Offshore drilling, German Cup final: Borussia Dortmund 5, Bayern Munich 2

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Man of the Match: His last three goals proved to be the final margin, and having played a small role of the build up for Borussia Dortmund’s first, Robert Lewandowski is the obvious vote. After posting nine goals last season (his first after moving from Lech Poznan), Lewandowski  finishes this season with 30 (all-competitions). His first two were smooth (if powerful) finishes that, while the third was a bit of a gift.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • Bayern’s now lost five in a row to Dortmund, outscored 12-4 in the process. Three of those losses came this year – one home, one away, and one at a neutral site. Bayern may be in next weekend’s Champions League final, but there’s little doubt which team is Germany’s best.
  • Like many cup finals, this one featured a cagey start. Bayern controlled possession, though little came of it, even after the teams exchanged a pair of odds goals. The opener from Dortmund attacker Shingi Kagawa came after a Byaern midfielder Luiz Gustavo backpass for everybody and nobody led to a shot at an open net from 17 yards out. The second saw Bayern striker Mario Gomez go in alone on BVB `keeper Roman Weidenfeller, drawing a penalty (converted by Arjen Robben) after incorrectly being ruled un-trapped by Dortmund 38 yards out.
  • Toward the end of the first, Dortmund pressure and opportunism started dictating the match. While there was some fortunate in BVB’s second (a shot deflecting off Kagawa, sending the defense scurrying, leading to Jerome Boateng bringing down a man), the third and fourth saw Bayern’s defense taken apart. Each time, Dortmund finished sequences by finding Lewandowski with tons of space in the middle of the area, the young Polish international allowed to unload shots Manuel Neuer had little chance to stop.
  • Given Bayern’s seven days out from contesting a European title, this is obviously a very disturbing result. Stylistically, Chelsea is very different from Dortmund – the way they create goals is entirely different – but given how Bayern defended on Saturday, that might not matter. The season-long worries about FCB’s central defense that never manifested during the club’s Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid now appear to be justified. It’s unlikely Bayern can win next Saturday if Boateng and Holdger Badstuber play like this. Daniel van Buyten’s return’s looking more vital than anitcipated.
  • For Dortmund, there were only two negatives. First, Weidenfeller was forced to leave mid-way through the first with an apparent abdominal strain, the product of an early first half collision with Gomez. Second, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was in attendance, presumably looking a Kagawa ahead of a possible move to Old Trafford.
  • Those are but qualms in BVB’s first league-cup double. Even if they lose Kagawa, this is a team that’s primed to push on. While this season say them struggle to manage both their domestic and European aspirations, next year will allow them to leverage their 2011-12’s experiences.

Mourinho slams critics, reveals team news; Fellaini update

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Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United are almost back to full strength but he has a few concerns.

The Red Devils host Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with Mourinho now having just a handful of injury concerns.

Long-term absentees Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo have all returned to action over the past week, while Mourinho has a small defensive problem with Eric Bailly and Phil Jones out for the visit of the newly-promoted Seagulls.

“They are out. But we are okay because we have [Chris] Smalling, [Marcos] Rojo and [Victor] Lindelof,” Mourinho said.

He also said that Pogba isn’t yet able to play a full 90 minutes as he continue his recovery from a hamstring injury, while Zlatan is improving all the time after jumping off the bench in the victory over Newcastle United last weekend and the midweek defeat at Basel in the UEFA Champions League.

“I prefer him [Ibrahimovic] on the pitch than off the pitch,” Mourinho said. “On the pitch, he’s another option for us and he’s an option of quality. His physicality and his intelligence, the way he moves, the way he plays. But he needs time. We managed to give him 15/20 minutes in both matches, he needs more of that, so hopefully, tomorrow, we play him again.”

Mourinho also took exception to a question about the criticism his team receives about their defensive style of play, with the Portuguese coach pointing towards United’s superb home record this season.

“I don’t know who is more ambitious than us,” Mourinho said. “We played against Newcastle with Pogba, Rashford, Martial, Mata, Lukaku, the full backs are not full backs, everybody knows they are wingers, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young. So, I don’t know what you want.”

United have won all six PL home games this season and have scored 19 goals, conceding just once. So, yeah, he has a point but the only real test they’ve had so far at home was against Tottenham Hotspur.

