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Augsburg sign defender Felix Goetze from Bayern

Berlin, June 7: German football club Augsburg have signed young defender Felix Goetze from Bayern Munich, both sides announced.

Augsburg sealed their third summer transfer as Goetze penned a four-year deal to stay with the “Fuggerstaedter” until June 2022, reports Xinhua news agency.

“We are happy to welcome Felix Goetze, a talented and young player at Augsburg. He is willing to learn and is already well trained. We believe that he can take his next step as a professional here,” Augsburg’s sporting director Stefan Reuter said.

In the past season, Goetze was in Bayern’s first team four times but wasn’t fielded. He made 19 appearances for the second team and scored three goals.

“I closely monitored Augsburg and saw how much trust is placed in young players here. Therefore I think that the transfer to Augsburg is the right choice to develop as best as possible,” the 20-year-old new arrival said.

Augsburg completed the Bundesliga season 2017-2018 in the 12th place in the standings.


Neuer trains with German team ahead of Russia World Cup

Eppan (Italy), May 25: Defending FIFA World Cup champions Germany stretched their legs Thursday in a training exercise in the north of Italy, with just over three weeks until they embark on a campaign to defend their title when Russia hosts the competition next month.

Germany is set to open Group F with a clash against Mexico on June 17, at the Luzhinki stadium in the Russian capital Moscow, reports Efe.

German football fans would be relieved to see world-class goalkeeper Manuel Neuer at the training ground in Eppan, in Italy’s South Tyrol region, as Bayern Munich’s pair of safe hands has only just recovered from what was his second metatarsal break in six months.

Joachim Loew, the squad’s head coach spoke with the press after the session.

One of the favourites to win in Russia, Germany must navigate a reasonably difficult group that includes as well as Mexico, South Korea and Sweden.

James Rodriguez
James Rodriguez would not be returning to Real Madrid, claims Bayern Munich.

James arrives in Colombia, set to join national squad in Bogota

Bogota, May 24: Bayern Munich star James Rodriguez has arrived in Colombia and is set to join his national-squad teammates shortly for FIFA World Cup preparations.

Thus far, 20 of the 35 players who made a preliminary cut for Colombia’s World Cup team are in Bogota for training sessions overseen by head coach Jose Pekerman, reports Efe.

James was in Medellin, Colombia’s second city, on Tuesday taking part in a road-safety campaign, but the attacking midfielder is expected to arrive for training on Wednesday.

Wilmar Barrios, a defensive midfielder for Argentine club Boca Juniors, said upon his arrival in Bogota that he was feeling well physically and ready to represent the Andean nation in Russia.

Barrios took part in Tuesday’s training session along with AC Milan defender Cristian Zapata and PSV Eindhoven defender Santiago Arias.

Thus far, none of the practices have been open to the media.

Colombia’s football federation (FCF) said in a brief statement that the players did work in the gym and also took part in passing and tight-space drills.

The national team will train in Colombia this week before flying Saturday to Italy for the final phase of its World Cup preparations.

Before departing, the team will have a send-off on May 25 at El Campin Stadium in Bogota that will include a concert and a match featuring the players selected for the World Cup.

On May 14, Pekerman unveiled his provisional list of 35 call-ups for this summer’s World Cup in Russia, a roster that must be reduced to 23 by June 4, according to FIFA rules.

Colombia will play a friendly on June 1 against Egypt in Bergamo, Italy.

The South American team has been drawn into Group H of the World Cup along with Poland, Senegal and Japan.


Frankfurt upset Bayern 3-1 to clinch German Cup

Berlin, May 20: Eintracht Frankfurt clinched their fifth German Cup after beating Bayern Munich 3-1 by courtesy of Ante Rebic’s brace in the final at outsold Berlin Olympia stadium.

The “Eagles” have flabbergasted uninspired Bayern Munich in the German Cup final and spoiled Jupp Heynckes’ last game as Bayern coach as Ante Rebic’s double strike smoothed the way for the win before Mijat Gacinovic sealed the deal in the dying seconds of the game on Saturday, Xinhua reported.

