Bayern wins Bundesliga record time

Updated 08 April 2013
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Bayern wins Bundesliga record time

BERLIN: Bayern Munich won their 23rd German league title in record time yesterday by beating Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 to open up an unassailable 20-point lead with six games left in the season.
The Bavarians ended the two-year reign of Borussia Dortmund by clinching their 22nd Bundesliga title faster than any club in the league’s 50-year history.
Bastian Schweinsteiger beautifully flicked the ball into the net with a back-heel in the 52nd minute to lift Bayern to 75 points, 20 ahead of second-placed Dortmund, who beat Augsburg 4-2.
“It is a fantastic moment, and I am winning a league title after 23 years again,” said coach Jupp Heynckes, who guided Bayern to the championship in 1989 and 1990 during his first stint as coach.
“My players are now harvesting all the work they put in throughout the year. They put into action exactly what I told them.” Heynckes will make way for Pep Guardiola at the end of the season — by which time Bayern, who are chasing an unprecedented treble for a German club, might have added the Champions League and German Cup crowns.
Dortmund rested seven key players ahead of their own Champions League quarter-final, second leg against Malaga next week, but had little trouble easing past Augsburg despite briefly trailing 2-1.
Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski sealed their victory with his 21st goal of the campaign after a Julian Schieber double.
Madrid routs Levante
Cristiano Ronaldo went on as a substitute to seal Real Madrid’s 5-1 win over Levante as it maintained its dominant form yesterday ahead of its Champions League quarterfinal at Galatasaray.
Madrid reduced Barcelona’s lead in the Spanish league to 10 points before the Catalan side hosted Mallorca later.
Gonzalo Higuain’s exquisite volley pulled Madrid level in the 36th minute after Miguel “Michel” Alfonso grabbed the visitors the lead after five minutes. Kaka made it 2-1 with a penalty in the 39th.
Ronaldo went on at halftime and fired in Higuain’s pass in the 84th before setting up Mesut Oezil three minutes from time. Oezil added a fifth in stoppage time.
Real Sociedad romped to a 4-2 win at home over Malaga, strengthening its hold on fourth place against a direct rival for Spain’s last Champions League berth.
Juventus on top
Juventus beat 10-man Pescara 2-1 to provisionally extend its Serie A lead to 12 points yesterday and boost its confidence ahead of Wednesday’s return leg against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Arsenal goes fourth
In London, Arsenal won 2-1 at West Bromwich Albion yesterday to climb into the Champions League places at Chelsea’s expense, while Aston Villa claimed a precious win in their fight to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
A brace from Tomas Rosicky gave Arsenal victory at The Hawthorns, but they allowed West Brom to come back into the game after Per Mertesacker was sent off for bringing down Shane Long in the penalty area.
Reading’s hopes of avoiding relegation were seriously compromised after a 2-0 loss at home to manager Nigel Adkins’s former club Southampton left them eight points from safety with only six games remaining.
Elsewhere yesterday, Norwich City were denied only a second win in 15 games in an entertaining 2-2 draw at home to Swansea City.
Norwich came from behind to lead through Michael Turner after Robert Snodgrass had canceled out Michu’s 35th-minute opener, but Luke Moore headed in a 75th-minute equalizer to prevent Swansea from slipping to a fourth straight defeat.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic rules out international return at the World Cup for Sweden

Updated 5 min 54 sec ago
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic rules out international return at the World Cup for Sweden

  • The LA Galaxy star had dropped hints he was ready to return to international duty at this summer's World Cup.
  • 36-year-old retired from the Swedish team after the 2016 European Championship

Ending weeks of speculation, the Swedish football federation announced Thursday that star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who quit the national squad in 2016, will not make a comeback for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
“I spoke with Zlatan on Tuesday. He said that he has not changed his mind regarding the national squad,” the managing director of the national squad, Lars Richt, said in a statement after the player dropped numerous hints of a possible return.
“It’s a no,” Richt added.
In an appearance on ABC television’s late night Jimmy Kimmel show on April 18, the new star of LA Galaxy teased fans that he may come out of retirement to play in the showpiece.
Known for his swagger, Zlatan said “it wouldn’t be a World Cup” if he didn’t play, clearly forgetting he has not played in one since 2006, before adding: “I’m going to the World Cup, yes.”
The 36-year-old retired from the Swedish team after the 2016 European Championship. He said last month he wanted to concentrate on settling into his new life in Major League Soccer before thinking about the World Cup.
Following an injury-blighted stay at Manchester United, the father of two became the latest in a long line of aging stars to leave European football for the US.
The 6ft 4ins (1.95m) striker tweeted on April 15: “The chance of me playing in the World Cup is skyhöga (sky high).”
He later told Swedish media that “high odds — that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.”
Ibrahimovic had just weeks earlier become a global brand ambassador for Swedish betting company Bethard, prompting some Swedish commentators to lament that his World Cup teasing was nothing more than an advertising gimmick.
“It feels like the whole thing was just aimed at building up his brand in the US and it even seemed at times like he thought it was funny,” Daniel Nannskog, a commentator for Swedish public broadcaster SVT, said.
At home in Sweden, Ibrahimovic’s possible World Cup return elicited mixed reactions.
Sweden coach Janne Andersson has been coolly indifferent.
“It doesn’t change anything for me,” he said last month.
“Zlatan is very welcome to call me” if he wants to join the squad, Andersson added.
Richt declined to specify whether the team had asked Ibrahimovic to join.
He “has always said that he won’t play and he quit the national team,” Richt told AFP.
Some Sweden fans would love nothing more than to see the country’s most prolific goal-scorer — he notched 62 goals in 116 games — don the blue-and-yellow kit again.
But others argue he has no place on a squad that managed to qualify without him, memorably eliminating World Cup giants Italy in a playoff.
Ibrahimovic has 31 winners’ medals in spells with Ajax, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United.
But his 2017 season and ultimately his United career was brought to a premature end by cruciate ligament damage suffered in April.
He never returned as a regular in the United side.
In trademark style, he announced his arrival in Los Angeles with a full-page advert in the LA Times reading simply: “Dear Los Angeles, You’re welcome.”