Atlético Madrid bid for Bayern Munich playmaker

Written by: Published: 26 August 2014.

Atlético Madrid have made a bid for Bayern Munich playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri, according to reports.

Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio claims the Spanish La Liga champions have made an offer and inquiry over the availability of the 22-year old Swiss international.

Di Marzio says that Shaqiri declined to move to Atlético as he waits to hear about an offer from Italian Serie A champions Juventus who are also reportedly interested in him.

The Italian journalist says that Bayern Munich will be willing to loan out Shaqiri for the season.

Xherdan Shaqiri first made his name as a teenager with Swiss Super League side FC Basel before Bayern Munich signed him in the summer of 2012.  Opportunities in the starting line-up have been limited for the young Swiss international at the Allianz Arena.

He made 26 Bundesliga appearances in his debut season under Jupp Heynckes in 2012-13 but only 13 of these were starts.

Since a change in head coach with Pep Guardiola taking over last season, Xherdan Shaqiri made 16 appearances in the Bundesliga of which only 10 were starts.  The midfielder came on the final half hour in Friday night’s 2-1 win over VfL Wolfsburg to kick-off Bayern Munich’s 2014-15 season.

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Bayern Munich 2-1 Wolfsburg: German champions start with a win

Written by: Published: 22 August 2014.

Bayern Munich’s World Cup winners were given a heroes welcome from the public address system and fans pre-game.

Holger Badstuber was making his return to the Bayern Munich team – playing in his first competitive game for 629 days after a long injury layoff.

Wolfsburg were able to stand with Bayern Munich for the opening 20 minutes. During this period there were unsurprisng signs of rust in the centre-back. Teammate Dante bailed him out on occasions early on.

From the midpoint of the first half Bayern Munich began to take control of the game and the goal always looked like it was coming.

Ricardo Rodriguez wasn’t marking Arjen Robben this time as the Dutch winger dribbled down the right-hand side of the box before cutting the ball across to give Thomas Müller an easy tap-in for a 37th minute lead.

That would remain the score at half-time before Pep Guardiola’s side came charging out in the second half. Arjen Robben played a one-two with Robert Lewandowski before entering the penalty area, able to cut back and place his effort into the bottom corner, unchallenged.

Wolfsburg did cause a surprise when a quick throw caught out Holger Badstuber. Ivica Olić collected the ball going across goal and curled it in off the underside of the crossbar from 18 yards going across Neuer’s goal.

Robert Lewandowski missed a one-on-one 10 minutes into the second half. The big name free transfer signing from Borussia Dortmund this summer was kept quiet in the German Super Cup last week. His effort was straight at the onrushing Max Grün between the sticks for the visitors.

By this point Bayern Munich had seemingly switched off looking to stroll through the remainder of the game. It took a while before the visitors were able to force a meaningful save out of Manuel Neuer.

Kevin De Bruyne looked like he may get a one-on-one opportunity with Manuel Neuer just after the hour mark but the former-Chelsea midfielder was outmuscled by Juan Bernat and taken off the ball.

Neuer was called into action in the 80th mintue when Maximilian Arnold’s low cross from the left wing found fellow substitute Junior Malanda. The Belgian’s effort into the legs of Neuer bounced up onto the underside of the crossbar. The ball came down to the striker a yard out but he managed to shin it wide. Expect replays of that miss on your blooper videos this Christmas.

Sebastian Rode replaced a quiet Lewandowski in the second half. The summer signing thought he’d scored in the final minutes when his effort from 20 yards nestled in the bottom corner. After referee Felix Zwayer had a word with his assistant who deemed Thomas Müller to be offside with Rode’s effort going through the German international’s legs.

In the final minute, Robben fired a one-on-one onto the top of the crossbar.

The scoreline would have been a lot more but for a number of smart stops from Werder Bremen goalkeeper Max Grün who had a busy evening at the Allianz Arena.

VfL Wolfsburg are meant to be building for a title challenge in the coming years, so say some journalists. On this evidence they are some way short. Or perhaps it’s because Borussia Dortmund are the only team capable of giving the back-to-back German champions a game… for more than 20 minutes at least.

Tomorrow and Sunday sees the remaining 16 teams start their 2014-15 Bundesliga campaigns.

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Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Bayern Munich: Guardiola beaten in Supercup again

Written by: Published: 13 August 2014.

Borussia Dortmund won the German Supercup for a second consecutive season with a 2-0 win against German Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich at a sold out 80,000 Signal Iduna Park.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan opened the scoring midway through the first-half before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled Dortmund’s lead just after the hour mark.

12 months ago Pep Guardiola took charge of his first competitive game as Bayern Munich head coach. His weakened side were beaten 4-2 that day but things didn’t turn out too bad for the Spaniard afterwards.

Both sides made a number of changes for this evening’s game from what is expected to be their first-teams this season but it was Jürgen Klopp’s side were superior throughout.

Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben were all absent, whilst Dante, Philipp Lahm and Mario Götze all started from the bench for last season’s double winners.

Robert Lewandowski make his Bayern Munich debut against his former club but was kept silent by Sokratis Papastathopoulos all game. He was whistled and booed when in possession, although not as loud as Mario Götze last season.

Bayern Munich didn’t look up to the pace of the game from early on. Just after the quarter hour mark, Manuel Neuer had to scramble to clear a poor backpass from Javi Martínez. Moments later the German number one was called into action to deny Oliver Kirch’s drive.

Debutant centre-back Matthias Ginter forced a diving save from Neuer a few minutes later with a downward header from Jonas Hofman’s corner.

Borussia Dortmund broke through on 23 minutes when Henrikh Mkhitaryan drove at the defence, easily drifting past youngster Gianluca Gaudino before his attempted pass to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyan took a fortunate ricochet into the Armenian’s path inside the penalty area before thumping home. There was a poor attempt of a challenge on from David Alaba.

The Black and Yellows were well on top at this point. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang forced a diving save from Neuer shortly after taking the lead.

Javi Martínez, playing centre-back saw his game cut short before the half-hour mark as he went down in pain following an attempted acrobatic shot with his leg catching the arm of Marcel Schmeltzer on the follow-through.

Dante made his replacement with notably no taunting from the Borussia Dortmund crowd following Brazil’s 7-1 hammering at the hands of Germany in the summer. Martínez was stretched off, grimacing after the medical team worked on his knee.

Manuel Neuer was called into action again before half-time. First denying a near-post effort from Jonas Hofman and then getting behind Sebastian Kehl’s effort from outside the area.

Philipp Lahm replaced Thomas Müller at half-time. The German forward barely had a touch of the ball in the first half. The German defender looked short of the pace in the second half, also collecting a yellow card.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made it 2-0 with a seven-yard header following a great cross from the touchline by right-back Łukasz Piszczek. The Gabonese international was substituted before the restart with summer signing Adrián Ramos on for his debut.

Mkhitaryan and Ciro Immobile had opportunities afterwards to add to the score but two goals were enough for Borussia Dortmund to lift the German Supercup for a second consecutive year.

The scoreline did not flatter Jürgen Klopp’s side who were impressive.  Bayern Munich themselves were very poor but you can certainly expect them to get better when the 2014-15 German Bundesilga season kicks off at the Allianz Arena on Friday 22 August.

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Ribéry announces international retirement

Written by: Published: 13 August 2014.

Bayern Munich and France forward Franck Ribéry has announced his retirement from international football.

The 31-year old wants to be closer to his family and concentrate on his club football.

Franck Ribéry told German magazine Kicker:

“I want to focus on my family and concentrate on my work at Bayern Munich and make way in the national team for the many young and exciting players.

“One has to know when to stop. I have experienced so much and now is the time for others to come forward. You could see at the World Cup that we should have no concerns about France’s future.

“There were highs and lows but now is the time to start a new chapter in my life.”

The Bayern Munich star missed the World Cup in Brazil this summer due to injury. He retires from international duty having scored 16 goals in 81 appearances for France.

Franck Ribéry has been a dominant player in the German Bundesliga since signing for Bayern Munich from French Ligue 1 side Olympique Marseille in 2007. He has won the top flight on four occasions in Germany as well as the 2013 UEFA Champions League.

He was third in the vote for last year’s FIFA Ballon d’Or award for the best player in the world, behind Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.

Ribéry played at both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.

France host the European Championships in 2016.

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Manuel Neuer named German Footballer of the Year

Written by: Published: 10 August 2014.

Bayern Munich and Germany number one Manuel Neuer has been named German Footballer of the Year for a second time, by football magazine Kicker.

The award has a lot of prestige in Germany, being awarded following a poll of football journalists.

Manuel Neuer received 144 of the total 701 votes.

The goalkeeper told Kicker:

“This award is an honour for me. I’m really surprised, although obviously aware that I put in some good performances. The fact that we won the World Cup this year gives the award added significance for me.”

Marco Reus finished narrowly behind the winner, with 135 votes, despite missing the World Cup through injury.

Bayern Munich teammates Thomas Müller (third), Arjen Robben (fourth), Philipp Lahm (fifth) and Bastian Schweinsteiger (sixth) joined the 28-year old as Bayern Munich dominated the voting, much like they dominated the Bundesliga last season.

Manuel Neuer kept 14 clean sheets in the Bundesliga last season as Bayern Munich ran away with the league and broke a number of records along the way. He was also awarded the Golden Glove for goalkeeper of the tournament at the 2014 World Cup.

It comes as no surprise that Joachim Löw won the Coach of the Year award after guiding Germany to their fourth World Cup this summer.

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Bayern Munich sign Liverpool goalkeeper

Written by: Published: 06 August 2014.

