Category Archives: Bayern Munich

Champions League, Europa League draw

Manchester City will face Juventus or Lyon in the Champions League quarter-finals if they knock out Real Madrid in their delayed last-16 second-leg tie when the competition resumes in early August. Pep Guardiola’s side, who will learn the fate of their appeal against a two-year ban from UEFA club competitions for Financial Fair Play rule breaches on Monday, hold a 2-1 lead from the first leg in Madrid back in February.

Chelsea, the only other remaining Premier League club left in Europe’s top-tier competition, trail Bayern Munich 3-0 ahead of the return leg in Germany, with the winners drawn to meet either Napoli or Barcelona.

RB Leipzig, who defeated Tottenham to reach the last eight of the Champions League for the first time, will meet Atletico Madrid while Atalanta, playing in the Champions League for the first time, have drawn French champions Paris Saint-Germain.

On Thursday, UEFA announced the remaining last-16 second-leg ties in the Champions League will be single-leg fixtures and are set to take place in Lisbon, Portugal at either Sporting’s Estadio Jose Alvalade or Benfica’s Estadio da Luz between August 12-23.

Quarter and Semi-final draw in full
  • Real Madrid or Manchester City (1-2) vs Lyon or Juventus (1-0)
  • Winners to play Napoli or Barcelona (1-1) vs Chelsea or Bayern (0-3)
  • Atalanta vs PSG
  • RB Leipzig vs Atletico Madrid

Meanwhile Manchester United will play Copenhagen or Istanbul Basaksehir in the Europa League quarter-finals if they overcome Austrian side LASK.United are in a strong position to reach the next stage of the competition as they hold a 5-0 first-leg lead over LASK with the second game still to be played.

Wolverhampton Wanderers will face Sevilla or Roma if they progress in their tie against Olympiakos, which finished 1-1 in the first leg in Greece. The winners of those two quarter-final ties will then meet in the semi-final, meaning an all-Premier League contest in the final four could take place but unlike last season no all-Premier League final is possible.

A game against Inter Milan or Getafe awaits Rangers, but they must overcome a 3-1 deficit against Bayer Leverkusen with the second leg to come in Germany.

 

Bayern Munich agree fee for Manchester City winger

Manchester City have agreed a £54.8 million fee for Leroy Sane to complete a move to Bundesliga Champions Bayern Munich. Sane will reportedly sign a four-year deal worth around £385,000 a week.

The German international turned down a new contract with City, who had been willing to pay only around half the wages Bayern have agreed.  The Citizens ultimately decided to sell him rather than risk losing him for free next year when his contract expired.

Sane will now fly out to Munich to complete the move and will stay in Germany for the rest of the season, rather than return for City’s Champions League campaign.

A move to the German giants was on the cards last summer, only for Sane to suffer a serious knee injury during the community shield which ruled him out of action for ten months.

Despite City valuing him at an astonishing £140 million a year ago, getting almost £55 million for the 24-year-old would appear to be some exceptionally good business done by Pep Guardiola.

However, this move would be a disappointing end to Sane’s City career that appeared at one time to be heading for great things at the Etihad after he was crowned PFA Young Player of the Year in 2018.

Sane, was understood to be shocked to be left out of Joachim Low’s German World Cup squad- at the time a move that was quiet baffling- after his magnificent contribution of 10 goals and 15 assists to the record breaking City side, who became the first to break the 100 points barrier in an English top flight season.

In his total appearances of 90 games for City in the Premiership, he has scored 25 goals with 28 assists in a side that has won 68 times, with only nine defeats.

Sane, certainly looks likely to become one of the key components of Hans Flick’s German machine. Not only will the German Champions have the likes of Thiago, Javi Martinez and Alphonso Davies in midfield, they will be now able to throw Sane into the mix as well.  Ultimately, City’s loss looks to be Bayern’s gain, with the German champions squad for next season enhanced by the signing of Leroy Sane.

Already this season Bayern’s strength in depth of their squad is frightening. Enough already to secure the Bundesliga title and the possibility of the Champions League, which is still up for grabs. Adding Sane into this quality squad will only see Der FCB continue to dominate German football for the foreseeable future.

