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Thursday, July 6, 2006
Lehmann offers Kahn place his in goal

BERLIN, July 6 (Reuters) - Germany's number one goalkeeper Jens Lehmann said on Thursday he would be prepared to sit out the third-place match against Portugal to give rival Oliver Kahn a final taste of the World Cup.

'If the coach says it would be a nice gesture for Oliver to play then that would be fine by me,' Lehmann said ahead of Saturday's match at the Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion in Stuttgart.

The goalkeeper fought a long and acrimonious battle with Bayern Munich's Kahn, the oldest player in Germany's squad at 37, to be named as first choice keeper for the finals.

The testy duel went on for two years before coach Juergen Klinsmann opted for the Arsenal keeper in May.

Lehmann conceded two goals in the first game but kept clean sheets for the next three matches prompting Kahn, who had sat frustrated on the bench, to soften his attitude to his rival.

The two keepers even embraced and shook hands before the quarter-final shootout with Argentina in which Lehmann saved two penalties in Berlin to send the host nation into the last four.

Kahn, who four years ago gifted Brazil the first of their two goals in the final, had said he was doing what he could to help Germany win the World Cup this time, a title he had dreamt of since his blunder on June 30, 2002.

Germany's dream ended here with a 2-0 defeat by Italy in the semi-final after two late goals in extra time on Tuesday.




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