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By ESPN Staff
Sep 22, 2006

Rummenigge blames World Cup for sluggish start

BERLIN, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Bundesliga clubs stocked with World Cup players are at a disadvantage this season because all those who played in the tournament are struggling to regain their form, Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

He said in an interview published in Munich's A.Z. newspaper on Friday that the Bundesliga should delay the start of its seasons in the future from early August so that fatigued international players can recover from big tournaments.

'There is a difference between how the international players were performing during the World Cup and what they're doing now,' said Rummenigge, a former West Germany international.

'And I mean all of them - without exceptions,' he added.

Rummenigge said he expects more from Bayern's internationals. Defending champions Bayern are in third place after four matches and have taken just one point from their last two league matches.

'We're going to demand from our players that they put out just as much for Bayern Munich as they did at the World Cup,' he said. 'We're going to take careful notes on who is performing and who isn't.'

Bayern's Germany players Lukas Podolski and Bastian Schweinsteiger as well as Willy Sagnol of France have come under criticism in Munich for their displays this season.

'The clubs that have a lot of internationals, such as Bayern Munich, Werder Bremen, Hamburg SV and Bayern Leverkusen, are paying the price right now for the World Cup,' added Rummenigge.

'It's no coincidence that they're not in the form they could be in,' he said. 'The regeneration holiday for the international players was too short and the phase to prepare for the season was also too short.'