Dortmund Star Witsel Undergoes Surgery After Domestic Accident

Dortmund’s Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel (R) vies for the ball with Fortuna Duesseldorf’s US midfielder Alfredo Morales during the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Dortmund v Fortuna Duesseldorf in Dortmund, western Germany on December 7, 2019. INA FASSBENDER / AFP

 

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.

AFP

Barcelona Secure Champions League Last 16 Spot

Barcelona’s French forward Antoine Griezmann celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League Group F football match between FC Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on November 27, 2019.
PAU BARRENA / AFP

 

Barcelona secured a place in the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday with a convincing 3-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund.

Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, and Antoine Griezmann scored for the La Liga champions who have an unassailable four-point advantage ahead of the German side at the top of Group F with one round to go.

AFP

Champions League: Inter Milan Beat Dortmund, Boost Last 16 Hopes

Dortmund’s Swiss goalkeeper Roman Buerki (Rear) deflects a penalty shot by Inter Milan’s Argentinian forward Lautaro Martinez (L) during the UEFA Champions League Group F football match Inter Milan vs Borussia Dortmund on October 23, 2019 at the San Siro stadium in Milan.
Marco Bertorello / AFP

 

Lautaro Martinez and Antonio Candreva scored in either half to boost Inter Milan’s Champions League last 16 hopes on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over Group F rivals Borussia Dortmund.

Argentina forward Lautaro Martinez continued his fine form scoring after 22 minutes in the San Siro, but missed a chance for a second from the penalty spot eight minutes from time.

But Candreva sealed the three points a minute from time to move Antonio Conte’s side move off the bottom of Group F having fallen 2-1 to Barcelona and holding Slavia Prague 1-1.

Inter join Dortmund on four points with Barcelona top with seven points from three games.

The Germans suffered their first defeat of the campaign after a 2-0 win over Slavia and holding Barcelona to a goalless draw.

Stefan de Vrij sent the ball through for Martinez in the opening half an hour with the Argentine beating the offside trap as well as goalkeeper Roman Burki from close range.

The 22-year-old’s goal, his second consecutive in the Champions League after scoring against Barcelona and fifth in four games for Inter, was confirmed by VAR.

Inter could thank captain Samir Handanovic for keeping their advantage into the break with the goalkeeper diving low to clear a Jadon Sancho angled drive.

Candreva sent a shot over just after the break as Inter pushed to close off the game.

Conte gave 17-year-old Sebastiano Esposito his Champions League debut coming on after an hour in place of Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku.

Handanovic again did well to deny Julian Brandt after 64 minutes, with Martinez shooting just wide after 73 minutes.

Dortmund’s best chance came late when Thorgan Hazard broke down the left to send through for Sancho but Marcelo Brozovic cleared the danger.

Esposito earned a penalty for Inter as he raced towards goal forcing a foul from Dortmund’s Mats Hummels to the delight of the 60,000 crowd at the San Siro.

Burki denied Martinez a brace from the spot but Candreva powered forward with a minute of normal time to play to seal victory with his fifth European goal leaving Burki with no chance.

AFP

Dortmund In Milan Without Skipper Reus, Sancho Back

Dortmund’s German forward Marco Reus (R) and Augsburg’s German midfielder Rani Khedira vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match between FC Augsburg and Borussia Dortmund in Augsburg, southern Germany on March 1, 2019.Christof STACHE / AFP

 

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.

AFP

Messi Misses Start In Barcelona, Dortmund Champions League Clash

Barcelona’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi looks on from the bench during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona against Valencia CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 14, 2019. PAU BARRENA / AFP

 

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.

AFP

Bayern Thrash Dortmund 5-0 To Top Bundesliga

Bayern Thrash Dortmund 5-0 To Top Bundesliga
Bayern Munich’s players celebrate after the German first division Bundesliga football match between FC Bayern Munich and BVB Borussia Dortmund in Munich, southern Germany, on April 6, 2019. Matthias Balk / dpa / AFP

 

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.

Champions League: Son Shines As Tottenham Beat Dortmund 3-0

Defender Jan Vertonghen (L) celebrates with teammate Son Heung-Min (R) after scoring their second goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium in London on February 13, 2019.
Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

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.

