Footballers at Germany’s top teams including Bayern Munich have agreed to take pay cuts to help clubs survive the economic impact of the coronavirus, media reports said Tuesday.
Newspaper Bild reports that players and club officials at champions Bayern, top of the Bundesliga when the Bundesliga season was halted on March 13, have accepted a 20 percent cut in their salaries.
Like all top European leagues the German top flight is losing income from broadcasting, sponsorships and ticket sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, with matches in Germany suspended until at least April 2.
Bayern has a massive wage bill which reached 336 million euros (364 million dollars) last year, almost half of club turnover.
Players at Borussia Moenchengladbach were the first in the Bundesliga to propose a pay cut, followed by others at Werder Bremen and Schalke 04. Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen players are in talks over pay cut proposals with management.
At Dortmund — second in the Bundesliga — coach Lucien Favre has made a personal offer to take a pay cut while players are negotiating a 20 percent salary reduction if the season does not restart or a 10 percent cut if play resumes behind closed doors, when clubs will at least earn income from TV rights.
The German football league on Friday halted first division Bundesliga games with immediate effect over the coronavirus pandemic, the first such suspension since World War II.
“Given the developments of today with new coronavirus infections and suspected cases directly linked to the Bundesliga and the 2nd division, the German Football League has decided at short notice to postpone today’s matches,” said the league in a statement.
All five of Europe’s top leagues have now been suspended, with top-flight officials in France and England making similar announcements earlier on Friday.
Spain’s La Liga postponed fixtures for two weeks on Thursday, while Italy’s Serie A was put on hold until April 3 at the start of the week.
The German league said it would plan to hold a meeting with clubs during the international break at the end of March to evaluate the situation and take further decisions if necessary.
“The goal is still to get to the end of the season before the summer, for sporting reasons, but also because a permanent stoppage to the season would put the survival of certain clubs in danger,” league officials said.
An extension of the season into June would require postponing Euro 2020, which is due to start June 12. European football’s governing body will hold a crisis meeting next Tuesday to determine the fate of the tournament.
The idea of playing this weekend while Germany stepped up measures to combat the spread of the virus, including closing schools in most German regions, did not sit well with several players.
“This is crazy. Please stop fooling around and land on reality. Let’s be honest, there are much more important priorities than any sport,” tweeted Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara.
Union Berlin goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz claimed footballers were being treated like “circus monkeys”, while Paderborn defender Uwe Hunemeier said the “only priority must be everyone’s health”.
Erling Braut Haaland scored his 40th goal of the season as the teenager continued his phenomenal scoring streak in Borussia Dortmund’s 2-0 win at Werder Bremen on Saturday.
The 19-year-old flicked home a second-half cross to score his 12th goal in eight games for Dortmund as Lucien Favre’s side moved second in the Bundesliga, four points behind leaders Bayern Munich.
Haaland, who scored twice in Tuesday’s Champions League last 16, first-leg win over Paris Saint-Germain, also netted 28 goals for Salzburg before joining Dortmund for 20 million euros ($22 million) in December.
Dortmund ground out victory after showing some early nerves in Bremen where they crashed to a 3-2 German Cup defeat earlier this month.
Centre-back Dan-Axel Zagadou gave the visitors the lead by volleying home a Jadon Sancho corner on 52 minutes.
Haaland doubled the advantage by drilling Achraf Hakimi’s square ball into the corner on 66 minutes to score his ninth Bundesliga goal.
After five straight league defeats, Bremen remain 17th and five points from safety.
They suffered another blow in the relegation battle as Fortuna Duesseldorf, who are a place above them, enjoyed a 2-0 win at Freiburg.
Dortmund climbed above RB Leipzig on goal difference.
Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig can move back to within one point of Bayern, who beat bottom side Paderborn 3-2 on Friday, when they visit Schalke later on Saturday.
Fourth-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach slipped six points behind Bayern, albeit with a game in hand, as Lucas Ribeiro’s injury-time strike snatched Hoffenheim a 1-1 draw at Borussia Park.
Matthias Ginter had powered in an early opener for Gladbach, but the hosts were made to pay after Alassane Plea saw a 75th-minute penalty saved by Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann.
Despite splashing out 77 million euros ($83 million) on transfers in January, Hertha Berlin’s poor form continued in a 5-0 thrashing at home to Cologne.
Hertha were brought crashing back down to earth after Alexander Nouri won his first game in charge following Jurgen Klinsmann’s shock resignation last weekend at Paderborn.
The home side defended woefully and were 2-0 down inside 22 minutes as Jhon Cordoba scored an early double.
The Colombian striker exploited a four-on-two situation for his first goal and easily escaped his marker to head in the second.
Midfielder Florian Kanz added two goals of his own before Mark Uth curled home a free-kick 20 minutes from time as Hertha capitulated.
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.
Robert Lewandowski hit his 20th league goal this season as Bayern Munich climbed to second in the Bundesliga Sunday with a 4-0 romp at Hertha Berlin to trim RB Leipzig’s lead to four points.
