Borussia Dortmund scored a goal in each half through Raphael Guerreiro and Achraf Hakimi to beat hosts VfL Wolfsburg 2-0 on Saturday for their sixth straight Bundesliga win to stay on the heels of leaders Bayern Munich.
Portugal international, Guerreiro tapped in a cutback from Thorgan Hazard after Erling Haaland had failed to connect in the 32nd minute and Hakimi fired in from a fine Jadon Sancho assist — his 16th of the season — in the 78th to make sure of the three points.
The result lifted second-placed Dortmund to 57 points, four behind leaders Bayern, who beat Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2.
Dortmund central defender, Mats Hummels, was taken off at halftime with a knock on the leg, although he did not appear to be seriously injured.
They are already missing injured Dan Axel Zagadou and Captain Marco Reus.
“I briefly spoke to the doctor,’’ Dortmund’s Sports Director, Michael Zorc, said.
“Mats had problems with his heel.
“He has had them in training for some time.
“We hope that he will be able to play on Tuesday.’’
The Wolves only briefly got a look-in when Renato Steffen was sent through right after the restart.
But with the only keeper, Roman Buerki, to beat his shot glanced the bar and sailed high.
They have now lost five consecutive home games to Dortmund, the first team to do that at Wolfsburg, while Dortmund have not conceded a goal in their two games since the league restart.
Wolfsburg, who suffered their first defeat in eight league games, were left with 10 men when substitute, Felix Klaus, was sent off with 10 minutes remaining for a rough challenge.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Bayern Munich’s Thiago to miss top game at Borussia Dortmund through injury
Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara has been ruled out of Tuesday’s Bundesliga top game against Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich’s coach Hansi Flick said on Monday.
This came to light after the playmaker, who had already missed Saturday’s 5-2 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt, failed to recover from a muscle injury.
“Thiago did not train today,” Flick told a virtual news conference. “Unfortunately he will miss the game (at Dortmund).”
Bayern Munich are top of the table on 61 points, four ahead of Borussia Dortmund, with seven matches remaining in the campaign.
Victory in Dortmund would send them seven points clear and put them within touching distance of a record-extending eighth consecutive league crown.
“It is a completely different game from the first one (which Bayern Munich won 4-0 earlier this season),” Flick said ahead of the game which will be played in an empty Dortmund stadium that normally sits 80,000 fans.
The Bundesliga restarted 10 days ago with a strict medical protocol banning fans from the stadiums to minimise the risk of infection.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
Dortmund explode back into action as Bundesliga restarts
Borussia Dortmund provided much-needed fireworks with a 4-0 demolition of bitter rivals Schalke 04 on Saturday after the German league restarted in front of empty stands after a suspension of over two months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bundesliga is the first major soccer league to return to action since the virus earlier this year shut down sports, and its return in a country that still has hundreds of positive virus cases a day is being closely watched by other leagues.
With a strict health protocol governing the fragile restart, which includes no fans, face masks for everyone but the players, no handshakes and no group celebrations, it was up to title hopefuls, Dortmund, who face leaders Bayern Munich in 10 days’ time, to find a spark badly missing in the eerily empty ground.
The Ruhr valley club, in second place, scored the first goal of the matchday after nearly half an hour when teenager Erling Haaland connected with a Thorgan Hazard cutback.
The exciting 19-year-old Norway striker, who knocked in his 13th goal in 12 appearances for Dortmund in all competitions, picked up exactly where he left off in March.
He has already gone to the top of the transfer wish list of every major European club and, with an expected audience of a billion for the Bundesliga this weekend, his immediate return to scoring will have only enhanced his already stellar reputation.
Portuguese midfielder Raphael Guerreiro added two more goals and Belgium international Hazard also got on the scoresheet as Dortmund climbed to 54 points, one behind defending champions Bayern, who are in action at Union Berlin on Sunday.
When Schalke brought on Timo Becker to replace Jonjoe Kenny in the 87th minute at the 80,000-capacity Signal Iduna Park, it was the first time in Bundesliga history a team had made five substitutions after FIFA announced the temporary rule change.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)
PSG oust Borussia Dortmund to banish last 16 round demons in empty stadium
Paris St-Germain (PSG) put their UEFA Champions League last 16 round traumas behind them as they beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 on Wednesday to reach the quarter-finals. But no fans were in the stadium to witness the achievement.
