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Beckenbauer: Bremen is sure to win the title
Associated Press
Feb. 17, 2004 7:07 a.m.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP)Ч Bayern Munich chairman Franz Beckenbauer has congratulated Werder Bremen on the Bundesliga championship - a little prematurely.
Bremen has opened a nine-point lead over the defending champion in the Bundesliga, but there are still 14 rounds to be played.

Beckenbauer, however, believes the title races is over.

"It hurts a little to have to concede it but I fear we won't make it," Beckenbauer wrote Tuesday in his weekly column for the mass-circulation newspaper Bild.

"Congratulations, Werder, on the German championship!"

"If we were six points behind, I'd have said it's OK, because we have a home game against Bremen. But nine points are too much to make up in the last 14 matches. I am sure that Bremen will not lose three times and that we won't win every match.

"Realistically, we are now only shooting for second place. We can live without a title, the important thing is to qualify for the Champions League," Beckenbauer said.

Beckenbauer's column came one day after several Bayern officials and players, including goalkeeper and captain Oliver Kahn said they still believed they could defend the title.

Bremen, seeking its fourth championship and the first since 1993, opened the big lead by scoring a 1-0 victory over Kaiserslautern with a penalty goal in injury time, while Bayern lost 1-0 at Bochum over the weekend.