German clubs reject Bayern complaint
Leading figures at a number of Bundesliga clubs have dismissed Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge's claims that they are seeking to cause problems for the champions.
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Bayern had asked several months ago to delay the start of the German league season -- which is due to start on Aug. 22 -- to allow players involved in the World Cup time for a holiday before returning for preseason training, but the suggestion was dismissed.
As it transpired, Bayern saw many of their key players involved in the tournament until the last weekend. Six members of Pep Guardiola's current squad were part of the Germany side that beat Argentina in the final on July 13, while Arjen Robben and Dante were with Netherlands and Brazil respectively for the third-place playoff a day earlier.
Bayern are now facing the prospect of taking on Wolfsburg in their season opener after only three weeks' training, and Rummenigge told Bild at the weekend that rival clubs refused to consider a change to the schedule as "they saw it as the only chance to cause Bayern any problems."
However, the comments were rejected by a host of top German clubs in Bild on Monday.
Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt said: "In the end, it's not just about the big clubs. We want to play the Bundesliga when the weather is good, and many clubs also need the revenue -- the summer break started in May. We had many players involved in the World Cup as well, but we are on the league's side and don't feel that the criticism is aimed at us."
Borussia Monchengladbach's Max Eberl added: "The discussion takes place after every tournament, but it's not just Bayern who are affected -- almost everyone is. Solidarity applies to all 36 clubs [in Germany's top two divisions], not just one."
Bayern's request did receive support from some clubs, and Freiburg sporting director Jochen Saier said his side "would not have had anything against starting a week later," but Bayer Leverkusen's Rudi Voller felt the DFL had to balance the needs of all the clubs involved.
"The DFL has got to find the best solution for the whole league and they suggested several different dates to start on," Voller said. "This start date is a good compromise and many sides would even have preferred to start a week earlier. It's not about damaging Bayern but, for example, trying to avoid an additional round of midweek matches."
Hannover's Dirk Dufner, meanwhile, said he can "understand Rummenigge" but added: "What if we hadn't won the World Cup and had instead been knocked out early on? Then people would have complained and said that the break is too long. It's not really anything extraordinary. I think that the big clubs have got to deal with things like this, and they are capable of doing so too."
ESPN FC correspondent Ben Gladwell contributed to this report.