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Lehmann stirs up more trouble

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 14 Dec 2009

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(GSM) – VfB Stuttgart goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has landed himself in hot water again after his latest escapade ruined his side’s chances of picking up their first win in nine Bundesliga games on Sunday.

The 40-year-old gave away an unnecessary late penalty and received a red card in the 1-1 draw with FSV Mainz 05 before exiting the stadium and making his own way home, after a confrontation with a fan.

The drama unfolded in the 86th minute of Sunday’s game at the Bruchweg Stadion, with the Bundesliga strugglers winning 1-0 thanks to Pavel Pogrebnyak’s 11th-minute opener.

But Lehmann had possession of the ball within his penalty area when he decided to take revenge for an earlier foul on him by Mainz striker Aristide Bance by stamping on his foot.

Bance fell to the floor and referee Wolfgang Stark showed Lehmann the red card and awarded the hosts a penalty, which Eugen Polanski dispatched past Sven Ulreich to earn Mainz a point.

Lehmann fled from the stadium in a rage, confronting one fan outside the ground. Television pictures showed a clearly incensed Lehmann pull the fan’s glasses from his face and only give them back after the fan pleaded for their return.

The former Arsenal and Germany goalkeeper then called for a taxi before opting instead to get on the team bus.

He did not remain on the bus for long, however, as he had a change of heart once again and took a taxi to Frankfurt airport, from where he flew back to his family in Munich.

Lehmann was fined 40,000 euros last week for criticising his club and further disciplinary measures can now be expected.

“That was unnecessary,” said coach Christian Gross. “I will talk to him about it. It is a delicate situation.

“I know Jens Lehmann as a footballer, but not yet as a person.”

Despite a turbulent week, Lehmann’s place in the Stuttgart goal does not appear to be under threat amid rumours he may decide to hang up his gloves this winter, six months ahead of plan.

“I cannot imagine that,” said director of sport Horst Heldt.

“He will be suspended, but he still has a contract until June 30, 2010.

“It is a shame that it came to this because he had made some fantastic saves. I am going to have to have a word with him.”

The incident overshadowed one of Stuttgart’s best Bundesliga displays of the season, but Gross tried to look on the bright side.

“We will try to take the positive aspects out of this game and then collect more points in our battle against relegation against Hoffenheim,” said the Swiss coach.

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