Having lost 1-2 in the first leg, Neymar and Juan Bernat scored before halftime to secure a 3-2 aggregate win for PSG after a game played behind closed doors.
This was due to the coronavirus, which has infected 2,281 people and killed 48 in France. The result eased painful memories of 2017, when PSG were eliminated 6-5 on aggregate by FC Barcelona after letting slip a 4-0 advantage.
Also, last season they lost to Manchester United on away goals after a 2-0 win at Old Trafford.
The French champions reached the last eight for the first time since 2016 as Borussia Dortmund finished with 10 men following Emre Can’s sending-off in the dying minutes.
Over 3,000 ultra fans gathered near the Parc des Princes before kick-off, after being granted authorisation by the police.
They lit firework and their chants could be overheard in the stadium before, during, and after the game as the players went to the top of the Auteuil stand to cheer with them.
“Our only virus is Paris SG,” a banner in the empty arena read.
“It was a perfect game,” said centre back Marquinhos, who with Presnel Kimpembe marshalled the PSG defence.
“We now need to keep the same mindset for the remainder of the competition.”
PSG were without captain Thiago Silva, who had not fully recovered from a hamstring injury, while Kylian Mbappe started on the bench after suffering from a sore throat.
The French side dominated possession and had the first clear chance when Edinson Cavani’s cross shot from Di Maria’s through ball was deflected by goalkeeper Roman Buerki.
Neymar put the hosts ahead in the 28th minute as he headed home Angel Di Maria’s free-kick for his 35th goal in 57 matches.
He made his presence count with this, after missing the return leg against Manchester United through injury last season.
Bernat doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time by flicking Sarabia’s attempt past Buerki.
PSG pressed high after the break while Erling Haaland, who scored a double in the first leg, never looked likely to add to his 10 UEFA Champions League goals this season.
Thorgan Hazard and Axel Witsel made way for Julian Brandt and Giovanni Reyna as Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre looked to freshen up his attacking line.
(PSG) were suddenly on the back foot.
A brawl erupted two minutes from time after Can fouled Neymar and pushed the Brazilian to the ground.
Can was sent off while Di Maria picked up a yellow card which means the Argentine will be suspended for the first leg of PSG’s quarter-final.
(Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
PSG vs Borussia Dortmund match to take place behind closed doors
This week’s UEFA Champions League clash between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Borussia Dortmund will take place behind closed doors.
The development is due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, the Paris police authority said on Monday.
The game is scheduled for Paris’ Parc des Princes stadium on Wednesday.
It will see hosts PSG go into the second leg fixture 1-2 behind, having lost the first tie in Dortmund.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Borussia Dortmund beat Werder Bremen as Haaland keeps up scoring run
Borussia Dortmund beat strugglers Werder Bremen 2-0 with second half goals from Dan Axel Zagadou and teenage sensation Erling Haaland on Saturday to climb into second place in the Bundesliga.
It was their fifth win in their last six league games.
Zagadou volleyed in from a corner kick in the 52nd minute and 19-year-old Haaland tapped in for his ninth league goal in six Bundesliga matches in the 66th minute.
The goal helped Haaland to continue his sensational scoring run since joining in the winter.
Haaland had also struck twice in the 2-1 victory over Paris St-Germain (PSG) in the UEFA Champions League in midweek.
He becomes the first player to score nine in his first six league games in Germany.
The Norwegian has scored a total of 12 goals in eight games in all competitions for the Ruhr valley club.
Borussia Dortmund, who struggled in the first half against a hard-working Werder Bremen, found their rhythm after the break and could have scored several more.
Werder Bremen managed to keep up for about an hour and had Haaland under control.
But they ran out of steam as Borussia Dortmund moved up to 45 points, ahead on goal difference of RB Leipzig who were taking on Schalke 04 later.
