Borussia Dortmund announced Wednesday they had cancelled the contract of Andre Schuerrle by mutal consent a year early after the 2014 World Cup winner failed to make his mark in four years at the Bundesliga runners-up.
It was Schuerrle’s cross in extra time during the 2014 World Cup final which Mario Goetze volleyed home to seal Germany’s 1-0 win over Argentina.
The 29-year-old Schuerrle joined Dortmund from Wolfsburg in 2016 for 30 million euros ($34 million), but failed to hold down a first-team place.
He was loaned out to Spartak Moscow last season after spending 2018/19 at Fulham.
“Looking back, it was a time with ups and downs, but also with many valuable experiences,” said Schuerrle.
He is now without a club despite 57 appearances for Germany and 22 goals, including two in the historic 7-1 thrashing of hosts Brazil in the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup.
His last international appearance was in 2017 and in the last four years, Schuerrle managed only 51 games and eight goals for Dortmund.
As the transfer window opened in Germany on Wednesday and closes on October 5, Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke told website Sport1: “It definitely wasn’t a success story for either side.
“For this reason, it was better to cancel the contract prematurely.”
Schuerrle’s departure follows that of Goetze, who left Dortmund last month when his contract expired and neither party sought an extension.
Goetze failed to impress head coach Lucien Favre as Dortmund finished second to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.
Paris Saint-Germain shrugged off having to play in an empty stadium as Neymar set the French club on their way to a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday that took them into the Champions League quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate.
PSG came into the game at the Parc des Princes needing to overturn a 2-1 defeat in the first leg of their last-16 tie in Germany, but Neymar’s 28th-minute header put them ahead on the night in the second leg amid a surreal atmosphere, as banned supporters gathered outside the ground instead.
Juan Bernat then deflected in a Pablo Sarabia assist to make it 2-0 and PSG — for whom Kylian Mbappe was only fit enough to appear as a substitute — go through to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2016.
The victory breaks a run of three straight exits in the first knockout round of the competition, at the hands of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United.
Indeed Dortmund are just the fourth team PSG have defeated in a Champions League knockout tie since the Qatari takeover in 2011, following wins against Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen and Chelsea, the latter on two occasions.
However, their opponents were disappointing, with Erling Braut Haaland never looking like repeating his first-leg heroics when he netted twice. They finished the game with 10 men as Emre Can was sent off late on.
This was one of several Champions League matches this week and next being played out in an empty stadium after authorities banned fans from attending due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Fireworks Outside Ground
However, PSG fans still congregated in significant numbers outside the stadium despite the French government banning all gatherings of more than 1,000 people.
Those supporters brandished flares as the team bus arrived before the game and sang and set off fireworks throughout the match.
Mbappe was only named among the substitutes after struggling with illness and even undergoing a test for coronavirus in the build-up to the game.
The France striker missed two training sessions this week with a sore throat and a fever. His test for COVID-19 came up negative.
His absence from the starting line-up was just the latest blow for coach Thomas Tuchel, who was also without the suspended Marco Verratti and injured centre-back Thiago Silva.
That meant Edinson Cavani and Pablo Sarabia started through the middle of the attack, while Argentine international Leandro Paredes was selected in midfield.
Cavani was denied the opener in the 25th minute when Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki stretched out a leg to tip his shot around the post.
The opening goal followed soon after, with Angel Di Maria swinging in a corner from the right and Neymar stealing in front of his marker to stoop and head in from close range.
The PSG supporters outside the ground responded to the Brazilian’s second goal in the tie by exploding more fireworks in celebration.
Jadon Sancho and Thorgan Hazard tried their luck from outside the area for Dortmund but PSG scored again in first-half stoppage time.
This time Di Maria laid the ball out to Sarabia on the right side of the box, and his low driven ball was diverted into the far corner by Bernat.
Di Maria nearly scored another in the second half from a free-kick before Mbappe came on with just under half an hour remaining.
