Germany hand Joachim Low new two-year contract ahead of World Cup

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With qualification to the 2014 World Cup secured and Germany looking as strong as ever, this deal was always on the horizon.

On Friday it was announced that German national team manager Joachim Low has signed a two-year contract extension to lead Germany through to the summer of 2016.

After taking over from current U.S. national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Low, 53, has led the Germans to a European Championships final in 2008, semifinal in 2012 and a World Cup semifinal in 2010.

The building blocks put in place by Klinsmann and Low in the buildup to the 2006 World Cup in Germany has been seamlessly carried on by his former assistant Low, and the coach known to dress rather suavely in tight-cut pants and fashionable scarfs will now lead the German national team through the 2016 European Championships in France.

Truth be told, his record for Germany is phenomenal with the highest winning percentage (68.69) in German national team history. Yes, okay, they haven’t won a trophy to add to their World Cup titles of 1954, 1970 and 1990, but they’re looking extremely strong. And if you look at those World Cup trophies they’ve won, there was a 16 year gap in-between all three… so Germany’s next success is certainly overdue.

source: Getty Images
Low has led Germany’s new generation of stars to the brink of success… can they go one step further in Brazil?

But back to Low’s record, since he took the reigns from Klinsi in 2006 they’ve played 99 times, winning 68, drawing 16 and losing just 15 times. And in their last 17 games, Germany have lost just once with that defeat came against the USA in a 4-3 friendly loss in Washington D.C. back in June. He has a talented squad full of attacking delights such as Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, Andre Schurrle and Julian Draxler, as young attackers just keep turning up. And veterans Per Mertesacker, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Phillip Lahm keep things ticking over nicely.

He’s got lucky with some of the talent he helped Klinsmann nurture, but Low has worked incredibly hard to mesh it all together as the Germans are a formidably strong unit from front to back. They have no weaknesses, and as you can tell from the Bundesliga’s recent dominance of the UEFA Champions League he now has more top players to choose from than ever. Low has long been regarded the tactical genius behind the German soccer revolution masterminded by himself and Klinsmann, he’s certainly shown that.

Low certainly deserves this new contract, but after finishing third and the last two World Cups and runners up to Brazil in 2002, surely Deutschland is aiming to win the World Cup in Rio next summer? With Low’s new deal pinning the hugely successful coach down to the German national team for at least another three and a half years, German stability and success will continue.

All Low needs to do now is complete the final hurdle, and actually win something.

That’s the hard part Germany haven’t mastered thus far under his reign, Low now has two tournaments to put that right.

Independiente and Flamengo meet for South American trophy

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SAO PAULO (AP) Independiente, relegated for the first time in its history in 2013, can complete a remarkable turnaround by winning the Copa Sudamericana at the Maracana Stadium on Wednesday.

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The Argentine team will go into the second leg of the final holding a 2-1 lead over Brazilian club Flamengo from the first leg.

Independiente, which has won multiple titles in South American tournaments, will be counting on 18-year-old midfielder Ezequiel Barco, one of the best players in this year’s competition.

Flamengo is also seeking to restore some pride in Rio de Janeiro. The big-spending Brazilian club, playing in its first Copa Sudamericana final, finished its domestic championship in a disappointing sixth place.

The Rio team will be without Peru striker Paolo Guerrero, who is serving a one-year doping ban.

Instead, veteran midfielder Diego will be the key player as Flamengo looks to claim its first regional title since winning the now-defunct Copa Mercosur in 1999.

After Independiente won the first leg, the club posted on its social media channels a picture of its players celebrating at the Maracana in 1995 when the two teams played for the Supercopa.

If the Argentines lose 1-0 on Wednesday, there will be a penalty shootout to decide the winner.

Last year, Brazilian club Chapecoense was awarded the title before the final after 19 players, plus club directors and several members of staff, died in an air crash.

The Copa Sudamericana is the continent’s second most prestigious tournament after the Copa Libertadores.

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund wins in Stoger’s managerial debut

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For the first time since late September, Borussia Dortmund has won a league match, while Leipzig’s slip up opens the door for Bayern Munich to extend its lead in Germany’s top flight.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Huddersfield, level on points with Man United ]

Here’s a brief look at all of Tuesday’s Bundesliga action.

Mainz 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

10 points separates Dortmund from league leaders Bayern Munich, who also have a match in hand, but for the moment, the bleeding his stopped. BVB picked up a crucial win on Tuesday to end its domestic woes upon manager Peter Stoger’s debut. The side’s drought stretched over an eight-match winless period. Second-half goals from Sokratis and Shinji Kagawa moved Dortmund into the top four, while Mainz remains 15th in the league table.

 

Wolfsburg 1-1 Red Bull Leipzig

Meanwhile, RB Leipzig’s form continues to slide downward after the second-place side dropped points in its fourth straight match across all competitions. The road side’s fortunes were dampened early on when Paul Verhaegh converted from the penalty spot, however, Marcel Halstenberg did manage to pull a goal back for Leipzig in the 52nd minute. Leipzig’s misfortunes carried on in stoppage time though when Dayot Upamecano was sent off after picking up his second yellow card of the day.


The rest of Tuesday’s scores

Hamburg 1-2 Frankfurt
Freiburg 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

Inter beats 3rd-division Pordenone 5-4 on penalties in Cup

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MILAN (AP) Inter Milan scraped into the Italian Cup quarterfinals after the Serie A leader was taken to penalties by third-division Pordenone on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Huddersfield, moves level on points with Man United ]

Pordenone goalkeeper Simone Perilli pulled off several saves in regulation time to keep the game scoreless, and he almost proved to be the hero during the shootout, stopping two penalties.

But Inter prevailed 5-4, with Yuto Nagatomo tucking away the final spot kick.

Both sides hit the woodwork during the 120 minutes.

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti rang the changes, and only Milan Skriniar and Matias Vecino remained in the starting 11 from Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Juventus.

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However, he was forced by desperation to bring on Marcelo Brozovic at halftime as well as star forwards Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi.

Report: Cosmos coach Savarese to be named new Timbers manager

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In a time where NASL’s status moving forward is hanging in the balance, one of the league’s top managers is set to make the jump to Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: LA FC close to acquiring Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan ]

According to ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman, New York Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese is set to be named the next Portland Timbers manager.

Savarese will take over for the recently departed Caleb Porter, who stepped down from his head coaching role with the Timbers in November.

The former professional player spent five seasons in MLS during his career, including stints with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now the Red Bulls), as well as the New England Revolution and the San Jose Earthquakes.

The 46-year-old has managed the Cosmos from 2013 to present, and guided the NASL side to three Soccer Bowl titles in that span.