In another Bundesliga game, Borussia Moenchengladbach conceded a stoppage time equaliser after missing numerous chances to draw 1-1 and stay in fourth with a game in hand.
They hit the woodwork and had a penalty kick saved by outstanding Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann.
Also, Hertha Berlin sank deeper into trouble after losing 5-0 at home against Cologne.
John Cordoba and Florian Kainz scored twice each for the visitors, leaving Hertha Berlin in 14th place, six points above the relegation playoff spot.
The home side had last week seen coach Juergen Klinsmann walk out after only 76 days in charge.
Werder Bremen are anchored in 17th place following their sixth consecutive home defeat, a point above last-placed Paderborn.
Bayern Munich are top of the Bundesliga on 49 points after their 3-2 win over Paderborn on Friday.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso and Olawale Alabi)
Tuchel surprised by PSG players partying after Borussia Dortmund defeat
Paris St-Germain (PSG) coach Thomas Tuchel said he was surprised to see a video of his players partying two days after they were beaten 2-1 at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund.
The loss was in their UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg fixture on Tuesday in Dortmund.
Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were among those attending a late party to celebrate the birthdays of Mauro Icardi, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria.
“I was really surprised yesterday (Friday) afternoon to see that video. Really surprised.
PSG lead the standings with 62 points from 25 games, 10 points ahead of second-placed Olympique de Marseille who host Nantes later on Saturday.
The French champions host Borussia Dortmund in the return leg on March 11.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Haaland sensational in giving Borussia Dortmund 2-1 win over PSG
Borussia Dortmund teenager Erling Haaland scored twice in eight minutes on Tuesday to lead his German club to a 2-1 victory over Paris St-Germain (PSG).
In their 2019/2020 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg game in Dortmund, the Norwegian stabbed in from close range after a quick-fire passing move in the 69th minute.
The 19-year-old who joined in the winter has already netted eight times in five Bundesliga matches.
He then thundered in an unstoppable shot for his second goal in the 77th, two minutes after PSG’s Brazilian forward Neymar had levelled for the French champions.
Haaland, the first Borussia Dortmund player to score in his first league, German Cup and Champions League matches, has reached 10 goals in seven games in Europe’s elite competition this season.
These included eight for Salzburg in the group stage, and it is faster than anyone.
He is only the second teenager to net 10 Champions League goals, after Kylian Mbappe, and is the first teenager to score 10 in a single campaign in the competition.
“I still need to improve, keep working,” Haaland said. “I want to go far in the Champions League. With the second goal I enjoyed the moment.”
PSG, who were eliminated at this stage of the competition in the previous three seasons, had fit-again Neymar and Mbappe back in the starting line-up.
But they were almost completely shut out by an extremely efficient Borussia Dortmund backline.
In a cautious first half, the French side had the slight advantage in possession.
But Dortmund carved out the only real chance after 27 minutes with a curled shot from Jadon Sancho.
Mbappe and Neymar were kept under tight surveillance.
Borussia Dortmund defenders Mats Hummels, Lukasz Piszczek —- on his 350th appearance for the club in all competitions —- and Dan Axel Zagadou denying the pair any space to manoeuvre.
The Germans’ main firepower, Haaland, was also shackled for about an hour before he finally found some space to complete a quick Borussia Dortmund move.
PSG, who will be without Marco Verratti and Thomas Meunier for the return leg after they picked up bookings, drew level through Neymar.
The Brazilian found the net after a fine run down the right by Mbappe.
He also later hit the post.
But the visitors could do nothing when 17-year-old substitute Giovanni Reyna found Haaland at the edge of the box.
The in-form forward released a fiercely-struck left foot effort that gave PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas no chance.
The return leg is in Paris on March 11.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Neymar set to play against Borussia Dortmund, PSG coach says
Paris St-Germain (PSG) forward Neymar is expected to play on Tuesday against Borussia Dortmund in their UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg tie after overcoming a rib injury.
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel disclosed this on Monday.
The Brazilian did not play in the club’s 4-4 Ligue 1 draw at Amiens over the weekend when Tuchel rested some other players.
