One down, 2 to go for treble-chasing Bayern Munich

Thomas Mueller during Bayern Munich’s title-clinching Bundesliga match against Wolfsburg. (AFP)
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Updated 02 July 2020

One down, 2 to go for treble-chasing Bayern Munich

  • Bayern are expected to secure the league and Cup double for the 13th time

BERLIN: Bayern Munich are expected by the club's own hierarchy to take the next step towards the treble in Saturday's German Cup final before they attempt more Champions League glory in August.

The German press dubbed Bayern “FC Nimmersatt” (never satisfied) after celebrating an eighth straight league title last Saturday, the 30th in the club's history.

“The team is in such good shape that they are able to win every title this season,” said Bayern President Herbert Hainer.

Before tackling Europe and a possible repeat of their 2013 treble, Bayern face Bayer Leverkusen in Berlin in Saturday’s Cup final having already lost to the Werkself this season.

Leverkusen Sporting Director Rudi Voeller has promised a “big fight” as they look to repeat November’s shock league win when Jamaica winger Leon Bailey scored twice at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern are expected to secure the league and Cup double for the 13th time.

“We'll tackle everything, those are our goals,” said Bayern head coach Hansi Flick, who only took over mid-season.

“At Bayern, you always think a bit bigger. First the Cup is in focus and then it's important the team has some time off and the staff can clear their heads.

“After that, we'll prepare intensively for the Champions League.”

Flick plans to send his players on a two-week holiday after the Cup final before a training camp ahead of their last-16 second leg against Chelsea on Aug. 7 or 8.

They hammered Frank Lampard's Blues 3-0 in February's first leg in London, making Bayern among the favorites to be European champions.

Bayern could face a disadvantage against potential opponents in the Final 8 tournament in Lisbon, due to start on Aug. 12, from leagues which are not scheduled to finish until late July.

La Liga runs until July 19, while the Premier League is set to end a week later, with Serie A not slated to come to a conclusion until Aug. 2.

Only PSG and Lyon will have had less game time than Bayern and RB Leipzig, as Ligue 1 was ended early due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We just have to make sure that we make the best of the situation,” Flick said.

“It could be an advantage because one or two players would be available again.”

Bayern's forwards are in stellar form.

Thomas Mueller produced a Bundesliga record 21 assists this season, while striker Robert Lewandowski has netted 49 times in 42 games, including 11 in the Champions League.

Bayern have been European champions five times and two of their 2001 title-winning team are being groomed to take charge.

Former midfielder Hasan Salihamidzic is sporting director, while ex-goalkeeper Oliver Kahn will replace Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as chairman in 2022.

“In 2001, we won the Champions League together playing in jerseys, now we want to repeat that success with him in suits,” said Salihamidzic.

“Oliver feels the same way — we'll give everything to see it happen.

“It's our turn again.”


Pakistan’s Hafeez in isolation for breaking distancing rules

Updated 39 min 16 sec ago

Pakistan’s Hafeez in isolation for breaking distancing rules

  • Hafeez posed for a photograph with an elderly golfer
  • Pakistan Cricket Board said it has tested Hafeez for Covid-19 and will allow him to rejoin the group if he is negative

LONDON: Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has been placed in isolation on the eve of the second test against England after breaching social distancing guidelines by posing for a photograph with an elderly golfer.
Hafeez smiled for a photo with a woman who he identified as “90+ and living her life healthy” after the pair met during a round at the golf course which adjoins the Ageas Bowl — site of this week’s test match.

Hafeez is not part of the red-ball squad, and has instead traveled as part of the limited-overs group playing matches later this month, but his actions still represent a breach of strict rules governing the “bio-secure bubble.”
The Pakistan Cricket Board issued a statement saying it has tested Hafeez for Covid-19 and will allow him to rejoin the group if he is negative.
The PCB said “the decision to put Hafeez in isolation has been taken for his and, the safety and security of everyone around him. The team management believes it was an inadvertent mistake, but a good reminder for everyone on the importance of following the bio-secure protocols, which have been designed for the health and safety of everyone involved in the series.”