Gomez hails ruthless Bayern

9 December 2012 05:18

Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez says victories like their 2-0 defeat of Augsburg on Saturday are key to becoming champions.

Gomez, who scored Bayern’s second in the win at the SGL Arena, also praised Markus Weinzierl’s side.

“Augsburg are left there stranded on eight points,” Gomez told the club’s website.

“But they play very good football at home, as we saw again today. These are the games you have to win if you’re to be champions. And we’ve won again.”

Bayern captain Philipp Lahm backed up Gomez, saying that getting the three points was all that mattered.

“We didn’t plan to let Augsburg take the initiative at the start. We wanted to go for it from the start and keep our shape, but it didn’t work out today,” he said.

“However, we were still the better team in the first half. We did deserve the first goal, because we had the better chances. At the end of the day, winning is what matters.”

Thomas Mueller had put Bayern in front from the penalty spot after Augsburg defender Gibril Sankoh had handled in the box.

And the Germany international was more than happy to step up and convert his ninth goal of the Bundesliga season.

“I’ll keep taking the penalties for as long as I keep scoring. It’s gone well the last few times. I have a good feeling about it. It’s all working out,” Mueller said.

Rooney aims to add to City´s woes

9 December 2012 03:26

Wayne Rooney believes Manchester United can heap further misery on arch-rivals City with a derby victory on Sunday.

Roberto Mancini’s side were dumped out of Europe after a 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, while speculation has grown over the Italian’s future at the Etihad Stadium.

City currently trail United by three points and a win for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men will put even further daylight between the two clubs at the top of the Premier League.

“City are out of the Champions League and are having a bit of a tough time – I think everyone can see that behind the scenes. If we win, we can put more pressure on them. If we get three points there, it will be massive for us.” Rooney told reporters.

“Obviously, it is a massive game, probably up there with Liverpool. The two of them.

“There is a big rivalry, the two of us are fighting for that number-one spot. We’re trying to go there and get three points. We are all excited for the game.”

Rooney believes United’s strengths are in the flanks and the striker believes delivery from wide areas could be crucial to his side’s success.

“I think our strength is getting wingers on the pitch, getting the ball out wide, attacking and getting crosses into the box,” he said.

“That’s obviously the way Manchester United have played for years, so I think that’s one of our strengths.

“Of course, they have a strong central midfield, but they also leave gaps out wide, so I’m sure Sir Alex (Ferguson) and Roberto Mancini will be looking at different things and ways they can capitalise on each team’s weakness.”

Meanwhile, Antonio Valencia could be a surprise inclusion in United’s squad.

The 27-year-old, who has not featured for United since their 1-0 defeat to Norwich City on November 17 due to a hip injury, trained on Saturday.

Tom Cleverley also trained despite after a calf injury which restricted the midfielder to playing the opening half of United’s Champions League defeat to Cluj on Wednesday.

Malbranque agrees new deal at Lyon

9 December 2012 03:08

Lyon have agreed a one-year contract extension with Steed Malbranque.

The 32-year-old retired from football in 2011 just a month after joining Lyon’s fierce rivals Saint-Etienne.

However, the former Fulham and Sunderland midfielder, who started his career as a trainee with les Gones, returned to Stade de Gerland this summer.

Malbranque has quickly become an important figure in Remi Garde’s young team and is enjoying the role of elder statesman.

“I was very happy to come back to the Gerland,” he told Uefa.com.

I came here with no special aim other than to bring some of my experience to the team regardless of where I play and to enjoy the season.”

And his form since returning has not gone unnoticed, with club advisor Bernard Lacombe quick to praise his impact.

“It’s as if he never left Lyon,” he said.

“His success is not a surprise to me. Steed gained a lot of experience in the Premier League.

“He has found his place in the dressing room and he expresses himself on the pitch. Physically, he is also impressive.”

Swansea fan arrested over alleged racial taunt

9 December 2012 03:04

A Swansea City fan has been arrested in relation to the alleged racial abuse of Norwich City centre-back Sebastien Bassong.

Police are investigating reports that the Cameroon international was the subject of an inappropriate gesture during Norwich’s 4-3 victory on Saturday, with a 23-year-old man pinpointed on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence.

And Bassong’s manager Chris Hughton has praised the authorities at Swansea after they identified the individual.

“I can only tell you what I have been made aware of, which is that there was a gesture made to Sebastien Bassong,” Hughton told Sky Sports News in his post-match interview.

“Credit to Swansea City football club, I think they have identified the individual and that is now in the hands of the right authorities.”

Bassong was on the scoresheet in the seven-goal thriller – his third goal in four games for the club.

This is not the first time the 26-year-old has reportedly been targeted, with remarks allegedly made to Bassong on social networking site Twitter in November.

Cech wants fixture review

9 December 2012 03:01

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has urged the Premier League to consider fixture changes for clubs competing in the Champions League.

The European champions could only secure a third-placed finish in Group E and now face a campaign in the Europa League.

Manchester City, meanwhile, were dumped out of Europe altogether after failing to win a single game in their group.

Cech believes the Premier League must examine the schedule from other countries and ensure English teams have the same advantage as clubs from other nations.

“They should look at the fixture list quite closely,” Cech told the Sunday Mirror.

“Shakhtar Donetsk, every game prior to the Champions League, play on Friday.

“Every German team (playing in Europe) play on Friday. They always get the advantage from their federation to have more time to recover.

“It is a great honour for ­ English football if ­ everybody gets good ­results and trophies.”

After the Premier League refused Chelsea a fixture change, Rafa Benitez and his players boarded a flight to Japan for the Club World Cup just hours after their 3-1 victory over Sunderland on Saturday afternoon.