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Champions League preview: Lewandowski to return for Bayern as Real’s Bale is ruled out

We look ahead to the second part of the heavyweight contest between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, who will be boosted by the return of star striker Robert Lewandowski from injury as they look to overturn a 2-1 deficit. Bayern Munich's hopes of overturning a 2-1 deficit from the quarterfinal first leg against Real Madrid rest on whether Robert Lewandowski, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng will be fit. Lewandowksi, whose absence was felt when Bayern slumped to defeat by Real, is back in training after suffering a shoulder injury against Borussia Dortmund last week. The Pole was suspended for Saturday's Bundesliga stalemate at Leverkusen. "We know how good a player Lewandowski is, he is a true No.9," said Real coach Zinedine Zidane. That is a plus for Bayern [that he should return].” Lewandowski has scored 38 goals in 40 appearances this season but Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro says they are wary of Bayern's whole team, not just their center forward. "Lewandowski is a quality player but it's not all about him," said Casemiro. "They've got a brilliant squad. We'll need to be at our best and not just focused on one man." The striker should be joined by first choice defensive pair Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, but both face a race against time to be fit. Hummels has an ankle injury that kept him out of the first leg and Boateng missed the Leverkusen game with an adductor injury. "There'll be a test on Monday night," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said before the team departed for Madrid on Monday. "Everything went well on Sunday in training with Hummels and Boateng. Lewandowski was even training with the team. We have to wait. At the end of the day, we're not so pessimistic." And with Javi Martinez suspended after his red card in the first leg, Carlo Ancelotti will be desperate for both players to be fit. If Hummels or Boateng don't make it, and emergency defensive pairing of Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba could be required. Bale absence will hamper Real Real Madrid go into the second leg as clear favorites to progress, knowing that even a 1-0 defeat in the Spanish capital will see them through. But Zidane's side have been dealt a blow with the news that Gareth Bale will miss the return leg at the Bernabeu. The Welshman has a muscle injury in his right leg and Zidane, while wanting to bring him back, says he will not rush the star forward back to action. Zidane's thinking is clearly influenced by El Clasico against Barcelona, on Sunday. "He will not play because we don't want to take any risks," Zidane said on Monday. "He wants to come back, he has been working hard. Hopefully he will be back for the Clasico but it's not certain yet. We will see how he progresses day by day." Spain attacking midfielder Isco, who scored twice, including a last minute winner, in Madrid's 3-2 win over Sporting Gijon on Saturday, is likely to replace Bale – but Zidane was keep his cards close to his chest. "That Isco has not played much time in the Champions League is just coincidence, there is nothing else," Zidane said. "It looks tough for him, just 77 minutes, it's not much. But we have many games, many competitions, and we will see tomorrow what will happen.” Overcoming the odds Only twice in Champions League history has a team overhauled a first-leg home defeat to win the tie. The second of those occasions was against Bayern, who let a first leg lead slip against Internazionale in 2010/11. The odds are clearly against Bayern, but there is hope for them. An early goal would give Bayern the perfect platform to take the game to Real, who are unbeaten in Europe's elite club competition this season. In fact, they've failed to win only once in their last 10 Champions League games – 2-2 at Borussia Dortmund in the group stage. But Bayern midfielder Xabi Alonso, who will be playing his last ever Champions League game if Bayern go out, is confident that the Bundesliga leaders can turn it around against his former club. "We are Bayern, we know how to do it," Alonso told El Pais when he was asked his thoughts on a comeback. "We know how competitive Real Madrid are going to be and I also know the Bernabeu in these qualifiers, and the atmosphere will be a great night." "With Madrid you can't think too much about them because there is so much talent and they can score from anywhere. In addition to playing well, you have to be lucky and hope they don't have their day." Bayern will be hoping luck is on their side on Tuesday evening.

