Bayern Beat Lazio To Reach Champions League Quarter-Finals

Holders Bayern Munich qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday after a 2-1 home win over Lazio took them through 6-2 on aggregate.

Robert Lewandowski and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored either side of the interval as the Bavarians reached the last eight of the competition for the ninth time in their last 10 attempts.

Marco Parolo scored a late consolation for the Italians.

Details later

Bayern Munich Told To Start League Season Behind Closed Doors

Bayern Munich's Canadian midfielder Alphonso Davies (4thR) celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal with teammates during the German first division Bundesliga football match between FC Bayern Munich and Eintracht Frankfurt on May 23, 2020 in Munich, southern Germany. ANDREAS GEBERT / POOL / AFP
Bayern Munich’s Canadian midfielder Alphonso Davies (4thR) celebrates scoring his team’s fourth goal with teammates during the German first division Bundesliga football match between FC Bayern Munich and Eintracht Frankfurt on May 23, 2020 in Munich, southern Germany.
ANDREAS GEBERT / POOL / AFP

 

Bayern Munich must kick off the new Bundesliga season behind closed doors because of a rising coronavirus infection rate in the Bavarian capital, city officials said on Thursday.

The decision puts an end the European champions’ plans to allow 7,500 fans into the Allianz Arena to watch Friday’s opening game at home to Schalke.

“It would be the wrong signal to let spectators into sports stadiums against the background of the current figures,” said Munich mayor Dieter Reiter.

Germany’s politicians have given Bundesliga clubs the green light to allow the partial return of fans into stadiums, providing the rate of infection in each region remains below 35 per 100,000 inhabitants.

However, the figure for Munich was revised to 47.6 per 100,000 on Thursday.

While the defending champions must kick off without fans, set numbers of spectators are expected to attend other Bundesliga matches on the opening weekend of the league season.

Reiter said he could understand the frustration of the club and Bayern’s fans, but “for me, this high number means that we at least have to think about much more drastic restrictions in public life.

“I can’t let thousands of fans into the stadiums at the same time.”

Bayern head coach Hansi Flick accepted the news as they start their quest to win their ninth Bundesliga title in a row.

“I’ve always said I’m in favour of keeping an eye on things,” Flick told reporters on Thursday.

“We have to protect ourselves and make the best of the situation.

“You have to take the numbers into account. These are things that I can’t do anything about, we have to be prepared for them.”

AFP

‘The West Is Winning’ – Pompeo Defends US Global Role

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks on the podium at the 56th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, southern Germany, on February 15, 2020. Christof STACHE / AFP
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks on the podium at the 56th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, southern Germany, on February 15, 2020. Christof STACHE / AFP

 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday rejected European pessimism about Washington’s retreat from the global stage, saying the death of the transatlantic bond is “grossly overexaggerated”.

“The West is winning and we’re winning together,” Pompeo said at the Munich Security Conference.

The annual gathering of world leaders, generals and diplomats to discuss security challenges has been dominated by fears of diminishing Western influence in the face of a more assertive China and Russia.

Pompeo spoke a day after German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier suggested the United States rejected “even the idea of an international community” and was acting “at the expense of neighbours and partners”.

“Those statements don’t reflect reality. I’m happy to report that the death of the transatlantic alliance is grossly over-exaggerated,” Pompeo said, paraphrasing a famous Mark Twain quote.

He said Washington played a key role in keeping Europe safe by reinforcing NATO’s eastern flank on the border with Russia, and had led a multinational effort to defeat the Islamic State jihadist group.

“Is this an America that ‘rejects the international community’?” he asked.

“The free West has a brighter future than illiberal alternatives.”

He also warned of the threats posed by Russia’s territorial ambitions, China’s military buildup in the South China Sea and Iran’s “campaigns of terror” through proxy conflicts in the Middle East.

In a nod to concerns about European reliance on Russian natural gas, Pompeo also announced that the US would finance energy projects in eastern EU countries.

“The United States –- through our International Development Finance Corporation, and with the support of the US Congress -– intends to provide up to $1 billion in financing to the Central and Eastern European countries of the Three Seas Initiative,” Pompeo told the conference.

“Our aim is to galvanise private sector investment in their energy sectors.”

The pledge comes amid fierce US opposition to Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, set to double the country’s gas shipments to Germany.

Washington believes the pipeline will give Russia too much influence over security and economic issues in western Europe.

