Lehmann could make comeback for Rio 2016 Paralympics
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
September 11 - Former Germany international goalkeeper Jens Lehmann could make a shock return to the football pitch with the country's Paralympic five-a-side team.
Lehmann (pictured top) said he is open to the idea of playing for the team at the next Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
In five-a-side football at the Paralympics, outfield players must have a visual impairment and wear blindfolds.
Goalkeepers on the other hand do not have to have a disability or wear a blindfold, paving the way for a shock return to the game for Lehmann.
The former Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper told Bild: "That's very interesting, providing I am fit to do so."
Friedhelm Beucher, the President of the German Disabled Sports Association (DBS), said Lehmann's participation would be discussed, as would the possibility of approaching former Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.
"A goalkeeper is not subject to the requirement that he must have some kind of disability," Beucher said.
"Thus, Jens Lehmann, Oliver Kahn or any other retired goalkeeper, in theory, is available.
"We will now discuss this privately."
The prospect of Kahn and Lehmann being considered for the spot is particularly intriguing, given that the two enjoyed a frosty relationship during their international careers together.
The German number one and two goalkeepers famously did not get on, with Lehmann frustrated at being unable to dislodge Kahn from his position until the end of his career.
Germany did not reach London 2012 this summer, but the involvement of a high profile former footballer would be a huge boost to their chances for Rio.
It would also be a positive step for Paralympic five-a-side football and the Paralympics in general, increasing interest in the sport because of the involvement of high-profile former professional footballers.
Lehmann enjoyed a superb career in professional football, being a part of the Arsenal team that went through the Premier League season unbeaten in 2004.
He also holds a record for the most consecutive clean sheets kept in the Champions League from his time with the London club.
The 42-year-old did, however, have a reputation for controversy during his playing career, holding the record for the most red cards ever received by a goalkeeper in the German Bundesliga from his time at Borussia Dortmund.