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Klose signs for Werder Bremen
Associated Press
Mar. 2, 2004 7:27 a.m.
BREMEN, Germany (AP) Werder Bremen on Tuesday signed German international striker Miroslav Klose from Kaiserslautern, the Bundesliga leader said.

Klose will finish the season with Kaiserslautern before moving to the northern German club during the summer in a four-year deal.

Bremen's director of sports Klaus Allofs said the deal cost Bremen ?5 million (US$6.2 million), the price a lottery company paid to acquire Klose's transfer rights from the heavily indebted Kaiserslautern. But including a signing bonus and Klose's salary, the deal is believed to be costing Bremen a lot more.

Klose is leaving Kaiserslautern one year before the end of his contract, with the team battling against relegation this season. In 114 Bundesliga games for Kaiserslautern, Klose has scored 43 goals. The Polish-born striker's first Bundesliga goal came on Oct. 20, 2000 - against Werder Bremen.

Since making his debut for Germany in 2001, Klose has scored 16 goals in 35 games. His five goals at the 2002 World Cup helped Germany reach the final.

Klose comes as a replacement for Ailton, the Brazilian striker who is leading the Bundesliga this season with 20 goals. Ailton is leaving Bremen for Schalke in the summer as a free agent.

"We are happy to have signed Miroslav Klose. He is one of the outstanding German players and fits perfectly into Werder Bremen," Allofs said.

"He's an excellent player and he will strengthen our team," coach Thomas Schaaf said. "With the departure of Ailton, it was important for us to sign a forward who can achieve the same scoring rate."

Klose said one of the reasons he signed for Bremen was that he wanted to play in an international competition. Bremen Leads the standings seven points clear of Bayern Munich and is likely to qualify for the Champions League next season.

"It was also important to find a club that suits me. And Bremen fulfills all conditions ... it has a team that plays lively offensive football," he said.