Dortmund were only one goal away from forcing extra time but rarely troubled Keylor Navas in the home goal and Can saw a straight red card with a minute left for throwing Neymar to the ground.
The Brazilian was also booked following that incident along with Di Maria, now watching from the dugout and who will miss the quarter-final first leg as a result.
Substitute Leon Bailey scored one late goal and made another as Bayer Leverkusen sealed a stunning 4-3 win over Borussia Dortmund to deny the visitors the chance to go second in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Bailey came on for the final 20 minutes with his side 3-2 down and after slotting home the equaliser, the Jamaican winger’s audacious backheel led to Lars Bender heading in Leverkusen’s winner.
It was the first time Dortmund teenager Erling Braut Haaland had failed to score for his new club after hitting eight goals in his first four games.
Leverkusen are now fifth while Dortmund stay third.
Borussia Dortmund were dealt a blow on Wednesday after announcing that captain Marco Reus has picked up a muscle injury that should keep him out of the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain.
In a statement Dortmund said the 30-year-old should be out “for around four weeks” after picking up the injury late in Tuesday’s 3-2 German Cup defeat at Werder Bremen, ruling him out of the home leg of the PSG clash on February 18.
He should, however, be back for the return leg in Paris on March 11.
Germany forward will be a big miss for Dortmund, as he has scored 12 goals and set up seven more this season.
Teenage striking sensation Erling Braut Haaland scored his eighth goal in just four games for Dortmund at Bremen, but could not stop his new side crashing out of the cup.
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel will miss the rest of the year after needing surgery for a facial injury sustained in an accident at home, his club said Monday.
“We couldn’t talk to him yesterday (Sunday) because he was in intensive care in hospital,” said Dortmund coach Lucien Favre, while a club spokesman said Witsel fell at home but gave no further details.
“He won’t be able to play for the rest of the year, but he is already at home,” added Favre.
“It’s a shame for him and us, he’s an important player. Hopefully he is back as soon as possible.”
The 30-year-old Witsel will miss Dortmund’s final Champions League group game at home to Sparta Prague on Tuesday.
They must better Inter Milan’s result against Barcelona at the San Siro in order to reach the last 16.
The Belgium international will also be sidelined for the next three league games. Dortmund are third in the table, five points behind Bundesliga leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Witsel played in Saturday’s 5-0 thrashing of Fortuna Duesseldorf and has featured in all five Champions League group games this campaign.
Borussia Dortmund flew to Italy without captain Marco Reus and striker Paco Alcacer for Wednesday’s Champions League match at Inter Milan, but previously suspended England winger Jadon Sancho and injured goalkeeper Roman Burki were included.
The Bundesliga club said the 30-year-old playmaker Reus missed Tuesday’s flight because he is “still in poor health” after scoring the winner in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Bundesliga leaders Moenchengladbach despite suffering with flu.
Alcacer, who like Reus has scored five league goals so far this season, is also out due to the persistent calf injury which has sidelined him since September 28.
However, Sancho, 19, has been included after being dropped for Saturday’s game after returning late from England duty.
Burki is also back after limping out of the second-half of the Gladbach win with a knee injury.
The Germans top Group F ahead of Barcelona on goal difference after holding the Spanish giants to a goalless draw in Dortmund in their opening game and then winning 2-0 at bottom side Slavia Prague.
Inter, third in the table, drew at home to Slavia and lost 2-1 to Barca a fortnight ago at the Camp Nou in their two previous games.
Teenage star Ansu Fati became Barcelona’s youngest ever Champions League debutant after being named in the starting line-up for the Catalan giants’ campaign opener away to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
The 16-year-old, who became the club’s youngest ever scorer with his maiden strike against Osasuna last month, gets the nod ahead of Lionel Messi, who returns to the squad after several weeks out injured.
At 16 years and 322 days, Fati is around two months younger than the previous record holder Bojan Krkic was when he made his Champions League debut in 2007.
