Tagged in: Soccer

Klinsmann leaves Hertha Berlin after 76 days

Having only taken on the role in November, Jurgen Klinsmann has called time on his tenure as Hertha Berlin coach.

Jurgen Klinsmann has resigned as Hertha Berlin head coach after just 11 weeks at the helm.

The former Germany boss, who assumed the role in November following Ante Covic’s departure, confirmed he was resigning on Tuesday.

Writing on Facebook, the 55-year-old said he would revert to his position as a member of the supervisory board at the Bundesliga club.

The former Germany striker was in charge for 10 matches, winning just three of those with four losses. 

They had lost two in a row with last weekend’s 1-3 loss to Mainz coming as the former USMNT coach’s death knell at the helm.

“We were on a very good path in the relatively short time, and thanks to the support of many people, we are now six points away from the relegation places despite mostly difficult games,” Klinsmann wrote on Facebook. “I am firmly convinced that Hertha will achieve the goal – remaining in the league.

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“As head coach, however, I also need the trust of the people involved with this task, which has not yet been completed.

“Unity, cohesion and focus on the essential are the most important elements, especially in the relegation battle. If they are not guaranteed, I cannot exploit my potential as a trainer and therefore cannot live up to my responsibility.”

Sources close to Klinsmann told ESPN last week that he felt unnerved by what he thought was a lack of support over a coaching license issue in January.

Having not coached in Germany since his dismissal at Bayern Munich in early 2009, Klinsmann had not renewed his license, which is mandatory every three years in Germany.

He had to provide documents as proof of continuing education to have his license renewed in time for the Bayern Munich home match, Hertha’s first game of 2020.

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Liverpool go 19 points up with win at West Ham

If Liverpool already had an ironclad grip on the Premier League table coming into Wednesday’s match versus West Ham United, it now has an almost unbreakable one.

The Reds got goals from Mohamed Salah and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain bracketing halftime to skate past the Hammers 2-0 at London Stadium to go 19 points clear at the top and deepen the hosts’ relegation worries.

West Ham looked solid on the break, but they made too many individual errors to overcome against such a dominant side. It could have been even more, but Salah hit the post with 12 minutes to go and West Ham continued to wilt as the clock continued to tick down.

The Hammers’ closest effort was a near own-goal from Trent Alexander-Arnold who luckily struck his own post in the second half. The Reds no longer have their game in hand, but it certainly feels like they no longer require it.

With 14 games remaining, Liverpool has only dropped a staggering two points all year and certainly feels poised to put forth a historic season, whether it be undefeated, a record point total, or both.

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So far Liverpool has navigated this season brilliantly despite a number of injuries and fitness concerns to various players. Alisson has missed time, numerous defenders such as Joel Matip and Alexander-Arnold have spent time on the sidelines, and the midfield has been shuffled constantly.

Yet the attacking trio of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah remained largely untouched outside of the occasional rest. So without Mane, it was interesting to see how the Reds approached a game versus a clearly inferior opponent in the absence of their most consistent attacker.

Liverpool has now beaten all 19 teams in the league at least once this season.

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Inter complete Eriksen signing from Tottenham

Christian Eriksen has completed his protracted €20m (£16.9m) move from Tottenham Hotspur to Inter. The Dane had already agreed personal terms with the Italian club, who are second in Serie A, and the deal was announced on Tuesday. The 27-year-old has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract.

With his contract at Tottenham expiring at the end of the season, Eriksen could have joined Inter for free in the summer. But with Antonio Conte keen to bolster his attacking options right away, a deal was reached sooner, bringing to an end the midfielder’s largely fruitful but ultimately frustrating time in north London.

Spurs announced on Tuesday that they had signed Giovani Lo Celso on a permanent basis from Real Betis. The Argentinian, who has impressed recently after returning from injury, has signed a contract until 2025.

The fee is understood to be €35m and Tottenham waited until Eriksen’s move had been done before confirming Lo Celso’s signing.