Bayern grabbed a bright start into the final as Robert Lewandowski ensured the first chance of the game after rattling the woodwork with eight minutes played.

However, it were Frankfurt who caught a fairy tale start against the German record champions as James Rodriguez fumbled the ball allowing Ante Rebic to beat Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich with a low shot in the 11th minute.

The Bundesliga champions assumed control and squandered several promising opportunities. Hence, Bayern had to take a 1-0 deficit into the half time.

After the restart, the “Bavarians” were able to restore parity as Joshua Kimmich’s square pass found Robert Lewandowski, who poked home from inside the box to make it 1-1 on the scoreboards.

Jupp Heynckes’ men gained momentum but lacked in accuracy in front of Frankfurt’s goal area. Eintracht Frankfurt responded well to the equalizer and shocked Bayern in the closing period as Ante Rebic shrugged off Niklas Suele to beat Ulreich once again in the 82nd minute.

Bayern pressed frenetically for the late leveller but clinical Frankfurt caught the “Bavarians” flat footed as Mijat Gacinovic tapped home the 3-1 win into the empty goal.

With the result, Frankfurt lift their first German Cup since 1988 as head coach Niko Kovac upset his future employer Bayern Munich in the final. The “Eagles” booked thus their UEFA Europa League group stage ticket.

“Football can write the most beautiful stories. I am happy for the club and the team. When you stand together you can do it all. Last year we lost this final. This year we are the happy ones. I had great two-and-a-half year here but I leave the club on a high note,” Frankfurt head coach Niko Kovac said.


Teenage midfielder Evina signs professional contract at Bayern

Berlin, May 12: Bayern Munich have equipped young attacking midfielder Franck Evina with a long term professional contract, keeping him with the German football champions until June 2021.

“Franck is a fast paced midfielder who is tremendously athletic. We are happy to have signed him as we want to continue his good development,” Bayern’s sporting director Hassan Salihamidzic said on Friday, reports Xinhua news agency.

Since 2013, Evina played his way through Bayern’s youth teams before he made his breakthrough in the second team.

“It is a great honour for me to get this opportunity at Bayern. I want to continually learn a lot in the years to come and repay the trust of the club with good performances,” Evina said.

Evina made his Bundesliga debut in Bayern’s 4-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt on April 28. He was also in the staring lineup against Cologne on May 5.

Champions League: Real Madrid are going to Kiev

Sven Ulreich’s huge error ultimately proved decisive as Real Madrid progressed to the Champions League final thanks to a 2-2 draw in an enthralling semi-final second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid came from behind to win 2-1 last week in the first leg at the Allianz Arena, and sealed their progression with a 4-3 aggregate triumph despite an unconvincing performance on Tuesday.

Bayern took the lead in the third minute, Joshua Kimmich opening the scoring following a mistake by Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.

The hosts were quick to reply but it was Karim Benzema and not Cristiano Ronaldo, making an outfield record 152nd appearance in the competition, who took centre stage.

Benzema’s close-range header ensured Madrid’s deficit lasted only eight minutes, and 21 seconds into the second half he was presented with a gift when Ulreich misjudged a back-pass from Corentin Tolisso.

Champions League: Real Madrid are going to Kiev 1

There was another twist as James Rodriguez, on a two-year loan spell at Bayern from Madrid, levelled the tie on the night with a goal he did not celebrate but, despite intense pressure from the away team, Zinedine Zidane’s men held on to move within a win of a third successive European title, and now await Liverpool or Roma in the Kiev final on May 26.

So often the hero at the other end for Madrid in games of such magnitude, it was an error from skipper Ramos that enabled Bayern to get the start they needed.

He failed to clear Thomas Muller’s lofted cross into the box and Kimmich was there to pounce and slot home with a first-time finish. Madrid soon levelled matters on the night, capitalising on slack marking from the visitors.