Should he score against Dortmund, the Guinea-Bissau talent would become the youngest player ever to score in the competition, overhauling a 22-year-old record held by former Olympiakos player Peter Ofori-Quaye.
Messi, who has missed the beginning of the season with a calf injury, will start on the bench against Dortmund.
Coach Ernesto Valverde said Monday that he would decide spontaneously whether or not to let Messi play.
“He has trained two or three times and made a good impression. We will see,” said Valverde.
Tuesday’s game marks the beginning of a gruelling Group F campaign for Barcelona and Dortmund, as they look to qualify ahead of Inter Milan and Slavia Prague.
Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus said his team need to take a long, hard look at themselves after their “catastrophic” 5-0 defeat to Bundesliga title rivals Bayern Munich on Saturday.
“We played catastrophically and I don’t have any explanation for it,” Reus told Sky.
“We can’t turn up and play like that, Bayern are not a joke team. We need to be ruthless when we analyse our performance.”
Hapless defending and poor build-up play saw Dortmund humiliated in a remarkable first half, as Bayern outplayed them all over the pitch and reclaimed top spot in the Bundesliga.
“We didn’t leave Dortmund any space to breathe,” said Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said that his team had been “taught a lesson”, and admitted that his decision to play Reus up front instead of Mario Goetze had backfired.
Despite the thumping defeat, Dortmund are still just one point behind Bayern in the title race, and Favre said that his team must put a traumatic evening in Munich behind them.
“We have to concentrate on the next games. If we play like we did today, it will be hard to stay in the title race,” he added.
“We have to play football instead of just saying that we want to win.”
With six games to go, Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski warned that there was still “difficult path ahead” if Bayern were to win a seventh consecutive league title.
“If we win all our games, then we will do it, but it will be difficult. We have to show on the pitch that we want to be champions,” said Lewandowski who scored twice against his former club on Saturday, taking his Bundelsiga career total to 200.
Bayern arguably have the harder run-in. They face a tough away trip to third-placed Leipzig before hosting fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt on the last day of the season.
Yet coach Niko Kovac was optimistic, saying that his team had stuck it their critics with Saturday’s performance.
“It makes me particularly happy because there was a lot of harsh criticism directed at my team,” he said.
Tottenham took a huge step towards reaching the Champions League quarter-finals as Son Heung-min inspired their 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in the last 16 first leg on Wednesday.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side had been under the cosh as Dortmund dominated the first half at Wembley, but Hugo Lloris kept them level with a series of fine saves.
That set the stage for a sublime second half from Tottenham, who were sparked into life by a fine finish from South Korea forward Son.
Son’s fourth goal in his last four appearances took him to 16 for the season, but none have been as priceless as this one.
Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen capped his own powerful performance when he swept in their second goal in the closing stages and substitute Fernando Llorente’s late third put the seal on a remarkable result.
Although Tottenham still have to survive the second leg at Signal Iduna Park on March 5, they have a golden opportunity to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2011.
It was an especially impressive success for Pochettino given he was without the injured Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Danny Rose and Ben Davies.
Pochettino devised a clever game-plan that eventually frustrated Dortmund and secured Tottenham’s first ever Champions League knockout-round win at home.
With Rose and Davies sidelined, Pochettino deployed centre-back Vertonghen out of position at left wing-back and switched to a three-man defence that stifled the Bundesliga leaders.
Pochettino had insisted Tottenham would be able to ignore the draining effects of a gruelling schedule which he felt left them at a “massive disadvantage”.
And his passionate talk of seeing the “energy” in his players’ eyes as they looked forward to a big Champions League night proved prescient as they worked tirelessly to leave Dortmund helpless to stem the tide.
Lucas Moura gave Tottenham an early spark when he latched onto Davinson Sanchez’s header and smashed a volley just wide from the edge of the area.
Juan Foyth gifted Dortmund their first sight of goal when he dwelt on the ball too long and was alertly dispossessed by Christian Pulisic.
