for week of 5/3
Bayern oust Klinsmann, install Heynckess
In an extremely rare move for the otherwise orderly club, Bayern Munich have sacked coach Jürgen Klinsmann with just five League games to go in an attempt of salvaging the season and securing at least a place in the Champions League.
After crashing in both the German Cup and the Champions League, Bayern lost to Schalke 04 and dropped to third, behind Wolfsburg and Hertha and level on points with ambitious Stuttgart. Beckenbauer and Rummenigge thought that was the last straw and replaced Klinsmann with the far more trustworthy Jupp Heynckes.
A superb goalscorer and World Cup winner just like Klinsi, Heynckes beats his predecessor in experience by something like a quarter of the century and has to his name a Champions League won in 1998 with Real Madrid.
Still, not even Heynckes is deemed to be a permanent solution for the Bavarians. The specialized Kicker magazine claims that the favourite for taking over Bayern next summer is Louis van Gaal, of Ajax and Barcelona fame.
The Dutchman, who has just taken AZ Alkmaar to their only second national League title in history, should be a long-term solution for Bayern, but his immediate boss should be not the legendary Uli Höness, but the young Christian Nerlinger. The Bayern star in the latter part of the nineties will take over from Höness as the sporting director as of January 1st 2010.
The Italian clubs ready to form a separate league
The leading Italian clubs have come to the conclusion that their loss of competitiveness with respect to the English clubs is due to their sharing the profits with the second division members.
Milan's deputy chairman Adriano Galliani has spent several months campaigning for the exit of the top clubs from La Lega and the creation of their own league competition in the shape of the Premier League.
With this in mind, all the Serie A teams except for Lecce met last Thursday and initiated the formation of Lega Serie A, the separate top division which would take their own decisions regarding the distribution of tv money.
Clearly, this will widen the gap between the residents of the top flight and the lower divisions, but will enable the biggest and best supported clubs like Juventus, Inter, Milan, Roma, Lazio or Napoli to challenge the English and Spanish rivals for the European supremacy.
Razvan Lucescu named new Romanian coach
Already written off for next year's World Cup finals in South Africa, Romania now have a new coach in view of the future commitments. Razvan Lucescu (40) has been named national team manager in substitution of Victor Piturca, dismissed after Romania practically gambled away all their chances of reaching south Africa.
If Razvan is anything like his famed father Mircea, the tricolori may consider themselves lucky, because Lucescu senior is a coach of international reputation, currently one step away from taking Shakhtar Donetsk from their first UEFA Cup finals.
Razvan used to be a useful goalkeeper of six Romanian sides before coaching Brasov and Dinamo Bucharest. His salary with the FA will be just 250,000 euros, less than he had at Brasov - not a tremendously lucrative job, coaching Romania, that is.
Mexico: 176 games off because of swine flu
No less than 176 soccer games at all levels have been played behind closed doors this weekend in Mexico because of fears of further spread of swine influenza. The decision taken by the Mexican FA includes 12 First division games. Already in the last days of April three games of the top division were played without spectators for fear of pandemics.
The extreme measures have influenced the media coverage as well. Instead on the commercial channals showing games pay per view, the Mexicans could view six matches of their Primera division on public television.
Real Madrid concede six at home after 49 years
It had been almost half a century since Real Madrid conceded half a dozen goals on his home turf. The scoreline was 3-6 and the feat was achieved by the local rivals Atlético Madrid in 1950/51.
And emulating that amazing result could not be other than Barcelona. Spearheaded by Messi, Eto'o and Henry, the most amazing attacking trio soccer has had for a while, Barca crushed Madrid by 6-2 on Santiago Bernabeu, coming within inches of their 19th League title. The historic result will no doubt become as legendary as the 0-5 from 1973/74 from the era of Cruyff, Rexach, Asensi and Sotil.
In fact, Barcelona might secure their 19th domestic title next Sunday if they defeat Villarreal at Camp Nou and Real Madrid fail to win at powerful Valencia. Real also have a tougher season finish with three away games, compared to Barcelona's only two. Still, between next weekend and now, the Catalans have to visit Chelsea in their Champions League semifinal return leg, after a goalless draw last week in Spain. Just a three days after the Villarreal game, it will be the turn for the King's Cup finals against Athletic Bilbao in Valencia.
This is because Barca is, along with Chelsea, the only remaining European team with a chance of winning the triple crown, although Chelsea's chances in the domestic championship seem rather slim.
Giggs controversially voted player of the season
This year the professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year annual award has gone to Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs. Bravo for Giggs, but what on earth induced the voters, the fellow professionals, to vote him at this time?
Ryan Giggs may easily be the best player the Premiership has ever had. Present in the first United's squad ever since 1991, the Welshman has significantly contributed to ten League titles, two Champions Leagues and many other trophies. In fact, not a season passed without Giggsy scoring a goal in the Premier League
Still, the decision to concede the 35-year-old winger the player of the year award seems unfounded and ill advised. Despite his trademark wizardry and some extremely valuable contributions in the latter half of the season, Giggs has not been the Premiership's top performer. Not by a long shot. Steven Gerrard, Nicolas Anelka or even Wayne Rooney would have deserved the prize more. Cristiano Ronaldo also did more for United than the Welshman, even though his own output has somewhat decreased in comparison to the previous campaign.
But, until a prize for the lifetime achievement is created, various institutions will continue to offer annual awards to people they consider may be nearing the end of their career without ever receiving the due recognition.
Sadly, because Giggs has occupied the slot for 2009, somebody else has been shortchanged right now - and will probably, just like the Welsh Wizard, be compensated with the award some time in the twilight of his career, instead of some other, more deserving footballer in his prime.
Copyright Ozren Podnar & Soccerphile
Bet with Bet 365
World Soccer News
Soccer betting tips
Soccer Books & DVDs
Soccer News football J-League K-League Betting