Monday, March 17, 2008

Bayern And Demichelis Make Nice, For Both Their Sakes

Things are fine now between Ottmar Hitzfeld and Martin Demichelis. After refusing to play in a defensive midfield role away to Cottbus this past weekend, the boss suspended the Argentine indefinitely. Bayern Munich went on to lose (and go goalless) against the Bundesliga bottom dwellers, evidently missing their defensive stalwart. Demichelis apologized to the coach and the club this morning, closing the book on a bad weekend for both the club and the player.

What makes this so interesting is the fact that Demichelis made his name as a holding midfielder first with River Plate and then with Felix Magath when he first came to Bayern in 2003. Recently, Hitzfeld has used him as a central defender, the move working well in Munich and giving the Argentine a new lease on life with Alfio Basile's national team. With no way past Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Mascherano in the midfield, he's seamlessly (a loss to Colombia notwithstanding) replaced the retired Roberto Ayala in the back line and made the position his own.

I imagine that any whiff of not playing in his now preferred role as a center back would have (in Demichelis' eyes) hurt his chances with Argentina. I guess it all depends on where he plays on Wednesday against Wolfsburg in the German Cup. After this morning's Kum Ba Ya moment, the gaffer declined to say whether the Argentine would play in central defence, in the holding role, or be riding the pine.

Where that leaves him with Basile, we'll have to wait and see. Argentina's next World Cup qualifier is in mid-June at home to Ecuador.

Demichelis Suspended By Hitzfeld []
Demichelis reinstated after suspension [Bayern Munich official site]


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