 

AFP

Trump Will Not Impose Tariffs On EU Cars – Juncker

 

The outgoing president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said Friday he believes the US will not impose new tariffs on imported European cars in the coming days.

President Donald Trump’s administration has been threatening since last year to impose tariffs on auto imports to defend the US automaking sector, a symbol of American manufacturing.

After postponing such measures in May, Trump is due to decide by mid-November whether to impose the supplemental tariffs on cars built in EU countries — a step particularly feared by the big German automakers.

READ ALSO: Five Killed, 120 Injured In Iran Earthquake

But in an interview with a German newspaper, Juncker said he was “fully informed” on the issue and that Trump “will not do it”.

“Trump will criticise a little, but there will not be tariffs on cars,” he told the Suddeutsche Zeitung published Friday.

If adopted, it would mark the latest escalation of the trade conflict between Brussels and Washington, coming only weeks after the US imposed new punitive taxes on European products worth $7.5 billion.

That increase came in mid-October, four days after the World Trade Organization (WTO) gave Washington a green light to take retaliatory trade measures against the EU over its subsidies to European aerospace giant Airbus.

The United States also imposed heightened tariffs last year on EU-made steel and aluminium products.

On November 3, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross suggested Washington may not need to impose new customs taxes on auto imports.

“We’ve had very good conversations with our European friends, with our Japanese friends, with our Korean friends,” Ross said.

#FlowersOfManchester: Nine Major Air Disasters In Football History

Manchester United Team holds a minute of silence in honour of players who died in the 1958 Munich Crash

 

It has been six decades and a year (61years) since the Munich Air Disaster.

The tragic incident which happened on February 6, 1958, saw the demise of 23 people including 8 Manchester United players.

Many on Wednesday took to social media to show some love and respect for those who lost their lives in the crash.

The remembrance of the Munich crash victims calls to mind the recent incident involving Cardiff City’s record new signing, Argentina-born striker Emiliano Sala, who is gone missing and is feared dead in a plane crash.

Sala’s case is the latest of a series of air disasters in football history.

Below are 9 major aircraft crashes in the history of the game.

Grande Torino

On May 4, 1949, 18 players of the Torino football club, among the best in the world at the time, are killed along with 13 other people when their plane crashes into the Basilica of Superga, near Turin. It is the first such tragedy to strike the world of football.

The ‘Busby Babes’

On February 6, 1958, a plane crash at Munich airport kills 23 people, including eight Manchester United players, known as the ‘Busby Babes’, along with three staff members.

England star Duncan Edwards is among those to perish, while Bobby Charlton — who went on to win the World Cup with England — is only slightly hurt. Manager Matt Busby recovered from serious injuries and rebuilt United into a force that would win the European Cup a decade later, in 1968.

READ ALSO: 10 Killed In Paris Apartment Block Fire

Manchester United fans hold up banners showing the names of Man U players who died in the Munich Air Disaster. AFP

Club de Deportes Green Cross

On April 3, 1961, an aircraft transporting part of Chile’s Club de Deportes Green Cross crashes in the Andes, killing 24 people, among them eight players and two members of the coaching staff.

Alianza

On December 8, 1987, 43 people die when a plane carrying the Alianza club of Lima goes down in the Pacific Ocean. Among the dead are 16 players and the team’s coach.

Surinam

On June 7, 1989, the crash of a Surinam Airways DC-8 flying from Amsterdam as it lands at Surinam’s capital Paramaribo leaves 174 dead, including 15 Surinam-born Dutch footballers.

Zambian team

On April 27, 1993, a military aircraft carrying Zambia’s national football team crashes into the sea shortly after takeoff from Gabon, en route to play Senegal in a World Cup qualifier, killing all 25 on board. The team was recognised as one of the strongest fielded by the African nation.

Matthew Harding

On October 22, 1996, Matthew Harding, vice-chairman of English Premier League football club Chelsea, dies when his helicopter comes down in poor weather as he returns from a League Cup win against Bolton Wanderers.

Chapecoense

On November 28, 2016, a charter plane carrying Brazil’s Chapecoense runs out of fuel and crashes in the Andes mountains near Medellin, Colombia. Six survive, including three players, but 71 others, including 19 players, are killed. Chapecoense were en route to play the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final against Colombia’s Atletico Nacional.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

On October 27, 2018, Thai billionaire and Leicester City football club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha dies in a helicopter crash.

