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Sizing up La Liga title contenders

La Liga
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By ESPN Staff

German international Asamoah saga divides Schalke

BERLIN, Sept 19 (Reuters) - The consequences of German international striker Gerald Asamoah's spat with Schalke 04 coach Mirko Slomka have caused a major rift in the Bundesliga club's dressing room, Bild newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The players are divided as to whether Slomka's decision to drop Asamoah from the squad for Saturday's tie against Hertha Berlin was right, Bild said.

Asamoah said he would cause difficulties for the coach if he started on the bench, according to a statement by the club. Bild said the player argued with Slomka, saying: 'When I don't play, there are problems.'

Goalkeeper Frank Rost, part of Schalke's five-man player council, said three of the council were against the suspension. 'For me, he is still a top team mate,' he told Bild.

Despite criticism that Asamoah's exclusion contributed to the 2-0 defeat to Berlin, club manager Andreas Mueller supported his coach's decision, calling Asamoah's behaviour 'totally unacceptable and damaging to team spirit.'

Asamoah was resolute: 'I don't know what I have to apologise for. If everything that is said against the coach in the locker room was punished, you'd have to suspend a player each week.'

Following the defeat to Hertha, Schalke are in sixth place in the Bundesliga, just one point behind Hertha who are top on goal difference from Nuremberg.