Mistakes by Oliver Kahn have raised the chances of Arsenal's Jens Lehmann being Germany's first-choice goalkeeper in the World Cup finals.
Kahn, who is carrying a rib injury, made two errors on Saturday as Bayern Munich were held to a 2-2 draw at home by the Bundesliga's bottom club, Cologne.
Kahn's performance was heavily criticised, while the Germany coach, Jürgen Klinsmann, also came under fire over his decision to let the two goalkeepers battle it out for the No1 spot.
"This is hurting the teams," the Bayern Munich general manager, Uli Höness, said of his side and Lehmann's Arsenal. "Kahn certainly wouldn't have played the match if the decision over the Germany goalkeeper was settled."
Klinsmann will not make a decision until early next month, but the Germany team manager, Oliver Bierhoff, heightened speculation yesterday by indicating that Kahn may no longer be in pole position. "The chances are 50-50," Bierhoff said.
Kahn remains defiant, though, and insisted that he remains Germany's best man in goal. "I am the No1. That's what I was told and that is what I assume," Kahn said. "I am not going to let what has been a strong season ruined by all the talk."
On Saturday he gifted two goals to Cologne before going off at half-time with a recurrence of his injury. Kahn misjudged a cross for Markus Feulner's opening goal in the 12th minute, then, after Willy Sagnol had equalised for Bayern, was beaten by Albert Streit's long-range shot.
Roy Makaay soon brought Bayern level again but Kahn stayed off after the interval and admitted he may have made a mistake in playing when not fully fit. "Maybe I put myself under too much pressure," he said.
Klinsmann's critics say the contest has undermined both keepers' confidence. "If Klinsmann keeps this up week-for-week, he won't have any goalkeeper left - then the chaos will be complete," Höness said.
To make matter worse for Bayern, Hamburg yesterday beat Schalke 04 2-0 to move into second place in the table and cut their lead to seven points with six games to go.Reuse content