Football: Bierhoff to lead Germany

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The Independent Online
THE MILAN striker Oliver Bierhoff was named as the new captain of the German national team yesterday.

The German coach, Berti Vogts, told reporters in Malta, where his side is preparing for two friendly matches this week, that Bierhoff would take over from Jurgen Klinsmann, who retired from the international game after this year's World Cup.

Bierhoff was top scorer in Italy's Serie A last season with 27 goals. He moved to Milan in the close season after three years with their Italian top-flight rivals, Udinese.

Players in Italy's top league will be subjected to surprise blood and urine anti-doping tests in the new season, the Italian football federation president, Luciano Nizzola, said yesterday.

Nizzola made the announcement after meeting with the Italian Olympic Committee's ruling council, which approved new testing for 10 different sports.

Meanwhile, Germany's bid to host the 2006 World Cup has been given a cash bonus with the chancellor, Helmut Kohl, announcing financial backing for efforts to bring east German stadiums up to modern standards.

Kohl said the cities of Berlin and Leipzig would get 100 million marks (pounds 35m) each to help with renovation and rebuilding projects for their stadiums.

German football officials believe hosting the tournament across a reunited Germany would send a powerful signal of European reconciliation after decades of division. "I'm convinced the German Football Federation will present a persuasive application to Fifa," Kohl said.

The Olympic Stadium in Berlin and Leipzig's main stadium are currently far from the standards expected of a modern venue. Berlin authorities plan a complete overhaul of the Olympic stadium while the Leipzig venue is likely to be totally rebuilt. England, South Africa, Australia and Brazil have all announced their intention to bid for the 2006 World Cup.