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Hertha beat Hoffenheim, Ingolstadt come back

Ingolstadt won the battle of newly promoted teams against Darmstadt. Earlier, pleasant surprises Hertha Berlin beat underachievers Hoffenheim to return to fourth spot, but the star of the show was a sudden blizzard. The minute of silence for the victims of the November 13 was still underway when the sky over the German capital opened up, and the snow began to fall. Within minutes large sections of the pitch were covered in the white stuff, and the goal lines and penalty areas were impossible to make out. With the footing treacherous, long speculative passes and dead-ball situations were the order of the day. And it was through the latter that Hertha grabbed the lead on the half-hour mark. Eugen Polanski headed on a Marvin Plattenhardt free kick, and as the goal-line technology clearly showed, Oliver Baumann was unable to palm the ball away the goal in time. The scene was convincing argument for giving referees technological help, as the linesman initially seemed to wave off the goal in poor visibility. Berlin were, in any case, good for their halftime lead, as keeper Rune Jarstein remained completely untested. Helpers in the stadium were able to clear the snow from the two penalty areas at least after the restart. Hoffenheim tried to take advantage of the improved playing conditions, whereas at the hour mark, Hertha had but the one shot on goal to their name. Kevin Volland could have equalized a quarter of an hour from time, but his left foot was ice called and he skied a ball well over goal from eight meters out. Eduardo Vargas came a lot closer with a header some six minutes later. And John Anthony Brooks missed equalizing for the visitors by a whisker in a near own goal in injury time. Thus one shot on goal was all Hertha needed to book a 1-0 win - a new negative record for a Bundesliga side. "We switched gears quickly in the first half to take advantage of the weather conditions," Hertha coach Pal Dardai. "All you can do is hit long balls and keep fighting." Hertha reclaim fourth place in the table, while Hoffenheim are dead last and have yet to record a victory under their new coach Huub Stevens. Ingolstadt turn tide against Darmstadt Sunday's late match was the first Bundesliga fixture between newly-promoted teams Ingolstadt and Darmstadt. After a 15-minute delay before the opening whistle, Darmstadt grabbed the lead in a familiar fashion. Darmstadt have been brutally efficient on set pieces, and on nine minutes, Aytac Sulu headed in a Konstantin Rausch free kick. It was the Lillies captain's third goal of the season - his third goal of the season. It took almost an hour for hosts Ingolstadt to make their home advantage pay, but they came back within the space on two minutes. Robert Bauer lashed in an equalizer from outside the box in minute 58, and on the hour mark Moritz Hartmann converted a penalty after Junior Diaz felled Pascal Gross in the box. Hartmann salted away the 3-1 victory two minutes from time with his second goal of the afternoon. The three points take Ingolstadt up to eighth in the table while Darmstadt languish in sixteenth.

Ingolstadt won the battle of newly promoted teams against Darmstadt. Earlier, pleasant surprises Hertha Berlin beat underachievers Hoffenheim to return to fourth spot, but the star of the show was a sudden blizzard. The minute of silence for the victims of the November 13 was still underway when the sky over the German capital opened up, and the snow began ... Read More »

Tennis: Fourth successive title for Djokovic

The Serb, who holds all four Grand Slam prizes, rounds off a fantastic 2015 with his fourth ATP World Tour Finals title in consecutive years. Djokovic will remain as world number one in the next rankings. Peerless Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4 at the ATP World Tour Finals in London to pick up his fourth title in a row. The Serb secured his 11th prize of the season in his 15th final having won the Australian Open, Wimbledon, French Open and US Open. Djokovic also leveled up his record with Federer at 22-22. The pair have contested three of the last four finals in the English capital. Despite a positive start from Federer, who beat Djokovic in the last meeting, he made several mistakes on his usually reliable forehand. Djokovic broke in third and ninth game to take the set at 6-3. Both players held serve in the second set and Federer saved three break points to keep the match alive. But Djokovic wore down his opponent and the 17-time Grand Slam double faulted on his second break point. Djokovic joins legends Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl on five victories at the season-ending event, but the overall record is held by Federer who has come out victorious six times. When the next set of rankings will be published in December, Djokovic, who will take home around two million US Dollars for his success, will be dominant as world number one. Swiss ace Federer will be world number three, while Andy Murray, who competes in the Davis Cup final next week, will hold on to second place.

