Hamburg defender Leistner to miss 3 games for assaulting fan

Hamburg's Toni Leistner, right, and Dresden's Christoph Daferner, left, challenge for the ball during the German soccer cup (DFB Pokal) first round match between SG Dynamo Dresden and Hamburger SV in Dresden, Germany, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 19 September 2020

Hamburg defender Leistner to miss 3 games for assaulting fan

  • The German soccer federation said that the fine was issued because Leistner had broken social distancing rules by going into the stand

FRANKFURT: Hamburg defender Toni Leistner was banned for five games on Friday, two of them suspended, for assaulting a fan who he said had insulted his family.
After Dynamo Dresden beat Hamburg 4-1 in the German Cup on Monday, Leistner leapt into the stand during a TV interview and pushed a Dresden supporter.
Leistner was born in the city of Dresden and previously played for the team.

BACKGROUND

The incident happened at one of the first German games to be played in front of a significant number of fans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The incident happened at one of the first German games to be played in front of a significant number of fans amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Leistner was also fined €8,000 ($9,470).
The German soccer federation said that the fine was issued because Leistner had broken social distancing rules by going into the stand.
“In that manner, he subjected himself and possibly also third parties to the danger of being infected with the coronavirus,” the federation said in a statement. Leistner can appeal the ruling.


Lower expectations for Barcelona entering Champions League

Updated 20 October 2020

Lower expectations for Barcelona entering Champions League

  • Barca have not won since 2015, but since then have never embarked on a new campaign amid so much disarray

MADRID: Despite managing to hang onto Lionel Messi, Barcelona begin its Champions League campaign with reduced expectations after one of their worst seasons in years.
The Catalan club appears to lack its confidence from previous seasons following an embarrassing elimination to Bayern Munich and a troubled off-season in which it nearly lost its talisman.

“Knowing what happened recently, we are not the top favorite,” coach Ronald Koeman said on Monday ahead of the team's debut in this season's competition against Hungarian club Ferencvaros. “But we are a team that can go far.”

Koeman arrived to put Barcelona back on track shortly after the 8-2 collapse against Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, which capped their first season without a title since 2007-08.

“Barcelona always plays to win titles, in the league and in Europe, but there are other strong teams,” Koeman said.

Barcelona have not  won the Champions League since 2015, but since then they had never embarked on a new campaign in the competition amid so much disarray.

The club avoided losing Messi after he said he wanted to leave, but it continued to endure political turmoil and even financial difficulties. President Josep Bartomeu is facing a censure motion that could force him to leave his post before the end of the year.

Koeman was given the task of revamping the first team, and he quickly got rid of veterans such as Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic, but the club failed to bring in any of the players he wanted in the transfer window.

Koeman said Messi is fine despite scoring just once so far this season.

“Maybe his performance could be better, but I see him happy,” Koeman said. “I see him training well and focused. I have nothing to complain about him in that sense.”

He said “a bit of bad luck” has played a role in keeping the Argentina star from scoring more goals so far. Koeman also downplayed criticism of Antoine Griezmann for his recent poor performances, though he admitted that “everyone in the attack” can improve.

Barcelona opened the Spanish league with two convincing wins under Koeman, but then it drew 1-1 with Sevilla at home and lost 1-0 at Getafe on Saturday.

Hungarian champions Ferencvaros return to the Champions League for the first time since 1995. They needed to get through four qualifying rounds to reach the group stage.

The other Group G teams are Juventus and Dynamo Kyiv.

“We want to start with the right foot,” Koeman said. “We want to win the match and gain tranquility.”