AFP

Barcelona’s Vidal Fined For Munich Nightclub Fight

MIAMI, FL – OCTOBER 12: Arturo Vidal #8 of Chile reacts to a goal scored during the International Friendly “Clasico del Pacifico against Peru at Hard Rock Stadium on October 12, 2018, in Miami, Florida. photo: Mark Brown / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal has been hit with an 800,000 euros ($921,812) fine by a Munich court after being found guilty of assault during a nightclub fight last year.

Munich district court fined the Chile international based on 80 days worth of wages, calculated to be 10,000 euros per day for the Barcelona player, who left Bayern Munich in August after three years with the German giants.

The 31-year-old was not in court in Munich to hear the judge’s verdict as he played in Chile’s 1-0 win over Mexico on Wednesday, which “professionally prevented” his appearance in Bavaria, his lawyer said.

Vidal and his half-brother were both found guilty after attacking another man at Munich’s Crowns Club in September 2017, which was reportedly caught on security camera.

Vidal’s half-sibling Sandrino, 25, was fined 18,000 euros, based on 120 days salary at 150 euros per day — a higher penalty because he also threw a glass during the incident.

Since joining Barcelona Vidal has struggled for game time in the star-studded midfield, only twice being included in the starting line-up in eight Spanish league matches.

AFP

Manchester United Fans Pay Respects To Munich Victims

United Pay Respects To Munich Victims 60 Years On
A supporter wears a scarf commemorating the 60th anniversary of the 1958 Munich Air Disaster with a clock showing the time of the crash that claimed 23 lives before kick off of the football match between Manchester United and Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford on February 3, 2018. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Manchester United paid homage to the victims of the 1958 Munich disaster that killed eight of the great United Busby Babes side with a silence before Saturday’s home match against Huddersfield Town.

Before the home game that fell closest to the 60th anniversary of the crash, there was a minute’s pause before kick-off and fans at the game received a commemorative pack containing a limited-edition book telling the story of the disaster.

Fans at the Stretford End waved a huge banner picturing the Busby Babes and the legend “WE’LL NEVER DIE”.

Some supporters also attended a service at the permanent memorial to the victims at the stadium.

In 1958, United were returning from a European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade when their plane crashed attempting to take off at Munich airport, killing 23 people.

The club will also hold a commemorative service inside Old Trafford on the anniversary of the crash on Tuesday, February 6.

“This is something that is part of my life, or part of my football culture before I become Manchester United manager,” United manager Jose Mourinho said, sporting a Munich badge, on Friday at his pre-match press conference.

“As Manchester United manager, obviously it means much more but I think it belongs to every sportsman as one of the biggest tragedies and at the same time is a crucial point in Man United history.

“The reaction, the strength, the union after that situation and I think tomorrow is an amazing day to show the respect, to show the passion for the club, respect for them, the families and I think is a day to play well.”

United’s legendary manager Matt Busby survived the crash despite being badly injured and led the club to their first ever European Cup triumph 10 years later.

AFP

Manchester United To Mark 60th Anniversary Of Munich Disaster

(FILES) This file photo taken on February 6, 2008 shows the Munich clock stopped at 3.04pm at Old Trafford football ground in Manchester, north-west England. Manchester United are to hold a memorial service at Old Trafford on the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, the English football giants announced on January 23, 2018.
PAUL ELLIS / AFP

Manchester United are to hold a memorial service at Old Trafford on the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, the English football giants announced Tuesday.

The club said all supporters were welcome to attend the service which will take place on February 6, exactly 60 years to the day since the tragedy which saw eight United players — including rising England star Duncan Edwards — among the 23 people killed in total.

A minute’s silence will be held at 3:04pm, the exact time of the crash.

Season ticket-holders over the age of 65, who will in some cases have personal memories of the 1958 aeroplane crash, will be sent invitations.

United will also hold a minute’s silence ahead of the Premier League home game against Huddersfield Town on February 3.

The club were returning from a European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade when tragedy struck, with the disaster leading to the deaths of several players among the original ‘Busby Babes’, a team full of young talent put together by Manchester United manager Matt Busby.

But the likes of Busby and United star Bobby Charlton were among the survivors.

Both were involved 10 years later, as manager and player, with England great Charlton scoring twice when United beat Portuguese side Benfica 4-1 in a Wembley final to become the first English side to win the European Cup.

One of the permanent memorials to the disaster is a clock attached to the south-east corner of Old Trafford which bears the words “Feb 6th 1958” and “Munich”.