We look ahead to the second part of the heavyweight contest between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, who will be boosted by the return of star striker Robert Lewandowski from injury as they look to overturn a 2-1 deficit. Bayern Munich’s hopes of overturning a 2-1 deficit from the quarterfinal first leg against Real Madrid rest on whether Robert Lewandowski, ... Read More »

Champions League: Dortmund out to ‘score as many goals as possible’ against Monaco

Borussia Dortmund are set to host Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal tie. BVB's Marco Reus could be set to make his return against the high-scoring French side. Borussia Dortmund welcome French league leaders Monaco to the Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday night for the first leg of a hotly anticipated Champions League quarterfinal. After five weeks out with a muscle tear, BVB star Marco Reus could be set to make his return as the Black and Yellows look to bounce back from Saturday's chastening 4-1 defeat to Bayern Munich. "Sometimes it's best not to dwell too long on results like that," coach Thomas Tuchel told reporters at the prematch press conference on Monday. "Bayern were on another level to us and we don't need 20 replays to show us that." Dortmund were forced to travel to Munich with a severely depleted squad after midfielders Julian Weigl and Shinji Kagawa both picked up knocks last week, but both are back in training and should return to action against Monaco. Lukas Piszceck, who remained on the bench as a precaution against Bayern, is also set to start with Dortmund likely to revert to a back four. Longer-term absentees André Schürrle, Erik Durm and Mario Götze are still out. "We're confident that Weigl, Kagawa and Piszczek will be fit," said Tuchel. "Marco [Reus] trained yesterday and will again tomorrow. Then we'll decide if he's ready or not. Given our injury situation, it could be more likely he'll be involved, or at least in the dressing room." Attack, attack, attack In Dortmund and Monaco, the draw will see two of the most exciting young teams in Europe go head to head. Dortmund overcame a 0-1 deficit by hammering Benfica 4-0 in the last round. The Monegasques, three points clear of champions PSG at the top of Ligue 1, have already scored an incredible 130 goals in all competitions this season, including 88 in the league - more than any team in Europe's top four domestic leagues. "Monaco have many top players," Tuchel said. "They have outstanding talent both individually and as a team. It's difficult to pick out one single player." "We'll practise combatting Monaco's strengths but we want to concentrate on our own strengths and score as many goals as possible with our fans behind us." Dortmund are not short of firepower themselves. Only Bayern have scored more goals in the Bundesliga this season while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembelé, Christian Pulisic and co. found the net a record 21 times in this season's Champions League group stage. Nevertheless, captain Marcel Schmelzer (29) believes that defense is what will decide this tie. "It's a 50-50 battle," Schmelzer said in comments published in Monday's edition of German football magazine "Kicker." "Both teams like to attack but we have to make sure we defend better with more intelligence and more ruthlessness. We know Monaco score a lot of goals but big victories and titles are won based on a well-functioning defense. Our defenders have more international experience - we have to use this to our advantage." French national team coach Didier Deschamps agreed, writing in the same publication that he expected an "offensive spectacle." "Both teams rely on youth, pace and attacking football and make the most of their forwards' individual qualities," he said. "But the key will be elsewhere. The team who defend best will progress." Defense will be key Left back Schmelzer had a torrid time against Bayern winger Arjen Robben on Saturday and knows he will have to up his game against one of Europe's most formidable attacks. In striker Kylian Mbappé (18), winger Thomas Lemar (21) and full back Bemjamin Mendy (22), this Monaco side features some of French football's hottest young talents. Experienced Colombian striker Radamel Falcao also returned from a four-week layoff at the weekend, scoring the only goal as Monaco beat Angers 1-0. Fortunately for Dortmund, key midfield powerhouse Tiemoué Bakayoko will miss the first leg through suspension and could be replaced by Portuguese international Joao Moutinho. Marauding right back Djibril Sidibé is also set to miss out with an appendix problem. Monaco's three away goals in their 5-3 first-leg defeat at the hands of Manchester City in the previous round ultimately proved decisive in the second leg and Leonardo Jardim will be expecting his team to take at least one away goal back to the principality this time as well. Dortmund have been guilty of wasting chances this season but they cannot afford to do so if they are to progress in the Champions League.

