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Neuer considering retirement after Euro 2020 – report

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A spat between Germany’s number one goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and contender Marc Andre ter Stegen could soon be settled off the pitch, with the former considering international retirement next year, according to a SportBild magazine report on Wednesday.

Bayern Munich’s Neuer, who has 90 caps, has been the undisputed number one since 2010, but Ter Stegen’s form with Barcelona in recent seasons has made him a strong challenger ahead of Euro 2020.

After failing to get any playing time in their recent Euro qualifiers against Netherlands and Northern Ireland, the 27-year-old Ter Stegen, with 22 caps to his name, voiced his dissatisfaction.

Neuer then demanded stronger support from his fellow keeper and said his starts were down to good performances before Ter Stegen responded this week, saying Neuer’s comments were “inappropriate”.

But according to SportBild magazine, 2014 World Cup winner Neuer, who will turn 34 next year, is “seriously considering” putting an end to his illustrious Germany career after Euro 2020, should his team qualify.

Neuer, who plays for Bayern Munich, has won almost every major domestic and international title for club and country, including the World Cup and Champions League, apart from the European Championship.

The next major international tournament after Euro 2020 is the 2022 World Cup. (Reuters/)
ERO/MZA

Edited by Emmanuel Okara/Maharazu Ahmed

Sport

Report: Bayern Munich expects to extend keeper Neuer’s contract

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Bayern Munich’s Sporting Director, Hasan Salihamidzic, said he expects to renew goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s contract and also hopes for star international players to transfer over, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported on Sunday.

“I’m an optimist, so I hope we can extend the contract with Manuel,’’ Salihamidzic told the German newspaper.

Recent disagreements between Neuer and the German Bundesliga champions have been “resolved internally”, Salihamidzic said.

In an interview with the Sunday newspaper earlier this month, Neuer complained that he missed the discretion afforded in the past, amid his contract negotiations with FC Bayern.

He was “irritated” by the contract talks’ content being made public.

“Manuel knows that we appreciate him very much.

“I played with Oliver Kahn; I know how good a world-class goalkeeper can be to a team.

“Manuel is a world-class goalkeeper; he is held in high esteem in our club,’’ Salihamidzic told the paper.

Negotiations between the Munich team and captain Neuer for a new contract beyond summer 2021 have been difficult and the sides were reportedly at odds when it comes to length and worth of the deal.

According to Salihamidzic, the team are planning further transfers, following the signing of goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel from rival Bundesliga side Schalke.

“We want to strengthen our team with a top talent from Europe and also bring an international star to Munich who will raise the quality of our team and help the team to offer our spectators highly profitable and attractive football,’’ he said.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Neuer expected to miss Bayern Munich’s Cup match, Alaba also not certain

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Match

Kovac also stated that victory would serve as a morale-booster for Saturday’s Bundesliga topper against leaders Borussia Dortmund.

The injured Neuer and Alaba missed Bayern Munich’s 1-1 draw at Freiburg which cost them the Bundesliga lead, and Kovac said they had not returned to training Monday.

“They are on the mend, but nothing more,” Kovac said, adding he expects Sven Ulreich to be between the posts against Heidenheim.

Neuer and Alaba are however expected to be fit in time for the Borussia Dortmund match.

Kovac said the 18-times Cup winners Bayern Munich were concentrating on Wednesday’s game and not thinking about Borussia Dortmund.

He however pointed out that victory against Heidenheim would lift the team ahead of what could be the most important match of the season.

“We need to reach the semi-final —- we don’t play BVB (Dortmund) until after Heidenheim,” he said. “We won’t underestimate anyone. Heidenheim are very robust. A win on Wednesday will create a good atmosphere.”

The six-times reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich made up a nine-point deficit on Borussia Dortmund in the past weeks.

OLAL

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Analysis: German “Clasico” attracting worldwide audience

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Talking about football in the difficult days of the COVID-19 crisis means talking about the German Bundesliga.

The upcoming duel between second-placed Borussia Dortmund and league leaders and reigning champions Bayern Munich is attracting worldwide attention.

With Germany one of the few countries to have restarted its domestic football league, a three-digit number of countries is to broadcast the delicate duel of Germany’s leading sides at the Signal Iduna Park.

Marketing officers from both clubs and the league association might be delighted considering the publicity effect, while fans eagerly wait for another footballing delicacy.

The worst fears of football being played behind closed doors leading to less quality have not been realized. By contrast, sides like Bayern, Dortmund, Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen, and RB Leipzig gave plenty of evidence that the so-called “ghost games” have a particular charm.

Football behind closed doors seems an advantage for technically advanced sides, as football is reduced to its core activity without being affected by significant impact from the outside. In Dortmund and Bayern, two such sides are going to face off this Tuesday evening.

