Bremen face final chance to avoid automatic relegation

Bremen face final chance to avoid automatic relegation
Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski in action against Werder Bremen club in Germany. (Reuters/File)
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Updated 27 June 2020

Bremen face final chance to avoid automatic relegation

Bremen face final chance to avoid automatic relegation

BERLIN: Werder Bremen have one final chance to avoid automatic relegation this Saturday on the last weekend of the Bundesliga season while fellow fallen giants Hamburg will also make a last bid to earn a chance to win promotion back to Germany’s top-flight.

The best either team can hope for is a spot in the playoff for the final Bundesliga slot next season. Both must overtake the team above them to do it.

“We owe it to everyone in the club to fight until the very last moment, as long as it is still mathematically possible,” said Bremen head coach Florian Kohfeldt.

To have any chance of staying up, second-from-bottom Bremen must win at home against Cologne and hope Union Berlin beat Fortuna Duesseldorf in the capital.

If Duesseldorf draw, Bremen, who are winless in their last 14 home league games, will need to win by 4 goals against Cologne to climb to 16th and give themselves the hope of a two-legged relegation/promotion playoff against the side who finish third in the second division. In a blow to Bremen, Milot Rashica, the club’s top scorer with 7 goals this season, is doubtful with an ankle injury.

Duesseldorf and Bremen are fighting to avoid joining bottom side Paderborn, who are already relegated.

No other club — not even Bayern Munich, who have already won the title before Saturday’s game at Wolfsburg — has spent longer in the Bundesliga than Bremen.

If they are to survive, the club from northern Germany must stop history repeating itself.

By coincidence, it was a 5-0 home defeat to Saturday’s opponents Cologne in May 1980 which sealed their only previous relegation.

Until the season before last, Bremen’s arch-rival Hamburg was the longest-serving Bundesliga club. If Hamburg are to return, they need to win on Sunday and hope third-placed Heidenheim do not win.

Hamburg, relegated in 2018 for the first time in their history, blew their chances of automatic promotion last Sunday when they leaked two late goals in a 2-1 loss at Heidenheim, who leapfrogged into third place. Fourth-placed Hamburg must beat mid-table Sandhausen and hope Heidenheim fail to win at Bielefeld, who are already promoted as champions.

Should Hamburg come third in the second tier and Bremen manage 16th in the Bundesliga, there would be a heated northern German derby in the two-legged promotion/relegation playoff.

“I would rather see Hamburg play Duesseldorf in the playoffs — I wouldn’t want to face Bremen,” former Hamburg legend Uwe Seeler told Sport Bild. Bremen have won the ‘Nordderby’ 47 times to their rivals’ 38 victories with 36 draws.

After 10 years at Bayer Leverkusen, home-grown in-demand forward Kai Havertz, 21, could play his last game for the club at home to Mainz on Saturday.

Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich are all reportedly interested in the attacking midfielder.


Esteban Ocon wins chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton takes championship lead

Second placed Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin, first placed Esteban Ocon of Alpine and third placed Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes on the podium after the race. (Reuters)
Second placed Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin, first placed Esteban Ocon of Alpine and third placed Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes on the podium after the race. (Reuters)
Updated 9 min 27 sec ago

Esteban Ocon wins chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton takes championship lead

Second placed Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin, first placed Esteban Ocon of Alpine and third placed Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes on the podium after the race. (Reuters)
  • Max Verstappen’s Red Bull was damaged in a first lap crash, which took out five cars
  • Bottas acknowledged he was at fault after being given a five-place penalty on the grid for the next race

