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Littbarski named coach of Fukuoka

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TOKYO, Japan -- German World Cup winner Pierre Littbarski has promised to lead Avispa Fukuoka back into the top flight at the first attempt, after being unveiled as the J-League club's new manager on Friday.

Littbarski, who is returning to Japan after two spells in charge of Yokohama FC between 1999 and 2004, said leadership was in short supply at Fukuoka.

"There are a lot of good players at the club but not enough leaders," Littbarski told reporters.

"There is only one reason I came here -- to make sure we return to the first division."

Littbarski, who won the World Cup with West Germany in 1990, has replaced Ryoichi Kawakatsu, who resigned after Fukuoka's recent relegation from Japan's top flight.

Littbarski spent most of his playing career at FC Köln, winning the German Cup once, in 1983, and was three times runner up in the Bundesliga (1982, 1989 and 1990).

He has also played for Racing Club de Paris in Ligue 1 as well as for JEF United and Brummel Sendai in Japan. In his career, he was initially used as a striker before being utilised as an attacking midfielder.

He was manager of Australian A-League side Sydney FC, and led them to the FIFA Club World Championship in 2005, and a win in the inaugural A-League Championship.

He became well known to amongst Sydney supporters for his stylish brown suits but the team were often criticised for boring, unimaginative football.

Despite the inaugral A-League Championship triumph under his guidance he left the club on May 5, 2006, after declaring he would not re-sign for them following disputes over training locations and a cut-price contract offer.

Successive finals

He was capped 73 times by West Germany, and was the first player to feature in three successive World Cup finals.

As a 21-year-old, Littbarski tasted defeat against Italy at Spain 82, remained on the bench for the epic 3-2 loss against Argentina at Mexico 86, before finally claiming a winners' medal in the defeat of Argentina at Italia 90.

He has worked as assistant manager of Bayer Leverkusen and manager of MSV Duisburg in the Bundesliga.

Littbarski was the first man to play in three consecutive World Cup finals.

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