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Lehmann Gets Backing of Arsenal Boss

Germany goalkeeper gets backing of Wenger; FC Köln entertain possible celebrity sponsor, Kuranyi on comeback trail, BVB set unwanted German record

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Jens Lehmann's gloves, not his mouth, got him in trouble Saturday

Arsene Wenger, German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann's boss at Arsenal, has joined in the row over who should wear the Number 1 jersey for Germany by backing Lehmann's quest to be the first choice come the 2006 World Cup.

"Consistency is always the best indication for class," the Arsenal boss told the club's official website. "Jens has been hugely consistent at Arsenal and that is why I believe he is a great goalkeeper. I spoke with Jürgen Klinsmann and he wants to give a fair chance to Jens," Wenger added. "I believe he will make a decision just before the World Cup. That is Jens' target and it keeps his motivation at the top level. He wants to play in the World Cup at home. He is so determined that I think he can achieve it."

However, Lehmann's international career was thrown into doubt despite an impressive display in Saturday's friendly win over Iran by wearing his own Nike gloves rather than a pair made by Adidas, the German national side sponsors. An official warning letter was handed to Lehmann after the Iran match making it clear that if he wore anything but official kit in future, his international career would be over.

Cologne woos Schummi

Schumacher Saison 2003 Michael Schumacher gewinnt in Barcelona

FC Köln hope that Schummi can bring the celebrations back for the club.

Second division club FC Köln may be on the verge of e high-profile sponsorship deal -- with Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher. The local Express daily has reported that Ferrari star Schumacher, who was born and raised near Cologne, in Kerpen, almost reached a sponsorship agreement last year before another company came up with a more lucrative offer. "It would be an honor for us to win a man like Michael Schumacher," Cologne president Wolfgang Overath was quoted as saying.

Schumacher has always been a fan and a club member since 2002 and winning Schumacher as a partner would considerably improve Cologne's image in Germany and abroad. "It is up to Michael Schumacher to reach a decision," Overath added. Schumacher is said to earn $35 million per year at Ferrari and rakes in more money from other sponsorship contracts and his merchandising. A co-operation with the F1 star would be part of Cologne's strategy to generate income and return to the Bundesliga on a permanent basis after several up-and-down seasons.

Kuranyi eyes return after horror tackle

Fuflball-Länderspiel Österreich - Deutschland- Kevin Kuranyi

Kuranyi was cut down in the UEFA Cup tie four weeks ago.

Stuttgart's Germany international striker Kevin Kuranyi is close to returning to action after being put out of action by a horror tackle during a UEFA Cup tie almost four weeks ago. Kuranyi returned to full training on Tuesday and immediately set his sights on taking part in this weekend's Bundesliga showdown with Borussia Dortmund. After a week of rehabilitation with no reaction to the knee injury he picked up, the 22-year-old German international has now stepped up training in a bid to return on Saturday.

But Stuttgart coach Matthias Sammer, who faces his former employers Dortmund for the first time since being sacked in the summer, is giving nothing away about a potential comeback for his star striker. "He was involved again but now we have to wait and see how things develop," Sammer said.

Dortmund go deeper into the red

Flavio Conceicao und Gerd Niebaum

"It's yours for €50." Gerd Niebaum (left) attempts to raise much needed cash.

Meanwhile Borussia Dortmund, European champions in 1997, posted the highest-ever debt in German soccer history on Friday. The club's liabilities rose to €118.8 million ($146.3 million) in the 2003/2004 year to June, up from €73.5 million on the previous 12 months. The club also posted a loss of €67.7 million compared with a profit €3.3 million the previous year. Borussia chairman Gerd Niebaum (pictured with Flavio Conceicao) said they would roll up their sleeves to restructure the club. "We have probably made some misjudgments," he told a news conference.

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