Lehmann on brink of Germany comeback?
When former Germany keeper Jens Lehmann said earlier this month he wants to play at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, many said it was just another provocative statement by the 39-year-old at the twilight of his career.
Even Germany coach Joachim Loew and national goalkeeping coach Andreas Koepke ruled out a return, saying there were four talented keepers in the squad already, with Bayer Leverkusen’s Rene Adler, Hanover 96 keeper Robert Enke, Manuel Neuer who plays for Schalke and Werder Bremen’s Tim Wiese.
Lehmann, who retired from the team after their Euro 2008 final loss to Spain, kept at it, saying he wanted to come back. “If the national team has the need for a keeper like me then they will approach me,” the former Arsenal and now VfB Stuttgart keeper said this week.
After Werder Bremen and Leverkusen qualified for the German Cup final, Lehmann could actually be right.
Germany are on an Asian tour from May 29 to June 3, but it now looks like they are fresh out of keepers. Wiese and Adler will play in the May 30 Cup final, Neuer will be at the U21 European championships and Enke could be locked in a relegation play-off with his club.
That leaves a few other options but none as attractive as Lehmann.
Arminia Bielefeld’s Dennis Eilhoff has had a very good season but just like Dortmund’s Roman Weidenfeller, is not as big a name and crowd puller as Lehmann for such a tour. Former Germany keeper Timo Hildebrand has had an injury-plagued return to the Bundesliga after signing for newcomers Hoffenheim late last year after a fruitless spell in Spain.
With several other big names missing from the squad — captain Michael Ballack will be with Chelsea at the FA Cup final, Real Madrid’s Christoph Metzelder still has league action, Bremen’s Torsten Frings plays in the German Cup final — Lehmann could possibly just sneak in.
PHOTO: Stuttgart’s goalkeeper Jens Lehmann gestures during their German Bundesliga first division soccer match against Herta Berlin in Stuttgart March 21, 2009. REUTERS/Michael Dalder