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Sunday, Dec. 3, 2006

Buchwald: I will give decision on future Monday

Staff writer

SAITAMA -- Urawa boss Guido Buchwald refused to be drawn on his future after guiding the Reds to their first-ever J. League championship on Saturday, but said he has called a press conference for Monday where he will explain his plans.

It has been widely reported that the 1990 World Cup-winning defender, who played for the Reds from 1994-97, will step down as Urawa boss after three years to return to Germany.

"You've got enough to write about now, we're No. 1 in Japan," Buchwald said Saturday. "I'm having a press conference on Monday."

Winning the J. League championship would ensure Buchwald goes out on a high, but the lure of leading the Reds in the Asian Champions League may yet be enough to convince him to stay in Japan.

"Reds are already an extremely strong team in Japan and next year we get to play in the Asian Champions League as well and to win that will be our goal," Buchwald, 45, said. "Winning in Asia is a very important goal for us.

"We have established the foundations, not only in terms of the players but also in terms of the support and from next year the club must grow even further. Regards the domestic league, of course it is almost impossible to win the championship every year, but every year we do have to be in the title race."

Buchwald said the Reds have been transformed under his leadership, but admitted success couldn't have come without the effort of the players. "In the three years since I became manager I feel that Reds have grown hugely as a team in that time, including getting even better this year.

"Everyone on the team, including those who don't play have been making a huge effort on the training ground. It's very pleasing for a manager that players make this sort of effort.

"The players themselves have various different goals. Some to get on the bench, some to get on the starting lineup, some to play in the national team, but the strength of the team is they all do this for the team."

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