Ottmar Hitzfeld has turned down the chance to succeed Rudi Voeller as German national coach, the German football association (DFB) has confirmed.

“This decision was very, very difficult for me. The post of national coach is an honour, the World Cup at home a dream. But I am not in the right state to do what is needed for the national team in the run-up to the 2006 World Cup,” Hitzfeld said in a statement published on the DFB’s website.

Voller resigned last week after Germany failed to get beyond the group stage of Euro 2004.

Hitzfeld, who was sacked by Bayern Munich in May, had been tipped to lead Germany into the 2006 World Cup.