German Bundesliga

Lehmann: Referees ruined Stuttgart's title charge

May 18, 2009

Jens Lehmann has caused a stir by claiming Stuttgart's title rivals have benefited from favourable refereeing decisions and his side would have already been crowned champions had it not been for the officials.

The 39-year-old former Germany goalkeeper believes Bundesliga leaders Wolfsburg, who need only a point to be crowned champions for the first time in their history next weekend, get all the luck.

"Wolfsburg have also benefited from refereeing decisions," he said. "I have never seen them having to accept negative decisions."

Bayern Munich, who lie in a share of second place with Stuttgart, have also been on the receiving end of refereeing help according to Lehmann, who does not expect the best of welcomes when he goes to the Allianz Arena for the final game of the season on Saturday.

"Bayern get some decisions in their favour which would go against us but, as a player, you cannot do anything about such decisions," he added. "If the decisions were all normal, we would already be champions."

"We are hoping for a good referee's performance in Munich on Saturday. I am sure I am not going to get a fantastic reception there."

Saturday's clash could prove a play-off for Champions League football, with the loser potentially having to settle for the Europa League.

And Stuttgart midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger has joined in on the mind games by increasing the pressure on Bayern.

"We want to get into the Champions League but for them it as an absolute must," he said.

Bayern lead Stuttgart only on goal difference with both sides two points behind Wolfsburg, who host Werder Bremen on Saturday and need only to extend their unbeaten home record for the season by one more game to be crowned champions.

Hertha Berlin are one point behind Bayern and Stuttgart and know a win would take them into the Champions League.