Sat, Jan 03, 2009 - Page 20 News List

‘Der Kaiser’ hits out at Hoffenheim

VERBAL VOLLEYFranz Beckenbauer spared the Bundesliga leaders’ billionaire benefactor from his criticism, describing him as ‘exemplary in his modesty’

DPA , MUNICH, GERMANY

Bayern Munich president Franz Beckenbauer has hit out at rivals Hoffenheim, saying he had detected signs of “delusions of grandeur” at the club, which has come from the lower divisions to top the Bundesliga.

“I am following with concern the beginnings of delusions of grandeur at Hoffenheim,” the former playing great, nicknamed Der Kaiser, said in an interview in yesterday’s Bild newspaper.

He said some of the statements coming from Hoffenheim were in marked contrast to the behavior of the club’s billionaire investor Dietmar Hopp who “is exemplary in his modesty,” Beckenbauer said.

Promoted Hoffenheim top the Bundesliga, level on 35 points with champions Bayern but with a better goal difference, at the season’s half-way stage.

However Beckenbauer said Hoffenheim deserved to be at the top “because they were the only team to be consistently strong” throughout the first half of the season.

Bayern players were set to return to training yesterday afternoon before leaving later for a training camp in Dubai.

A gentle workout indoors at the club’s performance center was planned before the squad was to proceed to Munich airport for the flight to the United Arab Emirates.

The South American quartet of Ze Roberto, Lucio, Jose Sosa and Breno were to fly direct to Dubai from their home countries.

Bayern will in Dubai until Jan. 10 in what is their fifth visit to the emirate for a winter training camp.

“The coaching staff will spend the training camp analysing 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 No. 1 club in Germany,” he said.

Bayern will play a friendly against al-Jazeera on Jan. 10 and then make a brief stopover in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for a friendly against al-Wheda on Jan. 12 before returning home.

The Bundesliga season resumes for Bayern with a visit to SV Hamburg on Jan. 30, following a German Cup last-16 match against VfB Stuttgart on Jan. 27.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has said the club was not planning to enter the transfer market during the this month’s transfer window.

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