13 Aug

Werder Bremen braced for ‘relegation final’ in Mainz

first_imgBremen midfielder Maximilian Eggestein says they must treat their last two league games as ‘finals’ as they fight relegationBerlin, Germany | AFP |  Struggling Bundesliga giants Werder Bremen have just two matches to avoid relegation, but can take a significant step towards survival at Mainz on Saturday.Bayern Munich were confirmed Bundesliga champions for the eighth straight season in midweek, but the fight to stay up is still raging.Bremen are second-bottom and in danger of losing their status as the club with the most years spent in Germany’s top flight.They sit one point behind Fortuna Duesseldorf, who occupy the relegation play-off spot, but six behind 15th-placed Mainz after their surprise win at Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.Four-time champions Bremen have been in the Bundesliga every season bar one since its introduction in 1963. They were relegated in 1980, but came straight back up.Bremen visit Mainz in one of nine games at 1330 GMT on Saturday and host Cologne on the final day of the season on June 27.“We have two ‘finals’, which we must win to stay up,” said midfielder Maximilian Eggestein.Werder’s American midfielder Josh Sargent said: “No one wants to let the team or the city down.”Bottom side Paderborn have already been relegated.Duesseldorf host Augsburg on Saturday and visit Union Berlin on the final day, while Mainz can secure safety by beating Bremen before their last match at Champions League-chasing Bayer Leverkusen.Mainz coach Achim Beierlorzer has billed the game as a “relegation final”.– Leipzig closing on Champions League spot –Meanwhile, second-placed Borussia Dortmund are looking to bounce back from Wednesday’s shock defeat by Mainz at RB Leipzig, who are third but yet to secure a Champions League spot.Leipzig striker Timo Werner, who has scored 32 goals in all competitions this season, has confirmed he is moving to Chelsea from July 1, but can play in Leipzig’s last two Bundesliga games of the campaign.Werner scored in Leipzig’s 2-2 draw with Duesseldorf on Wednesday, but they threw away a two-goal lead and still need another win to secure Champions League qualification.“Now we have to deliver on Saturday,” said coach Julian Nagelsmann, whose side would also leapfrog Dortmund into second with victory.“Coming second in the league doesn’t mean anything. It’s about getting into the Champions League and we’ve got enough to do there.” There will be no coronation for Bayern after Saturday’s final home game of the season against Freiburg.The league said they must wait to receive the Bundesliga trophy until after their final match, next weekend at Wolfsburg, due to coronavirus restrictions.Bayern are without the suspended Alphonso Davies, who was sent off in midweek, and Lucas Hernandez is expected to take over at left-back as the Bavarians chase a 15th straight win all competitions.One to watch: Claudio PizarroThe Bremen striker is 42 in October, four years younger than coach Florian Kohfeldt, but has shaken off a thigh injury and could play a role at Mainz.As he did in Tuesday’s 1-0 home loss to Bayern, Pizarro could come off the bench and add to his 488 Bundesliga appearances, with 197 goals.“I am proud that they call me a legend,” said Pizarro, who won the Bundesliga six times with former club Bayern and the German Cup on six occasions, five with Bayern and once, in 2008/09, with Bremen.Pizarro also has the distinction of scoring in 21 consecutive calendar years during spells in Europe with Bremen, Chelsea, Bayern and Cologne, but is yet to find the net in 2020.Key stats14: Matches without a Bundesliga win for Schalke. David Wagner’s side host Wolfsburg looking for a first league victory since January.31: League goals Robert Lewandowski has scored for Bayern Munich this term — his best-ever season. He is set to be crowned the league’s top-scorer for the fifth time.93: Goals scored by Timo Werner in 157 games for RB Leipzig over the last four years.Fixtures (all times 1330 GMT)Bayern Munich v Freiburg, RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund, Hoffenheim v Union Berlin, Fortuna Dusseldorf v Augsburg, Hertha Berlin v Bayer Leverkusen, Mainz v Werder Bremen, Schalke v Wolfsburg, Cologne v Eintracht Frankfurt, Paderborn v Borussia Moenchengladbach Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

