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By ESPN Staff

Effenberg slams Bayern defence for sleeping

Steffen Effenberg has launched a scathing attack on his former club Bayern Munich, saying they have ''slept'' over the last few years rather than moved forward.

Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Mainz ensured the worst start to a Bundesliga season in 43 years for the Bavarians, who are five points adrift of league leaders Bayer Leverkusen and Hamburg.

Coach Louis van Gaal is already coming under pressure with club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge admitting the situation is ''very serious'' and now the captain of the last Bayern side to win the Champions League in 2001 has given his former club a piece of his mind.

''In the whole of the defence, the Bayern management has slept for the last year or two,'' he said. ''They have always had problems there, whether it was with (Martin) Demichelis or Lucio.

''There have been errors which have made my hair stand on end and you can only put them to one side when you improve your squad, not just add to it.''

And according to Effenberg, it is not just the back four who are fault but also the last line of the Bayern defence.

''Every top team needs one of the best goalkeepers in the world,'' he told the Bild newspaper. ''We had that in Oliver Kahn, but Bayern now have (Michael) Rensing and he is not. He would be a goalkeeper for Cologne or Frankfurt.''

Kahn has given his backing to Rensing ever since he retired a year ago and he refuses to pin the blame on one individual, claiming instead that the whole team has lost one of its most important characteristics of late.

''I have the feeling that the old dominance, the self-confidence and the feeling of being in it together have gone,'' he said. ''FC Bayern has always had a crystal clear philosophy that it is the club which must be the strongest, not the players.

''They need a team whose blood runs for FC Bayern and who will work their socks off for the club. I have got to ask myself if every player has this concept of success within them.''

The coach is therefore not the problem, according to Kahn, who added that Van Gaal's job should only be to ''turn the screws'' to complete the construction.

''That is all you have to do as a coach if you have a team which is hot and esperate and has the desire to win,'' he said. ''I like to remember Bixente Lizarazu and France's national team at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

''They were all top stars, but they would do anything for each other. They wanted the success and it arrived.''


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