Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski scores five in nine minutes to down Wolfsburg

Robert Lewandowski scored an incredible five goals in nine second-half minutes to propel Bayern Munich to a sensational 5-1 victory over Bundesliga title rivals Wolfsburg at the Allianz Arena.

Daniel Caligiuri gave the visitors the lead, but that was wiped out in stunning fashion by the Polish striker, who took matters into his own hands after coming on at half-time, beginning his scoring spree in the 51st minute.

Lewandoswki levelled the score with a toe poke from six yards in the 51st minute, and Bayern took the lead on his blast from 20 yards a minute later.

He had to work harder for his third goal in the 55th minute, first hitting the post and seeing his follow-up saved before finally finding the back of the net.

The fourth came in the 57th minute, when he scored from a cross on a high bounce. But he saved the best for last in the 60th minute, volleying Mario Gotze’s cross with a scissor kick to send the crowd further into raputres as Bayern claimed their sixth win from as many matches to go three points clear at the top of the table.

Wolfsburg’s Allofs frustrated by Premier League’s financial muscle

The German sporting director bemoaned Germany’s lack of television money but was happy with the club’s Champions League draw

Wolfsburg's Allofs frustrated by Premier League's financial muscle

Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs has suggested the recent Premier League television deal has skewed the balance of power financially in Europe.

Last season’s Bundesliga runners-up look set to lose star man Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City in the next few days, as the English club demonstrate their financial capabilities once more with what Allofs described as an “astonishing” offer.

Following the relaxation of Financial Fair Play rules, City have brought in Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Otamendi in recent months, with a host of Premier League rivals also making the most of bumper TV money.

Asked whether clubs who receive such financial incomes were set to dominate European football, he told reporters: “If they do things right, yes.

“One thing is for sure, the last team in the Premier League get more money than [Bundesliga champions] Bayern Munich.

“This is the situation. But this is the big task for our football league – to get more money from television.

“We have to compete with that and hopefully we can.”

The DFB-Pokal holders were drawn with Manchester United, PSV and CSKA Moscow in Group B at the UEFA Champions League draw in Monaco on Thursday, and Allofs thinks that the group is manageable for the German side.

“I think we can say it is a good draw. There were groups that were much more difficult,” he added.

“We did well last season, we finished second in the Bundesliga and we won the cup, so we are very optimistic to go through to the next round.

“All the teams in our group have international quality. But it isn’t impossible to qualify for the next round.

“I think Manchester United is our main rival, but Eindhoven as well. Moscow knocked out Sporting, so that’s not so easy.

“We have to improve ourselves in comparison to our Europa League season last year. But I think it is manageable. We are looking forward to the Champions League.”

Nastasic: Pellegrini never gave me a chance at Man City

The Serbian moved to Schalke in January 2015 having fallen out of favour under the Chilean, bringing an end a two-and-a-half-year stay in the Premier League

Nastasic: Pellegrini never gave me a chance at Man City

Matija Nastasic does not believe Manuel Pellegrini gave him a fair chance to break back into the first team at Manchester City.

Nastasic was signed from Fiorentina by Roberto Mancini in 2012 and became a first-team regular under the Italian.

However, following the Italian’s sacking, the centre-back made just 13 Premier League appearances with new boss Pellegrini in charge as City reclaimed the title.

Nastasic did not feature at all for City before making the move to Schalke in January during the 2014-15 season.

“City always have a good team with 25 top players, but the coach is only able to let 11 of them play,” he told Goal. “That’s not easy.

“In my first year, I played a lot of games. In the first half of my second season, it was also good. Then I got injured and missed over three months. Then I returned and didn’t play anymore.

“I spoke to Manuel Pellegrini, we’ve talked two or three times. He said he’d give me a chance, but I didn’t feel so. It was a hard time.

“Six months before I came to Schalke, I didn’t play a single game for City. I only played for the national team. I am happier to be here now.”

Nastasic made the move away from City to Germany, but believes the Premier League will be a more attractive prospect to players than ever before following the new television rights deal.

“Every club in the Premier League has an unbelievable amount of money,” he said. “Now they signed a new TV deal. They have totally different possibilities and almost every player can be paid.

“They just ask: ‘How much?’ and then they pay the money.”

Nastasic was signed at Schalke by Roberto Di Matteo but does not fear for his future after the former Chelsea boss was replaced by Andre Breitenreiter.

“It was a pleasure to play under Di Matteo,” he said. “That he left, isn’t a problem. It’s football’s business that coaches change.

“A new coach with new ideas can also be an advantage for the players. Especially because Andre Breitenreiter is good new coach.”

He added: “Andre is a great person. I can see the enthusiasm in his eyes and also feel it, when he speaks to us. He is passionate and likes to communicate, that’s important for me and the team.

“I like his style. Together we can archieve a lot.”