Fans now puzzle over the question of what will decide the nail-biting duel.

Statistics talk about the crucial starting point. To win the 2019/20 Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund (57 points) have to beat Bayern (61) to retain any realistic chance.

However, Bayern also have tough fixtures against fifth-placed Monchengladbach and third-placed Leverkusen in the remaining six rounds.

Neither side appears to be affected by the unfamiliar atmosphere in having to play without a cheering crowd. Both Dortmund and Bayern seem to have used the six-week hiatus to recharge and perform at an impressively high level.

This is all the more surprising for Dortmund, as the team of Lucien Favre typically relies on the support of up to 80,000 fans, including 25,000 forming the so-called Yellow Wall.

Dortmund vs Bayern is not only the battle of a team of enchanting young talents challenging established stars, but the thrilling duel of the league’s top-scoring sides.

Bayern’s 80 goals in 27 matches set a new record, but Dortmund are only narrowly behind on 74.

The Bavarians’ coach Hansi Flick has led the side back to success, revitalizing the team spirit. At the same time, he has brought the best out of established stars such as Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, Thiago Alcantara, youngster Alphonso Davies, Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski.

However, Dortmund might have found its suitable tactical 3-4-3 system just in time. The side established a solid defense around leader Mats Hummels next to full-backs Raphael Guerreiro and Achraf Hakimi.

Upfront, a gifted line of attackers such as Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt is doing a good job of compensating for the loss of injured team captain Marco Reus.

(XINHUA)

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Analysis: Werner rejects Bayern, but doors open for Sane

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An unwritten law in German football seems to have lost its relevance. For decades it said if the country’s leading club was keen to sign a player then everything would work out in Bayern Munich’s favor.

Now the case of Timo Werner indicates times must have changed. According to inside information, the 24-year-old German international has rejected an offer to join the reigning German Champion this summer.

According to media reports, Werner’s management informed the Bavarians a while ago. As a result, the 2013 treble winner has intensified his efforts to sign Manchester City star Leroy Sane.

Bayern coach Hansi Flick had a 30-minute chat on the phone with the German international while sports director Hasan Salihamidzic is said to be in negotiations with the Premier League side.

Werner’s decision not only opens Bavarian doors for Sane but increases the possibility of a Werner move to Premier League leaders Liverpool.

The club managed by the German Juergen Klopp is said to be the striker’s first choice should he leave RB Leipzig. Reports speak of Klopp’s big interest in Werner and his intense efforts to convince the lively attacker.

Werner can fall back on an exit clause in his contract until 2023, allowing him to leave Leipzig this summer for a sum in the region of 60 million euros.

Statements made by his management team indicate Werner couldn’t get over the disappointment at Bayern’s eventual disinterest last year after negotiations lasting over several months.

Last season Werner appeared to be one of football’s bargains as he was on sale for 25 million euro. After Bayern’s surprising withdrawal, Werner extended his contract in Leipzig, including an exit clause containing a dynamically increasing transfer fee.

Bayern coach Flick was said to favour a Werner transfer but now has to change his plans. Werner was meant to either replace spearhead Robert Lewandowski in case of an injury break or to give the Pole a rest. Werner could have widened Flick’s options to choose a twin spearhead. Now Serge Gnabry or Thomas Mueller have to do the job.

After Werner’s decision, Bayern have turned their attention to Sane. The Citizens’ winger seems to have convinced Bayern that he is willing to follow the old unwritten law.

Bayern’s designated chairman Oliver Kahn announced his side is only going to sign new faces if they fit the club’s team philosophy.

Kahn is said to be having negotiations with Sane’s management. Approval for the deal is expected within the upcoming weeks.

Meanwhile, Bayern officials are anxiously waiting for the German national and state government’s politics to allow games behind closed doors by mid-May.

As all clubs of the Bundesliga Bayern are highly interested in finishing the 2019/2020 season in an orderly fashion and then concentrating on international tasks such as to complete the Champions League campaign.

After Flick and Mueller extended their contracts until 2023, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is expected to follow their example shortly.

The contract renewals are said to have created a motivational boost in Munich. Many are hoping the renewed enthusiasm is going to lead the side to the crown of European football, such as winning the Champions League.

With a success of that importance, it seems bearable coming second best in their efforts to sign Timo Werner and then going for Leroy Sane instead.

(XINHUA)

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Ex-goalkeeper disagrees with Bayern Munich on Schalke goalkeeper

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Former Bayern Munich great Sepp Maier has criticised an alleged agreement that Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel would join the Bundesliga champions in summer.

He said this could lead to unrest and would not help the young player.

Schalke have confirmed that the 23-year-old Nuebel would leave in summer.

