Double injury woe hurts Bayern

Bayern Munich have suffered a double blow as they battle Borussia Dortmund for the Bundesliga title, with both Manuel Neuer and Mats Hummels picking up injuries.

Germany international goalkeeper Neuer suffered a recurrence of an old calf injury during the 4-1 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf on Sunday, with central defender Hummels reporting a thigh problem late on the game.

Neuer is facing around two weeks on the sidelines, with the knock to Hummels rated as a little less serious by the Bayern medical team.

Die Roten are currently one point clear of Dortmund at the top of the table with five games to play, with Bayern having scored 27 goals in their last six league games.

The men from Munich are priced at 2/7 to secure a seventh straight Bundesliga title, with BVB available at 13/5.

Meanwhile, Lille chairman Gerard Lopez believes it is inevitable that Bayern target Nicolas Pepe will leave the Ligue 1 outfit at the end of the season.

The 23-year-old Ivory Coast international forward has scored 18 league goals so far this season and is reported to be on the wanted lists of several top European clubs, with such interest prompting Lopez to admit: "It is certain, he will leave.

"He has moved into a price range that we cannot afford anymore. There is a career choice to make for him, I think he will have the choice (of clubs)."

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Neuer close to Bayern return

Bayern Munich could be set for an injury boost with the news that Manuel Neuer has returned to training.

The goalkeeper missed last weekend's 3-1 loss at Bayer Leverkusen due to a thumb injury, with Sven Ulreich taking the gloves for the game at the BayArena.

Ulreich deputised for most of last season as Neuer battled an ankle problem and gave a somewhat downbeat assessment of his team-mate's recovery when quizzed after Saturday's match.

That prompted further doubts that the 32-year-old would miss the upcoming Champions League games against Liverpool but boss Nico Kovac suggested on Tuesday that the captain was back in training.

Wednesday sees Bayern face Hertha Berlin in the DFB-Pokal and Kovac says Neuer is keen to return in time to lead the team out at the Olympiastadion.

However, the boss has confirmed he will wait to speak to the medical team before making a call on the World Cup winner's participation. 

"Manuel is so far, so good," he said. "I think he wants to play immediately but we need the all-clear from the doctors, which we haven't had yet.

"We can't say anything concrete regarding tomorrow — we have to wait until after training."

Bayern are 1/3 to win in Berlin, with the draw 9/2 and Hertha 13/2 but Kovac may want to hold his number one back for longer to ensure he is fit for the Bundesliga run-in and the Champions League knockout rounds.

The Bavarians currently trail Borussia Dortmund by seven points following Saturday's defeat and are 1/1 to retain their league title.

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Neuer looks to the future

Manuel Neuer is desperate to look ahead rather than dwell on Germany's disastrous World Cup 2018 campaign too much.

The Germans failed to progress from their group in Russia after surprisingly losing to Mexico and South Korea.

Germany return to action in the UEFA Nations League against France on Thursday and Neuer is keen to bounce back from their summer humiliation.

The Bayern Munich goalkeeper said: "We're trying to put this behind us and look to the future.

"After such a performance with such a result, you have to question yourself. I'm sure every player did that, looking at their part in it. Each and every player takes on their share of the responsibility, just as the head coach and the entire coaching staff do.

"It's important to move forward so that we move in the right direction in a positive way to return to successful football."

France won World Cup 2018, beating Croatia 4-2 in the final, and are 9/5 to defeat Germany in Munich and 9/1 to edge past Joachim Low's team 2-1.

Meanwhile, Les Bleus head coach Didier Deschamps says Paul Pogba will not captain France against Germany or the Netherlands, who they face on Sunday.

Regular France skipper Hugo Lloris will miss the two matches because of a thigh injury, but Deschamps says he will be relying on his vice-captains, Blaise Matuidi and Raphael Varane.

"Although Paul did great things at the World Cup, I do not intend to upset the established order," Deschamps said.