Source:Goal.com

Barcelona are one step from winning everything – Iniesta

The Spain midfielder helped the Blaugrana into another final but knows his side now face a testing few weeks as they look to claim the treble

Barcelona are one step from winning everything - Iniesta

Andres Iniesta says Barcelona are “one step” away from winning everything as they close in on a domestic and continental treble.

Barca eased into the Champions Leage final on Tuesday despite a 3-2 defeat at Bayern Munich, beating Pep Guardiola’s men 5-3 on aggregate, and will meet the winner of the second semi-final between Real Madrid and Juventus in Berlin on June 6.

Luis Enrique’s men will be crowned La Liga champions on if they win their next game against Atletico Madrid, although a possible strike threatens to delay their confirmation, while they will also contest the final of the Copa del Rey against Athletic Bilbao at Camp Nou on May 30.

With his team so close to such remarkable success, Iniesta is gearing up for a vital few weeks.

He told TV3: “We are where we want to be every year, we are one step from everything and we’ll try to take that step forward.

“We are not content, though, the titles would be incredible for everyone. Every year is different, this year is good in every sense. We have overcome some very important rivals and we are going to give everything.”

Mehdi Benatia’s early header gave Bayern hope of overcoming a 3-0 first-leg deficit, but two Neymar goals before half-time settled Barca nerves.

Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller gave Pep Guardiola a win on the night against his former club but Barca were comfortable winners in the end.

Iniesta added: “We knew they were going to push from the start but the two goals in the first half gave us peace. We are in another final and we must celebrate it.”

Sahin: My family stopped me joining Arsenal

The former Liverpool loanee has revealed the Gunners made a “great bid” for him in 2005 but says that Signal Iduna Park is the only place that he feels at home

Sahin: My family stopped me joining Arsenal

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin has revealed his family prevented him from completing a move to Arsenal as a teenager in 2005.

The 26-year-old is currently back at BVB after three unproductive years at Real Madrid, which included a five-month loan spell in the Premier League with Liverpool.

Sahin made just 12 appearances for the Reds and after his departure blamed his lack of success to manager Brendan Rodgers playing him out of position.

However, the Turkey international has also revealed he could have moved to England much earlier, with the Gunners keen to snap him up as a youngster.

“When I was in the Under-17s in 2005, Arsenal wanted to sign me with a great bid. My family didn’t want me to go England,” he told Ntvspor.

“They knew that Dortmund would rise again. I’m grateful for this. After the bid, Dortmund realised that I’m valuable.

“The next year Bert van Marwijk put me in the first team. I was only 16. Also [Jurgen] Klopp trusted me. He is a great person.

“He still keeps his humanity in the professional world. When I was in Madrid, he called me many times. We would talk for two to three hours but not about football.”

The 26-year-old also spoke about his time at the Bernabeu and the differences between the Spanish giants and Klopp’s side.

“I came to Dortmund when I was 12. I scored my first goal against Schalke with the U-14 team,” Sahin added.

“The Bundesliga fans like loyalty. Dortmund is the only place that I feel at home. Dortmund is my home.

“Madrid is a bit different, every player dreams about it. Madrid fans are familiar with success. They feel excited only by the El Clasico or the Champions League.

“Liverpool and Dortmund are different, especially Dortmund.”

Bayern crave genuine test to avoid repeat of Madrid mauling

The German champions strolled into the Champions League quarter-finals, but their 7-0 win over 10-man Shakhtar Donetsk does them no favours

Bayern crave genuine test to avoid repeat of Madrid mauling

First, there was the Champions League group stage that was meant to push them but never did. Then there came the Borussia Dortmund title challenge that ended before it had even begun.

And on Wednesday, Bayern Munich were robbed of another chance to measure their progress as they spanked Shakhtar Donetsk 7-0 to reach the last eight in Europe. There is every chance that Pep Guardiola’s men will arrive at the semi-final stage completely undercooked again, just as they were against Real Madrid last season.

This was meant to be different to the standard fare that had been served up by 99 per cent of Bayern’s opponents. After holding the five-time European champions to a 0-0 draw in the home leg, many expected Shakhtar to finally test the big red machine.

Instead, Olexandr Kucher’s third-minute red card for a foul on Mario Gotze put paid to any hope of the second leg at the Allianz Arena being any kind of contest. The referee had quite rightly pointed to the spot, but a sending-off seemed harsh. Realistically, there was never likely to be a way back for Shakhtar even with 11 men.

Thereafter Bayern just kept helping themselves, even despite seeing both Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery limp off. The Dutchman suffered a slight hamstring pull with his side 1-0 up. At 4-0, Ribery followed him to the bench after receiving a kick on the ankle. Neither seemed serious enough to rule them out for lengthy periods, but this was the kind of cakewalk that didn’t require a full-strength Roten.

The problem now for Guardiola is that his players are fast approaching the business end having had no chance to put together a convincing portfolio.