AFP

Dortmund Thrash Atletico Madrid 4-0

BREAKING: Dortmund Thrash Atletico Madrid 4-0
Dortmund’s Portuguese defender Raphael Guerreiro (C) celebrates scoring the 2-0 goal with his team-mates during the UEFA Champions League group A football match against Atletico de Madrid in Dortmund, western Germany on October 24, 2018. Bernd Thissen / dpa / AFP

 

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.

AFP

Dortmund Teenager Sancho Gets England Squad Call

Dortmund’s English midfielder Jadon Sancho applauds as he goes off during the UEFA Champions League Group A football match BVB Borussia Dortmund v AS Monaco in Dortmund, western Germany on October 3, 2018. Ina Fassbender / AFP

 

Borussia Dortmund teenager Jadon Sancho was a surprise selection as England manager Gareth Southgate named a 25-man squad on Thursday for this month’s Nations League matches away to Croatia and Spain.

Mason Mount and James Maddison were also given their first senior England call-ups by Southgate as it was announced that the 48-year-old had signed a new contract that will keep him with the national side until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The 18-year-old Sancho was called up having already played in the Champions League for German club Dortmund, with Mount rewarded for some strong displays at English second-tier club Derby after joining on loan from Premier League giants Chelsea.

Maddison was selected after a fine start with Leicester in the Premier League this term after signing for the Foxes from Norwich.

Southgate insisted he had no qualms in selecting youngsters for international duty.

“You never know with young players what they are capable of until they have an opportunity,” the manager told a news conference at the national St George’s Park training center.

“We gave Joe Gomez his debut against Brazil and he was man-of-the-match. We have done that over the last few years. It may be a bit early for them but they are having a big impact on important matches.”

The former England defender added: “Mason took a penalty at Old Trafford last week and he looked like he’d been there all of his life. Jadon has had a similar impact for Dortmund in big matches.

“I think very often we hold youngsters back too much. I’m always trying to find that balance, the messaging has to be correct, but it’s good for their development to see how they train with us.”

Winks recalled 

Harry Winks, capped once by England, was recalled after starting for Tottenham against Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday, while Chelsea’s Ross Barkley could win his first cap since a friendly against Australia in May 2016.

Injuries have led Southgate to make changes to World Cup semi-finalists England’s squad.

Dele Alli has been sidelined by a hamstring problem, while fitness doubts have seen the likes of Fabian Delph, Adam Lallana, and Jesse Lingard omitted.

England, second in group A4 of the Nations League, face third-placed Croatia in Rijeka on Friday 12 October before playing leaders Spain in Seville three days later.

England squad for Croatia and Spain

Goalkeepers: Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham), Jack Butland (Stoke), Alex McCarthy (Southampton), Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (on loan at Derby from Chelsea), Harry Winks (Tottenham)

Strikers: Harry Kane (Tottenham), James Maddison (Leicester), Marcus Rashford, (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)

AFP

Dortmund Defender Bartra Set For Betis

Borussia Dortmund’s Spanish defender Marc Bartra arrives to testify in the trial of Sergej W., a man suspected of detonating three bombs targeting the Borussia Dortmund football team bus, at a German state court in Dortmund, western Germany, on January 29, 2018. The blasts shattered bus windows and Spanish international Marc Bartra broke his wrist, while a motorcycle police officer suffered inner ear damage from the blast. Leon Kuegeler / Pool / Afp

Borussia Dortmund defender Marc Bartra, injured in last year’s bomb attack on the team bus, is poised to sign for Real Betis, Spanish media suggested on Tuesday.

“Marc Bartra is about to be announced as a new player for Real Betis,” Mundo Deportivo reported on its internet edition.

According to the newspaper, the 27-year-old Spanish international will be joining on a loan deal with an option to buy.

For sports daily Marca, the deal was initially intended to be a loan arrangement but has since evolved into “a transfer”.

AS said ex-Barcelona defender Bartra “is only a few minor details” away from becoming a Betis player.

On Monday, Bartra was in a German court to testify in the trial of Sergei Wenergold, accused of the April 11, 2017 attack on the Dortmund bus.

Bartra, who suffered a fractured wrist, told the court he had had nightmares since the traumatic event, which left him in hospital for five “terrible” days.

He said the attack had “changed my life”.

Wenergold, a German-Russian, has admitted to remotely setting off three explosions in an elaborate bid to make a fortune on the stock market.

Bartra began his career at Barcelona in 2011-12 but after struggling to get playing time alongside Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano he left for Dortmund in 2016.

