Tuesday, April 7, 2009
World Soccer News: could Wolves be German champions?
Howling: could Wolves be German champions?
It's been about 50 years since Wolverhampton last won an English championship, but another city named after the principal European predator, Wolfsburg of Germany, could celebrate the triumph in this season's Bundesliga.
Once mediocre team from Lower Sachsony won their last eight games and climbed on top last Saturday after beating reigning champions Bayern by 5-1. The Brazilian Edinaldo Batista Libanio, better known as Grafite, scored as many goals in these eight games and 20 in the whole championship.
Alongside the Bosnian revelation Edin Dzeko, Grafite has been Wolfsburg main weapon.
"I play more like a German than a Brazilian. I enjoy Bundesliga's game because here a striker is allowed to be a striker," said the 30-year old who made a name for himself in Sao Paulo.
"He's a disciplined player who injects fresh blood in each play and who lifts morale in the dressing room with his positive attitude," confirmed the strict disciplinarian Felix Magath, who brought him from Le Mans in August of 2007.
"I'm in a phenomenal form and everything is possible. We are allowed to dream of the Champions League or even the title," added Grafite, who has appeared in just 17 out of 26 league games this season. His tally of 20 goals means that he has been scoring once in every 72 minutes. More frequently than Gerd Müller, Der Bomber himself, in 1971/72, his best season with 40 goals.
Sven-Gőran Eriksson out, Javier Aguire back in Mexico
After his team lost to Honduras by 1-3 in the World Cup qualifier, Mexico coach Sven-Göran Eriksson was dismissed and replaced by the former team's manager Javier Aguirre.
The loss at Honduras has put a huge question mark over Mexico's direct qualification to next year's World Cup and the FA chairman Justino Compean felt he had to intervene.
"We told Mr. Eriksson that his time on Mexico's bench was over. We cannot gamble with our participation in South Africa," said Compean.
Recently sacked from Atlético Madrid, Aguirre is an old Mexican FA's cadre who coached the Central American team to the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, where Mexico lost to the USA in the round of 16.
Will Alan Shearer save Newcastle United
Former crowd favourite at St. James' park, Alan Shearer, took over as manager at Newcastle United in the club's desperate attempt to avoid relegation.
The ex-England striker will stay until the end of the season after replacing the caretaker Chris Hughton, who in turn took over from the ailing Joe Kinnear in February.
Hiring Shearer was a risky decision by the owner Mike Ashley, since the former international star has no coaching experience at any level.
The Magpies could use some inspiration from the 15-million pound man who scored 206 goals in the 10 years spent wearing the number nine striped shirt. The people in his home town consider him a true hero, but if Shearer is supposed to save Newcastle, he would have to learn really quickly.
Podolski insults and slaps skipper Ballack
The German Bild daily published a transcript of the conversation between Michael Ballack and his teammate Lukas Podolski just before Bayern's forward struck his captain.
Over ten million spectators witnessed an unprecedented scandal on the ARD channed during the World Cup qualifier between Wales and Germany (0-2) in Cardiff. In one instance, Ballack ran to Podolski to criticise him for lack of effort.
According to the lip-readers, Ballack told his younger mate, "Get moving already," after "Poldi" lost another duel.
Podolski, nine years his junior, replied, before slapping Chelsea midfielder.
"Shut your muzzle. Do your own running, you asshole."
Afterwards, the Polish-born striker said he did not use such a harsh language.
The German FA (DFB) decided not to punish the international player since his conduct did not affect the team's performance and both players used conciliatory language in the aftermath of the event.
"He is a young player and has yet to learn a lot. I wanted to tell him something about tactical deployment, which he did not understand".
Podolski later expressed regret over his irrational conduct and voluntarily contributed 5000 euros to a charity run by DFB.
"That was a nice and appropriate gesture. Lukas ought to have redeemed himself for his unacceptable behaviour," concluded DFB chairman Theo Zwanziger.
Thierry Henry tops French rich list
Barcelona and France striker Thierry Henry was the best paid athlete in France during 2008, according to the top daily L'Equipe.
Last year the former Gunner (31) made 17,7 million euros, almost twice as much as the second placed Tony Parker, the French basketball international and a star in the NBA's San Antonio Spurs.
Parker collected 9,6 million euros, ahead of another soccer player, Bayern's Franck Ribery, at 8,3 million. Top five is completed by Inter's Patrick Vieira (8 million) and the rally driver Sebastian Loeb (7,5 million). Ribery could actually climb up the ladder if the rumours about his transfer to Manchester United turn out to be true.
Copyright Ozren Podnar & Soccerphile
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