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By ESPN Staff

Bayern blame Klinsmann for Kahn's dip in form

BERLIN, April 5 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich commercial manager Uli Hoeness has accused Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann of waging a campaign of 'psychological terror' on Oliver Kahn that he says is to blame for the goalkeeper's recent blunders.

In an interview with Sport-Bild newspaper on Wednesday, Hoeness lambasted Klinsmann for his decision to wait until May before picking either Bayern's Kahn or rival Jens Lehmann of Arsenal to be Germany's number one goalkeeper for the World Cup.

'Not making a decision on the starting goalkeeper after the last friendly against the United States (on March 22) was irresponsible,' said Hoeness. 'It's psychological terror, absolute psycho terror.'

Kahn made two costly errors in Bayern Munich's 2-2 Bundesliga home draw against bottom side Cologne on Saturday. The 36-year-old also made a glaring mistake in Germany's last friendly, a 4-1 win over the United States.

'We could have avoided all these problems,' said Hoeness. 'The clubs are paying the price for this. The intensification of the goalkeeper issue has become a huge problem. The hunt for the job has caused a lot of problems.'

In one of his first acts as coach in 2004, Klinsmann stripped Kahn of his number one status and his captaincy - and said both Kahn and Lehmann had an equal chance for the job.

Public support for Kahn has plunged in the last month while backing for Lehmann surged. A recent survey by the Forsa polling institute found backing for Kahn fell to 36 percent from 49 in February while backing for Lehmann jumped to 30 percent from 19.

Kahn, who led Germany to the 2002 World Cup final, and Lehmann - for six years Kahn's understudy - have been locked in a bitter battle since Klinsmann arrived and shook things up in a bid to promote competition for positions.

Lehmann, also 36, has enjoyed a run of clean sheets for Arsenal and performed well in recent Champions League matches - not conceding a goal for 667 minutes. Klinsmann will be in Turin on Wednesday to watch Lehmann in Arsenal's Champions League match against Juventus.

'The whole issue is getting on my nerves and it's time to make a decision,' Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Bild daily on Wednesday.

'I've had enough. He should let his trousers down now and say 'It's whoever and that's it'. 'The whole Bundesliga can't understand what's going on anymore.'

The World Cup begins in Germany on June 9.