The Serb, who holds all four Grand Slam prizes, rounds off a fantastic 2015 with his fourth ATP World Tour Finals title in consecutive years. Djokovic will remain as world number one in the next rankings. Peerless Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4 at the ATP World Tour Finals in London to pick up his fourth title in a ... Read More »

FC Barcelona clinches ‘El Clasico’ with 4-0 victory over rivals Real Madrid

La Liga's Barcelona has made a stunning show of force against arch-rivals Real Madrid by claiming a 4-0 victory. Real Madrid's crushing defeat led to calls for the team's president and coach to step down. Barcelona on Saturday brightened their hopes of a sixth La Liga title after humiliating Real Madrid with a stunning 4-0 victory. The match gave Barcelona a league-topping surge, bringing them up to 30 points with Real Madrid trailing six points behind. Barcelona's Luis Suarez scored two goals, while Brazilian striker Neymar and capitan Andres Iniesta fired in one each. "This victory is glorious, especially in the way that it came about," said Barcelona boss Luis Enrique after the game. "We were the better side and the triumph is down to us. There is a long way to go but it is always important to win here…It has been a great all-round performance. It will go down in history as a memorable game for Barcelona," Enrique noted. The crushing defeat for Real Madrid gave way to fans chanting calls for the team's coach Rafa Benitez and President Florentino Perez to step down. "It would not be fair to criticize my players for a lack of desire," said Benitez, according to DPA news agency. "Now I just want to leave this behind and focus on the next game. I congratulate Barcelona, they were very effective today," Benitez added.

La Liga’s Barcelona has made a stunning show of force against arch-rivals Real Madrid by claiming a 4-0 victory. Real Madrid’s crushing defeat led to calls for the team’s president and coach to step down. Barcelona on Saturday brightened their hopes of a sixth La Liga title after humiliating Real Madrid with a stunning 4-0 victory. The match gave Barcelona ... Read More »

Bundesliga: Hamburg beat poor Dortmund

The Bundesliga returned on Friday night and with it, a surprise result. Hamburg performed better than expected, while visitors Dortmund disappointed. Hamburg 3-1 Borussia Dortmund (Lasogga 19' pen., Holtby 41', Hummels o.g. 55' - Aubameyang 87') Borussia Dortmund were second best on Friday night as a solid and efficient Hamburg side secured a deserved three points to win only their second home game of the season. Hamburg move up to 7th and have now only lost one of their last seven meetings with Dortmund. After two traumatic weeks, Friday night's football was a much-needed return to normality in a world that has lost its way of late. Hamburg's home game against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga was a perfect reminder of why we need sport to go on. After a 15-minute delay, the Bundesliga delivered its typical dish of unpredictability. Following the sight of Pierre-Michel Lasogga being offside and Julian Weigl's remarkable ball retention, came Hamburg (not Dortmund). Bruno Labbadia's men deservedly took the lead when stand-out performer Lewis Holtby put Ivo Ilicevic in behind Dortmund's defense. Ilicevic's hesitation cost him a goal, but won him a penalty after Roman Bürki was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Lasogga converted to deliver further evidence that Hamburg really are Dortmund's bogey team. Holtby & Adler lead Hamburg Coming into the game, all the talk was about the number of goals Thomas Tuchel's men have scored this season (71 in 21 competitive games), but in truth it should have been about Hamburg's league best record against Dortmund - 13 points from their last six meetings. The pace of the game increased after the opener, but not in the way Dortmund wanted. The neat passing around the edge of the area and ruthless transitional play was on display, but from the men in white and blue not black and yellow. Weigl had stopped the blood flowing from a cut on his face after an elbow from Holtby, but he couldn't stop the leak hindering Dortmund. Matthias Ginter sent a woefully misplaced pass into midfield and Hamburg broke forward. Mats Hummels backed off Nicolai Müller, Sokratis didn't track Holtby and the former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder tucked away a second. In short, Hamburg's second goal was a microcosm of the game. Dortmund's defense was passive and exposed, Hamburg's attack unfamiliarly ruthless. Hummels' nightmare continued in the second half when the unmarked Dortmund captain stooped unnecessarily to head past his own goalkeeper and end the contest. Rene Adler's flurry of late saves stopped the finale from being too frantic and confirm his best performance in months. The only consolation for Dortmund on the night was that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got on the scoresheet, taking his Bundesliga tally to 15 and keep Dortmund without a goalless game under Tuchel. The greatest comfort of all though, was that Friday night football had returned, and with it a piece of normality.

