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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan, 31, 2006

Matthaeus promises contrasting blend in Brazil

CURITIBA, Brazil, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Former Germany captain Lothar Matthaeus promised a blend of Teutonic discipline and Brazilian flair after taking over as Atletico Paranaense coach on Monday.

The club lie fourth in the Parana state championship and are yearning for a second national title to match the only other one in their history, in 2001.

Matthaeus promised to merge the strengths of German and Brazilian football.

'We all know that Brazilian football is very creative but..it is not just in football that a dose of discipline is also necessary. There are rules in life and we have to observe them,' he told a news conference, promising that he would strive to make teamwork one of the strengths of his squad.

Matthaeus has signed a contract until the end of 2006 with the club from the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba.

Atletico directors are banking on the move to break the stranglehold that Sao Paulo clubs have exerted on Brazilian football in recent years.

Matthaeus, who led West Germany to victory in the 1990 World Cup, outlined his thoughts about his new challenge, speaking through an interpreter.

'My own tendency is toward attacking football. I believe in throwing players forward but when we lose the ball I want to see everyone getting back to share the defensive responsibilities,' he said.

Some Brazilian pundits have expressed scepticism about Matthaeus's ability to overcome cultural and language barriers.

The 44-year-old German does not speak Portuguese but the former Rapid Vienna and Partizan Belgrade coach intends to work with translators.

His most recent coaching position, managing Hungary's unsuccessful bid to reach the 2006 World Cup finals, ended with a record of 13 victories and 13 defeats in 29 games.

'Of course I am here to learn and develop too,' he said. 'It will be a great challenge for me and I like that,' Matthaeus said.

His biggest test will come in April, when the national championship begins.

Atletico have challenged for the title in recent years, finishing as runners-up to Santos in 2004 and losing to Sao Paulo in the 2005 Libertadores Cup final.

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