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The club have also agreed a fee of €30m for the PSV Eindhoven winger Steven Bergwijn, plus €2m in add-ons, with the player set to undertake his medical and put the finishing touches to the deal.

Eriksen joined Tottenham from Ajax for £11.5m in August 2013 and after an initially slow start he blossomed under the management of Mauricio Pochettino, become a key creative cog in a team that established themselves in the Premier League’s top four and, on occasion, pushed for the title.

The 27-year-old was also part of the Spurs side that reached last season’s Champions League final, which they lost 2-0 to Liverpool and, ultimately, there were no trophies for the team when they were at their best and prior to a downturn this season that led to Pochettino being released in November.

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Chelsea make loan offer for PSG Cavani

Chelsea have offered to take Paris Saint-Germain’s striker Edinson Cavani to Stamford Bridge on loan until the end of the season.

According to The Times, Frank Lampard’s side are prepared to pay a loan fee and cover the Uruguayan’s hefty wages, thought to be over £360,000 a week, until his PSG contract runs out at the end of June.

The fee to secure the wantaway striker’s services is likely to be at least £5million and the Blues will have to fork out an additional £7.2million for the player’s wages.

Boss Lampard has stepped up his interest in signing a striker after his side twice threw away the lead to draw 2-2 with Arsenal.

He said: “You can’t say we will definitely sign a striker but we are looking.

“If you don’t score enough goals then you won’t win enough games.”

There are also concerns over regular lone striker Tammy Abraham who suffered an ankle injury late on at Stamford Bridge after sliding into the advertising hoardings and had to be helped from the field at the end of the match.

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Lampard said he did not know how serious the injury was but the club would assess the extent of the damage today.

With French World Cup winner Olivier Giroud set to depart this month, last season’s Europa League winners are now in need of reinforcements up front.

Cavani handed in a transfer request at the French champions on Sunday in a bid to force a move in this window and Lampard praised the 32-year-old before his side took on Arsenal.

He added: “He is a great player, I played against him.

“I am not sure what the situation is there though.

“He has experience, sometimes it’s good to bring in experience.”

The Uruguayan has been limited to just nine league appearances for PSG this season despite being the club’s record goalscorer with 198 goals in 293 matches in his seven years in the French capital.

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Liverpool defeat Manchester United

Mohamed Salah ripped off his Liverpool jersey at a freezing Anfield after completing a 2-0 win over Manchester United in stoppage time on Monday morning and rousing fans on the Kop to sing: “We’re gonna win the league.”

It’s been a 30-year wait but there is no longer any trepidation from the Liverpool supporters as their team has moved 16 points in front at the Premier League summit.

“Now you’re gonna believe us,” they chanted.

The Reds mathematically need 30 points to secure the title but, as it stands, if they go undefeated they could clinch the Premier League with a win over defending champions Manchester City when they face off in a one-versus-two battle in early April.

It took Salah getting on the end of goalkeeper Alisson’s inspired long ball with the final whistle about to blow for the Liverpool title party to begin with four months of the season remaining.

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A 13th straight league victory since the sides last met at Old Trafford in October continues.

Liverpool’s relentless run towards a first league title in three decades, while United remain five points off the top four in fifth.

Liverpool have now taken 64 points out a possible 66 available this season, having only dropped points versus Manchester United when the teams drew in October.

Liverpool also have a match in hand to come on closest challengers Manchester City and could have been more comfortable winners after seeing two first half goals ruled out and a host of clear chances go astray.

United is the only team to take Premier League points off the European champions this season, but it rarely looked like lightning would strike twice once the hosts went in front on 14 minutes.

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Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez out of Sevilla, signs with L.A Galaxy

The Los Angeles Galaxy have signed Javier “Chicharito” Hernández from Sevilla, according to a report from Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl.

According to Wahl, the Galaxy will make Hernández the highest-paid player in Major League Soccer. That distinction is currently held by Toronto FC and USMNT star Michael Bradley, who makes a reported $6 million a year.