The Bundesliga returned on Friday night and with it, a surprise result. Hamburg performed better than expected, while visitors Dortmund disappointed. Hamburg 3-1 Borussia Dortmund (Lasogga 19′ pen., Holtby 41′, Hummels o.g. 55′ – Aubameyang 87′) Borussia Dortmund were second best on Friday night as a solid and efficient Hamburg side secured a deserved three points to win only their ... Read More »

IOC’s Bach proposes big changes to WADA

The president of the IOC has proposed major changes to how the World Anti-Doping Agency works. Thomas Bach also recommended that a sports court be the only authority that can hand down sanctions for doping offenders. Speaking at the opening of the general assembly of European Olympic Committees in Prague on Friday, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach called for a complete overhaul of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Bach called for the creation of independent drug testing and professional intelligence gathering units at the Montreal-based agency. He said that the proposed testing and results management unit within WADA should be set up "independent from the monitoring and regulatory functions of WADA" and that this body should "coordinate the work of the National Anti-Doping Agencies to ensure a streamlined, efficient and worldwide harmonized anti-doping system." The intelligence-gathering unit, he said, "would allow WADA to be proactive" while also addressing compliance issues. New, exclusive powers for the CAS? The IOC president also recommended that the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which currently only hears appeals against sanctions handed down by sports federations or anti-doing organizations be designated as the sole body to impose them in the first place. "Sanctions could be pronounced only by CAS. In such a way also the system of sanctions would be centralized, be cost efficient and lead to harmonization among all sports and among all countries. The current right to appeal such sanctions to a different chamber of CAS would be fully upheld and guaranteed," he said. The IOC's proposals come amid a controversy over the alleged state-sponsored doping of athletes in Russia, which led the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to provisionally suspend the country's track-and-field athletes from competition last week. The allegations came from a report drawn up following an investigation by a WADA-appointed independent commission. The suspension means the Russian athletes are currently banned from competition and could be ruled out of next year's summer Olympics in Rio. Earlier this week, WADA also declared Russia's Anti-Doping Agency "non compliant" with global norms.

The president of the IOC has proposed major changes to how the World Anti-Doping Agency works. Thomas Bach also recommended that a sports court be the only authority that can hand down sanctions for doping offenders. Speaking at the opening of the general assembly of European Olympic Committees in Prague on Friday, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach called ... Read More »

Bundesliga will go ahead as planned, says Rauball

Despite recent events in Paris and Hanover, the Bundesliga and UEFA competitions will go ahead as scheduled. Bundesliga matchday 13, due to kick off this Friday, will occur as scheduled, German football league (DFL) president Reinhard Rauball confirmed on Wednesday. “The matchday will take place,” Rauball said. "We have great confidence in the federal and state security authorities. On the one hand, we do not want to succumb to terror. Yet, on the other, top priority must be given to protecting human life." Four days after explosions occurred near the Stade de France – where the German national team was playing France in an international friendly – German police canceled a friendly between Germany and the Netherlands Tuesday night due to a bomb scare in HDI-Arena in Hanover. Hannover 96 cancelled morning training “for logistical reasons”, club spokesman Alex Jacob said on Wednesday, but are still expected to resume training this afternoon. Hamburger SV also confirmed on their website their match against Borussia Dortmund on Friday, the first of the matchday 13 fixtures, will go ahead as planned. HSV manager Bruno Labbadia spoke in favor of the decision in his press conference on Wednesday. Hamburger SV announced the will step up their security for Friday's match, joining several other Bundesliga clubs. 1. FC Köln said in a statement the "visible presence of law enforcement officers will increase" for their match at the RheinEnergieStadion on Saturday when they host 1. FSV Mainz 05. Champions League, Europa League also have green light The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) also issued a statement saying the Champions League and Europa League will occur as well. Both competitions are scheduled to have their fifth matchday of their respective group stages between Tuesday and Thursday next week. “All matches are scheduled to go ahead as planned,” UEFA said in a statement. “UEFA has very strict rules regarding safety and security in relation to the organization of matches and is working closely with the home clubs and local authorities to ensure all necessary measures are implemented to guarantee safety for all involved. UEFA has not issued directives about traveling fans; it is up to the relevant authorities to decide such matters.”