Aside from an injury update and hitting back at critics, Mourinho also gave an update on Fellaini’s contract situation and revealed he is concerned the Belgian midfielder may leave.

Fellaini, 30, is out of contract at the end of the season and Mourinho has praised the lanky midfielder on numerous occasions over the past few months. Is he worried Fellaini will leave for nothing?

“Yeah,” Mourinho said. “This is a discussion between the player and the board. I’m not involved in contracts, in deals, and I respect both – I respect the player because he has the right to decide his future. So I just wait wishing they will have an understanding, but it’s out of my control.”

Bayern fans unhappy with Champions League ticket prices

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich fans were unhappy with the price of tickets for their team’s match at Anderlecht in the Champions League.

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The fans held banners during Wednesday’s game saying, “Are your necks not full? Is your greed now finally satisfied?”

A Bayern fan group, Club Nr. 12, issued a statement saying Anderlecht had made 85 percent of the tickets available to the German club’s fans priced at 100 euros ($118).

“Even by the standards of the generally high-priced Champions League, this represents a new dimension for a first-round game,” said the statement, which thanked Bayern for supplementing the tickets so fans had could pay 70 euros ($82.50).

Many Bayern fans avoided the trip to Brussels altogether, while 91 percent of more than 2,500 Club Nr. 12 members said in a survey that ticket prices were “completely unacceptable.”

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Anderlecht spokesman David Steegen told The Associated Press that Bayern fans were charged “exactly the same price” as home fans who bought single tickets to the game. He said fans who bought a three-game Champions League bundle were offered a reduction.

UEL roundup: AC Milan advances after big win; Arsenal, Everton fall

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Both Premier League sides fell in Thursday’s UEFA Europa League play, but for one side the result didn’t effect their progression into the next round.

[ MORE: Ex-Brazil forward Robinho handed nine-year prison sentence ]

Arsenal dropped a 1-0 result to Cologne, however, the Gunners still moved into the Round of 32 after their Group H counterparts, Red Star Belgrade and BATE Borisov settled for a scoreless draw.

Meanwhile, Everton’s 2017/18 woes continued on the day as the Toffees suffered a brutal 5-1 defeat at home against Serie A side Atalanta. The win secures Atalanta’s place in the knockout phase, along with fellow Group E club Lyon — who also won on Thursday.

AC Milan put up five goals of its own in a convincing win against Austria Wien, while Lazio, Nice and Red Bull Salzburg were among the other sides to move into the next round after picking up the necessary results.

Below are all of the scores from Thursday’s Europa League action.

Astana 2-3 Villareal
Konyaspor 1-1 Marseille
Rosenborg 0-1 Real Sociedad
Lazio 1-1 Vitesse
Viktoria Plzen 2-0 Steaua Bucuresti
Lokomotiv 2-1 Copenhagen
Zenit 2-1 Vardar
Red Bull Salzburg 3-0 Vitoria
Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Hertha Berlin
BATE 0-0 Red Star Belgrade
Ostersunds 2-0 Zorya
Koln 1-0 Arsenal
Nice 3-1 Zulte Waregem
Lugano 1-0 Beer-Sheva
Ludogorets 1-2 Istanbul
Braga 3-1 Hoffenheim
AEK 2-2 Rijeka
AC Milan 5-1 Austria Vienna
Lyon 4-0 Apollon
Maccabi Tel Aviv 0-2 Slavia Praha
Sheriff 1-0 Zlin
Partizan 2-1 Young Boys
Skenderbeu 3-2 Dynamo Kyiv
Everton 1-5 Atalanta

Ex-Brazil forward Robinho sentenced to nine years in prison

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Former Brazil international Robinho has been sentenced to nine years in prison after being convicted of rape on an Albanian woman back in 2013.

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At the time, Robinho was playing for Serie A side AC Milan.

The court decision came down on Thursday after the 33-year-old forward had failed to attend any court hearings in Italy, where the crime reportedly took place.

Robinho is believed to have acted in the crime with five other Brazilians, to which their whereabouts are unknown to this point.

Reuters has reported that Robinho is entitled to up to two appeals and “Italy would only launch extradition proceedings once this legal process is exhausted.”

The Brazilian is known for his club playing days at AC Milan and Manchester City, among other clubs in addition to his time with the Selecao. Robinho took part in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups with Brazil.