Champions League: Real Madrid are going to Kiev 2

Yet Madrid continued to look vulnerable at the back and Bayern had a strong claim for a penalty dismissed by referee Cuneyt Cakir, who refused to point to the spot after Ramos appeared to bundle over Robert Lewandowski in the box.

A fine run from Franck Ribery and a clever turn and shot from Muller forced a low save from Keylor Navas, who then denied Lewandowski after a surging run from Mats Hummels, the subsequent looping rebound nodded down by Muller but then fired over on the volley by James as Madrid again somehow survived.

Champions League: Real Madrid are going to Kiev 3

Ulreich turned a low Ronaldo drive wide as the frenetic pace continued, with Ramos heading into the side-netting from the resulting corner, before another Bayern penalty appeal was waved away after Marcelo appeared to handle a Kimmich cross.

But all Bayern’s impressive work in the first half was undone in a blink as Ulreich’s howler left them with a mountain to climb.

Tolisso played a risky backpass and Ulreich, seemingly caught in two minds as he came to claim it, slipped to present Benzema with the ball on a plate in front of an open goal that he tapped in to, despite the best efforts of Hummels.

Navas produced heroics at the other end to turn a vicious deflected Alaba effort behind, and Ramos was again fortunate not to concede a penalty after another challenge on Lewandowski.

Champions League: Real Madrid are going to Kiev 4

The tie should have been put to bed by Ronaldo, but he blazed Marcelo’s cross wide with a close-range volley.

Navas had to get down low to keep out a Muller header as Madrid’s nerves were further jangled, but a defence that never looked secure withstood the pressure to put Los Blancos within 90 minutes of a fourth European crown in five seasons.

No hard feelings towards Zidane: James

James Rodriguez’s respect for Real Madrid means he will not celebrate if he scores for Bayern Munich in their Champions League semi-final second leg.

The Colombia international is in the first season of a two-year loan spell with the Bundesliga champions, who have the option to purchase him on a permanent basis.

He appears unlikely to return to Madrid after falling out of favour under Zinedine Zidane, although the 26-year-old insists he holds no ill will toward the coach.

Instead, the playmaker is focused on helping Bayern overcome a 2-1 deficit from the first leg when the teams meet again on Tuesday.

“I was treated very well here. It was three unique years when I won many titles,” James said at his pre-match media conference.

“It also has something to do with respect for the club and the spectators.

“I don’t have any hard feelings towards Zidane. I just want to play week in, week out. There’s nothing against Zidane or this club.

“I am very happy [at Bayern] and just thinking of this game and of playing a good World Cup. Then we’ll see what happens.”

While plenty of eyes will be on James, the pressure is also on Robert Lewandowski to perform after he failed to fire in the first leg.

The striker has come under increasing scrutiny as speculation mounts over his future at the club, but Thomas Muller believes criticism of his team-mate is unwarranted.

“Lewandowski hasn’t scored in the last few weeks but has 28 in the Bundesliga this season, which is a testament to him. His qualities are undisputed,” Muller said.

“Real have a superb scorer [Cristiano Ronaldo] who did not score in the first leg either. But they won 2-1, so it does not get discussed.”

Real Madrid's midfielder Isco attends a training session at Valdebebas Sport City in Madrid on October 17, 2016 on the eve of their Champions League football match against Legia Warszawa. / AFP / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)

Champions League: Isco out from semi-final clash

Isco will miss Real Madrid’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich on Tuesday after failing to recover from a sprained shoulder in time.

The Spain midfielder suffered the injury during the first leg of the semi-final on German soil, leading to him being substituted at the halfway stage of his side’s 2-1 win.

Despite training with the squad on Monday, Isco’s name does not feature in Zinedine Zidane’s squad for the return fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, Nacho Fernandez – who has missed the past month of action due a thigh problem – is included.

