Ottmar Hitzfeld, the leading candidate to succeed Rudi Voeller as Germany coach, said yesterday the odds he would accept the job were less than 50-50 because he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Hitzfeld, sacked by Bayern Munich in May, told Welt am Sonntag newspaper he still had to talk with his wife about the post. He admitted it sounded insane to pass up a chance to coach Germany but said he had planned to take a break next season.

"I have to talk with my wife," said Hitzfeld, 55. "She was looking forward to me doing something else next year. I wanted to recharge my batteries for a year and get away from the pressure. I wanted to spend more time with my family."

He said the odds were "less than 50 per cent" that he would replace Voeller who quit on Thursday in the wake of Germany's first round exit at Euro 2004. "It's really entirely open," Hitzfeld said. "My family is really very, very important to me."

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