Despite recent events in Paris and Hanover, the Bundesliga and UEFA competitions will go ahead as scheduled. Bundesliga matchday 13, due to kick off this Friday, will occur as scheduled, German football league (DFL) president Reinhard Rauball confirmed on Wednesday. “The matchday will take place,” Rauball said. “We have great confidence in the federal and state security authorities. On the ... Read More »

WADA suspends Russian Anti-Doping Agency for ‘non-compliance’

WADA's Compliance Review Committee came to an 'unanimous' decision to deem Russia, Argentina, Ukraine, Bolivia, Andorra and Israel as 'non-compliant' with codes. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has suspended Russia's Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) with immediate effect for 'non-compliance'. A WADA report released last week recommended firm action against RUSADA following the decision to withdraw accreditation from the Moscow Anti-Doping laboratory. Russia's track-and-field athletes were also suspended by the IAAF , the international athletics governing body, amid concerns over 'state-sponsored' doping. But WADA has taken strong action against RUSADA - a decision that had the 'unanimous' support from the foundation board. The ruling means that Russia cannot host international events and 'cannot conduct operations until they reinstall quality anti-doping programs and are deemed compliant again.' Five other countries - Argentina, Bolivia, Ukraine, Andorra and Israel - were deemed 'non-compliant' by the Compliance Committee. It said that more could be done by several countries regarding lack of compliance, but noted the importance of 'effective sanctions' to prevent others from non-compliance. Belgium, Brazil, France, Greece, Mexico and Spain were placed by on a watch list by the committee and have until March 18, 2016 to be compliant with WADA's codes.

WADA’s Compliance Review Committee came to an ‘unanimous’ decision to deem Russia, Argentina, Ukraine, Bolivia, Andorra and Israel as ‘non-compliant’ with codes. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has suspended Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) with immediate effect for ‘non-compliance’. A WADA report released last week recommended firm action against RUSADA following the decision to withdraw accreditation from the Moscow Anti-Doping laboratory. ... Read More »

DFB to enhance security for Euro 2016 after Paris attacks

The DFB is planning a review of its security for next summer's European championship in France. Meanwhile, more details have emerged of how the team spent Friday night in their dressing room in the Stade du France. One of the interim president's of the DFB (German FA), Rainer Koch, was quoted in Monday's edition of the mass-circulation daily "Bild", as saying that the organization would be considering what further security precautions it could take in light of Friday's terror attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people. "Security at the European championship will be a major challenge for the French," Koch said. The DFB's head of security, Hendrik Grosse-Lefert told the "Frankfurter Allgemeine" newspaper that Friday's attacks would have a major impact on planning for the German team ahead of next summer's tournament. At the same time he warned that no matter what measures were implemented, they could never guarantee "100 percent security." Sleepless night in the dressing room Meanwhile more details have emerged about how the German team and others spent Friday night crammed in their dressing room after the authorities deemed it too dangerous for them to leave. At least two explosions had been audible in the stadium during the friendly against France, but according to Germany manager Oliver Bierhoff, the team only learned what had happened when they got back into the dressing room. Boateng: 'strange feeling' Speaking to Germany's "kicker" magazine, Jerome Boateng said he clearly heard the two explosions and looked around the crowd to see what was happening. "There was no smoke, nothing. I felt strange, because around midday we had had the bomb threat at our hotel." The defender said when he got back into the dressing room at half time, a quick look at his phone revealed what was going on. "Family and friends had written to me." However, he said coach Joachim Löw did not mention the explosions during his halftime speech. After the game though, members of the team were told they would have to remain in their dressing room for security reasons, and wound up spending the entire night in cramped quarters. "Everybody was on the phone, I couldn't sleep, there were too many thoughts in my head. Friends of mine were in the stadium, another friend was in the city, but they were safe," Boateng said. "The friend of one of my friends lost his wife and sister. Then you realize how close it all is." "Bild" cited the other interim DFB president, Reinhard Rauball, as saying hardly anybody on the team or in the delegation was able to sleep. "Many didn't sleep, instead they talked all night, trying to come to grips with what had happened," he said. Unmarked vans to the airport "Bild" also reported that the DFB had spread the word that the team had left the stadium at just after 2 a.m. on Saturday, but that this was disinformation spread as a security precaution. They actually didn't leave for the airport and their flight back to Frankfurt until 7 a.m. - in unmarked vans. The team were then allowed to return home for a couple of days, before converging on Hanover on Monday, for Tuesday evening's friendly against the Netherlands, which is to go ahead as scheduled.