AFP

Shopping Mall Attack: German Officials Call For Stricter Gun Laws

Germany-Munich-ShootingAs Germany grapples with the reality of the gun attack in Munich, senior officials are calling for stricter gun control.

According to Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, everything possible should be done to limit access to such deadly weapons.

BBC says German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, has also revealed plans to review gun laws when he visited the scene of the shootings.

Vigils are taking place in Munich to mourn the victims of the attack at the city’s Olympia shopping centre.

18-year-old David Sonboly, fatally shot nine people on Friday, using a Glock pistol before killing himself.

Nine died in the attack while 27 persons were injured with 10 of them critically wounded.

Nine Killed, Several Injured In Munich Shopping Mall Attack

Munich, shopping mall attackAt least nine people have been killed and several wounded after multiple shootings at a restaurant inside the Olympia shopping mall in Munich, Germany.

Police authorities say perpetrators of the attack are still on the run. Rescue operations are ongoing.

An employee who declined to be identified, told Reuters by telephone from the mall, “Many shots were fired, I can’t say how many but it’s been a lot.

“All the people from outside came streaming into the store and I only saw one person on the ground who was so severely injured that he definitely didn’t survive,”

“We have no further information, we’re just staying in the back in the storage rooms. No police have approached us yet.”

Munich police spokeswoman had earlier said that six people were killed and an undetermined number wounded but the death toll has risen slowly. No suspects had been arrested yet, she said.

As the search for the attackers continues, residents are advised to remain indoors. “We believe we are dealing with a shooting rampage,” the police spokeswoman said.

It was the third major act of violence against civilian targets to take place in Western Europe in eight days.

Previous attacks in France and Germany were claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

Munich Stations Closed Over Terror Threats

MunichPolice have evacuated two major railway stations in Munich after an intelligence agency warned Germany of an imminent terror attack.

Authorities received information that about 6 suicide bombers from the so-called Islamic State (IS) could target the central station or Pasing station.

Cities across Europe have been on high alert for a possible New Year’s eve attack.

The alert in Munich came just hours before midnight and Police warned people to stay away from crowds.

In the meantime, both stations have reopened after security agencies combed the areas.

Heynckes wary of Drogba’s acting talent on pitch

Bayern Munich Coach Jupp Neynckes has been full praises for top Chelsea striker, Didier Drogba for his prowess on the field of play and for his scoring abilities.

Playing mind games ahead of the Champions League final which will be played at the Allianz Arena in Munich tomorrow, Hynckes said Drogba is an outstanding actor in the field of play despite skill and goal scoring ability.

As Chelsea are itching to clinch their first European title, it has however been decided that Drogba will be spearheading the Chelsea attack.

The 34-year-old Ivory Coast striker underlined his reputation as a big game player by scoring his eighth goal in eight appearances at Wembley to help beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup final earlier this month.

With a total of 33 Champions League goals to his credit, including the crucial winner in the semi-final first leg against Barcelona, Drogba knows how to put pressure on referees and Heynckes said his team must pay close attention to the powerful forward.

Heynckes openly admitted that Drogba is a dangerous player when it comes to goal scoring and he is not to be underestimated because he is one of the top strikers in the Premier League who do damage to a squad at any moment in the field of play.

Where there was but for the Bayern Munich coach was in terms acting in the field of play saying the Ivorien is an outstanding actor but sometimes he overdoes his acting.

He said his team will play and mark down all the players in the Blues squad and not focus specially on any player.

‘Focusing solely on Drogba would be a mistake with plenty of talent packed into the Chelsea ranks’.

The Blues will be without Captain John Terry, midfielders Raul Meireles, Ramires and defender Branislav Ivanovic, who are all suspended, but Heynckes is wary of their replacements.

Bayern are bidding to become the first team since Inter Milan in 1965 to win the European title in their own stadium and Munich is a sea of red and white flags as the Bavarian capital eagerly awaits seeing their heroes in action.

“The likes of (Juan) Mata, (Frank) Lampard, Daniel Sturridge and (Salomon) Kalou, all these players are at the top level, so it would be amiss to focus on just one player, Torres too, has improved enormously over the last few weeks, so it’s not just about Drogba.” said Heynckes.

Likewise, Bayern expect to have wing Arjen Robben fit, despite the Dutch winger only returning to training for 45 minutes on Thursday after struggling with a cold.

“He trained for 45 minutes yesterday and he should be able to play.”