Borussia Dortmund are set to host Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal tie. BVB’s Marco Reus could be set to make his return against the high-scoring French side. Borussia Dortmund welcome French league leaders Monaco to the Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday night for the first leg of a hotly anticipated Champions League quarterfinal. After five ... Read More »

Garcia grabs US Masters in playoff

Sergio Garcia has won the US Masters at the first playoff hole in Augusta. The Spaniard has finally landed his first major title. Garcia nudged out England's Justin Rose, who also finished on nine under par at the end of the fourth round on Sunday in Augusta, Georgia. Garcia birdied the first playoff hole and Rose made bogey, after his tee shot bounced out onto pine straw near the fairway while Garcia found the fairway. "It’s been such a long time coming," Garcia said after the win. "I felt the calmest I’ve ever felt on a major Sunday today. Even after making bogey I was positive, I still believed. I hit some good shots, and I’m so happy.” The two had started on Sunday as co-leaders, before Garcia took a three-stroke lead after five holes. Rose then came back with three straight birdies starting on the sixth. Garcia bogeyed the first two holes on the back nine, but got back within one stroke with a birdie on the 14th. Rose birdied the 16th, but on the 17th he bogeyed after Garcia had missed an easy birdie putt. They both missed birdie putts on the 18th to finish 72 holes at 9-under. Garcia's win comes after 73 failed attempts to win the 81st Masters on his 37th birthday and what would have been the 60th birthday of his idol, two-time Masters champion and three-time (British) Open winner Seve Ballesteros, who died of brain cancer in 2011 at age 54. Garcia has won over 20 international tournaments and has spent much of his career in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking, reaching a career high ranking of second in 2008. He has finished a runner-up on four occasions, twice at the (British) Open and twice at the PGA Championship, with a further six top five finishes without breaking through. This was the first major playoff for Rose while Garcia had lost his only prior major playoff to Ireland's Padraig Harrington in the 2007 Open.

Sergio Garcia has won the US Masters at the first playoff hole in Augusta. The Spaniard has finally landed his first major title. Garcia nudged out England’s Justin Rose, who also finished on nine under par at the end of the fourth round on Sunday in Augusta, Georgia. Garcia birdied the first playoff hole and Rose made bogey, after his ... Read More »

Lewis Hamilton claims pole position for Chinese Formula One Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has smashed Michael Schumacher's long-standing record in qualification for the Grand Prix in Shanghai. He was closely tailed by Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton on Saturday qualified in pole position for the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai, setting a new track record. Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who won the Australian Grand Prix, will start second in Sunday's race, qualifying just 0.186 seconds slower than Hamilton's benchmark. Hamilton's Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas came third. Kimi Raikkonen was fourth in the other Ferrari. Red Bull's Max Verstappen was hit by an "engine software issue" during first qualifying and his last lap was halted prematurely after Sauber's Antonio Giovinazzi crashed. The stoppage prevented Giovinazzi taking part in Q2, during which Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso), Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Fernando Alonso (McLaren) and Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) were eliminated. Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren), Romain Grosjean (Haas), Jolyon Palmer (Renault) all exited in first qualifying but finished ahead of Verstappen. Only Esteban Ocon (Force India) will start behind the young Dutch driver on the grid. Hamilton's time of 1.31.678 was the fastest time set at the Shanghai circuit. It was the 63rd pole of his career and the sixth consecutive time he qualified first on the grid dating back to last season. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), Felipe Massa (Williams), Nico Huelkenberg (Renault), Sergio Perez (Force India), Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) and Lance Stroll (Williams) completed the top 10. The weather in Shanghai was fine for racing after fog grounded the medical helicopter for most of Friday, causing second practice to be cancelled. The governing body FIA arranged for a police escort to clear traffic for an ambulance on Sunday meaning the race can definitely proceed even if the helicopter cannot fly.

Lewis Hamilton has smashed Michael Schumacher’s long-standing record in qualification for the Grand Prix in Shanghai. He was closely tailed by Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton on Saturday qualified in pole position for the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai, setting a new track record. Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who won the Australian Grand Prix, will ... Read More »

