Hildebrand: I should be Lehmann's successor

August 9, 2008

VALENCIA, August 9 (National Team) - Valencia goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand has wasted no time in endorsing himself as the man to replace Jens Lehmann as Germany's number one.

Lehmann announced his retirement from international football on Friday afternoon and on Saturday Hildebrand staked his claim for the vacant role, despite being dropped from Germany's Euro 2008 squad.

Three months ago the 29-year-old was the favourite to take over from Lehmann, but he was left out for the tournament in Austria and Switzerland in favour of Robert Enke and the uncapped Rene Adler.

'I have the tournament experience, international games and titles and I am playing against the best in the world with Valencia,' Hildebrand told Spiegel magazine.

The stopper plans to discuss the situation with Germany coach Joachim Low, and his fall from favour will undoubtedly be on the agenda.

'Obviously I wanted the talk to take place immediately after the European Championships, but now a bit of time has passed I can say that it would have been too emotional for me,' he said. 'We will still talk, though.'

Meanwhile, Hildebrand's former Stuttgart team-mate Andreas Hinkel is also hoping for a return to the international fold after three years' absence.

The 26-year-old now plies his trade at Celtic after 18 months with Sevilla and hopes his performances for the Bhoys can earn him a recall.

'Obviously I would like to return to the national team,' Hinkel told Kicker magazine. 'But football is not so clear cut as, say, athletics where you have clear figures to value people.'

On Tuesday Low will name his squad for a friendly against Belgium on August 20.