The defender’s return would be timely too, considering the reigning European champions are without regular right-back Dani Carvajal due to a hamstring strain.

Having dropped in to defence to cover for Carvajal at the Allianz Arena, winger Lucas Vazquez could once again be asked to fill the role in the Spanish capital.

Elsewhere, Gareth Bale will be hoping to see minutes in European competition after slipping down the pecking order of late.

Squad: K. Navas, K. Casilla, Luca, Sergio Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Theo, Kroos, Modrid, Casemiro, Asensio, Kovacic, Ceballos, Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema, Lucas Vasquez, B. Mayoral.


Bayern Munich leave for Madrid without Robben, Boeteng

Munich, April 30: Bayern Munich left for Spain on Monday morning ahead of their Champions League semi-final clash against Real Madrid, but injured defender Jerome Boateng and winger Arjen Robben were notable absences aboard the plane, with Austrian David Alaba stepping up to the plate.

Head coach Jupp Hyenckes announced his 21-strong team sheet which included Sven Ulreich, Tom Starke, Christian Früchtl, Sandro Wagner, Niklas Süle, Mats Hummels, Thiago, Frank Ribéry, Jaci Martinez, Robert Lewandoski, Rafinha, Juan Bernat, Lars Lukas Mai, Meritan Shabani, Sebastian Rudy, Corentin Tolisso, Thomas Müller, David Alaba, Niklas Dorsch and Joshua Kimmich, reports Efe.

Germany defender Boateng and Dutchman Robben were sidelined through injury, but the club’s president said before boarding the plane: “Arjen is a player who improves every team, but we’ve got a squad that’s strong enough itself to compensate for his absence.”

The Germans lost 1-2 in the first home fixture in the UEFA Champions League semi-final stage.

Madrid host Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday evening.

New look Bayern crush Frankfurt

FC Bayern enjoyed a successful dress rehearsal for the Champions League, beating Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1 on Saturday afternoon.

FCB reserves captain Niklas Dorsch crowned his pro debut, handing his side the lead shortly before half-time. Sandro Wagner doubled the lead with a quarter-hour to go, but Frankfurt’s Sébastien Haller replied immediately. Subs Rafinha and Niklas Süle closed out the meeting shortly before the final whistle.

The Bavarians started with Sven Ulreich in goal and Joshua Kimmich, Mats Hummels, Lars Lukas Mai and Juan Bernat in a back four. Sebastian Rudy anchored a midfield featuring Meritan Shabani, Corentin Tolisso, Dorsch and Franck Evina, with Sandro Wagner as the sole striker.

Jupp Heynckes shuffled his deck, handing playing time to a clutch of youngsters. Besides Mai, who started against Hannover last weekend, Dorsch, Evina and Shabani made their pro debuts. Rafinha replaced over from Kimmich at half-time, Thiago and Süle taking over from Shabani and Evina around the hour mark.

The 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw a dour first half-hour. The sides felt each other out, Bayern dominating possession at first. Frankfurt’s Luka Jovic tested Ulreich from 20 yards, Evina aiming too far at the other end. Visiting netminder Lukas Hradecky proved equal to a Wagner effort. Frankfurt slowly but surely got a grip on the contest and were in the driving seat after the half-hour.

The visitors went looking for a reply after the interval, Jovic just missing a da Costa cross in Bayern’s box. Heynckes’ troops upped the ante now, Thiago firing over the bar before Wagner glanced a header wide.

Wagner doubled the lead following a fine Rudy pass with a quarter-hour to go, but just as it looked as if Bayern had put the game to bed, Eintracht had the ball in the back of the net when Haller converted a da Costa cross.

The result takes Bayern onto 81 points from 32 matches. The Reds are back in action in just three days, when they face Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final return leg at the Bernabéu, where they will be looking to overturn a 2-1 deficit.

FT: Bayern 4-1 Frankfurt 
Dorsch 42′ | Wagner 75′ | Rafinha 86′ | Sule 89′ | Haller 77′

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