Masters 2017: The contenders for the green jacket

The first golf major of the year starts on Thursday and conditions at Augusta look even more testing than usual. The Masters is notoriously tough to predict but we've picked out a few of the leading contenders. With heavy rain and thunderstorms predicted in Georgia and the notoriously quick course always a stern test for players, Jack Nicklaus - the event's honorary starter along with Gary Player - said putting in particular will prove a challenge. The 7,435-yard course will "get fast pretty quick," confronting players with surprises, The Golden Bear predicted. "It keeps you off balance. When it's wet, it's not too bad," Nicklaus told reporters on Tuesday. "Once it starts to get firm and the wind starts to blow ... it blows from so many different directions that the golf course changes constantly. "I don't care how good you are, how much you play, the greens are the most severe greens in the game of golf, and I would say they are the most difficult to putt." Last year, Englishman Danny Willett was the shock winner after Jordan Speith collapsed on the back nine, where the event is often decided. Here's a look at a few of the major contenders for the 2017 edition. The in-form favorite Since the beginning of February, world number one Dustin Johnson has won three tournaments in North America and goes in to the big one in fine form. "I've got a lot of confidence in my game right now," the big-hitting American said after a practice round on Tuesday. The 32-year-old has built solidly on a breakout year in 2016, when he picked up a first major win at the US Open, and boasts an average driving distance of 316.2 yards, second on the PGA Tour this season. But he knows big driving won't be enough at Augusta. "Everything has got to be working this week," he said. "If you want to win, you've got to drive it well, you're going to have to hit your irons well. You're going to have to putt it well. That's what it takes to win. On the search for the full set Rory McIlroy is is a four-time major champion and the Northern Irishman needs just this event to become only the sixth golfer to secure a career grand slam. The 27-year-old famously let a four shot lead slip in the 2011 Masters before winning his maiden major at the US Open just 70 days later. He announced on Wednesday that he has changed his brand and model of fairway woods, introducing new TaylorMade woods alongside Callaway irons and driver because he believes they better suit the fast course at Augusta. He said he now knows what to expect. "It's always important to get off to a decent start but especially here," he said on Tuesday. "You don't want to feel like you're playing catch up on this course, because you feel like the more you force the issue, the more things can go wrong." The prospect Emerging Spaniard Jon Rahm looks to have a genuine shot at becoming the first Masters debutant to slip on the famous green jacket since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979, after winning his maiden PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines earlier this year. The powerful 22-year-old has impressed many observers and, while his lack of experience may have showed at last month's WGC Match-Play - where he lost to Johnson at the 18th hole - he's not short of belief. "If I didn't think I could win it, I wouldn't be here," he said after arriving in Georgia. "Obviously this is different. This is a major and my first time in Augusta. It is very, very impressive. I am going to tee up believing that I can win. I might do it. I might not. But that's how I do it." The Masters master Just a year older than Rahm , Jordan Spieth already has 9 Tour wins and two majors to his name, including a win at Augusta in 2015. The Texan, who is paired with German Martin Kaymer for the opening round on Thursday, is again among the favorites to take the green jacket. Spieth, who equaled the course record in his win two years ago, tied for 2nd in 2014 and 2016 and is likely to be in contention once again. "It's my favourite tournament," he said. "I love being in contention here. I've had the luxury of having that every time I've been here."

The first golf major of the year starts on Thursday and conditions at Augusta look even more testing than usual. The Masters is notoriously tough to predict but we’ve picked out a few of the leading contenders. With heavy rain and thunderstorms predicted in Georgia and the notoriously quick course always a stern test for players, Jack Nicklaus – the ... Read More »

Federer: “Wimbledon has to be my biggest goal.”

Roger Federer made it three titles in 2017 as his impressive resurgence gathers momentum - age 35. Now the Swiss star has said he'll cherry pick the events he plays in a bid to win even more Grand Slams. World number four Roger Federer plans to skip the clay season in order to shape up ahead of the Wimbledon Championships. The 35-year-old beat Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-4 in the Miami Open on Sunday to add to his Australian Openand Indian Wells titles in 2017. But the Swiss, an 18-time Grand Slam winner, has decided to pick and choose which events he will attend outside of this summer's French Open and Wimbledon. He plans to miss out clay events in Istanbul and Rome. "I want to stay healthy," Federer said on ESPN. "When I'm healthy and feeling good, I can produce tennis like this. If I'm not feeling this good, there's no chance I'll be in finals competing with Rafa. For me basically the second half of the season is the big priority which is why I am taking this break now." "I will probably stay on hard courts ... and get on the clay two weeks before the French, that's the plan for now and hopefully I will play the French and we will see how the build-up is going to go and for me that's essentially when the season really starts. "Wimbledon has to be the biggest goal now, in the near future, the American hard courts I guess as well. The French Open I guess, to some extent, we will see what happens, no pressure there really." Federer ended a four-and-a-half-year wait to win his 18th Grand Slam, becoming the oldest winner of one of his sport's most prized events in 43 years with his triumph in Melbourne. Before that, 2016 has been a write off for the Swiss player who missed most of the season as he recovered from injury. While he got back to full fitness, Federer dropped out of the top-10 rankings and ended up as low as 17th at the end of the year.

