Shaqiri: Bayern-Dortmund draw means nothing for Champions League final

5 May 2013 15:22

Bayern Munich’s Xherdan Shaqiri does not believe Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Borussia Dortmund will impact on the UEFA Champions League final.

Mario Gomez had equalised Kevin Grosskreutz’s opener in the first half, but there was no lack of controversy at the Westfalenstadion as Robert Lewandowski missed a penalty and Bayern defender Rafinha was sent off amid scuffles on the touchline between Juergen Klopp and Matthias Sammer.

Both sides rested several key players for the tie, with Bayern having already wrapped up the Bundesliga title, and Shaqiri expects a much better spectacle when they are at full strength at Wembley on May 25.

“We can be happy with the result,” the Swiss winger said. “Dortmund are a good team, that’s why we’re facing them in Champions League final. So we can be happy with the draw here, because Dortmund almost played with their first squad.

“The result means nothing for the Champions League final, because the game will be different. It’s a different competition and the game will be totally different. Obviously it will be different, but we want to win the final.”

Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was also happy to come away from Dortmund with a point, and was pleased by the spirit shown by both sides, even if it did boil over at times.

He added: “If people expected an leisurely game they were totally wrong. This game isn’t a friendly, there is always tension, everybody knows that. We kept on track and we want to win every game, so we played like that.

“Both teams rotated their squad. We dropped some crucial players, they stayed at home. I think we performed well and did our best.

“In the first half, when we played 11-a-side, Dortmund had the better start. At the beginning of the second half, we played better and controlled the game. So I think we showed a good performance.”

Di Canio hopeful of Mourinho duel

5 May 2013 15:15

Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio would welcome Jose Mourinho back to the Premier League.

Mourinho has been strongly linked with a return to former club Chelsea and looks certain to leave his current role as manager of Spanish giants Real Madrid in the off-season.

And Di Canio, who replaced Martin O’Neill at the Stadium of Light, says he would love to challenge the charismatic Portuguese.

“He is the ‘Special One’. So it would be fantastic,” Di Canio said.

“A few years ago I used to give questions to him because I used to work in television and ask him questions about the game.

“So imagine myself with Sunderland and trying to go to Chelsea and win against them. It would be a fantastic moment for everybody, also for myself.”

Sunderland are in the midst of a relegation battle and, despite victories against Everton and local rivals Newcastle, find themselves just two points clear of the drop zone.

They host Stoke City on Monday as they look to pull clear of danger.

Klopp considers Dzeko move

5 May 2013 14:51

Borussia Dortmund manager Juergen Klopp could move for Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko but concedes his wage demands may be too high.

Mario Goetze will leave the club in the off-season to join Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich, while Robert Lewandowski has also been linked with a move away.

A transfer to the Westfalenstadion would mean a return to German football for ex-Wolfsburg striker Dzeko, and he may be tempted by the prospect of regular first-team starts and joining a team that has reached the final of the UEFA Champions League.

However, Klopp told Sky: “I do not know anything of a meeting with Dzeko.”

“But if you think about what will to us in the next few years we have to think about him.

“But judging by information we have, the wages he is content with technically do not fit ours, as we will not bend. We do not throw about peanuts.

“Still we will leave all doors open.”

The 27-year-old has appeared in 29 games for the deposed Premier League champions this season, scoring 12 goals.

Kenyon: I would hire Mourinho

5 May 2013 14:41

Former Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon has said he would appoint Jose Mourinho as manager if he still worked at the club.

Mourinho has been linked with a return to Stamford Bridge throughout the campaign, but those reports intensified after he hinted at working in England after Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League exit.

The Portuguese manager led Chelsea to their first ever Premier League titles during his four-year reign from 2004 to 2007, in which they also won the FA Cup and League Cup.

“If I was at another club and looking for someone who would give me the maximum chance of winning, it’s Jose Mourinho,” Kenyon told the BBC.

“You’ve got one of the best clubs, one of the best owners and one of the best coaches – it’s a hard combination to resist.

“I’d need some other very strong candidates to look elsewhere and you’d have to say he’s very much on the shortlist.

“Pep Guardiola would have been up there (as a candidate) but he’s not available. Manuel Pellegrini you would definitely look at. But if I was looking at Pellegrini or Jose, Jose would win hands down.”

Kenyon also said that if Mourinho was to return to Chelsea, he would need to have been in talks with controversial owner Roman Abramovich for some time.

Mourinho left Chelsea after falling out with Abramovich, and went on to lead Inter Milan to UEFA Champions League glory and two Serie A titles.

“They’re both very strong individuals and before this appointment happens, if it happens, there will be an awful lot of discussion between those two,” he said.

“It’s a very different team now, that is at a very different part of its evolution as a major European team, and clarification is needed over players.”

Pochettino rueful after Spurs defeat

5 May 2013 14:29

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino has bemoaned his side’s fortunes following their late defeat to Tottenham.

Pochettino’s men controlled proceedings for much of the contest but were beaten by a superb strike from Gareth Bale, who scored his 20th league goal of the season to clinch victory for the hosts.

Southampton now sit just four points clear of the relegation zone, and the Argentine believes his side were unlucky not to take something away from the game following a resolute display.

“I think it was a cruel defeat because we did enough not only just to draw but to win the game,” he said.

“We were lacking that little bit of luck in football you need to succeed. We haven’t had it recently and not again here.”

However, despite the setback the former Espanyol boss feels his side have enough quality to avoid the drop.

“We just have to get points from the next two games,” he added.

“We tried with everything we had and we weren’t able to do it but competing the way we did and to perform the way we performed I don’t think we will be in that battle or have problems.”