BUDAPEST: Lewis Hamilton missed the chance to chalk up his 100th victory but did take over the lead in the world championship as France’s Esteban Ocon steered his way through a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday to collect his first ever win.
After a tactical error dropped pole-sitter Hamilton to last place, the Briton picked his way through the field, finally clawing his way past Ocon’s Alpine teammate Fernando Alonso, to finish third behind the Frenchman and Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin.
For 24-year-old Ocon, who controlled the race from the front, it marked a maiden win in his 78th Grand Prix and a first victory for the new-look Alpine set-up.
“What a moment! It feels so good!,” said Ocon.
“It’s fantastic, what can I say? Congrats to Fernando (Alonso) as well, I think the win is also thanks to him with the fight that he did.
“It’s teamwork, it’s been a fantastic day!“
Max Verstappen’s Red Bull was damaged in a first lap crash, which took out five cars, and he eventually finished 10th, leaving Hamilton to take a six-point lead in the championship.
“Congratulations to the Alpine team and to Esteban for his first win — he’s been a shining star for a long time,” said Hamilton who was booed again during his post-race interview by a section of the packed crowd who blame him for the crash at the British GP two weeks ago which took out Verstappen.
“Today was definitely tough, we always make it difficult for ourselves.
“Crazy to think we were the only ones on the grid at the start, but these things happen and we learn from them. I gave it everything and I have nothing left in the end.”
Mercedes also took over the constructors championship lead. Going into the summer break they are now 10 points ahead of Red Bull.
Two weeks after the controversial collision between Hamilton and Verstappen on the opening lap at Silverstone, there was early trouble again at the Hungaroring, this time prompted by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
With the rain coming down, the Finn triggered a series of collisions on the opening turn which not only took him out of the race but accounted for Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll and the McLaren of Lando Norris.
Bottas acknowledged he was at fault after being given a five-place penalty on the grid for the next race, the Belgian GP at Spa at the end of August.
“I think that’s fair enough,” said Bottas.
“I had a bad start and I lost the momentum. I misjudged the braking point and locked the wheels.
“I was responsible for hitting Lando and that meant he cut people off in front of him.
“It’s not great for me and not great others. It’s not like I did it on purpose.”
Seven-time world champion Hamilton, starting on pole for the 101st time in his F1 career, was ahead of the chaos in the rain and looked a nailed-on winner when he was on his own on the grid for the restart while the other cars were all changing tires to suit the improved weather.
Bizarrely, within one lap, Hamilton was at the back as Mercedes, having failed to switch his tires, called him in.
“I was telling the team how the track was during the lap but they said the rain was coming when we got in the car so I thought they had other information,” said Hamilton after the race.
It marked the start of an epic race from the Briton which might well have ended in his 100th GP win had it not been from superb defensive driving from 40-year-old Alonso who prevented him closing on Vettel and Ocon.
Ocon was also untouched by the first lap chaos and was second at the restart. With Hamilton’s plight, the Frenchman took over the race lead.
Four-time world champion Vettel pressed him hard but could not get close enough to mount a serious challenge.


Olympic gold medals in weightlifting, high-jump mark historic day for Qatar

Qatar's Mutaz Barshim and Faris Ibrahim El-Bakh made history for their country by claiming the first ever Olympic gold medals in history just a few hours apart. (AFP)
Qatar's Mutaz Barshim and Faris Ibrahim El-Bakh made history for their country by claiming the first ever Olympic gold medals in history just a few hours apart. (AFP)
Updated 21 min 35 sec ago

Olympic gold medals in weightlifting, high-jump mark historic day for Qatar

Qatar's Mutaz Barshim and Faris Ibrahim El-Bakh made history for their country by claiming the first ever Olympic gold medals in history just a few hours apart. (AFP)

TOKYO: Qatar's Mutaz Barshim won his country's first Olympic track and field gold medal in the high jump on Sunday.

Barshim and Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi both recorded a best clearance of 2.37 meters, which meant they ended up with a rare shared title.

Both athletes said they were in dreamland as they put behind them the nightmare of serious injuries to claim the top prize.

Barshim, though, missed out on a share of the gold because of an earlier failure.

The jubilant duo declined the chance of winning the title outright by turning down a jump-off.

For Barshim, 30, it completes a full house of Olympic medals having taken bronze in London in 2012 and silver in Rio five years ago.

Barshim missed a large part of 2018 with a serious ankle injury, bouncing back to win world outdoor gold on home soil in 2019.

"This is a dream I don't want to wake up from," he said. "I have been through a lot. It's been five years that I have been waiting, with injuries and a lot of set-backs.

"But we are here today sharing this moment and all the sacrifices. It's really worth it now in this moment."