Having seen RB Leipzig go five points clear with a 3-1 win over Union Berlin on Saturday, Bayern climbed a place in the Bundesliga with second-half goals in the capital by Thomas Mueller, Lewandowski, Thiago Alcantara and Ivan Perisic.
After Leipzig’s Germany striker Timo Werner had edged ahead of him as the league’s top scorer with two goals against Union, Lewandowski drew level with his main rival’s tally on 20 league goals by converting a penalty.
Lewandowski and Werner are now the first players in Bundesliga history to have scored 20 goals after 18 games in their challenge to Gerd Mueller’s record of 40 goals in a Bundesliga season, set in 1971/72.
After a groin injury last month, Lewandowski proved his fitness with an lively display at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.
He now has 31 goals in 26 games in all competitions, including 10 in just five Champions League games.
There was good news before kick-off for Hertha coach Jurgen Klinsmann as the German Football Association (DFB) confirmed his coaching licence is valid after doubts emerged last week over whether the certificate earned in 2000 had expired.
There was little else to cheer Hertha fans as Bayern established supremacy with nearly 70 percent possession as the defending champions struggling however to break Hertha’s defence.
The breach finally came on 60 minutes when Leon Goretzka put a cross to the far post, Perisic headed back and Mueller crashed home the shot.
Lewandowski had a header disallowed soon after when the video assistant referee spotted the striker made contact with Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein, who had claimed the cross a millisecond before.
However, when Bayern were awarded a penalty after Goretzka was upended, Lewandowski sent Jarstein the wrong way to put Bayern 2-0 up with 73 minutes gone.
Alcantara added a third with superb finishing after the Hertha defence had again been shredded and Perisic was finally rewarded for a good display when he headed home with six minutes left with an assist from Mueller.
The victory in Berlin sets Bayern up for Saturday’s crunch home clash against fifth-placed Schalke, who beat fellow title contenders Moenchengladbach 2-0 in Gelsenkirchen on Friday.
Bayern Munich dropped to sixth after Ramy Bensebaini’s injury-time penalty fired Bundesliga leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach to a 2-1 win over the reigning champions on Saturday.
A second straight league loss puts pressure on Hansi Flick, who has been put in charge until January and was tipped to see out the season as interim boss after winning his first five games.
Bayern, now seven points adrift in the title race, went ahead at Borussia Park when Ivan Perisic fired home just after the break, but defender Bensebaini headed Gladbach level with an hour gone.
The Algerian then struck his decisive stoppage-time penalty after Bayern’s Javi Martinez was sent off for a second yellow card.
There were wild scenes of celebrations from home fans at the final whistle of a game Bayern dominated for long stretches.
But like last week’s 2-1 home loss to Bayer Leverkusen, they only had themselves to blame as they squandered a string of chances.
Bayern had six clear first-half chances, two of which saw striker Robert Lewandowski fire wide.
They were denied the lead by goal-line technology on 29 minutes when Joshua Kimmich’s shot slid under Yann Sommer’s block, but the Gladbach goalkeeper scrambled and just managed to stop the ball fully crossing the line.
Bayern finally broke through when Perisic, a first-half replacement for injured Coretin Tolisso, hammered his shot on the turn to beat Sommer four minutes after half-time.
Surviving on less than 40 percent possession, Gladbach drew level on the hour mark against the run of play as they scored off their first clear chance.
Midfielder Jonas Hofmann whipped in a corner and Bensebaini powered his header past Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Gladbach gained in confidence, but the game turned in the 90th minute when Bayern defender Javi Martinez gave a penalty away and was sent off for a clumsy tackle on Marcus Thuram in the area.
The Spain international trudged off after being shown second a yellow card as Bensebaini showed nerves of steel to convert the penalty.
– Dortmund run riot –
Elsewhere, RB Leipzig stay second after their 3-1 home win against Hoffeneheim as Timo Werner grabbed the opener, then netted a second-half penalty to leave the Germany striker with 15 league goals this season.
Midfielder Marcel Sabitzer scored Leipzig’s late third goal before defender Erim Bicakcic pulled back a consolation goal for Hoffenheim just before the whistle.
Borussia Dortmund eased the pressure on coach Lucien Favre to go third with a 5-0 home romp against Fortuna Duesseldorf, who drop into the bottom three, as England winger Jadon Sancho and club captain Marco Reus both scored twice.
Having ground out a 2-1 win with 10 men at Jurgen Klinsmann’s relegation-threatened Hertha Berlin last weekend, Dortmund ran riot after the break at home with four second-half goals.
Reus put the hosts ahead at Signal Iduna Park, then combined with Sancho and Thorgan Hazard after the break to shred Duesseldorf’s defence.
Sancho had a goal ruled out for offside on 52 minutes, but set up Hazard four minutes later, before scoring Dortmund’s third goal with an hour gone after combining with Reus.
Reus, then Sancho both claimed their second goals inside a devastating four-minute spell just before the whistle.
