Löw limps closer to exit after Germany's latest painful loss
Germany's collapse at the World Cup in Russia the following month meant the final act of Löw's long tenure would be a rebuild. Germany's showing in Russia was its worst World Cup campaign since 1938, and there's been more unwanted history since. Losing to North Macedonia ended a 20-year, 35-game unbeaten run for the national team in World Cup qualifying. AdInjuries have played their part, too, leading Löw to use defensive midfielder Emre Can at left back and right back in successive World Cup qualifiers. Löw has done some useful groundwork for his successor, like persuading 18-year-old Bayern forward Jamal Musiala to choose Germany over England.
Poland protesters take weekend off for fundraiser
A child in a red costume collects money for Poland's most popular nationwide fundraiser for health purposes, the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, that was postponed by two weeks due to the pandemic, in downtown Warsaw, Poland, on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. Anti-government protesters angry about a near-total abortion ban suspended their marches for the weekend to show solidarity and ensure that they didn't steal the spotlight from the event. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)WARSAW – From soccer star Robert Lewandowski to opposition politicians, Polish citizens on Sunday donated at least 71 million zlotys ($19 million) to a charity's fundraiser for health causes that has been criticized by the conservative government for its liberal agenda. Anti-government protesters angry about a near-total abortion ban suspended their marches for the weekend to show solidarity and ensure that they didn't steal the spotlight from the event. The 71 million zlotys ($19 million) collected is significantly less than over 180 million zlotys collected last year, but the event was to continue until midnight, and making donations was also possible later.
Sports in 2020: Disruptions aplenty, only constant was loss
FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2020, file photo, the Olympic rings for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 pass by on a barge by tugboats off the Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo. Tokyo Olympic officials said Thursday, Dec. 24, they have reached a basic agreement with all 68 domestic sponsors to extend their contracts into next year to support the postponed Games. Facing increasingly long odds, some mega-events — the Olympics, March Madness, the Boston Marathon and Wimbledon — pushed the starting line into 2021. … Continue to push (against) everything that’s the opposite of love.”If only for a moment, the pandemic receded into the background. “If we can continue to do that, all of us,” James concluded, “America would be a much better place.”
Ronaldo in doubt for Messi's visit to Juventus
Some talking points ahead of the second round of games in the Champions League:NO RONALDO VS. MESSI? The highly anticipated matchup of Cristiano Ronaldo against Lionel Messi likely won’t happen because Ronaldo has the coronavirus. Alvaro Morata replaced Ronaldo against Dynamo Kyiv last week and scored twice in a 2-0 win. Eden Hazard was added to the Madrid squad and could make his season debut after nursing a muscle injury. Diego Simeone's side was thrashed 4-0 by defending champion Bayern Munich and next hosts Salzburg in Group A on Tuesday.
Bayern cruises past Chelsea into Champions League quarters
Bayern's Robert Lewandowski celebrates after scoring his team's first goal from the penalty spot during the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)MUNICH Robert Lewandowski scored two goals and assisted two more as Bayern Munich cruised into the Champions League quarterfinals with a 4-1 win over Chelsea on Saturday, completing an overwhelming 7-1 victory on aggregate. The coronavirus-enforced suspension of the season didn't interrupt Bayern's charge to the Bundesliga title and it hasn't interrupted its Champions League bid either. Abraham did get a goal for Chelsea just before halftime when Bayern 'keeper Manuel Neuer gifted him the ball when clearing a cross. Corentin Tolisso added another for Bayern in the 76th before Lewandowski headed in the fourth eight minutes later.
How Germany did it: completing the soccer season in Europe
Munich's players celebrate in front of the empty stands after the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfL Wolfsburg and FC Bayern Munich in Wolfsburg, Germany, Saturday, June 27, 2020. A SEASON LIKE NO OTHERThe games were eerie as players shouts echoed off empty concrete terraces and the colorful fan displays were gone. It helped that Germany was a world leader in ramping up its coronavirus testing. Bundesliga players spent less time training at home than their counterparts in England or Spain because of Germany's quick move to socially distanced training in groups. The English Premier League and Spanish league are both heading into talks on new domestic TV rights cycles from 2022.
Bayern coach Flick the key to latest Bundesliga triumph
(AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)BERLIN Bayern Munich effectively won the Bundesliga title in November when it appointed Hansi Flick as coach. Bayerns defensive record was its worst since Jrgen Klinsmann was coach in 2008. Kovac had led Bayern to a league and cup double the season before but never had the full backing of the clubs leadership. Bayern is currently on a 14-game winning run including the 3-0 win over Chelsea in London in the Champions League. There are also other reasons Bayern has won an unprecedented eight consecutive title, mostly tied to the clubs financial might.
Black Lives Matter in Bundesliga, Bayern keeps winning
(Lars Baron, Pool via AP)BERLIN Germanys soccer league was marked by gestures against racism and support for the Black Lives Matter movement on Saturday as Bayern Munich took another step toward a record-extending eighth straight Bundesliga title. All of Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlins 22 outfield players took a knee in the center-circle together before the top tier's late game with no fans present. Bayern's players had Black Lives Matter printed on their armbands, partly covering sponsor Qatar Airways logo on the left arm. Robert Lewandowski scored Bayerns fourth to claim his 30th Bundesliga goal of the season, set up by Thomas Mller, who now has 20 assists. It also had to do without fans, as all Bundesliga games are being played without supporters amid strict hygiene measures against coronavirus.
Old-fashioned No. 9's are back in fashion in Serie A
9’s are back in vogue in Serie A. The last round of matches was a case in point, with a hat trick from Ronaldo and multiple goals from Lukaku, Immobile and Belotti. Meanwhile, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is only one game into his Serie A return with AC Milan. 9’s, his vertical moves have been in perfect synch with crossing specialists Sergej Milinković-Savić and Luis Alberto. Dubbed “LuLa,” the duo has scored 23 goals in Serie A this season — seven more than all of AC Milan.