But Lloris spared Foyth’s blushes as he blocked Pulisic’s shot at the near post.
– Perseverance rewarded – Dortmund’s rapier attacks were led by Jadon Sancho, who left Manchester City to join Dortmund in 2017 without ever playing for the Premier League team.
Just two years later, the 18-year-old winger made his first appearance back on home soil now established as an England international rated as one of Europe’s hottest prospects.
Sancho hit top gear on several occasions in a mesmerising first-half display, leaving two Tottenham midfielders for dead and linking with Pulisic, whose shot was blocked at the last minute.
It took Tottenham over half an hour before they finally forced ‘keeper Roman Burki into action after Son wriggled through the visitors’ defence.
Lloris made a superb save to deny Dortmund on the stroke of half-time as Dan-Axel Zagadou met Sancho’s cross with a header that the Tottenham captain clawed out at full stretch.
Despite being pushed back for much of the first half, Tottenham had refused to surrender and their perseverance was rewarded in the 47th minute.
When Vertonghen swung over a cross from the left, Dortmund’s defence were out of position for the first time all night and Son timed his run perfectly behind Zagadou to caress a fine volley past Burki.
Suddenly, Tottenham had all the momentum and Vertonghen rampaged forward to fire over.
Dortmund had no answers to Tottenham’s high-tempo pressing and it was Vertonghen who was the hosts’ unlikely hero in the 83rd minute as he volleyed home from Serge Aurier’s cross.
Tottenham were rampant and Llorente completed a memorable night when he glanced a close-range header past Burki from Christian Eriksen’s corner three minutes later.
Borussia Dortmund stunned Atletico Madrid with a 4-0 thrashing on Wednesday to move to the verge of the Champions League knockout stage, as English teenager Jadon Sancho scored his first goal in the competition.
It was the heaviest Champions League defeat ever suffered by Diego Simeone in seven years as Atletico head coach and put Dortmund top of Group A after both teams had previously beaten Club Brugge and Monaco.
Axel Witsel gave Dortmund the lead at Signal Iduna Park when his first-half shot took a wicked deflection, before Raphael Guerreiro, who scored twice in the second half, and 18-year-old Sancho came off the bench to grab the other goals.
Dortmund were without in-form Spanish striker Paco Alcacer, who has scored seven times in just four Bundesliga games, with a leg injury, while Diego Costa returned to partner Antoine Griezmann up front for Atletico.
This was a typically tense European affair, played at a frantic pace between two strong teams eager to focus on attacking football with neither defence allowing many clear chances.
With 35 minutes gone, Dortmund lost midfielder Thomas Delaney with a foot injury and the Dane was replaced by Mahmoud Dahoud, who played a hand in the opening goal.
After a determined run by US midfielder Christian Pulisic, 20, Dahoud carried on the move, before the ball eventually fell to Witsel, whose shot took a big deflection before finding the net.
Atletico boss Simeone brought on a fresh pair of legs in midfield for the second half, taking off Thomas Partey and bringing on Rodri.
The visitors showed how dangerous they can be by driving forward with real purpose and midfielder Saul Niguez crashed a shot off the woodwork on 53 minutes with Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki well beaten.
Borussia were living dangerously, but a good spell midway through the second half, with Witsel in the thick of things, turned the game the hosts’ way.
Achraf Hakimi on loan from Real Madrid, got in the way of a Marco Reus run into the area, but the 19-year-old soon made amends by laying on the second goal with 17 minutes to go.
The left-back got in behind his man and fired in a low cross that Reus missed, but Guerreiro stabbed past Oblak.
At the other end, Burki only denied Atletico winger Angel Correa, on for Niguez, with the help of the post.
Dortmund sealed the win when Hakimi did the damage again, charging into the area and teeing up Sancho to tap home their third goal on 83 minutes.
And it turned into a rout when Guerreiro snapped up a loose pass from Felipe Luis and fired past Oblak with a minute remaining.