A day before FC Bayern Munich are ready to take on FC Zürich in their Champions League qualifier everything seems to be rosy in the “FC Hollywood” camp. It is actually Schalke that has actually dominated today’s headlines in the German sports media.
Bayern Munich, Schalke 04 and Hannover 96 are all playing their first legs in Europe this week. Hannover and Schalke play on Thursday night, while Bayern are favorites in tomorrow night’s match against FC Zürich.
For once everything seems fine and dandy in the Bayern Munich camp. While we don’t expect this peace and quiet to last for the rest of the season (or perhaps even until the end of August), we can report that Arjen Robben will probably make his return to the starting line-up. Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes told the press that had met with him: ”Leaving Arjen out of the squad against Wolfsburg was the right decision, he has been training for the last three days. Arjen doesn’t have any pain, so I can put him in the starting line-up.”
Bayern captain Phillip Lahm told the German media that he expects the game to be a tough match against Swiss side FC Zürich, but that he and Bayern would be content if the game ended 2-0 in favor of the Bavarians.
Story of the day: Raul
Bild’s readership got to scoop that Raul was unhappy with the system and the tasks Ralf Rangnick had assigned the Spaniard. Kicker wrote on their home page in the afternoon that Raul wasn’t going to leave the club. A couple of hours later a West-German local paper told their readers that Raul had received and offer and was to leave the club for Premier League side Blackburn Rovers, alongside the British tabloid’s Daily Mail online edition.
However, kicker and the official home page of Schalke 04 denied those reports at 1900 CET. If Raul is amongst Schalke’s transfer candidates it will probably be crystalized in Thursday’s match against Helsinki. If Raul plays for the Royal Blues he wouldn’t be eligible for any other European teams in an international competition and will likely stick around.
Uphill battle for Hannover
Hannover 96 have arguably the toughest opponent of all three German sides. The team from Lower Saxony is going to meet FC Sevilla from Spain. Hannover’s president Martin Kind told local paper HAZ that ”We should at least be able to win the first match”, and sporting director Jörg Schmadkte told the same paper:”We have already played three competitive matches this year, while Sevilla has yet to play a single competitive match. That is probably our biggest advantage.”
Bild reported on Hannover 96 this morning that Konstantin Rausch is the player who would be given the biggest bonus of all the Hannover players if the team manages to secure a place in the group phase of the Europa League. The reason for this rather odd fact is that the Hannover players have decided to base the amount of the bonus payments on the numbers of appearances last season, where Rausch was the only one who played in all 34 matches. If Hannover advances Rausch would receive the nice and tidy sum of 35 000€.
Werder’s Brazilian defender Naldo made his comeback for the green and whites in a friendly against 2. Bundesliga side St. Pauli. The centre back was given his first competitive minutes since the cup final in 2010. Thomas Schaaf chose to substitute Naldo in the 57th minute. Werder’s new signing Aleksandar Ignjovski made his debut, and played the entire match for the northerners, first as a left back then as a holding midfielder.
The match ended 5-4 for Werder. The goals for Werder were scored by Claudio Pizarro(6 min), Marko Marin(29 min), Marko Arnautovic(31 and 36 min) and Sandro Wagner(51 min). St. Pauli’s goals were scored by Kevin Schindler(27 min), Mahir Saglik(55 and 63 min) and Tobias Funk(83 min).
Last, and absolutely least
Bild reported on their homepage today that Marcel Schmelzer is single. If anybody cares about news items of this sort, please seek professional help.
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