“He is here (in Dortmund). He will train and if all goes well he will play tomorrow (Tuesday). Because for us it changes almost everything when he plays and I hope he will play,” said Tuchel.
PSG have been knocked out at this stage in the past three seasons and are desperate to leave a mark on the competition.
“(Neymar) changes everything because if he plays we have his quality and confidence and ability to do (the) decisive.
“It changes everything… because if he does not play we have no other player with that quality to replace him.”
Tuchel, who coached Borussia Dortmund for two seasons before going to Paris, will need to devise a plan to stop the Germans’ formidable attack.
They have scored 22 goals in their five Bundesliga games this year.
“It is absolutely necessary to play with a lot of confidence in this stadium with such fans and such an opponent. Otherwise, you cannot survive,” he added before the clash at Signal Iduna Park.
“We have the team spirit to overcome difficult situations, adapt to different scenarios. That’s the key.”
PSG are under extreme pressure to finally deliver in Europe after spending big money on players in the past few seasons to build a winning squad.
They came agonisingly close to a quarter-final spot last year only to be eliminated by Manchester United with a stoppage-time penalty kick in the second leg.
“If you lose in the round of 16 for three years and you arrive for a fourth time it is clear it is not the same situation,” Tuchel said.
“Maybe later we can breathe a bit easier. We are here and it is important to make the most of it.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
PSG have abundant talent even without Neymar, Borussia Dortmund’s coach says
Paris St-Germain (PSG) have an abundance of talent and the potential absence of Brazilian Neymar does not make them less dangerous, Borussia Dortmund’s coach Lucien Favre said on Monday.
Forward Neymar has been sidelined for weeks with a rib injury.
He also missed their 4-4 draw in Ligue 1 against struggling Amiens on Saturday, along with several other key players who were rested.
“They have so many players with great qualities and they beat Real Madrid (in the group stage) even without Neymar,” Favre told a news conference ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg fixture.
“Neymar is obviously a great player but so is (Kylian) Mbappe and (Angel) Di Maria. I can name at least 10 players on that team with huge potential,” Favre added.
Borussia Dortmund will have to be at their defensive best if they are to contain the French side’s speed.
They did that well during their 4-0 Bundesliga win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday.
“If Neymar plays tomorrow (Tuesday) and I am pretty sure he is going to play, then we have to take care of him.
“But they have so many good players. We have to be compact and we have to defend as a team and really be strong,” Borussia Dortmund’s midfielder Axel Witsel also said.
The second leg is in Paris on March 11.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Salzburg striker Haaland joins Borussia Dortmund until 2024
Borussia Dortmund have signed promising young striker Erling Haaland from Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg on a four-and-a-half-year deal, the Bundesliga club said on Sunday.
The transfer fee was undisclosed but British media reported the German side paid the equivalent of about 18 million pounds (23 million dollars) for the 19-year-old.
Haaland who has signed a deal until June 2024 shot to fame this season when he scored 16 league goals and eight goals in the UEFA Champions League group stages.
His tally was second only to Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski’s tally of 10.
“We can all look forward to having an ambitious, athletic and physically-imposing centre-forward here at the club.
“Haaland boasts a real eye for goal and impressive speed, and we are confident that we can develop him even further here in Dortmund.
“At just 19 years of age, he is at the very start of what promises to be an incredible career,” sporting director Michael Zorc said in a statement.
Haaland was earlier linked with a number of top European clubs after Salzburg failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.
But English Premier League (EPL) side Manchester United and Italian Serie A champions Juventus werevheavily linked with the Norwegian.
The striker is the son of former footballer Alf-Inge Haaland, who played for Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Manchester City in England.
“I had several intense conversations with the club’s management team, in particular with (Borussia Dortmund CEO) Hans-Joachim Watzke, Michael Zorc and coach Lucien Favre.
“Right from the very start, I knew I wanted to move here. I can’t wait to get started and play in front of over 80,000 fans (at Signal Iduna Park) in the incredible Dortmund atmosphere,” said Haaland, who has four club hat-tricks this season.
Borussia Dortmund are fourth in the German Bundesliga, seven points behind leaders RB Leipzig and they return to action following the winter break with a trip away to Augsburg on Jan. 18.