The Bild newspaper has reported that Nuebel has agreed to a five-year contract in Munich, where Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is first choice and team captain.

Maier told Tuesday’s edition of Bild that the 33-year-old Neuer, who has a contract until 2021, would likely continue to play for another three or four years.

He added that Bayern Munich have enough goalkeepers, such as back-up Sven Ulreich who has deputised on many occasions.

“The next unrest will happen for sure, I can not imagine that Manuel will like this,” Meier said.

The 1974 World Cup winner also said he did not understand the motives of Nuebel who has been first-choice at Schalke for a year.

Maier pointed out that Nuebel would most likely be confined to the substitutes’ bench at Bayern Munich if a transfer happens.

“Nuebel is much too good to be on the subs’ bench. He must play and he wants to play, not just wait and train for three years,” Maier said.

Former national goalkeepers Bodo Illgner and Jens Lehmann were also critical but Toni Schumacher, who spent his final season in Munich, had a different view.

“You go to Munich when Bayern call,” Schumacher said, adding it would not harm Nuebel if he spends a season on the subs’ bench.

OLAL

(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)
(NAN)

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Ginter the inspiration as Germany clinch Euro 2020 spot

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Defender Matthias Ginter scored one goal and was involved in two more as Germany comfortably saw off Belarus 4-0 on Saturday.

The victory ensured that Germany clinched their place at Euro 2020, qualifying for the finals for a record 13th time in a row.

The inspired Ginter broke the deadlock in the 41st minute with a clever backheel, provided a dummy which allowed Leon Goreztka to score the second and the pass for Toni Kroos to add the third.

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer saved a penalty from Igor Stasevich in the 75th minute.

And Kroos added a fourth goal to complete his first national team brace since the 7-1 World Cup semi-final win over Brazil in 2014.

Group C leaders Germany were given a helping hand by arch-rivals the Netherlands who held Northern Ireland 0-0 away to ensure the Dutch and Germans qualified with one match to spare.

Germany have 18 points —- from six draws and one defeat — while the Dutch have 16 and Northern Ireland 14.

Belarus have four points but could still qualify as they have reached the playoffs of the Nations League which offers four more places.

As expected, Germany quickly took control although their early attacks were somewhat predictable.

They were given a fright when Stasevich’s dipping long-range shot forced Neuer into a difficult save and they went ahead shortly afterwards.

Serge Gnabry wriggled past his marker and fired a low ball across the face of goal which was flicked in by Ginter for his first Germany goal on his 29th appearance.

Germany increased their lead four minutes after halftime when Kroos sent a low corner to the edge of the area, Ginter dummied and Goretzka fired home.

Six minutes later, Ginter’s pass found Kroos on the edge of the area and he swept the ball home with a trademark first-time shot.

Belarus were awarded a penalty when Robin Koch tripped Pavel Nekhaychik but Neuer dived to his right to save Stasevich’s spot-kick.

Kroos rubbed it in when he collected the ball in the area, spun past his mark, evaded another and fired a low shot past Aleksandr Gutor to complete the rout.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Lewandowski goals help Bayern 3-2 past Olympiakos

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German champions Bayern Munich needed two goals from their top scorer Robert Lewandowski to sneak past hosts Olympiakos 3-2 on Tuesday and remain top of their Champions League Group B.

The Greeks scored on the break when Kostas Tsimikas’s cross found Youssef El Arabi at the far post and the Moroccan beat keeper Manuel Neuer.

Bayern, struggling for form since their 7-2 win at Tottenham Hotspur earlier this month, recovered to level with Lewandowski in the 34th minute.

He then put them ahead, stabbing in from close range against the run of play in the 62nd for his 18th goal in 12 games in all competitions.

Corentin Tolisso added a third with a curled shot in the 75th before the Greeks cut the deficit with Guilherme’s deflected effort four minutes later.

The win lifted Bayern to nine point from three games. Tottenham crushed Red Star Belgrade 5-0 to move up to second place on four, one ahead of the Serbs. Olympiakos are bottom with one point.

“We made it difficult for ourselves again and didn’t have enough conviction,” said Neuer. “We need to continue working on that, analysing and seeing what we can do better.

“The problem at the moment is that we need to score three goals every game to win because we keep conceding two.”

While victory takes them a step closer to a spot in the knockout stages, it was far from a vintage performance from Bayern, who were again leaking goals.

They have now let in two goals in each of their last five games and there could be even more defensive trouble ahead after Niklas Suele tore his cruciate ligament in his left knee on Saturday and has been ruled out for months.

Fullback Lucas Hernandez, who was deployed into a central defender role in the absence of Suele, had to be taken off with what looked like a painful foot injury in the 58th minute.