"We have to manage the title of world champion, but it's not a weight or a burden to carry. It's quite the opposite.

"With all the positive aspects being world champion has brought, on the sporting front but also from a human and psychological standpoint, it's a huge boost."

France are available at 4/1 to win the Nations League outright while Germany can be backed at 5/1.

FIFA World Cup 2018: A Must-Win Game for Die Mannschaft!

Germany vs Sweden

This is not the picture many of Germany’s die-hard supporters thought they would see when Germany started the defence of their 2014 title.

However, that’s just not the way the football gods roll. They throw you whatever dice they feel like throwing, and it is up to you on how you will deal with the odds that are thrown your way. And depending on how you look at Sweden, Germany are in for a great time or a tough challenge.

The Blaguit currently share top spots with giant-killers Mexico after taking care of business against Korea Republic in their first Group F game. They will try to make the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup 2018 by dooming their strong opponents to a group stage exit.

Of course, we can expect more organised football from Joachim Low’s lads as they fight to stay in the World Cup. However, will the Blagult even let the out-of-shape Germans get in scoring form and harm their chances of making it past this dangerous group stage?

Talking Points

It’s extremely difficult to talk about Germany and not discuss the drubbing they endured at the hands of Mexico. They were heavily outplayed by El Tri with pinpoint passes and lightning pace that made the most out of Germany’s slow start during their run-up to Moscow. Sweden will definitely look at the Mexico game for pointers as to how to defeat the seemingly tough German football machine.

However,  it’s not as if the Germans are suddenly the underdogs just because of a single game. They still have quality players across the board that can make big plays and affect the FIFA World Cup 2018 results at the drop of the hat. They are the top-ranked team in the rankings for a reason, and they shouldn’t have any problems reorganizing ahead of this important fixture.

However, those players need to step up now. Team captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer shared that the team has been pensive of their performance in the opener. He shared that the team is talking it out amongst themselves in order to sort out the issues that bogged down their football.

Manuel Neuer and Die Mannschaft aim to get their first World Cup 2018 win

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer speaks during a press conference at the World Cup 2018

“No one is shying away from responsibility,” said Neuer of what the team has been doing ever since losing to Mexico. We talked about the game on the bus, and we talk at every meal. We say our opinion.”

Meanwhile, Sweden are reaping the benefits of playing strong football against Korea Republic and now sit atop a competitive Group F alongside Mexico. While the win was rife with controversy, it’s hard to deny that the Swedes did their homework well and played some fantastic football against their Asian opponents.

They could probably not use the same spying tactic they used against the Taegeuk Warriors, but they do have Emil Forsberg ready to take the lead for the Blagult.

The RB Leipzig star is more than familiar with more than half of the players in the German roster and should know how to somewhat contain them. He also knows that he only needs to play his usual football if he wants Sweden to make it out of the group stages.

“I live with high pressure every day, but the highest pressure comes from myself. I set my bar very, very high because I know what I can do,” he said.

“I just need to be Emil Forsberg, to believe in it, receive the ball and get my feet moving. It’s been lacking recently, but it’s coming.”

History

These two countries have met to play football 36 times, the first of which was held in 1911. The two have split the spoils, with Germany winning 15 games and Sweden 13. If we look at their history from 1992, however, it would be pretty obvious that Germany outplayed the Swedes more often than not.

Recent forms tell of a different story from their head-to-heads. Germany did not win four of their last five matches, and one of the opponents they played during that stretch was a country that wasn’t even making an appearance at the World Cup.

Sweden have also somewhat struggled during the same stretch of games, but their last three were more favourable than Germany’s. Their draws against Denmark and Peru definitely helped them secure a nice 1-0 win over the South Koreans.

What are the odds?

Sweden will look to continue their fantastic start in FIFA World Cup 2018 when they face defending champions Germany

Emil Forsberg attempts to score against two defenders during Sweden’s match against South Korea

There are plenty of interesting FIFA World Cup 2018 odds available at us, and there are plenty of opportunities for you to make the winning bet.

