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Mar, 24, 2011

Kahn: Lehmann can help Arsenal

Former Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn believes Jens Lehmann can make a positive contribution in his return to Arsenal.

First XI: The madness of Jens

The pair had a long-running public feud while they were competing for Germany's No. 1 spot, and Kahn said during Lehmann's stint with Stuttgart in 2009 that it would "be better for him to retire now".

Lehmann did hang up his gloves in 2010, but an injury crisis at Arsenal that saw Lukasz Fabianski, Wojciech Szczesny and Vito Mannone all sidelined led to his return to football on a rolling contract.

Asked about his decision in an interview with Bild, Kahn joked that Lehmann must have struggled to find a new role since retiring - "We can see how difficult it is for many to find a fulfilling, meaningful job after leaving professional sports" - but said he feels he still has something to offer.

"From a sporting perspective, he can certainly help out for some games," Kahn said. "The whole situation is further evidence of the goalkeeper malaise in England."

In a wide-ranging interview, Kahn also discussed his belief that, despite the Bundesliga having moved ahead of Italy in UEFA's co-efficients to secure a fourth Champions League place, German clubs still have ground to make up on their Spanish and English counterparts.

"We should not be blinded in German football," he said. "The Bundesliga is a successful product. We have the highest average attendance in Europe, superb stadiums and soon will have a fourth Champions League place, but we do not play the most successful football.

"The Spanish and English continue to be ahead of us in quality. The last title for a German team in the Champions League or the Europa League was long ago. Such title wins are important because they are essential to winning titles for the national team."

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