The previous highest-paid player in MLS was Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who left the Galaxy in November and re-joined AC Milan. Hernández, whose “Chicharito” nickname was given to him by his father and means “Little Pea”, will be counted on to substitute Ibrahimovic’s star power goal-scoring output.

Hernández has spent nearly a decade playing in Europe since joining Manchester United from Guadalajara in 2010.

He scored 59 goals for United and won two Premier League titles before moving to Bayer Leverkusen in 2015, and he also played for Real Madrid (on loan) and West Ham United before joining Sevilla last summer.

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But he reportedly was told he doesn’t factor into Sevilla’s future plans, and he didn’t train Thursday and was held out of manager Julen Lopetegui’s squad to face Real Madrid this weekend.

The 31-year-old Hernández is the latest international star to sign with the Galaxy, who have counted Ibrahimovic, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane and Ashley Cole among their ranks.

Hernández is also Mexico’s all-time leading scorer with 52 goals in 109 appearances.

The Galaxy had been in negotiations with Hernandez for some time and met with him earlier this week to close the deal. The meeting went well, according to ESPN Mexico and the LA Times, but it took three more days to iron out details.

A report from Spanish newspaper Marca put the transfer fee being negotiated for Chicharito at around $10 million.

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Tottenham against Chelsea weekend preview

Jose Mourinho and Frank Lampard meet again as Tottenham and Chelsea face off in a Premier League London derby on Sunday.

Just a few weeks ago, it looked as though the top four was beyond Tottenham: now, a victory over Chelsea would see them leapfrog the Blues into the Champions League qualification places.

Mourinho’s return to Premier League football has seen Spurs close in on the top four, with Chelsea’s run of four defeats in their last five League matches cause for alarm at Stamford Bridge.

The Special One would dearly love a win against his former club, especially since the fans turned on him when he joined Manchester United. Lampard, meanwhile, needs a result – and beating his mentor on the road is exactly what he needs right now

Lampard’s Blues remain fourth in the table, but their poor recent run has shown up a few limitations in the squad – particularly in defence.

Mourinho is likely to target those ruthlessly, and Chelsea will need to be at their best to keep the likes of Harry Kane out.

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Hugo Lloris (elbow) and Michel Vorm (calf) remain out of action for Spurs. Tanguy Ndombele (groin), Erik Lamela (thigh) and Ben Davies (ankle) are all out as well, so Mourinho is unlikely to make huge changes.

As for Chelsea, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is still some way off match fitness, while Fikayo Tomori (hip) and Olivier Giroud (ankle) are doubts.

Tottenham have a poor Premier League record versus Chelsea, winning just seven of their 54 meetings. Chelsea boast 28 victories along with 19 draws.

Both sides won at home in the League last season, with Spurs collecting a 3-1 victory last November before losing 2-0 at the Bridge in February.

As for the managers, Mourinho and Lampard have already faced off once as coaches, with Lampard’s Derby stunning Mourinho’s Manchester United with a Carabo Cup penalty shootout win at Old Trafford in September 2018.

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Brazil vs Mexico are set for U17 World Cup Final

The final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019 will pit ex-champions versus one another. Thursday’s semi-final results in Brasilia have produced a weighty showpiece set to feature three-time winners Brazil and North American juggernauts Mexico, who hold two titles of their own.

The early encounter at Estadio Bezerrao saw El Tri go toe-to-toe with European holders the Netherlands. The match concluded 1-1 in regulation time, with the Dutch pulling ahead in the 74th minute before Efrain Alvarez’s curling free-kick emphatically brought Mexico level five minutes later.

Alvarez nearly went from hero to zero when he missed the first spot-kick of the shootout.

Chelsea’s Ian Maatsen converted his penalty to give the Dutch the lead. Mexico scored their next three kicks, while Netherlands missed twice, but Joel Gomez so his effort stopped denying Mexico a win in the normal shootout. The match went to sudden death and Victor Guzman gave Mexico the lead. Goalscorer Yuri Regeer missed his penalty to confirm Netherlands’ elimination.

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Goalkeeper Eduardo Garcia’s three stops in the penalty shoot-out cemented his side’s fourth appearance in the final.

