Dortmund must get over Atletico Madrid defeat and prepare for Bayern Munch battle, claims Mario Gotze

The man once known as 'Super Mario' has told his Dortmund teammates to focus on the big clash against Bayern. (AFP)
Updated 07 November 2018
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Dortmund must get over Atletico Madrid defeat and prepare for Bayern Munch battle, claims Mario Gotze

  • Dortmund suffered their first defeat of the season against Atletico in the Champions League.
  • The slip comes just days before their crucial Bundesliga clash against arch-rivals Bayern.

DORTMUND: Mario Gotze says German league leaders Borussia Dortmund must put their first defeat of the season behind them and bounce back in Saturday’s crunch Bundesliga showdown at home against Bayern Munich.
Atletico Madrid avenged their 4-0 drubbing at Dortmund from a fortnight ago with a 2-0 home victory on Tuesday in the group stages of the Champions League as the Germans suffered their first loss of the season.
Dortmund lead the Bundesliga and have a four-point lead over defending champions Bayern Munich who they host this weekend.
“Losing is a new situation, but we knew it would be a very intense week with Atletico and Bayern — now we have to bounce back,” said Gozte, who replaced striker Paco Alcacer for the last 15 minutes in Madrid.
Goalkeeper Roman Buerki, who has only been beaten 10 times in as many league games this season, said the defeat may have done Dortmund some good.
“Perhaps it’s not so bad, that we have come back down to earth after a few weeks when everything was going so well,” said Buerki.
Club captain Marco Reus, who has been in great form this season with nine goals and seven assists in 16 games, brushed the defeat off.
“We were not so fresh, Atletico closed down the space, which was very difficult for us, we only found a few ways through,” said Reus.
“It was the first defeat, but life goes on.”
The defeat in Madrid leaves both Dortmund and Atletico neck-and-neck on nine points in Group A with two matches left.
However, their focus now is on this weekend’s Bundesliga showdown as Dortmund look to prove their status as Germany’s top side and make amends for their heavy defeat to the Bavarians the last time they met.
Bayern thrashed Dortmund 6-0 in Munich in March, as Robert Lewandowski netted a hat-trick against his former club.


India confident they can end Test series duck in Australia

Updated 19 November 2018
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India confident they can end Test series duck in Australia

  • India have never won a series Down Under, but are hopeful they can end that run.
  • Four-match series starts on Dec. 6

SYDNEY: India have warned Australia they are in confident mood ahead of the their Test series Down Under, starting in December.
The Indians have never won a series on Australian soil and hitting that stat for six is the main aim of the tour.
“It’s the one place that we want to leave our mark and do well as a unit,” India’s vice-captain Rohit Sharma said.
“The last time we played test series here — although we lost two games and we drew one game — I thought there were a few close games being played.
“We want to make it count this time around. There’s a real good feeling inside the group.”
India top the current Test rankings, while Australia have slid to No. 5 in a year overshadowed by a ball-tampering scandal in March that ended in test captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner being suspended for 12 months from international and first-class cricket and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft barred for nine months.
India are No. 2 in the one-day international and Twenty20 international rankings, while five-time and defending World Cup champion Australia have slumped to No. 6 in the ODI rankings and No. 3 in T20s.
As far as Sharma and the India contingent are concerned, Australia cricket has never been more susceptible to losing at home. India have won only five Tests in Australia — three in the 1970s and early 80s — one in 2004 and one in 2008.
The four-Test series starts in Adelaide on Dec. 6 — a break with tradition from a regular first test venue at Brisbane’s Gabba ground — and will include matches in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.
Sharma knows that going from a relatively predictable Adelaide wicket to what is expected to be a bouncy, fast pitch in Perth could be the biggest challenge of the series.
“Australia has bowlers who are very tall and extract those conditions, use them to their advantage,” Sharma said of the Perth Test. “Indian batsman generally are not that tall.
“Obviously it’s not that easy for us but, again, all the guys are quite determined to change things around this time.”
A rebuilding Australia squad is coming off back-to-back series losses to Pakistan and South Africa in the limited-overs formats, following a Test series loss to Pakistan in the UAE.
The fallout from the ball-tampering episode in March at Cape Town, when Bancroft’s awkward attempt to change the condition of the match ball by rubbing it with sandpaper, has gone way beyond Australia’s playing XI.
Coach Darren Lehmann quit at the end of that series in South Africa, and has been replaced by Justin Langer. Cricket Australia’s chairman, chief executive and high-performance manager have also quit and been replaced in a period of destabilization for the national game.