The DFB is planning a review of its security for next summer’s European championship in France. Meanwhile, more details have emerged of how the team spent Friday night in their dressing room in the Stade du France. One of the interim president’s of the DFB (German FA), Rainer Koch, was quoted in Monday’s edition of the mass-circulation daily “Bild”, as ... Read More »

Germany’s friendly against Netherlands a ‘symbol of freedom’

Germany are set to face the Netherlands in what is one of the hottest rivalries in international football. Following the terror attacks in Paris, though, the heat is bound to be turned way down on this one. Both national team head coach Joachim Löw and manager Oliver Bierhoff used their pre-match press conference near Hanover on Monday to stress the importance of going ahead with Tuesday's friendly against the Dutch, in spite of Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people and wounded hundreds more. "It's a clear message and symbol of freedom and a demonstration of compassion, as well as sorrow, for our French friends - not only in France, but throughout the world," Löw told reporters. At his last press conference, ahead of last Friday's exhibition game, Löw had spoken of how he had wanted to use the team's next few friendlies to make adjustments and prepare his team for next summer's European Championship. On Monday, though Löw spoke almost exclusively about the reasoning for going ahead with Tuesday's match, and how the players were dealing with what they had experienced in Paris. He made clear that neither Friday's match, nor Tuesday's would be of much value to his preparation. "This game won't be the yardstick it would normally be for me," he said. "We want to play the game and behave very professionally, but I believe that the result will not be an important factor." The coach noted that in view of the Paris attacks, "the much-touted sporting rivalry between Germany and Holland will fade into the background." Löw also spoke of the shock and fear the players had experienced when they were forced to spend Friday night in their dressing room. "During the terrible, shocking night, which we experienced in the dressing room, came the question: 'can the game on Tuesday take place?' and we talked about it to the players." Löw said that as they arrived back in Frankfurt on Saturday morning, he didn't have the sense that the game against the Netherlands would go ahead. "But we talked about it again on Sunday and it was clear that the game had to take place. It's a clear statement about freedom and solidarity," he said. "Clearly, we will be thinking of the victims and their families." Solidarity with France Bierhoff said the DFB (German FA) was considering what would be the appropriate way to show solidarity before Tuesday's contest. Some have suggested that France's national anthem could be sung. Bierhoff said this had not yet been decided. "We have had a few ideas, but we want to talk to the Dutch about them first," he said. Bierhoff also confirmed that there would be stepped up security for the game against the Netherlands, which is to be attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel. Löw expressed faith in the German authorities to ensure the security of both the teams and the fans in Hanover. He also said he was sure that the French authorities would take all the necessary measures to keep next summer's tournament safe. "It makes little sense to discuss another country hosting the event," Löw said. "What happened (in Paris) could have happened anywhere." Six missing In one of the few statements he made about the actual football, Löw confirmed that six of the players whom he had named on the roster for this international break would not be with the team in Hanover. Jerome Boateng and Kevin Hector have both picked up injuries, while Löw decided to give Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski and Manuel Neuer a well-earned rest. Leroy Sané, meanwhile is to play in the under-21 European qualifier against Austria.

Germany are set to face the Netherlands in what is one of the hottest rivalries in international football. Following the terror attacks in Paris, though, the heat is bound to be turned way down on this one. Both national team head coach Joachim Löw and manager Oliver Bierhoff used their pre-match press conference near Hanover on Monday to stress the ... Read More »

France decide to play friendly in England as scheduled

Despite the terror attacks on the French capital of Paris on Friday evening, the French football federation has confirmed that its international fixture against England will go ahead next week in London as scheduled. The French football federation has decided it will play its international friendly match against England, as scheduled, on Tuesday at Wembley Stadium. After the attacks on the French capital through Friday evening, during the international friendly between France and Germany, there was a security concern ahead of the proposed friendly in London on Tuesday. The English football association, however, released a statement in support of the fixture being played. "Following the tragic events in Paris The FA has this morning held discussions with our French counterparts. During the conversation the Fédération Française de Football (FFF) made it clear that they still wish to play against us on Tuesday night at Wembley Stadium. "Furthermore, we have liaised extensively with, and taken advice from Government and the relevant authorities, who are also in support of the decision to fulfil the fixture. FA Chairman Greg Dyke said: “Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with the city of Paris after these terrible atrocities. On behalf of The FA, I want to express our sorrow and send our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of those who have lost their lives. “After consulting this morning with the French Football Federation and the British Government, we have decided together that the match between our two countries at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday night should go ahead. We will use the opportunity to pay our respects to all affected and also to express our solidarity with the people of France.” Since the announcement that the fixture would go ahead as scheduled, fans of both countries have earged each other to sing the French national anthem as one before the start of the friendly on Tuesday.

Despite the terror attacks on the French capital of Paris on Friday evening, the French football federation has confirmed that its international fixture against England will go ahead next week in London as scheduled. The French football federation has decided it will play its international friendly match against England, as scheduled, on Tuesday at Wembley Stadium. After the attacks on ... Read More »

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