In the Asian Handicap market, Germany -1.25 @ 2.05 does seem intriguing, but a 1-0 finish seems more promising. A +1.25 boost for Sweden will reward punters with 1.88 odds. They’re not as good as their German counterparts, but it’s the more logical decision.

I don’t think either side will be able to score in the first half, so Under 1.00 Goals for 2.00 is a worthwhile punt to consider. A correct score of 1-0 Germany is also a tempting proposition of 5.40. However, a 1-0 giant-killing by Sweden is at 18.00.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Germany’s display baffles Low

Germany coach Joachim Low was quick to criticise his players after their shock 2-1 defeat to Austria in Klagenfurt.

The 2014 World Cup winners appeared to be on course for a routine victory when they took an early lead through Mesut Ozil but goals by Martin Hinteregger and Alessandro Schopf handed Austria an excellent win.

Germany, who have failed to win any of their last five friendlies, have one more match – against Saudi Arabia – before they head to Russia.

Low said after the game: "I am not upset about the loss, not upset about losing the game, I am upset about the way we lost it.

"It was our own fault, because after taking the lead we controlled the game, but right before the break and the first 15-20 minutes after the break we weren't in the game at all. We lost the ball unbelievably often, there were so many turnovers.

"We are not used to that from our team. We let the Austrians get back in the game. We didn't find our game. Our performance was disappointing, there were many mistakes made, many things to criticise."

There was one bit of good news for Germany as Manuel Neuer, who had been out of action since September due to a foot injury, came through the 90 minutes unscathed.

Germany, 9/2 to win the 2018 World Cup, are 10/11 to score over 9.5 goals in the tournament.

Newsflash: Neuer’s Return, Cleveland’s Yips, Zizou’s Adieu

Sports fans love June because a lot of fun things are happening this month! The Roland Garros is raging on, the NBA Finals has begun, and the FIFA World Cup is only two weeks away! And multiple head-turning sports news and updates popped up while we soak ourselves in the midst of the action!

The biggest shocker of the day is Zinedine Zidane’s departure from Real Madrid. Zizou had a very successful two-and-a-half year stint at the Santiago Bernabeu but he still felt that his third consecutive Champions League victory is the apt time to draw the curtains on his stint.

Meanwhile, Germany saw the timely return of their guardian deity in Manuel Neuer, further boosting the form of an already-terrifying team that will be defending their 2014 World Cup title. The Cleveland Cavaliers also finished like expected during Season Four of their yearly show with the Golden State Warriors.

Zizou shocks Real Madrid, football world with surprise resignation

Zinedine Zidane shocked online betting fans by resigning on Thursday

Zinedine Zidane steps down as Real Madrid coach

If you tell any club owner that a manager can win the Champions League three years in a row and finish second in a league chock-full of talented squads, they will no doubt hire that man and extend his contract for 20 years.

However, we are talking about Real Madrid here.

Zinedine Zidane steps down as Los Blancos boss five days after his team took down a challenging Liverpool side to win the Champions League title. The former Galactico explained that now is the time for the club to find a new voice in the dressing room.

“I love this club,” Zizou said during the press conference of his resignation. “What I think is that this team needs to continue winning but I think it needs a change, a different voice, another methodology. This is the right moment for all involved — for me, for the squad, for the club.”

Some may speculate that Zizou’s failure to win this season’s La Liga title was what urged the Frenchman to call it a day at the Bernabeu. Some might even claim that he was made to leave the club the same way Arsene Wenger was reportedly treated at Arsenal.

However, none of that matters now and the search is on for the new man to take the hot seat. Some of the more favoured names running through the mouths of Madrid supporters include Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri, Napoli’s Maurizio Sarri and Tottenham Hotspur gaffer Mauricio Pochettino.