12 Aug

On the road again

first_imgNo, I am not a prophet nor do I play one on TV, but don’t you love it when a “vibe” is right? However, I had a practical reason for my premature purchase. I saved big, yen, rubles, pesos, francs, dollars because I “bought in” early. My ticket cost less than $250 round trip to the Lone Star State. I hope all you “true” Steelers fans had ample faith in the Black and Gold  as well. If you did not I can guarantee you as of 12:01 A.M. Monday, the airlines had huge smiles when they posed the “Capital One” question: “what’s in your wallet?”I must tip my hat to substitute offensive lineman/center Doug “Bronco” Legursky. When the Steelers’ rookie All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncy went down with a high ankle sprain, fairly early in the AFC Championship game on Sunday night I thought gloom and doom were in order in regards to the Black and Gold advancing to the “big polka” in Dallas on Feb. 6. However, Mr. Legursky, played like a man’s man. Also, Rashard you ran hard.Before I let “yinz” guys go, let’s discuss “dynasty” for a moment. Bleacher­report.com had this to say about Bill Belichick just days prior to the Jets smokin’ the Patriots turning them and their resident genius into ultimate couch potatoes for Super Bowl XLV. “Bill Belichick is gearing his Patriots up for another run to the Super Bowl. The Pats have home field in the playoffs and are the favorite to be in Dallas representing the AFC this February. Whenever he steps down from coaching, the 58-year-old will eventually return to his Ohio roots be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.” And although he is certainly the greatest coach the 21st century has seen, is he the greatest coach of all time?” He may not be the greatest but he may be the “cheating-est” coach.How bout dem Patriots. Where are they now? Should the Patriots still be considered a dynasty or did they just “die-nasty” in 2010.The 2010 AFC Championship game held at Heinz Field was the 11th that Pittsburgh has hosted since the NFL was reorganized in 1970. The next closest city is San Francisco with eight. The “great” Dallas Cowboys have only hosted five.Most of the post-70s era signs that directed Americans to the road to the “Lombardi” Super Bowl freeway have almost always originated from Three Rivers Stadium or Heinz Field, not Foxborough, Mass. Mike Tomlin was the youngest NFL head coach at age 36 to ever win a Super Bowl title when the Black and Gold won Super Bowl XLIII. When he wins the second one, about a week and a half from now, he will be the youngest to ever win two. This will also be the third Lombardi trophy for the Steelers in five years and their seventh overall. Do you have to be short and white to be given credit for your coaching intellect and prowess?There was and continues to be an argument that Tomlin won Super Bowl XLIII with the players of ex-Steelers head coach Bill Cowher. That might be true and there are still a few players from the Cowher era hanging on. That being said, current Steelers Lawrence Timmons and Lamar Woodley were just on the verge of playing on Sundays and wide receivers Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Mike Wallace had just began to enjoy college life when Cowher was prowling the sidelines of Heinz Field.Do not believe the hype, Steelers nation. The dynasty of the modern NFL began in 1969. That was the year Emperor Charles Henry Noll climbed out of the dungeon and began his ascent to the throne of professional football. Prince William and Prince Michael were destined to follow.Dynasties are not created by crafty public relations mechanisms or underhanded cheating schemes combined with arrogance and skullduggery. When I stroll past the six Lombardi trophies at the Steelers facility, I see dynasty. I am soon going to have to take an extra step to walk past a seventh.(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: [email protected]­burgh­courier.com or 412-583-6741.) Please bear with me. The following words are an edited and slightly different version of the legendary Willie Nelson’s “On the road again.” Let me see, uh huh. On the road again, gonna miss all my Pittsburgh friends. The New York Jets played like toads again. That’s why I’ll be on the road again. On the road again. All my enemies are friends again. Their seventh Super Bowl, the Steelers will win. That’s why I love going on the road again. Man this is getting to be redundant. In 2006, I was exiled to the frozen tundra of Ford Field in Detroit. In 2009 I was forced to endure wind chills in the mid-50s in Tampa Bay as the Steelers beat up on Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals. Here I go again. On the way to the land of Jerry Jones and barbecue bones to witness the Steelers get the ring for the middle finger of the left hand. Unlike most of the “wagon jumpers,” I purchased my airline ticket to Dallas, shortly after the Steelers beat the Cleveland Brownies in their last 2010 regular season contest to claim the crown of the AFC North.last_img read more

3 Aug

Hawks take stranglehold on Murdoch Division Final

first_imgNelson opened the scoring when a turnover at the Beaver Valley blueline gave the Leafs a two-on-one with Dale Howell and Sawyer Hunt.Howell slipped nice saucer pass Hunt ripped into the Beaver Valley nets past goalie Tallon Kramer.Beaver Valley struck twice in the second, two minutes apart to take a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.Darren Kramer tied the game before Blake Sidoni put the Hawks ahead.Nelson scored the only goal of the third period to tie the game a few minutes into the frame when Howell converted his team high fourth goal of the playoffs.The shots were even at 29-29.BLUELINES: The game, attracting 780 fans, was the sixth time of the 2017 KIJHL playoffs the Leafs have been forced into overtime. Nelson is 3-3 during the playoffs. . . . Dale Howell led the Leafs with two points Friday. . . . Tallon Kramer, once again stellar between the pipes for the Hawks, was in goal to win his seventh straight playoff game. . . . A luck fan from Nelson split the $800 50-50 jackpot Friday. . . .There will be no five-peat for the Selkirk Saints. The Castlegar-based squad lost 6-1 Friday to Trinity Western Spartans in BCIHL playoff action. The Saints had won the past four BCIHL titles. Playing with a lead or coming from behind, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks know how to win.For the second game in a row the Hawks needed overtime to defeat the Nelson Leafs.Blake Sidoni beat Devin Allen in the Nelson nets at 9:33 in the second extra period to give Beaver Valley a 3-2 victory over the Leafs in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action Friday night at the NDCC Arena.The Nitehawks take a 3-0 stranglehold on the best-of-seven Murdoch Final with Game four Saturday right back in Nelson.last_img read more