Roger Federer made it three titles in 2017 as his impressive resurgence gathers momentum – age 35. Now the Swiss star has said he’ll cherry pick the events he plays in a bid to win even more Grand Slams. World number four Roger Federer plans to skip the clay season in order to shape up ahead of the Wimbledon Championships. ... Read More »

New York Knicks’ Joakim Noah suspended for 20 games after doping violation

NBA All-Star Joakim Noah faces a 20-game unpaid suspension after failing a doping test. The New York Knicks center, son of French tennis legend Yannick Noah, tested positive for a substance similar to anabolic steroids. Noah's suspension was announced on Saturday, when the NBA confirmed he'd tested positive for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator LGD-4033, a substance intended to produce effects similar to those of anabolic steroids. The over-the-counter supplement is banned under the current league bargaining agreement with the players union. The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) said neither Noah nor the union will appeal the suspension. "After a thorough investigation, the NBPA believes that Joakim Noah did not intentionally or knowingly violate any policy," a union statement said. "We believe that this isolated occurrence was a regrettable mistake. Joakim has offered his deepest apologies for this infraction." The NBPA said Noah was "completely forthcoming and cooperative" throughout the investigation. The 32-year-old has not played since a knee operation last month and his ban will begin with the first NBA regular-season or playoff game for which he is eligible and physically able to play, which means he looks likely to miss the start of next season.

NBA All-Star Joakim Noah faces a 20-game unpaid suspension after failing a doping test. The New York Knicks center, son of French tennis legend Yannick Noah, tested positive for a substance similar to anabolic steroids. Noah’s suspension was announced on Saturday, when the NBA confirmed he’d tested positive for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator LGD-4033, a substance intended to produce effects ... Read More »

Podolski delivers his own fitting departure

By the time Lukas Podolski played his last match for Germany, it had long since been clear that he was past his best as a player. However, Joachim Löw and the national team may come to miss him more than they think. It was worth waiting 70 minutes for. It was worth waiting through a poorly timed speech from German football association (DFB) President Reinhard Grindel. It was worth watching a first half of tepid football with little evidence of why a game was even necessary to say goodbye. It was worth it all for that one moment when Lukas Podolski scored a goal harking back to the golden moments of his career. It was a goal that deserved to win any game, but fittingly it won his last one in a Germany shirt. With a slap of the badge on his chest and a parting wave, Podolski departed with six minutes to go. The stadium had waited for this moment, but was still reeling from the fairytale goal that Podolski had just scored. It wasn't until Podolski took selfies with the crowd, climbed into the stands to sing with the fans and was thrown in the air by his teammates that it might have dawned on Germany what they have lost. In this month's edition of German football magazine "11 Freunde," Podolski said: "From 80 million people, 22 or 23 are called up for an international friendly. If I am one of them, am I supposed to complain?" The 31-year-old has never lost touch with his roots, he has never changed his relaxed, friendly, humorous manner. It's what made him so rare in modern football, and what him indispensible to the balance of Germany's squad. It has been clear for a while that on the pitch, he won't actually be missed and tonight was, for the most part, more damming evidence. Before the goal, Podolski looked slow and was snatching at his chances. The crowd was anxious, and it didn't feel like the departure Podolski deserved. However, as things so often tend to go in sports, the fairytale ending was yet to come. Better than Hollywood "You couldn't have written it better in a script," Julian Weigl told DW afterwards. Not even Podolski - a man famous for delivering some great lines over the years - could have imagined such a finish. "It's difficult to describe. You have to experience it," Podolski said. The game itself was something many felt they could have been spared. The Podolski goal and standing ovation for his departure would have sufficed. An impressive choreography, an indifferent performance and far too many Mexican waves were familiar but unnecessary additions to this Germany game. England should have won and spoiled the party, but Marc-André ter Stegen delivered a timely performance between the posts for the national team. Jonas Hector will be hoping his performance is quickly forgotten, whereas Mats Hummels was at his commanding best. "You could see that the processes weren't there and that the young lads, myself included, wanted to impress," Weigl said. Timo Werner certainly did that on his debut, but was perhaps a little overly eager to do well. Life goes on "As a person, we will definitely miss him, but I think we have a lot of good and experienced players who can replace him,” Leroy Sané said. Weigl echoed these sentiments, saying this young side didn't need to hide and was ready to take up the mantle as the old guard stepped down. Behind the tweets, the smiles, and the emotion of the evening also lies a hard truth for Germany. The absence of Lukas Podolski unbalances the Germany squad. Thomas Müller might well take up his mantle, but never has there been a Germany player capable of making humor and ease such a pivotal part of a team's winning formula. "You idiots," was Podolski's initial reaction when he was asked how he felt about being in the mixed zone with all of the national team reporters one last time. He smiled and followed it up with heartfelt thanks for all the media's work during his years in a Germany shirt. It was one last reminder of his unique character - a Cologne boy but a Germany man, who will be missed by the national team more than they yet know.