The club said Haaland will join the first team squad on Friday before their trip to Marbella in Spain for a winter training camp.
(Edited by: Joseph Edeh and Olawale Alabi)
Bayern Munich batter Werder Bremen as Borussia Dortmund dominate Mainz
Bayern Munich recovered from a goal down to demolish Werder Bremen 6-1 on Saturday, as they arrested a form slump which had seen them lose their last two league games.
They looked ragged for most of the first half and went behind when Werder Bremen’s Milot Rashica turned a sluggish-looking Jerome Boateng inside out before smashing home from outside the box.
But the Bundesliga champions struck through Philippe Coutinho and Robert Lewandowski on the stroke of half-time to go into the break in the lead and dominated the second-half.
Coutinho sealed a hat-trick and Lewandowski a brace, while Thomas Mueller also chipped in with a goal for them to move from seventh to fourth.
Borussia Dortmund, in third place, thumped Mainz 4-0, while Cologne beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-0.
Juergen Klinsmann clinched his first win as Hertha Berlin boss with a 1-0 defeat of Freiburg, while Paderborn and Union Berlin drew 1-1.
Second-placed RB Leipzig are away to struggling Fortuna Dusseldorf later on Saturday.
P W D L F A Pts
1 Bor. Moenchengladbach 14 10 1 3 30 16 31
2 Leipzig 14 9 3 2 39 16 30
3 Borussia Dortmund 15 8 5 2 37 19 29
4 Bayern Munich 15 8 3 4 41 21 27
5 Schalke 14 7 4 3 25 18 25
6 Freiburg 15 7 4 4 24 18 25
7 Bayer Leverkusen 15 7 4 4 22 20 25
8 Hoffenheim 15 6 3 6 21 27 21
9 Wolfsburg 14 5 5 4 15 14 20
10 Union Berlin 15 6 2 7 19 20 20
11 Augsburg 15 5 5 5 24 28 20
12 Eintracht Frankfurt 14 5 3 6 24 22 18
13 Hertha Berlin 15 4 3 8 21 29 15
14 Mainz 15 5 0 10 20 38 15
15 Werder Bremen 15 3 5 7 23 35 14
16 Dusseldorf 14 3 3 8 16 29 12
17 Cologne 15 3 2 10 14 30 11
18 Paderborn 15 2 3 10 18 33 9
(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)
Bundesliga: Lewandowski strikes again as Bayern Munich outclass Borussia Dortmund
Champions Bayern Munich crushed fellow title contenders Borussia Dortmund 4-0 on Saturday with two goals from top scorer Robert Lewandowski.
The victory helped Bayern climb back into third place and give interim coach Hansi Flick an impressive Bundesliga debut.
Lewandowski kept up his sensational scoring run, netting in the 17th and 76th minutes to take his league tally to 16 goals.
He has now scored in each of the 11 league games this season, a Bundesliga record.
Serge Gnabry was also on target as was Dortmund defender Mats Hummels who capped a disastrous performance by the visitors with an 80th-minute own goal.
Bayern move up to 21 points, third on goal difference behind RB Leipzig, 4-2 winners at Hertha Berlin.
Leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach entertain Werder Bremen on Sunday. Dortmund dropped to fifth on 19.
Edited by Joseph Edeh/Felix Ajide
Dortmund beat leaders Gladbach 1-0 to close gap with leaders
Borussia Dortmund edged past Bundesliga leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach 1-0 on Saturday thanks to captain Marco Reus’ second half winner to cut the gap to the top to one point.
Reus broke the deadlock in the 58th minute, slipping the ball through the legs of keeper Yann Sommer for the goal that gave Dortmund their first win in four league games.
The Ruhr valley club, who were without Jadon Sancho after he was dropped from the squad following his late return from international duty, move up to fourth on 15 points, level with third-placed Bayern Munich, who drew 2-2 at Augsburg, and RB Leipzig.
Gladbach, on 16 points, lead the standings ahead of unbeaten VfL Wolfsburg, who drew 1-1 with Leipzig, on goal difference.