Dire Dortmund Results Pain Boss Bosz

Borussia Dortmund coach Peter Bosz admitted their third straight defeat in the Bundesliga “hurts” as the club’s dire form continued ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash against Tottenham Hotspur.

Dortmund are winless in their last five league games, collecting just one point from a possible 15, after losing 2-1 at VfB Stuttgart on Friday.

They last won a Bundesliga match in September and could finish the weekend nine points behind leaders Bayern Munich.

The defeat in Stuttgart further dented fragile confidence before facing Spurs in Europe and next Saturday’s derby showdown against fierce rivals Schalke.

To make matters worse, star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was suspended in Stuttgart for “disciplinary reasons”.

Bosz lamented both the performance and “ridiculous” opening goal, which Dortmund conceded after just five minutes.

“That hurts a lot. We came here to win and so we are very disappointed,” fumed Bosz.

“How we conceded the goals was almost ridiculous.

“We played well in the first half, but if you concede goals, then it becomes difficult.

“The players did a really good job after going behind and we tried to play football.

“We have to continue, we will not give up,” he added with an air of desperation.

– Defensive mix-up –

Without Aubameyang and injured US international midfielder Christian Pulisic, Dortmund were on the back foot after only five minutes.

A defensive mix-up between Marc Bartra and goalkeeper Roman Burki allowed Stuttgart midfielder Chadrac Akolo to score the hosts’ opener.

Maximilian Philipp levelled on the rebound from Andre Schurrle’s missed penalty just before the break for Borussia.

However, Josip Brekalo’s low shot through Burki’s legs in the second half sealed Stuttgart’s win.

After picking up just two points from their first four European matches, Dortmund could be knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage even if they beat Tottenham, should Real Madrid defeat APOEL Nicosia on Tuesday.

Bosz took over at the start of the season, but after Dortmund won six of their opening seven league games, their form has nose-dived.

The Dutchman is cutting an increasingly frustrated figure, but he retains the backing of Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, for now.

“The way things are working behind the scenes is outstanding,” said Watzke.

“He is totally honest, totally calm and relaxed, very analytical.

“You can discuss everything with him.

“He is also decisive but takes all decisions and their consequences without complaining,” added Watzke in a thinly-veiled dig at Bosz’s predecessor Thomas Tuchel.

– ‘No special rights’ –

However, Bosz’s situation will only become more precarious unless results improve, and Aubameyang’s latest indiscretion does nothing to help.

Dortmund disciplined the Gabonese striker last year for flying to a party in Milan without permission.

He also fell offside with club bosses for shaving the Nike logo into his hair, even though Dortmund are sponsored by Puma.

German magazine Kicker claim Aubameyang was suspended for repeatedly coming late to training and for an unauthorised video shoot at Dortmund’s training ground on Wednesday.

“The suspension was disciplinary. A group needs some rules and from time to time you have to sharpen your senses,” said Watzke.

“Aubameyang is actually an awesome lad, but he has no special rights.

“Things must be sanctioned, just like in a family or in a school class – you have to say ‘stop there’.

“He is, and remains, our player.”

AFP

Aubameyang Baffled By Dortmund Suspension

Glo CAF Awards Final Shortlist Unveiled

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said that he did not understand why his club, Borussia Dortmund, had suspended him for turning up late for training.

Dortmund dropped their star striker from the squad for Friday’s Bundesliga match against Stuttgart. Last year, the club suspended Aubameyang for a Champions League match against Sporting Lisbon after he flew to a party in Milan without permission.

“I could understand why I was suspended for Milan because I did not respect the rules, but this time I am truly baffled. I did not want to arrive late,” he told German newspaper Bild in an interview published on Friday.

Bild said the player was suspended because he was 20 minutes late for training. German media have also speculated that he was suspended for again leaving Germany for a night out, this time in Barcelona.

“For disciplinary reasons Aubameyang will not feature in the team for tomorrow’s game,” Dortmund said Thursday on the club’s Twitter account.

The club made no mention of the nature of Aubameyang’s misdemeanour.

The Gabonese forward is the club’s top marksman with 10 Bundesliga goals so far, but he has failed to score in three league games and two Champions League matches, a barren spell that has coincided with a slump by the club.

After three defeats and a draw in the Bundesliga, Dortmund have seen their five-point lead atop the Bundesliga turn into a six-point deficit to bitter rivals Bayern Munich. Borussia are also heading for elimination in the Champions League.

AFP