Last season they swept aside a 10-man Arsenal before humouring David Moyes’ broken Manchester United only to race through the gears when the tie appeared in the balance. In Germany they were even more convincing in their dominance, leaving them completely untouched before facing Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals.

History is fast threatening to repeat itself in 2014-15, with the Roten crying out for the opportunity to test their mettle against different systems and approaches. What they need is to find out how they react in several alternate game situations. What they have been handed is far too many lop-sided training sessions.

Nineteen times in Champions League history they have benefitted from an opposition player being sent off – trailing only Barcelona’s 29 occasions. But the number of times they have been handed 70 per cent or more of possession is rising fast, and it helps nobody.

Shakhtar’s defeat – however much conditioned by Kucher’s early bath – was ignominious and unambitious. Bayern’s dominance was uninformative and unexciting.

Not since May 2014 have the German champions been truly tested in a serious environment, and no amount of 7-0 walkovers will help them prepare for the make or break fixtures to come. At a time when they should be hitting their peak in the face of a run of top-class encounters, they are enjoying nothing more than an elongated pre-season full of short-sided training matches.

Are Bayern the real deal? Nobody truly knows.

Dortmund learn from mistakes to shut out Bayern as Madrid head Reus race

The attacker has signed a new deal with BVB, putting the club in a position of strength in the transfer market for once

Dortmund learn from mistakes to shut out Bayern as Madrid head Reus race

It is a picture Borussia Dortmund fans have got well used to and one which they dreaded witnessing all over again.

First Mario Gotze held aloft his new Bayern Munich shirt alongside a smiling Matthias Sammer. Just 12 months later, Robert Lewandowski followed suit. Powerless to stop their players leaving for their greatest rivals, Dortmund could only sit and watch. The season that followed has been disastrous so far, as a team normally challenging for titles find themselves battling relegation, shorn of confidence and neutralised up front.

Despite interest from Manchester and Madrid, for months it appeared Marco Reus would become the latest BVB star to tread the well-worn path to Bavaria, with a clause in the Germany international’s contract allowing him to leave Signal Iduna Park for just €25 million from the summer of 2015.

But, against all the odds, the attacking midfielder signed a new contract with Dortmund on Tuesday. The deal ties him to the club until 2019. Most notably, the deal contains no release clause, giving the board of directors the final say in the 25-year-old’s future.

Whereas Bayern, Real Madrid and a host of English Premier League sides were previously jostling for position in the inevitable June race for Reus, BVB now sit in the box seat in a financial sense, if not in a sporting one, although Jurgen Klopp will hope it provides a psychological boost to his wounded charges.

Thanks to this new deal they can at least put a temporary stop to Bayern pillaging their top talent. Perhaps more importantly, they can name their price and watch the biggest clubs in football join a high-stakes auction for one of the world’s best players. After all, money might be hard to come by a few months from now.

On the pitch, Dortmund remain in serious trouble. Lying just one point from the bottom of the Bundesliga table, BVB are in a relegation dogfight with 14 games to play. Even if they manage to pull themselves clear of the drop, their chances of returning to the Champions League for 2015-16 are slim at best.

The lost revenue involved in a campaign outside of Europe’s top competition is significant. In 2013-14, Dortmund received €34.725m from Uefa for their run to the quarter-finals, while they cashed in €54.161m after reaching the 2013 final.

Such losses are not easily recouped, even for a side playing in the Europa League. Missing out on continental football altogether, and possibly even coming to terms with life in the 2.Bundesliga, would heighten the loss. The departure of the team’s star player for a comparatively small fee would make matters unbearable.

So Dortmund have pulled off a masterstroke by tying Reus down to a long-term, clause-free contract, if only for the greater bargaining position it will give them when bigger clubs inevitably return to their door at the season’s end.

While Manchester City are still likely to show an interest, Real Madrid will also be looking to force through a deal – even if it means waiting until 2016.

“It will be harder for Real to sign Reus now and it may be a case of waiting another year, as happened with Cristiano Ronaldo and also with Gareth Bale,” a source close to Madrid told Goal. “But the club will continue to monitor the situation this season and ultimately, he is likely to end up at the Bernabeu at some point.”

For Reus’ part, he has sacrificed having his pick of suitors for the sake of the club he grew up supporting and first joined as a youth in 1996. It is a decision harking back to the days of playing for your local team, although it would be naïve to believe Reus won’t allow his head to be turned by a team like Madrid.

One or two may now be forced to drop out of the race for his signature if Dortmund’s asking price comes in around €50m, but some of the leading lights of the modern game will still be able to afford the ex-Borussia Monchengladbach forward.

Reus loses nothing by signing on the dotted line. He will either stay with his beloved club for another four years, or leave them to pursue his dreams at the top of the game, safe in the knowledge that he has earned BVB the kind of sum which allows them to challenge for domestic and European honours once more.

It is a piece of business that could provide the turning point in Dortmund’s fortunes and one which shows they have learned from their past mistakes.