Elsewhere at the Games, a few hours before Barshim, it was another first for Qatar after weightlifter Faris Ibrahim El-Bakh won the country's first ever gold medal in the Men's 96kg weightlifting competition.

His historic achievement came after lifting a total of 402kg, which set a new Olympic record in the process.

Venezuelan Villanilla Sanchez finished second whilst while the bronze went to Georgian Plisnoll Anton.

* With AFP


Egypt suffers double defeat in Olympic Table Tennis Team competitions

The men’s duo of Ahmed Saleh and Khalid Assar (pictured) went down 3-0 (11-4,11-7,11-3) in 16 minutes to the powerful Chinese pairing of Long Ma and Xin Xu. (AFP)
The men’s duo of Ahmed Saleh and Khalid Assar (pictured) went down 3-0 (11-4,11-7,11-3) in 16 minutes to the powerful Chinese pairing of Long Ma and Xin Xu. (AFP)
Updated 01 August 2021

Egypt suffers double defeat in Olympic Table Tennis Team competitions

The men’s duo of Ahmed Saleh and Khalid Assar (pictured) went down 3-0 (11-4,11-7,11-3) in 16 minutes to the powerful Chinese pairing of Long Ma and Xin Xu. (AFP)
  • Two 3-0 losses eliminates the men's and women's teams from Tokyo 2020 ahead of Monday’s quarterfinals

DUBAI: Egypt’s men and women suffered straight-games defeats in their respective Table Tennis Team Round of 16 matches to exit Tokyo 2020 at the Japanese capital’s Metropolitan Gymnasium on Sunday.

The Egyptian women’s team of Yousra Helmy and Farah Abdelziz lost 3-0 (11-8, 13-11, 11-6) to Daniela Dodean and Elizabeta Samara of Romania at Table 3 in the morning session.

In the afternoon session, the men’s duo of Ahmed Saleh and Khalid Assar also went down 3-0 (11-4,11-7,11-3) in 16 minutes to the powerful Chinese pairing of Long Ma and Xin Xu.


Bill Gates shows support for son-in-law Nayel Nassar ahead of Olympic event

Bill Gates has sent a message of support to son-in-law Nayel Nassar ahead of the Egyptian’s participation at Tokyo 2020’s equestrian competition. (Reuters/File Photos)
Bill Gates has sent a message of support to son-in-law Nayel Nassar ahead of the Egyptian’s participation at Tokyo 2020’s equestrian competition. (Reuters/File Photos)
Updated 01 August 2021

Bill Gates shows support for son-in-law Nayel Nassar ahead of Olympic event

Bill Gates has sent a message of support to son-in-law Nayel Nassar ahead of the Egyptian’s participation at Tokyo 2020’s equestrian competition. (Reuters/File Photos)
  • The 30-year-old Egyptian will take part in equestrian jumping competition on Aug. 3

CAIRO: Bill Gates has sent a message of support to son-in-law Nayel Nassar ahead of the Egyptian’s participation at Tokyo 2020’s equestrian competition.

The 30-year-old Nassar will take part in the jumping individual qualifier at Tokyo’s Equestrian Park on Aug. 3.

“I support many athletes in the Tokyo Olympics at the moment, but there is no athlete I support more than my son-in-law Nayel Nassar. Good luck Nayel,” Gates, the founder of Microsoft, said in a post on his official Instagram account.

Nassar proposed to Jennifer Katharine Gates in January 2020 after a relationship that spanned almost four years.

The 23-year-old daughter of the billionaire had also announced the news of her engagement to the then 28-year-old Nassar through Instagram.

At the time, Gates expressed his joy at his daughter’s announcement, saying: “I feel very happy. Congratulations.”

The two Stanford University graduates share a love of many hobbies, in particular equestrianism.

Nassar will kick off Egypt’s involvement in the individual Equestrian competition on Tuesday, which will quickly be followed by the team competition on Friday.

Egyptian supporters and delegation officials have high hopes that Nassar could be a medal winner at Tokyo 2020, one month after he finished first at the St Gallen Grand Prix Championship held in Switzerland.

Hisham Hatab, president of the Egyptian Olympic Committee and the Equestrian Federation, had congratulated Nassar on this significant result, among other achievements, which have raised expectations of success in Japan.