But even before that Bayern had looked vulnerable at the back with El Arabi taking full advantage of Suele’s absence in the central defence to head in for the lead.

Coach Niko Kovac looked at times frustrated by the way his team was performing and it took Lewandowski’s scoring prowess to get them out of trouble once more.

Bayern, who have not won their last two league matches, thought they had wrapped it up when Tolisso netted their third but were again caught napping as the Greeks set up a dramatic finale.

However, they could not avoid their first home loss in Europe after a 10-game unbeaten run at their stadium.


VO/MZA

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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Hoffenheim shock Bayern Munich with Adamyan double

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Hoffenheim’s Sargis Adamyan scored his first two Bundesliga goals to stun hosts Bayern Munich 2-1 on Saturday and earn his side their maiden win in Munich.

The 26-year-old Armenian striker scored either side of a Robert Lewandowski goal as Bayern Munich suffered their first league loss.

They have thus crashed back down to reality four days after their 7-2 demolition of Tottenham Hotspur in London in the UEFA Champions League.

Bayern Munich’s first home defeat in 12 months left the title race wide open with the multiple German champions remaining on top with 14 points.

They are ahead on goal difference of Freiburg, who drew 2-2 with Borussia Dortmund, and RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen, who drew 1-1.

Schalke 04 conceded a stoppage time equaliser through Jonas Hector to draw 1-1 with Cologne and miss the chance to go top of the table.

Schalke 04, who ended a four-game winning streak in the league, are also on 14 points.

Borussia Moenchengladbach, on 13 points, take on Augsburg on Sunday and will go top with a win.

Hoffenheim had a golden chance after four minutes in Munich but Adamyan, who joined this season from second division Regensburg, hesitated in his one-on-one with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

It allowed Jerome Boateng to clear at the last moment.

Bayern Munich did not come near their midweek European form.

Apart from some good chances in the first half, they never showed the kind of clinical finishing that saw them fire seven goals past Tottenham.

Adamyan made amends in the 54th minute when he fired in from a tight angle to surprise Neuer, after Corentin Tolisso had lost possession in his own half.

Lewandowski grabbed his 11th goal of the campaign with a well-timed header after Bayern Munich upped the pressure in search of an equaliser.

Adamyan, however, crowned his first start for Hoffenheim with his second Bundesliga goal in the 79th minute.

This was after he beat Neuer once more with a low shot, to give his team their first win in Munich and their first three points since late August.

Schalke 04 thought they had won their game when Suat Serdar nodded in at the far post in the 75th minute.

But, like their Ruhr valley rivals Borussia Dortmund earlier on Saturday, they failed to hang on to their lead.

Schalke 04’s Guido Burgstaller hit the post in the 88th minute but it was Cologne who scored with Hector’s header in stoppage time for a deserved equaliser.

Hector had earlier almost scored an own goal, heading a clearance on to the post.(Reuters/NAN)


VO/OLAL

(Edited by Olawale Alabi)

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Bundesliga: Leipzig stay top with 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich

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RB Leipzig came from a goal down to snatch a 1-1 draw against champions Bayern Munich on Saturday to remain top of the Bundesliga, a point ahead of second-placed Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern Munich, who host Red Star Belgrade in their UEFA Champions League group opener next week, got off to a perfect start when Robert
Lewandowski was sent through by Thomas Mueller.

The Pole struck in the third minute for his seventh goal of the campaign.

Yet in spite of having more than 75 per cent possession in the first half, the Bavarians failed to make their dominance count.

They were punished when Lucas Hernandez, playing as a full-back after David Alaba was injured in the warm-up, brought down Yussuf Poulsen.

Emil Forsberg’s well-taken penalty kick beat Manuel Neuer and drew the hosts level on the stroke of half-time.

“We played a sensational first half and it was our best performance so far,” Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac told reporters. “We kept them away, but we should have gotten more out of our superiority.”

Leipzig shot out of the blocks after the break and it was their turn to set the pace with Bayern Munich goalkeeper Neuer repeatedly coming to the rescue.

Bayern Munich eventually found a way back into the game as their opponents ran out of steam.

Kingsley Coman’s deflected effort in the 77th was tipped onto the crossbar by Leipzig’s Peter Gulasci.

The Hungary goalkeeper also got his fingers onto the ball to turn a Niklas Suele header in stoppage time onto the post.

“The second half was an open game. But at the end of the day the result is frustrating,” Kovac said. “We had more chances, played well but have two points less than we had planned.”

Leipzig, who face Benfica in the UEFA Champions League, are on 10 points, with Borussia Dortmund, who crushed Bayer Leverkusen 4-0, on nine.

Bayern Munich are a further point behind in third.(Reuters/)
OLAL

(Edited by Olawale Alabi)

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