 

Arjun Robben is set for Emotional return to his boyhood club

Arjen Robben has surprised the football world by coming out of retirement to make an emotional return to boyhood club FC Groningen.

The 36-year-old announced to the world of social media on Twitter that he was making a shock return to Groningen, after his wife Bernadien persuaded him to get back to playing again for the Dutch side.

In the video clip posted by Robben he says:

“Dear football friends and FC Groningen fans. I was 12 years old when I started playing in FC Groningen’s youth academy. After a wonderful adventure of 18 years, we’re coming home. We’re coming home in this difficult time of crisis, one that also hits FC Groningen.

Robben continued:

“These past few weeks I’ve had many conversations with club staff and maybe more than anything I’ve listened to the call of our supporters. A comeback as an FC Groningen player, I started to play with this idea and now I’ve made it my mission.”

Robben was also inspired to launch his comeback after the club showed him a montage of basketball legend Michael Jordan’s career. Officials from Groningen met with the veteran Robben just days after he retired from football back in May 2019. While that initial approach failed to convince him, further talks last month helped him make his mind up to return back to playing in the Eredivisie.

After joining Groningen back in 1996, the winger progressed to the first team where he made 46 appearances in two seasons, with eight goals to his name. PSV Eindhoven  recognised his talent and snapped him up in 2002 where he played for two seasons scoring 17 goals in 56 appearances. In his debut season for the club he helped them lift the Dutch title for the 17th time.

Both Alex Ferguson and Roman Abramovich quickly became fans of the talented Dutchman, with United making a bid to PSV, which was soon turned down. Almost immediately Chelsea owner Abramovich moved in and offered the Dutch club 18 million euros that was snapped up straight away as he made his move to England in 2004.

Robben was at the West London club for three seasons, making 67 appearances and scoring 15 goals as well as helping Chelsea to back-to-back Premier League titles. His last appearance in a Chelsea shirt was in the FA Cup Final of 2007, which the Blues won in extra time against Manchester United.

Robben moved to Spain in August 2007, when Real Madrid secured his services after signing a five-year deal with the Spanish giants. He went on to make a half century of appearances for Madrid and hit the net 11 times.

In August 2009, Robben moved to German side Bayern Munich for around £25 million, where he spent ten successful seasons making over 200 appearances for Bayern and finishing one short of a century of goals. He also helped the club to eight Bundesliga titles as well as five German Cup wins.

Aside from being an immensely popular club player, Robben has had a wonderful international career in the Orange shirt of Holland. He made his debut in 2003 in an international friendly against Portugal at the tender young age of just 19. He went on to collect 96 caps between 2003 and 2017, scoring 37 goals, before retiring from international football in 2018.

 

 

Who is Jude Bellingham?

Jadon Sancho. Lautaro Martinez. Erling Haaland. We see plenty of names being branded about as the next best young players but one player that has flown into the public eye recently is Birmingham City’s Jude Bellingham.

The 16 year-old turns 17 on the 29th and has amassed 33 Championship appearances since 2019, scoring four goals. He caught the attention of FourFourTwo magazine when he scored the winner for the Birmingham U23’s side against Nottingham Forest at the ripe age of 15. By March 2019, he’d made 10 development side appearances and bagged three goals. He was also being linked with top clubs around Europe, Borussia Dortmund being the most talked about name at first.

Bellingham then signed a two-year scholarship with Birmingham to begin in July 2019. He was part of the first-team squad in their pre-season training, played and scored in some pre-season friendlies and was subsequently given the number 22 shirt for the 2019/20 campaign .

On the 6th August 2019, Bellingham became Birmingham City’s youngest ever first-team player when he started an EFL cup tie with Portsmouth. At the age of 16 years and 38 days, he beat the record of 16 years 139 days that Trevor Francis had previously held. The Englishman also captained England U15’s in the 17/18 season and went on to do the same for the U16’s by the end of 2018.

In the current season he has played 33 times, as mentioned before and has played a mix of wing and central midfield positions. He has the physical presence needed for a central midfielder and has a good eye for a pass. For a young player he seems very composed and plays with a maturity beyond his years.