Nassar hails from an Egyptian Muslim family and was born in Chicago in 1991. His parents, Iman Harby and Fouad Nassar, later moved to Kuwait, where they owned and ran an architectural firm. In 2009 he relocated to California were he obtained a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford. He is fluent in French, English and Arabic.

At the age of five, Nassar already showed great passion for horse riding, and was practicing jumping barriers by the age of 10. In 2013, at the age of 22, he took part in his first ever showjumping event.

As well as taking part in equestrian competitions that have helped him amass a worth of $75 million according to some reports, he also owns Nassar Stables, based in the city of Encinitas in California. Established in 2014, the stables breed and home prestigious horses.


Audi to use electrically powered vehicle at Dakar Rally 2022 in Saudi Arabia

Audi to use electrically powered vehicle at Dakar Rally 2022 in Saudi Arabia
Updated 01 August 2021

Audi to use electrically powered vehicle at Dakar Rally 2022 in Saudi Arabia

Audi to use electrically powered vehicle at Dakar Rally 2022 in Saudi Arabia
  • Audi RS Q e-tron, a futuristic prototype that allows a high-voltage battery to be charged while driving, is already under testing

DUBAI: Audi Sport has started testing the new Audi RS Q e-tron, with which it will take on one of the greatest challenges there is in international racing, the Dakar Rally 2022 in Saudi Arabia next January.

Audi is set to be the first car manufacturer to use an electrified drivetrain in combination with an efficient energy converter in its rally SUVs to compete against traditional, diesel-powered vehicles in the world’s toughest rally.

“The quattro was a game-changer for the World Rally championship. Audi was the first brand to win the Le Mans 24 Hours with an electrified drivetrain. Now, we want to usher in a new era at the Dakar Rally, while testing and further developing our e-tron technology under extreme conditions,” said Julius Seebach, managing director of Audi Sport GmbH and responsible for motorsport at Audi. “Our RS Q e-tron was created on a blank sheet of paper in record time and stands for Vorsprung durch Technik.”

Less than a year after the initial concept idea, the new laboratory set up for the Dakar Rally has begun testing on the RS Q e-tron, and all eyes will be on its progress ahead of the event at the start of 2022.

“The Dakar Rally has become one of the most renowned motoring events globally for its rich history and prestige among international racing communities and we are very proud that it is hosted in the Middle East,” said Carsten Barden, Audi Middle East managing director. “We’re looking forward to being part of this flagship event where the Audi RS Q e-tron can showcase its unmatched innovation in the unique climate presented by the region.”

The conditions and terrain of the Dakar Rally present the engineers with special challenges. The marathon event lasts two weeks and the daily stages are up to 800 km in length. “That’s a very long distance,” said Andreas Roos, head of the Dakar project at Audi Sport. “What we are trying to do has never been done before. This is the ultimate challenge for an electric drivetrain.”

Because there are no charging opportunities in the desert, Audi has chosen an innovative concept: On board of the Audi RS Q e-tron there is a highly efficient engine that is part of an energy converter that charges the high-voltage battery while driving.

Visually, the Audi RS Q e-tron also differs significantly from conventionally powered Dakar prototypes. “The vehicle looks futuristic and has many design elements that are typical of Audi,” said Juan Manuel Diaz, team leader of motorsport design at Audi. “Our aim was to symbolize Vorsprung durch Technik and the future of our brand.”

The Dakar Rally entry is being run in conjunction with Q Motorsport.

“Audi has always chosen new and bold paths in racing, but I think this is one of the most complex cars that I have ever seen,” said team principal Sven Quandt. “The electric drivetrain means that a lot of different systems have to communicate with each other. Besides reliability, which is paramount in the Dakar Rally, that’s our biggest challenge in the coming months.”

Quandt compares Audi’s Dakar project to the first moon landing: “Back then, the engineers didn’t really know what was coming. It’s similar with us. If we finish the first Dakar event, that’s already a success.”

The prototype of the Audi RS Q e-tron had its first roll-out in Neuburg at the beginning of July. An intensive test program and the first test entries at cross-country rallies are on the agenda from now until the end of the year.