Too old and porous? Bayern Munich face Liverpool amid serious doubts

20-02-2019 The German champions have been sluggish for much of the season and the problems may run to the very top“Maybe they are slowly becoming part of the problem,” mused Stefan Effenberg in November. The former Bayern Munich midfielder was referring to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeness, the chief executive and the president of the Bundesliga club respectively, and went on to suggest the club were going stale under their leadership.“They have made grave errors when it comes to the planning of the squad,” he said. “They have to look at the characters in the squad and get rid of five or six players. Maybe it is time for some new impulses from the outside.” Continue reading...

Chelsea fans don’t often have time to turn on a manager – this felt decisive | Jonathan Wilson

20-02-2019 Maurizio Sarri is serving up predictable, sterile football and some choices are hard to fathom but Chelsea share the blame for this messChelsea fans don’t often turn on their manager. They don’t usually have time. But there, distinct in the cool February air, just six days before they play in a cup final, it was: “Fuck Sarri-ball! Fuck Sarri-ball! Fuck Sarri-ball!” Add in the booing at the final whistle and the chants for Callum Hudson‑Odoi throughout the second half and it’s fair to say the Matthew Harding Stand has made its mind up about Maurizio Sarri.Fans are not always right, of course, as a notorious Old Trafford bedsheet of the late 80s makes clear, and boards must make their own decisions, but this nonetheless felt a decisive moment. Stamford Bridge turned on André Villas-Boas and it didn’t like Rafa Benítez from the start, but outright revolt against a manager is unusual. Continue reading...

'Humble and generous, but a private enigma' - who was Leicester City's owner?

20-02-2019 Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha is revered in Leicester as the man who presided over one of sport's great triumphs - but who was the billionaire Thai businessman?

FA Cup: Chelsea 0-2 Manchester United highlights

20-02-2019 Watch highlights as Manchester United cruise past Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Naomi Osaka loses to Kristina Mladenovic days after coach split

20-02-2019 • Osaka beaten 6-3, 6-3 in Dubai• Australian Open winner parted with Sascha Bajin this monthThe world No 1, Naomi Osaka, crashed out of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships after losing in straight sets against France’s Kristina Mladenovic.Osaka, who announced a surprise split from her coach Sascha Bajin this month, was beaten 6-3 6-3 in the second round, having received a first-round bye as the top seed. Continue reading...

Matti Nykänen, the Flying Finn who fell so far, so fast | Andy Bull

20-02-2019 The ski-jumper, who won five Olympic medals, had an otherworldly talent but not the sense, or support, he needed to cope with the fame it won himMatti Nykänen used to fly so far, so fast that it felt as if he would never come down. When the Finn broke the world ski jump record for the fifth, and final, time at Planica in 1985 he was moving so quickly that the cameraman struggled to track him through the air.Watching the footage you wonder if he might disappear into the yonder off the far side of the screen. In those days, the mid-1980s, Nykänen was the best ski jumper in the world and almost unbeatable. The records were the least of it. He won five world titles, five Olympic medals, including three golds in one Games, and four World Cups. Continue reading...

The Fiver | Sarriball, a philosophy now critiqued in the intense colloquial style

20-02-2019 Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!Maurizio Sarri rolled out of bed on Tuesday morning, then rolled his first cigarette of the day. Then he rolled his second and third, before lighting the first one. That’s standard practice, ensuring that, providing he keeps a steady pace, rolling one while smoking one, he’ll always have a buffer of two rollies, just in case he’s forced to break away momentarily to work on some other project, such as deciding which set of scrubs to wear for the match, or which minute he plans to replace Pedro with Anyone But Callum Hudson-Odoi. Then he slapped a few Nicorette patches on to his arms, popped a strip of NRT gum in his mouth, slipped a pouch of dip under each eyelid, and he was up and running for the day. Continue reading...

Klinsmann received $3.35m settlement after he was fired by US Soccer

20-02-2019 Coach was fired after string of disappointing resultsUSA failed to reach World Cup 2018 after poor campaignJürgen Klinsmann received a $3.35m settlement of his contract with the US Soccer Federation, according to the USSF’s tax filing. His replacement, Bruce Arena, was given a $300,000 settlement during the fiscal year that ended on 31 March 2018, according to the filing, which was released on Monday.Klinsmann was hired in 2011 and in December 2013 was given a contract extension through to December 2018. He was fired in November 2016 after struggling in the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup. The exact contract settlement was $3,354,167, the tax filing said. Continue reading...

Presenting Percy may run this weekend despite owner’s caution

20-02-2019 • Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite could run at Fairyhouse• Philip Reynolds being ‘ultra, ultra careful’ with the horseThe need to be “ultra, ultra careful” with the horse of a lifetime was behind the late decision not to run Presenting Percy last weekend but there is still a 50% chance, according to his owner, that the rarely sighted Magners Gold Cup favourite could run this weekend. Philip Reynolds dismissed any suggestion of a problem affecting his star on the same day that another horse he owns, Tin Soldier, was dramatically cut in the market for another Cheltenham Festival race, the Pertemps Final.Along with the reclusive Athenry-based trainer Pat Kelly, Reynolds has been a winner at the last three Festivals, thanks to the efforts of Mall Dini and Presenting Percy. It is an incredible record at the sport’s biggest race meeting for previously low-profile connections and they now appear to have bright prospects of extending that run in three weeks’ time. Continue reading...

Liverpool and Bayern Munich trade blows but draw leaves tie poised

20-02-2019 Jürgen Klopp’s prediction of a “blockbuster” between two five-times champions of Europe proved misplaced. His warning about the enduring strength of old adversaries Bayern Munich did not. Wise heads rather than old legs told for the German champions as Liverpool were frustrated at home for the first time in this season’s Champions League. They will hope for greater adventure from Niko Kovac’s team at the Allianz Arena and to punish it. Related: Liverpool need more courage to beat Bayern Munich, says Jürgen Klopp Continue reading...