaker phases," current Germany captain Michael Ballack recalled. "With such great fans behind us we are all looking forward to this World Cup."

According to FIFA regulations, fans will find out exactly who they will be cheering for by May 15, making Wednesday's match against the United States Klinsmann's last chance to test potential World Cup team members.

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