Freiburg moved up to fifth, a point above Bayern, with a 1-0 win at home to Wolfsburg thanks to a second-half winner from Jonathan Schmid while mid-table Augsburg enjoyed a 2-1 win at home to Mainz.
Managerless Bayern Munich went second in the Bundesliga on Saturday with a 4-0 romp at Fortuna Duesseldorf as leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach suffered a shock 2-0 defeat at Union Berlin.
Bayern’s interim coach Hansi Flick enjoyed his third straight win since Niko Kovac was sacked earlier this month as Munich moved to within a point of Gladbach.
A top-of-the-table showdown beckons in a fortnight when Gladbach host Bayern at Borussia Park.
RB Leipzig can draw level on 24 points with Bayern if they win at home to strugglers Cologne later on Saturday evening.
Bayern routed Dusseldorf with goals by Philippe Coutinho, Serge Gnabry, Benjamin Pavard and Coretin Tolisso, with Robert Lewandowski failing to score in a league game for the first time this season and ending his record 11-match run.
However, it was the Poland forward who forced a corner from which Pavard scored the opening goal after 11 minutes.
His France team-mate Tolisso then doubled the lead in the 27th minute after Duesseldorf’s US international Zack Steffen surrendered possession.
Serge Gnabry, who scored a hat-trick in Germany’s 6-1 thrashing of Northern Ireland in mid-week, continued his goal-scoring run when he was presented with a simple tap-in by Thomas Mueller seven minutes later.
Lewandowski turned provider again with the 70th-minute cross which Coutinho swept into the net to complete the rout.
In Berlin, Gladbach suffered their third defeat this season as they became the latest top six club to lose to Union.
Having already beaten Dortmund and Freiburg this season at their Alten Foersterei stadium, Union took the lead with 15 minutes gone when Nigeria striker Anthony Ujah headed home a cross.
Union ensured their fourth straight league win in stoppage time when winger Julian Ryerson floated in a cross, which deflected off a Gladbach defender to present Swedish striker Sebastian Andersson with an easy header to round off a fine win.
Schalke climbed to fourth as striker Benito Raman and midfielder Amine Harit scored their goals in a 2-1 win at Werder Bremen, whose Japanese striker Yuya Osako grabbed a late consolation.
Freiburg are third despite only drawing 1-1 at ninth-placed Leverkusen.
The visitors took the lead after only five minutes when forward Lucas Hoeler headed home at the far post after slipping his marker.
But France Under-21 striker Moussa Diaby levelled on his first start for Leverkusen since joining from Paris Saint-Germain when he slotted home from 20 metres out midway through the first half.
Despite playing with 10 men for the entire second-half, mid-table Wolfsburg managed a 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Their goals came from towering Dutch striker Wout Weghorst and Brazilian forward Joao Victor despite losing defender Marcel Tisserand at the end of the first half for a second bookable offence.
Bayern Munich crashed to their heaviest Bundesliga defeat for a decade after Jerome Boateng saw an early red card in their 5-1 thrashing at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Defending champions Bayern are now fourth in the table, four points behind leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach, leaving head coach Niko Kovac under huge pressure after their heaviest league defeat since April 2009 when they crashed 5-1 at Wolfsburg, who won the 2008/09 league title.
Niko Kovac admitted his future as Bayern Munich coach hung in the balance Saturday after their 5-1 thrashing at Eintracht Frankfurt — the club’s heaviest Bundesliga defeat for 10 years.
Bayern are now four points behind leaders Moenchengladbach after their biggest league loss since a humiliating 5-1 drubbing in April 2009 at Wolfsburg.
That defeat a decade ago eventually cost Jurgen Klinsmann his job as Bayern boss and Kovac could face a similar fate as Frankfurt shredded 10-man Bayern after defender Jerome Boateng was sent off after nine minutes.
Kovac has been in charge since June 2018, winning the league and cup double last season, but could only offer a glum “I don’t know” when asked about his future.
“After the red card, everything went out the window,” a bitterly disappointed Kovac told Sky.
“Nevertheless, that shouldn’t have happened to us and it’s not what we expect from ourselves.
“We made too many mistakes.”
Bayern had Boateng sent off for a straight red card for a foul as the last man, before goals by Filip Kostic, Djibril Sow, David Abraham and Martin Hinteregger put Frankfurt 4-1 up with an hour played.
Robert Lewandowski scored for Bayern in the first half, extending his league record of scoring in the first 10 games this season.
However, such was Frankfurt’s dominance that head coach Adi Huetter brought on a third striker in Andre Silva for defensive midfielder Gelson Fernandes with 10 minutes left.
The bold move paid off as Goncalo Paciencia added their fifth goal five minutes from time.
“It’s not a huge wonder (that this happened),” fumed Bayern captain Manuel Neuer. “Things had already got off to a (bad) start.”
“That (the red card) didn’t make it any easier, of course, but still you can’t concede five. We’re not consistent in our defence.”