Hosts Brazil were forced to play catch-up versus France when Arnaud Kalimuendo-Muinga and Nathanael Mbuku each scored inside the opening quarter-hour.

Bolstered by a buzzing crowd, A Seleção grew into the game and equalised through Veron in the 76th minute. Then substitute Lazaro blasted the hosts ahead in the 89th minute, ensuring they earn the opportunity to contest a World Cup final on home soil.

Brazil and Mexico will now face each other at the Estadio Bezerrao in Gama on November 18, where the winner of the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup will be crowned.

Brazil is seeking its fourth crown in the tournament, and first since 2003. It also won in 1997 and 1999. Mexico is trying for its third U17 crown after wins in 2005 and 2011.

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Costa sidelined for three months by slipped disc

Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has suffered a neck injury that could require surgery and sideline him for around three months.

Costa had been feeling discomfort in the neck and upper back area in recent days.

The former Chelsea forward, 31, appeared in Atletico training earlier this week after featuring on Sunday for 10 minutes off the bench in the 3-1 La Liga victory over Espanyol.

Atletico Madrid say that X-rays on Thursday showed Costa has a herniated cervical disc, adding that he will be assessed by neurosurgery specialists to determine what treatment he will undergo.

If surgery is needed, Costa, who has two goals in 15 appearances for the Spanish club this term. He will be out of action until February 2020 regardless of whether he has an operation.

“The medical services of the club have conducted radiological tests of Diego Costa to assess the cervical discomfort suffered in recent days,” an Atletico announcement read.

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“These tests have determined that the forward suffers a cervical disc herniation.

“In the next few days, he will be evaluated by specialists in neurosurgery to establish the definitive treatment.”

Diego Simeone’s team are presently third in the La Liga table, one point behind Real Madrid and Barcelona who are level at the top of the league.

Atletico are also second in Champions League Group D, and can book their place in the last 16 with a victory over Juventus on November 26.

The injury will further complicate Costa’s hopes of returning to the Spain squad and playing at Euro 2020. He has not featured for La Roja since July 2018.

Sources have told ESPN FC that Atletico have no intention of going into the transfer market to find a temporary substitute for Costa or anyone else, with the club having already reached its salary cap limit set by La Liga.

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Alexis Sanchez out for three months after going ankle surgery

Alexis Sanchez is set to be out for three months after undergoing ankle surgery on Wednesday.

The Manchester United forward, who is on loan at Inter Milan for the season, picked up the injury while on international game when he went down during the second half of a 0-0 friendly draw with Colombia on Saturday.

Following the match, the Chile Football Federation revealed that Sanchez had suffered “dislocated tendons”.

Inter’s evaluation of the injury produced the same diagnosis as the Chilean will now be out of action until 2020 after undergoing surgery in Barcelona on Wednesday.

“Alexis Sanchez went to Barcelona this morning for a consultation with Dr Ramon Cugat. The visit confirmed the diagnosis of the Nerazzurri medical staff, it was therefore decided to proceed with surgery on the left ankle,” the club said in a statement.

Sanchez joined Inter from United this summer, completing a season-long loan to the Serie A club after struggling to find any sort of form at Old Trafford under Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. After showing one of the Premier League’s most prolific scorers during his time with Arsenal, scoring 80 goals in 166 appearances, Sanchez moved to Man Utd in January 2018.

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However, he never reached those dizzying Emirates heights during his time in Manchester, as the Chilean fired just five goals in 45 matches before heading to Inter this summer.

Sanchez has made four appearances for Inter since joining the club, scoring one goal in a 3-1 win over Sampdoria that also saw him sent off.

However, he will now miss out on a number of crucial matches in both Serie A and the Champions League.

Inter now sit second in the Champions League, one point behind league-leaders Juventus through seven matches played.

The Italian club also faces an uphill battle in the Champions League, as they sit fourth in their group behind Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona and Slavia Prague. Next up for Inter is a visit to Sassuolo this weekend before the club returns to Champions League play against group leaders Dortmund.

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