Cavs begins on schedule, lose Game 1 to Dubs

NBA betting fans disappointed as JR Smith wastes Cavs' chance to steal Game 1 from the Warriors

J.R. Smith’s play ruins everything for LeBron and the Cavaliers

The NBA Finals is becoming like a good sitcom wherein the writers left after the third season: things just get repetitive.

I am in no way saying that the NBA Finals has become boring. After all, these two giants pulled off an incredible feat of meeting at the biggest party for four consecutive years. This year was especially difficult for the two teams after overcoming incredible obstacles in the Houston Rockets and the Boston Celtics. The NBA Finals is always exciting with these two ball clubs at the helm.

Nevertheless, the two met in the NBA Finals to set up a fourth knot in this long-running rivalry. And just like what was placed in the script, the Cavaliers got themselves on the back foot again.

For the fourth consecutive year, the 2018 Finals began with a loss for the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, this was a bizarre loss unlike any other. At the dying seconds of regulation, the Cavaliers got the ball with less than five seconds on the clock and the game tied at 107. The ball fell at the hands of JR Smith, who held on the ball too long.

His odd actions caused the game to head to overtime, where the Dubs won 124-114. LeBron James’ eye-popping 51-point performance was put to waste. Stephen Curry and friends were definitely happy that Smith helped them win a game that seemed a lot closer than it was on paper.

Many believe that Smith thought they were leading, which prompted him to hold onto the ball. While Smith denied those claims immediately, he cannot deny that his actions put them on a giant ditch.

LeBron would have to pull out his cape and toughen up. The series is going to get harder from here on out.

He Neuer left: Germany’s first-choice keeper is back

Germany's online betting fans delighted to see Neuer back in training

Manuel Neuer will be Germany’s first-choice goalkeeper

This bit of news will make a lot of supporters in Group F tremble with fear.

Manuel Neuer has reportedly returned to training with the German national football team. Reports say his form is as top-notch as ever despite missing most of the regular season due to a surgery on a broken bone in his foot.

Team manager Oliver Bierhoff included Neuer to the preliminary squad despite not playing for most of the past season. He also said that the No 1 position is all his should he make a full recovery to the team.

“Manuel will go to the World Cup as our No. 1,” said Bierhoff. “If he makes the squad then Marc-Andre [ter Stegen] will be No. 2.

“Manuel is already full on track. He does not need to get back on it. All the players have left a big impression here and it is a very difficult decision.”

The thought of Neuer and Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen taking turns in front of goal is something many of the strikers in Group F are not happy about. Their gargantuan task of taking Germany down got a lot harder.

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Neuer doubt for Russia

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer's participation at this summer's World Cup in Russia remains in doubt.

Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes said he is unlikely to play again this season, despite having returned to training with the Bundesliga champions.

Heynckes has said that he won't play in the final Bundesliga game of the season on Saturday against Stuttgart, though there remains an outside chance he could be involved in the German Cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt on 19th May.

Goalkeeper Neuer has been out of action since suffering a recurrence of a metatarsal fracture back in September.

The player himself remains hopeful he'll be part of the Germany squad to defend the World Cup they won in Brazil four years ago.

"It's going well and I'm feeling good, but I have to make the right decision for me, the team and Germany, he said.

"I want to get better each day and try to get fit as quickly as possible. We'll see if it's enough, but I can't say for certain."

Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen is likely to take his place should be fail to be passed fit, with Germany having to confirm their panel for Russia by 4th June.

Germany general manager Oliver Bierhoff still thinks Neuer will be involved in Russia.

"I'm still confident and convinced that Manuel will be at the World Cup," he said.

"In Manuel's case we're taking it day by day."

Germany are 9/2 to retain the World Cup while they are 1/3 to win Group F ahead of Mexico, Sweden and South Korea.

Joachim Low's team are 1/2 to win their opening game against the Swedes on 23rd June.

