Klinsmann promotes team spirit

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The Independent Online
Jurgen Klinsmann has warned his Bayern Munich team-mates that they will have to discard what he calls "a German inclination towards individualism" if they want to become a European power again.

Some of the German league leaders' array of internationals, including the French striker Jean-Pierre Papin, have been upset that they have had to sit out games on the bench because of the new coach Otto Rehhagel's tendency to vary his team and tactics.

Klinsmann, who has experience of playing in England, France and Italy, said: "There is an inclination towards individualism in Germany. Abroad, the team is more important. Here, there is more value put on the individual. That is a dangerous development."

"Everybody - coach, management and board - must make it clear that individuals are not that important if we want to be like Milan and Barcelona. Internationals, who dominate in their own country, must understand when they find themselves on the bench."

Klinsmann said Bayern's 2-0 victory away to Raith Rovers in the Uefa Cup on Tuesday had helped team spirit before a Bundesliga match at newly promoted St Pauli tomorrow. Bayern, who hold a three-point lead, have lost their last two league games.

Bayern have failed to pick up a European trophy since they won the European Cup for the third consecutive time in 1976. In the last year, Germany's richest club has dug deep into its coffers to buy a team which can bring international success.

Papin, who hardly played last season because of injury, has good contacts with his former club, Marseille, and rumours of a possible return to France are circulating again because of his frustration.

Second-placed Borussia Dortmund, who clinched their first victory in the Champions' League against Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday, have a chance to narrow the gap when they receive Cologne, once a European power, now a mediocre outfit struggling near the relegation zone.

One of the most interesting matches of the weekend takes place on Sunday when third-placed Borussia Monchengladbach welcome Werder Bremen, who are sixth. The game brings together two of the most talented yet controversial midfielders in the league.

Borussia's Stefan Effenberg, who was sent home from last year's World Cup after making an obscene gesture at the crowd, takes on Bremen's Mario Basler, who recently announced he was leaving for Italy, but has yet to finalise a deal with a club.

n Paris St-Germain and Auxerre lock horns at the Parc des Princes on Sunday in a game where loser risks losing touch with the runaway French league leaders, Metz. The hitherto anonymous Metz, from Lorraine, are shaking the establishment. Unbeaten in all 13 games this season, they are three points clear of Lens and six ahead of Auxerre and PSG. By the time the chasers do battle in Paris, Metz should have extended their lead by a further three points after their visit to lowly Lille 24 hours earlier.