With four goals from midfield, you could also say he has a decent eye for goal, which at 16 is highly impressive. The Championship is a notoriously difficult league to play in and with him being able to establish himself, you would have to say the hype surrounding his talents is justified.

Pep Clotet and the club staff feel he is most suited to an advanced central midfield role.

Speaking in October, Clotet said:

“The only difference between a player who is 16 and a player that has a lot of years as a pro is the way they handle the load.

“He’s handling it very well at the moment and he’s a strong player so I don’t see why he can’t hack it.”

His performances have certainly garnered a lot of attention from Europe’s top clubs, with Bayern Munich now entering the fray alongside Dortmund and Manchester United. There were reports in January linking the youngster with a £50 million move to United, a deal that never seemed likely.

However, it does bring up the topic of English players going for a certain premium. As £50 million for a player who had only played half a Championship season seems very steep.

Bellingham will be able to sign his first professional contract when he turns 17 on Monday – he earns a measly £145 per week at Birmingham, which means clubs have just a few days to convince him to join them. Bayern Munich have made an effort to potentially hijack a deal to Dortmund, with Bellingham choosing the latter over United because of the success Jadon Sancho has had.

It would be difficult to see where he fits in at Bayern, whereas Dortmund you could assume Bellingham would get more playing time. Wherever his career path takes him, you can be sure that we haven’t heard the last of this starlet.

UEFA confirm Champions/Europa league and Euro 2020 fixture plans

The return of Europe’s top competitions have been discussed at length since domestic leagues confirmed their return plans. Today at last clubs and fans were given details as to how the knockout stages will be played out.

The club tournaments will be completed in August, with the Europa League being held in Germany and the Champions League being held in Portugal. These will take place from the Quarter final stage.

UEFA confirmed that the 12 original host cities will stage matches in next summer’s Euro 2020 finals. The competition will start on the 11th June 2021. The pushed-back play-off matches will be played during the international breaks starting on the 8th October and the 12th November, respectively.

The Champions League will restart with the second-leg matches of the last 16 games left over. These will be played on the 7th and 8th of August. The games yet to be played are: Manchester City at home against Real Madrid, Chelsea away to Bayern Munich, Juventus at home against Lyon and Napoli, who take their impressive 1-1 away result into their home leg, against Barcelona. UEFA said it has yet to decide whether to stage the games at home grounds or at neutral venues.

 

The subsequent knockout rounds will be played over one leg and will be hosted in the city of Lisbon, at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica and the Estádio José Alvalade, between the 12th to the 23rd August. The final has been scheduled for 23 August, also taking place in Lisbon.

The Estádio do Dragão in Porto and the Estádio Dom Afonso Henriques in Guimarães will also be added to the Lisbon venues for the Round of 16 should such measures be necessary.

The same applies to the Europa League which will resume the Quarter Finals on the 10th August. The remaining last 16 games will be played on the 5th and 6th of August. The venues will be stationed in Cologne, Duisburg, Düsseldorf and Gelsenkirchen.

 

Istanbul and Gdansk, the original host cities for the Champions and Europa League finals respectively, will now stage next year’s finals in 2021.

UEFA stated:

“A decision will be made in due course on whether these matches for which the first leg has already been played will be staged at the home team’s venue or in Germany.

“Inter Milan v Getafe and Sevilla v Roma, whose first leg was also postponed, will be played as a single leg at a venue to be confirmed.”

The Women’s Champions League will also be a knockout tournament, in northern Spain between the 21st and 30th of August.

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, said:

“I am delighted that we are able to resume almost all of our competitions. I am confident that we will not have to endure the fans’ absence for long and that they will be allowed into stadiums sooner rather than later.”

With many Women’s leagues not returning he was also keen to comment on the return on the Women’s Champions League:

“Particularly with the Women’s Champions League, it was important to send a strong signal that it is possible to complete this season, in a time where women’s sports have suffered substantially. This competition has exciting times ahead with the format change in 2021/2022 and we want to enhance the momentum in the women’s game, not lose it.”

Overall, with the return of the Premier League soon this is even more positive news for fans, so mark the dates in your calendar, the season is beginning to hot up again!