NEW YORK (AP) _ Lothar Matthaeus will rejoin the New York-New Jersey MetroStars for training next week, possibly as early as Monday, apparently ending a rift with the team.

After three hours of meetings Friday at Major League Soccer's Manhattan headquarters with commissioner Don Garber, MetroStars general manager Nick Sakiewicz and coach Octavio Zambrano, the 39-year-old Germany defender said he hoped to join the team for practice Monday or Wednesday.

``I think we can go a good way from here for the next three months,'' said Matthaeus, who has not played since injuring his back June 28 against San Jose. ``I hope to start training with the team next week.''

The meetings Friday also included Matthaeus' girlfriend, Maren Mueller-Wohlfahrt, and his agent, Brian Eylert.

The meetings came amid media reports, including a photo of Matthaeus and Mueller-Wohlfahrt in the German tabloid Bild showing the two on a beach in France, when the German returned to his native country to receive treatment for his back.

Matthaeus, Sakiewicz and Zambrano had been quoted in several media reports trading barbs, leading to speculation that Matthaeus would be released.

Matthaeus left the team in mid-May to return to Germany for the European Championship. In his absence, the club _ which added several players while he was away, went from one of the worst clubs in the league to one of the best.

``All that happened, the problems prior to Euro 2000 plus his injury ... right now we're looking a completely different face for us,'' Zambrano said. ``It would not be healthy to look at the past.''

Matthaeus, voted by fans to a starting position in the July 29 MLS All-Star game, said he hoped to play at least a half in the n exhibition match.