Monthly Archives: April 2018

Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes denies confrontation with Lewandowski

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Jupp Heynckes has dismissed reports that he was questioning Robert Lewandowski’s commitment to Bayern Munich and confirmed the striker as a likely starter against Real Madrid on Tuesday.

Bild has reported that Heynckes confronted the star striker over an apparent decline in his training standards.

Lewandowski, 29, who has been heavily linked with a move to Madrid, failed to fire in the Champions League loss to Los Blancos last week and was on the bench as Bayern beat Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1 in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

However, speaking after that match, Heynckes reiterated the one-on-one conversation was purely motivational, and insisted Lewandowski would not be overlooked for the semi-final second leg.

“I can only tell you what I also said in the press conference yesterday — that I had a good talk with Robert Lewandowski,” the Bayern boss said. “But I did not say anything about the content of it.”

“For me, Robert Lewandowski is a world-class player and please do not think that I will ignore him for Tuesday. So far he managed to score 39 goals in all competitions. This is a mark of which most of the forwards in Europe are dreaming of.”

“We should, first of all, await the game on Tuesday. It was a very positive talk and he always trains well. That’s why I don’t understand [the report].”

Messi hat-trick seals La Liga title for Barca

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Barcelona were crowned La Liga champions for the 25th time after beating Deportivo La Coruna 4-2 with the help of a hat-trick from Lionel Messi.

Barca needed only a draw to clinch the title and complete an eighth domestic double after winning the King’s Cup last week and they marched into a 2-0 lead with goals from their record signing, Philippe Coutinho, and top scorer, Messi, in the first half. The result also relegated Deportivo.

However, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde praised their consistency he acknowledged they have “lacked brilliance” at times.

“When you chase it all season you say finally ‘the league is very long’” Valverde said. It is not decided only in a match. From the beginning we have been in the lead. In the end we were the best. The hard part is winning and winning.”

Ousmane Dembele, the first player Barça bought after selling Neymar last summer, drove forward before playing in Luis Suarez, who clipped a cross with the outside of his foot that Messi met with a sidefooted volley.

Lucas Perez pulled one back five minutes before half-time and the Turkish midfielder Emre Colak levelled for the Galicians from Celso Borges’ cross in the 64th minute.

They then came close to finding a winner and becoming the first team to beat Barca in the league this season but Messi had other ideas. The Argentinian ace restored Barca’s lead from close range in the 82nd minute before completing his treble with his 32nd league goal of the season.

Valverde’s side have 86 points from 34 games, 11 clear of second-placed Atlético Madrid, who have three games to play.

Arsene Wenger praises ‘nice’ gesture from Manchester United

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Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger thanked Manchester United for his warm reception, joking before his team’s 2-1 defeat that he was no longer a “danger” to them.

Wenger, 68, completes 22 years of servitude at Arsenal at the end of the season, was managing them for the final time at Old Trafford.

To mark the occasion, Sir Alex Ferguson presented on United’s behalf a vase to the 68-year-old Frenchman before kick-off. Asked about his ovation as he walked along the touchline, Wenger said: “When you’re not a danger any more, people love you.

“I am thankful to Manchester United because they had a nice gesture. It is the first time I get a trophy before a game. It is very classy from them.”

Wenger fielded an inexperienced squad that was Arsenal’s youngest in the fixture since August 2011 and, after losing to an added-time Marouane Fellaini header, believes whoever succeeds him will take over a squad of depth.

“My successor will watch this game and hopefully he will come to a positive conclusion because I think they are the future of Arsenal football club – some, 100%,” Wenger said. “We had a very young team and the performance was positive.”

“The players are destroyed because they gave everything and were caught in the final minute. There were many question marks if we would be strong enough to fight but the quality was good, the spirit was good, many players stood up. We tired a bit in the last 20 minutes and were a bit more under pressure. It was a negative result and a positive performance.”

Paul Pogba opened the scoring on 16 minutes before Henrikh Mkhitaryan equalised against his former club on 51 minutes.

Victory puts United in pole position for a second-place finish with 77 points with three games remaining, although Romelu Lukaku’s foot injury later in the second half is of concern with the FA Cup final on 19 May.

Bayern Munich: Jupp Heynckes confident despite home defeat

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Despite losing 2-1 at the Allianz Arena, Jupp Heynckes insisted that Bayern Munich manager can still reach the Champions League final.

Joshua Kimmich had initially put Bayern in front when he slotted past Keylor Navas at the near post.

However, although Real Madrid were struggling defensively they were clinical in attack — and Marcelo and Marco Asensio scored either side of half-time.

The Brazilian smashed home a half-volley from the edge of the penalty area to level matters before Asensio capitalised on an error by Rafinha to score a breakaway goal.

“Tonight’s match showed that Real Madrid are vulnerable, that they can be harmed,” Heynckes said. “We showed that we can hurt them, so we take hope from this. You should never surrender, never give up. You should play the second leg and try to win, and that is what we will do.”

“It was a gift, just like the 2-1 was a gift. You don’t often see a game like this in the Champions League, where you have so many chances and you don’t take them. It doesn’t happen often at all. It’s also not usual for Madrid to allow so many chances, but we weren’t able to take them. We didn’t take our chances and they were more effective. Those two things came together. We handed out presents.”

“Anyone who knows me knows what I think and my players think the same way,” he added. “We will give our all in the second leg to make up for the result in the first leg.”

“We saw tonight that we can create opportunities against them and it is our duty to do that next week. There are two matches, and the result comes from both. Real have an advantage, but we didn’t deserve to lose this match, we should have won it, so I’m optimistic about next week.”

Bayern must now score at least twice at the Bernabeu next Tuesday to prevent Real reaching a fourth final in five years.