Edited by Joseph Edeh/Maharazu Ahmed
Hakimi double fires Dortmund to victory over Slavia
Two Achraf Hakimi goals gave Borussia Dortmund a 2-0 win over Slavia Prague in Champions League Group F on Wednesday, a fast-paced match in which both sides spurned chances.
Defender Hakimi broke the deadlock in the 35th minute following a counter-attack, cutting inside the penalty area before firing past the Slavia keeper.
Hakimi doubled the lead in the 89th minute when he slotted home a pass from Julian Brandt following another break to seal the German side’s first victory of the group stage.
Dortmund coach Lucien Favre lauded Slavia’s performance and praised Hakimi’s attacking ability.
“The opponents were really dangerous for 90 minutes and they had chances,” Favre said. “I had to shout at the players to attack and come back.”
“Hakimi is not quite 100 percent accustomed to this position but we are very happy with his performance. He showed he is dangerous going forward.”
Roared on by their fans, Slavia outshot the visitors 17 to 10 with more attempts on target.
However they lacked the clinical finishing needed to overcome a stout Dortmund defence and a speedy attack that punished the home side’s pressing.
Slavia drew 1-1 at Inter Milan in their first group game while Dortmund have four points from two matches after starting with a draw against Barcelona. (Reuters/)
Edited by Maharazu Ahmed
Borussia Dortmund draw 2-2 with Werder to lose more ground
Borussia Dortmund came from a goal down but had to settle for a 2-2 draw against visiting Werder Bremen on Saturday to drop further down the standings.
The home team have now won only one of their last four Bundesliga games.
Dortmund cancelled out Werder’s eighth-minute lead through Milot Rashica seconds later with Mario Goetze’s diving header in the midfielder’s first start of the season.
Dortmund captain Marco Reus nodded in a Thorgan Hazard chip to put them in front but Bremen’s Marco Friedl nodded in at the far post in the 55th minute to snatch a point for the visitors.
The Ruhr valley club are now in seventh place on 11 points, three behind Bayern Munich who went top of the table after beating Paderborn 3-2. (Reuters/)
Edited by Maharazu Ahmed
Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund settle for 2-2 draw after late own goal
Borussia Dortmund’s Michael Delaney turned a Daichi Kamada shot into his own net in the 88th minute to hand hosts Eintracht Frankfurt an unexpected 2-2 draw on Sunday.
The draw has now dropped Borussia Dortmund to third place in the Bundesliga.
Borussia Dortmund, fresh from their midweek 0-0 draw at home to a FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League group stage, had twice taken the lead.
This was through Axel Witsel in the 11th minute and Jadon Sancho in the 66th minute.
But Eintracht Frankfurt first came back with a 45th minute Andre Silva goal before Delaney’s unlucky clearance from Kamada’s shot landed in goal and earned the hosts a point.
RB Leipzig are top on 13 points after a 3-0 win at Werder Bremen on Saturday.
Champions Bayern Munich, who crushed Cologne 4-0, are in second place on 11, with Dortmund third on 10.(Reuters/)
(Edited by Joseph Edeh and Olawale Alabi)
Borussia Dortmund draw 0-0 with Barcelona on Messi return
Borussia Dortmund hit the woodwork and had a penalty saved before drawing 0-0 with Barcelona in their Champions League Group F opener on Tuesday.
Lionel Messi highlighted the match with his first appearance of the season for the Spaniards.
Barca’s in-form 16-year-old Ansu Fati became the club’s youngest player to feature in a UEFA competition when he started.
However, he failed to make any real impact before being replaced by fit-again Messi just before the hour mark.
Even after the Argentine took to the field it was the Germans who were more dangerous, with captain Marco Reus’ 57th minute penalty saved by Marc Andre ter Stegen.
Julian Brandt also rattled the crossbar with a thundering shot in the 77th.
In the group’s other game Inter Milan were held to a 1-1 home draw by Slavia Prague. (Reuters/)
Edited by Joseph Edeh/Maharazu Ahmed
Dortmund ready to break Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga stranglehold
Berlin, Aug. 15, 2019 Champions Bayern Munich are preparing for their toughest Bundesliga season in years with title rivals Borussia Dortmund.
