Bulgarian Football Union Lines Up Matthaus for National Team Job

Sports | July 17, 2007, Tuesday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Football Union Lines Up Matthaus for National Team Job Lothar Matthaus left after just one season at Red Bull Salzburg, the latest brief stop in his, so far, less than distinguished managing career. Photo by Stadt Wien (wien.gv.at)

Bulgaria's Football Union (BFU), the game's ruling body in the country, is lining up German playing legend Lothar Matthaus as the next manager of the national team, daily Standart reported on Tuesday.

The German has the backing of a strong lobby in BFU, headed by the organisation's chief for international cooperation, Mihail Kasabov, who left for Germany to discuss personal terms with Matthaus, the daily said.

BFU hopes it could pay his high wages by arranging a friendly with the German national team, which could bring Bulgarian football authorities more than EUR 1 M in revenue.

But Kasabov's plans could come to nothing in the face of opposition from the team's three biggest stars - Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov, Aston Villa midfielder Stilian Petrov and Atletico Madrid winger Martin Petrov.

The players want the next manager to be a Bulgarian and favour veteran coach Dimitar Penev, whose biggest achievement is taking the national team to the semi-final of the World Cup in the US in 1994.

The football association is due to pick a replacement for Hristo Stoichkov, who resigned amid controversy in April to take charge of Spanish Primera Division club Celta Vigo, at its next meeting at the end of the month.

Matthaus has won both the World Cup and the European Championship with Germany, earning 150 caps in the process, as well as numerous club honours as a player.

In his managing career he has been in charge of the Hungarian national team and Partisan Belgrade, so he is no stranger to Eastern European football.

He is out of work after resigning from Red Bull Salzburg, despite winning the Austrian league by a big margin, after falling out with sports director Giovanni Trapattoni.

Bulgaria's next competitive game is away against group favourites Netherlands as part of its qualification campaign for the European Championship in 2008. Bulgaria is now second in the group, with five games remaining.
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