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Matthaeus targets Euro 2012, Berbatov rethink

SoccerNews in Bundesliga, European Championships 23 Sep 2010

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New Bulgaria coach Lothar Matthaeus has targeted qualification for the Euro 2012 finals as his number one objective and would like Dimitar Berbatov back on board to lead the charge.

Matthaeus, a former captain of the West German national team and 1990 World Cup winner, said: “I am going to try to catch up on what has been lost, we want to finish at least second in our (Euro 2012 qualifying) group.”

The German football great said he also planned to hold talks with Manchester United striker Berbatov in a bid to try and persuade Bulgaria’s best player to rethink his decision to retire from international football.

Matthaeus signed his new contract to coach Bulgaria here on Thursday, 48 hours after having been unveiled as successor to Stanimir Stoilov.

On his attempt to entice Berbatov back into the international fold he said: “I plan to start talks with Berbatov. He is still welcome in the Bulgarian national team. As a Bulgarian player he should be proud to play for his country.”

Berbatov announced his international retirement in May, explaining at the time that he had become “discouraged” by his performances for his country.

Matthaeus’s first match in charge will be Bulgaria’s third qualifier against Wales in Cardiff on October 8.

The 49-year-old, the first foreign coach of Bulgaria, has promised to adopt an “attacking style of play”.

His last managerial position was with Israeli club Maccabi Netanya, he has also had spells at Partizan Belgrade, Hungary’s national team and Red Bull Salzburg.

The position became vacant when Stoilov resigned after Bulgaria lost their opening two Euro 2012 qualifiers against England and Montenegro which has left them in dire straits with no points and propping up Group G.

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