Public pressure set to prise Voller from Leverkusen

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The Independent Football



Despite the efforts of Bayer Leverkusen to cling on to Rudi Völler, the Bundesliga club may have to bow to public pressure - and the German Football Federation.

Völler's role as caretaker coach of the German national side was supposed to end next summer, when he was due to hand over to Christoph Daum, the Leverkusen coach. However, Daum fled the country at the weekend after failing a drugs test and losing his job at his club and his status as coach-elect of Germany.

Völler, Leverkusen's director of football, stepped into Daum's shoes and coached the team for Saturday's 2-0 home win over Borussia Dortmund. Yesterday the Federation said that Bayer had the right to insist on their claim to Völler, but it hoped that some kind of agreement could be reached.

Meanwhile, the former German international William "Jimmy" Hartwig, who won the 1983 European Cup with Hamburg, says he knew of Daum's cocaine use.

"Daum did it, definitely. I know the hotel in which he did it. I know where he was and when he did it. There are several people that knew about it - he was lying to himself," said Hartwig.

Hartwig, who had two international caps, claimed there were active players taking the drug: "If the German football federation sent me to the Bundesliga clubs, I claim I can pull out at least 20 to 30 players out that use cocaine," said Hartwig. "People are closing their eyes to the reality."


George Weah may be soon be wishing he had stayed at Manchester City. The Liberian striker, who left Maine Road under a cloud last week after complaining about being shown insufficient respect by the Premiership club's management, had a disappointing debut for Marseilles on Sunday.

The former World Player of the Year has joined a club in, it seems, a state of crisis. Their sixth French First Division defeat of the season, 1-0 at home to newly promoted Lille, left them in 14th position and sparked calls from fans for the removal of the club's owner, Robert-Louis Dreyfus. The supporters booed the players off the field and chanted for thereturn of the controversial former president, Bernard Tapie.


Barcelona could be fined by the Spanish Football Federation after plastic bottles, cigarette lighters and two mobile phones were thrown on to the pitch during Saturday's 2-0 Primera Division victory over Real Madrid.

The Federation said that it would meet this week to discuss all aspects of the game, which saw the Catalan fans give a torrid reception to Real's Portuguese midfielder Luis Figo, who was sold by Barcelona to their great rivals in the summer.

Barcelona are likely to escape serious punishment, as the referee noted in his report that no players were struck by objects thrown from the crowd. Real's coach, Vicente del Bosque, has revealed that he told Figo not to take corners to avoid being hit by missiles. "It's obvious that the atmosphere influenced the result," Del Bosque said.