One of the most eagerly awaited summer transfer sagas, is done and dusted by early spring.
Borussia Dortmund confirmed earlier this morning that forward prodigy Mario Götze will join German rivals Bayern Munich for approximately $48 million on July 1. “We are obviously disappointed beyond measure,” Borussia Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke said. “But emphasize that both Mario and his agent have behaved within the terms of the contract.”
Götze’s release clause has been met by Bayern, as incoming manager Pep Guardiola already begins to assemble his squad for next season by adding one of German soccer’s brightest young talents.
But the timing of the announcement seems quite bizarre. It great news for Munich who face Barcelona tonight in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinal, knowing a talented young star will be added to the ranks during preseason. But quite demoralizing for Dortmund who face Real Madrid tomorrow in the other semifinal, knowing one of their best (if not the best) players is heading elsewhere.
And it isn’t just to any club; it’s their biggest Bundesliga rivals to the South. Many may argue it’s a sideways move. Why leave Germany’s second biggest side, for the biggest? Why leave behind the club you have been with since a youngster for their bitter rivals? Plus he may spend plenty of time on the bench at Munich, with the likes Franck Ribery, Thomas Müller, Arjen Robben and Toni Kroos in his way. It is a bit puzzling.
So why would Götze move? He is idolized at Dortmund, has grown up playing for the academy and has turned into a German international after shining at the Westfalenstadion. Well, the 20-year-old was born an hour West of Munich in Memmingen, but I highly doubt proximity to family swayed his decision. Quite simply, he wants to win European titles. But one could argue he has just as good a chance of Champions League success with Dortmund, as he does with Munich.
However, with Munich in imperial form during the domestic campaign and Guardiola set to be in charge for the foreseeable future, Götze probably feels he may develop further under the man who helped nurture Lionel Messi’s talent. That seems like as good a reason as any.
Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.
[ MORE: Champions League standings ]
The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.
[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]
So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:
- A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
- A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
- A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
- A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
- A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
- A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B
[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]
There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.
The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?
With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.
[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]
Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.
Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.
Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.
Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.
Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).