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Neuer in line for DFB-Pokal duty

Long-term injury absentee Manuel Neuer could return to action for Bayern Munich in their DFB-Pokal final clash with Eintracht Frankfurt.

The 32-year-old Germany international goalkeeper has been sidelined since September last year due to an injury to his left foot, but Neuer is now closing in on a return, possibly just in time to feature for his country at the world Cup.

And Sven Ulreich, who has filled in for Neuer for almost the whole of the season, says he would be happy to step aside to allow his team-mate to gain some much-needed match practice in Berlin on Saturday 19th May.

He told Kicker magazine: "I would love to play in the final. I've had a good season and helped us reach the final.

"But if Manuel is fit and the coach says that he is playing, then that that's the way it is. I understand that Manu needs playing time – it's important, too, for the national team."

Bayern are 1/14 to win the DFB-Pokal this season and are 1/5 to defeat Frankfurt in 90 minutes, while the Bundesliga champions are 10/1 to prevail after extra-time.

Previously, Bayern head coach Jupp Heynckes had warned Neuer not to try and rush back into action after such a long absence, despite the obvious target being the world Cup finals in Russia this summer.

He told reporters before the weekend action: "The way it looks right now, it's positive. He's got closer – he's in a great physical shape.

"Manuel, as far as I understand him, has great ambitions to go to the World Cup, but he must not take any risks. It's a sensitive injury."

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Neuer ruled out until January

Bayern Munich will be without Germany international goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for the remainder of the year after he underwent surgery on a foot injury.

The 31-year-old missed the end of last season due to a fracture of a metatarsal in his left foot and suffered a repeat of that injury while training with his team-mates on Monday.

And, while Neuer avoided an operation last time, he has been forced to go under the knife this time and faces more than three months on the sidelines as a result.

CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told the club's official website: "Manuel Neuer has sustained another injury and we're incredibly sorry for him.

"The operation went perfectly, which is the most important thing for now.

"We and our captain are now looking to the future. Manuel will be back to his previous best and available to us again in January."

Neuer missed the opening three games of the new season, before returning to action in a 2-0 Bundesliga victory at Werder Bremen in late August.

He played three further times, keeping another two clean sheets, but his enforced absence is set to mean a recall to the starting line-up for Sven Ulreich, who played in those opening three games of the campaign.

Neuer's setback means he misses a date with former club Schalke on Tuesday evening, with Bayern unbeaten in their last 14 meetings with Die Konigsblauen.

The men from Munich are 1/2 to claim all three points at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen and are 6/4 to keep a clean sheet, with the visitors 7/1 to secure a 2-0 victory.

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Gotze revelling in BVB return

Borussia Dortmund and Germany forward Mario Gotze says he is feeling 'better and better' after stepping up his return to action after illness.

The 25-year-old was forced to miss a large part of last season after being diagnosed with a serious health issue, meaning that he played just 11 times in the Bundesliga in his first season back at BVB.

However, the World Cup winner is now well on the road to a full recovery and is enjoying being back among the Dortmund squad for pre-season.

He told the club's official website: "I feel very good, because I've been able to join in almost every training session over the last three weeks. It's getting better and better!"

Meanwhile, another man enjoying himself as he closes in on a return to action is Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

The 31-year-old Germany number one sat out the final few weeks of last season after suffering a foot injury in a 4-2 Champions League defeat to Real Madrid in mid-April.

He is now able to run at full speed and has hopes of being ready soon after the start of the new Bundesliga season, although Bayern open their campaign against Dortmund on Saturday in the German Super Cup.

"It was a great day for me," Neuer told his club's official website. "Today I was able to run at 100 per cent for the first time.

"It was an initial test, we focused on the little things and I came through them all well. Naturally I'm hoping to return to the team as soon as possible."

Bayern can be backed at 1/7 to retain their Bundesliga title this season, with Dortmund priced at 7/1 and last season's runners-up RB Leipzig available at 20/1.

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