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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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Leverkusen deny Hyypia-Lewandowski rift

Reports of a rift between Bayer Leverkusen's joint-management team of Sami Hyypia and Sacha Lewandowski are false and are part of a "campaign" against the latter, the club said.

The duo are the only two men to share coaching and management duties at a Bundesliga club, and speculation that the arrangement is not working has been fuelled by each of them expressing doubts of the long-term viability of it.

On Tuesday, Bild quoted former Liverpool captain Hyypia as saying: "Maybe, one day, I will do this job alone.

"I have said many times that this is not easy for either of us. Right now, I have to discuss everything with Sascha. If I did not have to do that anymore, things would certainly be a lot easier. Then I could take my own decisions."

However, on Wednesday the club released a statement denying the reports.

"The message that Hyypia is looking for a break with head coach Lewandowski has no foundation," the statement read. "On the contrary, it is not truthful.

"From the club's standpoint this is the obvious aggravation of a campaign against Sascha Lewandowski, which, in this form, is inacceptable." The press release went on to quote Hyypia as denying he said the words attributed to him by the paper.

"That is not the truth," he said. "I have definitely not said that."

Speaking at a club meeting, Bayer general manager Rudi Voller played down talk of any friction between the joint-managers.

"We plan to continue working with Sascha Lewandowski and Sami Hyypia," he said. "They have done a fabulous job so far. But we are no dreamers. This arrangement is special. We will never be Werder Bremen [where Thomas Schaaf has been coach since 1999]."

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