For Jürgen Klinsmann picking Jens Lehmann as the starting goalie was the hardest choice of his time at coach of the national team. German players are just happy a decision has been made.
Will Oliver Kahn choose to take himself out of the international spotlight?
Obviously pleased to get off the bench after watching Oliver Kahn shout at the defense for the last three major international championships, Lehmann said he is going to "work even harder" to validate Klinsmann's decision.
The German trainer said he and his coaching team analyzed the last 22 months of each player's development before making the decision German soccer fans have been waiting at least as long to hear.
Early decision a long time coming
"I'm happy that a decision has been made," Germany's Per Mertesacker said, summing up most of the public's opinion as well. "It's been long overdue. Now those involved know where they stand."
Timo Hildebrand's may move up a spot on the Germany bench
Other players, including Stuttgart goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand, aren't taking too much time to analyze the ins and outs of Klinsmann's decision, one the coach reached weeks ahead of the FIFA deadline.
"It was the coaching team's decision," said Hildebrand, who is likely to be involved in Germany's next goalkeeper duel. "It doesn't change anything in my situation."
But many of Germany's other players are interested in seeing how the situation, which the German media have clung to since Rudi Völler's side was eliminated from the 2004 European Championship, turns out and how Kahn's career will continue.
What will become of Kahn?
"Someone always has to be the loser," Hanover striker and German international Thomas Brdaric said. "I'm interested in seeing how Oliver Kahn reacts."
Can this man be happy in the second spot?
Former Germany team mate Fredi Bobic also said his time on the national team has given him a feeling of how Kahn will react.
"I can't imagine Oliver Kahn as the number two during a World Cup," he said. "I think he will resign."
Others observers are explicitly recommending "King Kahn" pack away his gloves for good.
"If I were in Kahn's place I would immediately resign from the national team," former Germany goalkeeper Uli Stein told the Stuttgart Zeitung on Saturday. "The question is whether Kahn is man enough to accept the decision. Can he can even live with it?"
No word from Kahn on future
"Immeasurably disappointed," Kahn himself said he intends to take some time to evaluate his options with the national team and concentrate on his duties at Bayern Munich, who seem to have the German title all but in the trophy case.
But the most sympathetic ear might come from Lehmann, the one person no expects Kahn to call on for a heart-to-heart.
"I can completely understand how sad he must be," the new No.1 told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung. "I experienced a similar situation for two World Cups and two European Championships."
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