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Bundesliga waves goodbye to Bayern's Hitzfeld and Kahn

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Bundesliga waves goodbye to Bayern's Hitzfeld and Kahn
Hitzfeld and Kahn celebrate with the team. Photo: DPA
12:57 CEST+02:00
Tears flowed on the football pitch this weekend as Bundesliga team Bayern Munich celebrated winning the league title as both coach Ottmar Hitzfeld and keeper Oliver Kahn left the team.

Saturday's 4-1 hammering of Hertha Berlin on Saturday gave Hitzfeld his 14th German domestic title of his coaching career. He has won seven Bundesliga titles - five at Bayern and two at his previous club Borussia Dortmund - and he made no effort to hide his tears during a

presentation before the Hertha game.

"I let the tears flow," he told German tabloid Bild's Sunday edition. "They were tears of happiness and relief. All the pressure had gone. It was all very moving, I am a sensitive human, but there was a huge relief, I have had also seven heavy years with all the pressure."

It was a day of many farewells at Bayern as the coach was not the only one to leave.

Bundesliga referee Markus Merk, arbitrating his last game, also welled up. "It was a highly emotional day. I am overcome with feelings," said 46-year-old said goodbye to top-flight club football.

Merk embraced legendary Bayern goal keeper Oliver Kahn who also bid farewell to the team, marking an end to his 20 year career.

"It's a great honor for me, to end my career together with Oliver Kahn," said Merk as he offered to swap shirts with the national goalie.

"There was such a mutual respect between us," responded Kahn. "Now I finally get to wear a referee's shirt!"

The 38 year old Kahn appeared later at a press conference proudly wearing the yellow shirt.

After 14 years at Bayern and 557 Bundesliga appearances, Kahn is quitting to become a television pundit next season.

The former Germany captain has been decribed by Bayern president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as "a major personality, the embodiment of the so-called Bayern gene. He's one of the most important players of the last 10 years."

Hitzfeld described Kahn as "a living legend."

"I've made my contribution at Bayern and tried to do the best job I can for all of the last 14 years," said Kahn, who will make his final appearance for the German giants on their tour of Asia later this month.

For the media, Kahn was always highly quotable and once famously bellowed "balls, we need more balls!" when asked what his side were lacking after a defeat by Schalke 04.

Ottmar Hitzfeld's coaching titles:

(Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich)

Intercontinental Cup 2001

Champions League 1997, 2001

German League Championship 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2008

German Football Federation Cup 2000, 2003, 2008

League Cup 1998, 1999, 2000, 2007

Swiss League Championship 1990, 1991

Swiss Cup 1985, 1989, 1990

Oliver Kahn's achievements:

(Karlsruhe and Bayern Munich)

European Championship: 1996

Intercontinental Cup: 2001

Champions League: 2001

UEFA Cup: 1996

German League Championship: 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008

German Football Federation Cup: 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008

World Cup runner-up 2002, World Cup third place 2006

ddp/afp

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