FC Bayern Munich have reached an agreement to sign goalkeeper Pepe Reina from English Premier League runners-up Liverpool.

The Spanish goalkeeper will sign for a reported £2 million provided he passes a medical at the Allianz Arena in the coming days.

FCB president Karl-Heinz Rummenigger confirmed the news on Tuesday that the clubs have agreed a deal for the transfer of the talented shot stopper.

A statement on the official website of Bayern Munich read:

“Bayern are poised to sign Pepe Reina from Liverpool, FCB chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed on Tuesday lunchtime (local time) in Portland.

“The 31-year-old Spain goalkeeper is currently contracted to Liverpool. Terms have been agreed with both the player and his current club.”

The Spanish international is yet to complete his medical with the defending German Bundesliga champions, but the club confirmed it will happen in the coming days, with Rummenigge saying:

“The player is scheduled to come to Munich for a medical in the next few days and sign his contract.

“Michael Reschke has told me this is the case. Pepe Reina really wanted to join Bayern Munich.”

Pepe Reina knows he will play backup to Manuel Neuer:

“He was prepared to undertake this adventure, although he knows he has Manuel Neuer ahead of him, a first-choice keeper who will, provided nothing untoward happens, remain number one.”

Tom Starke was backup to Neuer last season.

Pepe Reina spent the 2013-14 season on loan at Italian Serie A side Napoli.  The Spaniard lost his place in the starting line-up at Liverpool following the arrival of Simon Mignolet from Sunderland last summer.

The 31-year old has made 285 Premier League appearances for Liverpool after signing from Villarreal in 2005.  He won the Premier League Golden Glove for most clean sheets in three consecutive seasons: 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08.  Reina won the 2006 FA Cup and 2012 League Cup in England.  He has 33 caps for the Spanish national team and was part of the squad that won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 European Championships.

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Bayern Munich sell Mario Mandžukić to Atlético Madrid

Written by: Published: 09 July 2014.

Bayern Munich have cashed in on Croatian forward Mario Mandžukić who has signed for Spanish La Liga champions Atlético Madrid, according to German Newspaper Bild.

Atlético Madrid will pay the German Bundesliga champions €22 million (£17.5m) for the services of Mandžukić.

The Croatian international had two years left to run on his contract but had reportedly fallen out with head coach Pep Guardiola and become a troublemaker in Munich.

Mario Mandžukić was not happy with the tactics deployed by the Spanish coach who successfully won the Bundesliga and German Cup in his first season in charge.

Atlético have signed Mandžukić down to a five-year contract, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2019.

Mandžukić scored 18 goals in the Bundesliga last season in 30 appearances for the runaway leaders. Only Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski (20) netted more.

Since joining Bayern Munich, the Croatian striker has scored 48 goals in 88 games in all competitions, winning the league title on both occasions as well as the 2013 UEFA Champions League.

He scored 20 goals in 60 matches at VfL Wolfsburg who sold Mandžukić for €13 million after two years at the club.

Mario Mandžukić has scored 15 goals in 51 appearances for the Croatian national team which included becoming his country’s first player to score a brace in a single game at the World Cup this summer, during their 4-1 thrashing of Cameroon.

Atlético Madrid are expected to sell last season’s top scorer Diego Costa to English Premier League side Chelsea. The Blues had also been linked with Mandžukić this summer.

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Bayern Munich land Bernat

Written by: Published: 07 July 2014.

Bayern Munich have completed the signing of Spanish defender Juan Bernat from Valencia.

The 21-year old left-back has signed a five-year contract with the German Bundesliga champions.

Juan Bernat joins Javi Martínez and Thiago Alcântara as the third Spanish player in Pep Guardiola’s squad.

The new signing was happy to join the German giants:

“I’m really happy that I’m going to be able to play for this club in future. Bayern are one of the biggest clubs in Europe and the world and I’m really, really pleased to be able to play in a team alongside the likes of [Philipp] Lahm, [Manuel] Neuer, [Bastian] Schweinsteiger, [Arjen] Robben and [Franck] Ribéry, and to have Pep Guardiola as coach. I’ll give everything I have for the club to be successful.”

Bernat has played for Spain at under-21 level and already has 51 La Liga appearances to his name during a three-year spell in with the Valencia first team from whom he came through the youth academy.

The young Spaniard was part of the under-19 side that won the European Championship in 2012 where Thiago Alcântara scored a hat-trick in the final.

FCB sporting director Matthias Sammer said:

“Juan Bernat’s an extraordinary young player who we’ve been monitoring for a while. He’s quick, strong in the tackle and has an extremely good eye for goal. We’re sure that, in signing Juan Bernat, we’re making a very sound investment in our team for the future. We’d like to extend a warm, FC Bayern welcome to him.”

Juan Bernat passed a medical in Munich on Monday before the club confirmed the signing.

Bernat becomes the third player signed by Bayern Munich this summer following Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund) and Sebastian Rode (Eintracht Frankfurt).

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