By the time Lukas Podolski played his last match for Germany, it had long since been clear that he was past his best as a player. However, Joachim Löw and the national team may come to miss him more than they think. It was worth waiting 70 minutes for. It was worth waiting through a poorly timed speech from German ... Read More »

Neuer pulls out of Germany squad, Trapp called up

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has pulled out of Germany's matches against England and Azerbaijan due to injury. Paris Saint-Germain keeper Kevin Trapp has been called up to fill the gap left by Germany's No. 1. Manuel Neuer, 30, who played the full 90 minutes of Bayern's 1-0 victory at Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday, has announced that he will not be involved in Germany's friendly against England on Wednesday, nor the World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan in Baku on Sunday. A statement posted on the German football association's (DFB) website on Monday said that Neuer was suffering from a calf problem and that head coach Joachim Löw had called up Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Kevin Trapp as a last-minute replacement. Trapp was named in the German squad in the international break in November 2015 but is still waiting for his Germany debut. The other two keepers in the current squad are Marc-André ter Stegen of Barcelona and Bernd Leno of Bayer Leverkusen. Germany leads European Group C of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia with four wins from four games - having scored 16 goals while conceding none.

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has pulled out of Germany’s matches against England and Azerbaijan due to injury. Paris Saint-Germain keeper Kevin Trapp has been called up to fill the gap left by Germany’s No. 1. Manuel Neuer, 30, who played the full 90 minutes of Bayern’s 1-0 victory at Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday, has announced that he will not ... Read More »

NBA: Dirk Nowitzki passes 30,000-point milestone

Germany's Dirk Nowitzki has become just the sixth player in NBA history to crack the 30,000-point mark. The Dallas Mavericks player is also the first non-American to reach the milestone. The Dallas Mavericks power forward earned his 30,000th point on a step-back jumper early in the second quarter on Tuesday night. He then went past the mark on a three-pointer that sent the American Airlines Center crowd into a frenzy with 9:54 left in the first half. Nowitzki ended the match with 30,005 career regular season points. "Sort of surreal, 30,000 is amazing," the Würzburg native said. "It's a lot of points, obviously. Every milestone makes you reflect a little bit. It makes you reflect on the people that have helped you and been with you all of this way." The 38-year-old Nowitzki had gone into the contest in which the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 122-111, 20 points shy of the mark. Nowitzki's teammates and Mavs owner Mark Cuban mobbed the German during a timeout and the 13-time NBA All Star acknowledged the crowd as his accomplishment was announced over the PA system. "Just an amazing experience," the 19-year NBA veteran said. "After every basket I made, I felt a buzz in the crowd." Exclusive list Nowitzki is just the sixth NBA player to reach 30,000 points after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. He is also the first non-American to reach the milestone. Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James was among the first to congratulate him on the achievement. "I gotta congratulate Dirk Nowitzki on putting up 30,000 points. I'm watching the game right now. Congratulations," LeBron James said on a video message. "There's no way I was missing this moment. Hopefully I can join you at some point, big fella. Salute." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also congratulated Nowitzki. "Throughout his 19 seasons with the Mavericks, Dirk has been a model player and terrific ambassador for our game," a statement issued by Silver's office said. "This latest accomplishment further establishes his legacy as one of the NBA's greatest players."

Germany’s Dirk Nowitzki has become just the sixth player in NBA history to crack the 30,000-point mark. The Dallas Mavericks player is also the first non-American to reach the milestone. The Dallas Mavericks power forward earned his 30,000th point on a step-back jumper early in the second quarter on Tuesday night. He then went past the mark on a three-pointer ... Read More »

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