They are looking to avoid another mid-season slipup and break the Bavarians’ seven-year Bundesliga stranglehold.
Bayern, who last failed to win the title when Dortmund were champions in 2011-12, kick off the season against Hertha Berlin on Friday, having bolstered their defence with World Cup-winning French duo Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard.
Overall, though, they have been less successful than Dortmund in the transfer market, having failed to sign several players of their choice, including Manchester City’s Leroy Sane.
The arrival this week of 30-year-old winger Ivan Perisic as a replacement for departed veterans Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben was seen by many as a desperate Plan B before the transfer window closes on Sept. 2.
Coach Niko Kovac, who led Bayern to the domestic double in his first season, knows very well what it is like to be considered second rate.
His arrival last year as a relatively young coach after big names, including Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti, had led Bayern over the previous seasons was seen by many as a cheap option.
Kovac was desperately clinging on to his job in December when Dortmund were nine points clear of Bayern but a recovery after the winter break and a slump in form from their title rivals helped secure the double.
“I was also a plan B (last season),” Kovac joked this week. “And then I won the double. (On Perisic) we acted within this short time frame.”
Perisic was signed after City’s Sane needed surgery for cruciate ligament damage and a potential move to Bayern fell through.
“We will make sure that until Sept. 2 we will hopefully welcome another player,” said Kovac.
Dortmund do not need to wait until September, having locked up many of their transfer targets before they hit the beach for the summer holidays.
The moves of Germany internationals Julian Brandt and Nico Schulz as well as Belgium’s Thorgan Hazard were all announced within days of the end of the season in May.
World Cup winner Mats Hummels then returned to Dortmund after his spell at Bayern with all four of coach Lucien Favre’s transfers having instant starting potential.
“We had the clear strategy to quickly wrap up our transfers so as not to get pushed into bidding for players,” Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said.
“We wanted clarity early. I think (sports director) Michael Zorc did it really well.”
Having beaten Bayern to win the German Super Cup earlier in August, Dortmund will be brimming with confidence when they host Augsburg on Saturday.
Japan’s Kagawa joins Real Zaragoza from Borussia Dortmund
Japan international midfielder Shinji Kagawa has joined Spanish second tier outfit Real Zaragoza after seven years at Borussia Dortmund in two spells, the Bundesliga side said on Friday.
Kagawa, who won the Bundesliga with Dortmund in 2011 and 2012, had a two-year spell at Manchester United from 2012-14 before returning to the Ruhr valley club.
The 30-year-old struggled for playing time under coach Lucien Favre last season, joining Turkey’s Besiktas on loan in January.
“Shinji… is a true professional and an outstanding person who will have in Dortmund a second home forever and a lot of friends,” Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke and sports director Michael Zorc said in a statement on the club’s website.
“It was his great wish to play in Spain. We obviously met that wish.”
Edited by Maharazu
Borussia Dortmund take ex-players off air after commentary gaffe
Former Borussia Dortmund players Norbert Dickel and Patrick Owomoyela have been removed for the time being as commentators on the club’s internet television and radio sites.
This was after the duo made disparaging remarks during a match against Italian side Udinese.
Dickel, who is also the Dortmund stadium announcer, and former Germany international Owomoyela will take a break for “a period of reflection,” a Borussia Dortmund spokesperson said Tuesday.
A German newspaper had reported that the two former players had used the derogatory term “Itaker” a number of times while running live commentaries.
The commentaries were ran during a friendly match between Borussia Dortmund and Udinese in Altach, Austria on July 27.
Dickel, who was a forward for Borussia Dortmund between 1986 and 1990, also added after using the word that “Itaker is not an insult.”
Owomoyela played for Borussia Dortmund from 2008 to 2013 and was capped 11 times by Germany between 2004 and 2008.
He at one point during the commentaries also imitated the tone of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, it was reported.
The newspaper had quoted a club spokesperson as saying it was made clear to both former players there was no place at the club for such comments.
It had added that “their attempt to be funny” was “completely out of place.”(dpa/NAN)
(Edited by Olawale Alabi)