Vogts keeps cool as Basler lets off steam

Germany v Russia Old Trafford Tomorrow, 3.0pm

Berti Vogts, the German coach, yesterday played down some petulant protests from his temperamental midfield player, Mario Basler.

The Bayern Munich-bound Basler, struggling with an ankle injury, was quoted as saying Vogts did not talk to him and did not regard him as a first-choice player. "I haven't just had an operation to sit on the bench here," he told a Berlin newspaper.

However, Vogts said from the team's training camp in Cheshire: "We have talked about it. The chapter is closed."

Another midfielder, Dieter Eilts, who was a team-mate of Basler at Werder Bremen this season, added: "There is great harmony in our ranks. We are not going to get knocked off the rails."

Vogts has not announced his team to face Russia at Old Trafford tomorrow, but Jurgen Klinsmann will return as captain after suspension and Vogts will choose between Oliver Bierhoff and Stefan Kuntz as Klinsmann's striking partner.

The coach said he was delighted to welcome back the former Tottenham man. "He will give us an extra boost," Vogts said. "He is the leading personality in the team."

Vogts said he was not worried that six of his players had picked up yellow cards in the 2-0 win against the Czech Republic last Sunday and might be hesitant against the Russians. "You can still close players down even when you have a yellow card to your name," Vogts said.

The Russian defender, Yevgeni Bushmanov, will take no further part in the tournament owing to an ankle injury sustained in the 2-1 defeat by Italy on Tuesday. Like the Germans, they will not name their team until tomorrow.

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