The biggest news in German football is Bayern Munich defender Philipp Lahm being named the captain for the German national team. The same day German boss Joachim Löw announced the Lahm captaincy, he also announced that Schalke keeper Manuel Neuer will be the number one between the posts. Also in news was German U19 international Stefan Bell declining a move to Champions League winners Inter Milan to stay at Mainz.
Philipp Lahm Gets Captain Armband
Germany’s 2010 World Cup hopes took a huge hit when Michael Ballack went down with an injured ankle. And the biggest question in Germany after the Chelsea star’s injury was who will take over as Germany captain. The main contenders were the Bayern Munich trio of Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose. And German national team coach Joachim Löw has named Philipp Lahm as his new boss on the pitch with Schweinsteiger as vice captain.
Here is what Löw had to say about Lahm:
“He has always clearly expressed his opinion in the last two, three years in the national team. He is able to implement things very well on the pitch. Philipp expresses his opinion clear and distinctly off the pitch. He also has an eye for the things that happen on the pitch. He thinks a lot about the style of play. He is an important contact partner for me and he communicates very well with us coaches.”
“I am really happy that Joachim Löw gave me this trust. Our collaboration over the past two, three years has been very good and close. I am happy about this duty and am proud to be captain of the German national team. The goal is now to play a successful World Cup.”
Manuel Neuer Named Number One Keeper
Löw and his national team keeper coach Andreas Köpke also announced their decision about who will be Germany’s number one keeper. The winner of the three-man race between Manuel Neuer of Schalke, Tim Wiese of Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich’s Hans-Jörg Butt is Neuer. Wiese will be the number one backup with Butt the third-string man.
“It was a very tough decision,” said Köpke. “Manuel played a great season and he has enormous potential. Tim has improved. But we expect naturally that both keepers as backups will be extremely focused.”
The 24-year-old Neuer is the second youngest keeper in the German federation history behind the 21-year-old Wolfgang Fahrian at Chile 1962.
Other German National Team Notes
Miroslav Klose will actually serve as captain for Germany in their friendly against Hungary with the Bayern quartet of Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Butt and Thomas Müller not in the game roster.
Löw also has until noon on June 1 to make the final two cuts to his 23-man roster. “I don’t have any two players in mind. The decision will be brutal, not only for the players but also for the coaches. Everyone is working at an unbelievably high level.”
Bundesliga Transfer News
– Stefan Bell turns down Inter Milan
The biggest news from the Bundesliga was actually a non-move as German U19 international centre back Stefan Bell turned down some 1.5 million euro from Champions League winners Inter Milan to stay at Bundesliga side Mainz.
“The city is awesome, the club is top and I feel great here. Why should I go away?” Bell said in an interview with spox.com.
“It’s not about money at all for me. The priority is much more that I will have the chance next season to sniff around the Bundesliga a little bit. And Mainz have assured me that. So the decision against Inter wasn’t difficult.”
He added: “I am honest enough to myself to know that I will not play a single minute next season. I would probably be loaned out or would only get some game practice with the juniors. That’s not what I will.”
– Bayern Munich keep Contento until 2013
Bundesliga and German Cup double winners Bayern Munich meanwhile extended their contract with Diego Contento for two additional years until June 30, 2013. The 20-year-old German regularly saw action in the Bayern defense on their way to the Champions League final as well.
– Schalke send Lewis Holtby on loan to Mainz
Bundesliga runners-up Schalke sent German U21 international Lewis Holtby on loan to Mainz for next season. The 19-year-old, who has a contract until 2011 since his move from Alemannia Aachen in summer 2009, spent the second half of the season with Bochum, who were relegated.
– Cologne sign Konstantinos Giannoulis
Cologne have signed a three-year contract with left back Konstantinos Giannoulis, who comes to the Bundesliga from Greek top flight side Iraklis Saloniki. Giannoulis replaces the departing Pierre Wome and is the second addition after Romanian Alexandru Ionita from Rapid Bucharest.
Balitsch returns to Leverkusen
Former German international Hanno Balitsch will be returning to Bayer Leverkusen from Hannover, signing a two-year deal until 2012. Balitsch, who played from 2002 to 2005 at Leverkusen, is the sixth Bayer acquisition following Sidney Sam (from Kaiserslautern), Domagoj Vida (Osijek), Zvonko Pamic (Karlovac) and the returnees Marcel Risse (Nurnberg) and Jens Hegeler (Augsburg).
– Hoffenheim extend with Vukcevic
Hoffenheim have extended their contract with 20-year-old German international Boris Vukcevic until 2014.
– Jaroslav Drobny leaves Hertha Berlin, Fabian Lustenberger sticks around
New Hertha Berlin coach Markus Babbel is getting a picture of what his team will look like next season in the second division. Top keeper Jaroslav Drobny has turned down the club’s second division offer.
Swiss international Fabian Lustenberger meanwhile will stick around with Hertha as the midfielder signed a four-year contract.
Berlin are also hoping to keep both Raffael and Adrian Ramos – and if necessary with an option where they earn the same money as this past season.