Borussia Dortmund players upset with whistles from home fans during Wednesday’s Champions League match

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One day after securing their club’s second straight appearance in UEFA Champions League’s quarterfinals, Borussia Dortmund players are hitting back at their own fans, with whistles heard during the team’s 2-1 loss leaving a lasting impression on the team.

Despite losing to visiting Zenit St. Petersburg, BVB advanced in Champions League, posting a 5-4 aggregate win over the Russian club. The sellout crowd at the Westfalenstadion had shorter-term goals in mind, however, expressing their disapproval as last year’s finalists saw out the final portion of their Round of 16 meeting with Zenit.

The players noticed. One day after seeing the Russians out of the competition, Dortmund players turned there attention to their fans behavior, expressing their disappointment.

“Some in the team are really affected by this,” captain Sebastian Kehl said, as reported by Reuters. “A home game should be a positive experience and not feel as if we have committed some sort of crime.”

Dortmund have one of the more fearsome crowds in European soccer, with the 65,829 in attendance for Champions League matches coupling one of Europe’s largest crowds with a passion that’s made the Westfalenstadion one of the world’s more renown fan experiences.

On Wednesday, however, that passion turned on the team in yellow and black.

“I really do not like this,” midfielder Kevin Großkreutz said. “Every time we lost possession you could hear moans in the crowd.

“We do not need moans, we need support. Afterwards you can whistle but during the game we need the support.”

Veteran midfielder Nuri Sahin asked for perspective. Though Dortmund eased past Zenit on the back of the 4-2 win it posted in St. Petersburg, the team is still trying to compensate for the absences of Jakub Blaszczykowski, Ilkay Güdongen, Neven Subotic, and Sven Bender.

“Look at what kind of injury setbacks we have had to deal with and play football this season,” Sahin urged. “We are in the last eight and that is something that should be looked at carefully and honoured.”

Head coach Jürgen Klopp echoed the sentiments, saying “We as Borussia Dortmund have to learn that a great success sometimes is hidden in a 2-1 defeat.”

Great, perhaps unreasonable success is clearly what the crowd expected. Four years ago, this team wasn’t even in Europe. Now, they’re in Champions League’s final eight and 10 months removed from an appearance in the competition’s final. Interesting quickly expectations chance in the Ruhr valley.

In the league throughout and sitting on four away goals, perhaps BVB didn’t play their best game Wednesday against Zenit. Given the circumstances, however, supporters should have had more flexible expectations. After all, the team is still into the quarterfinals.

EFL Cup Tues. preview: Spurs-Reds, plenty of non-PL participants

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27:  Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at White Hart Lane on August 27, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
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Sixteen teams remain in the battle to clinch the Premier League’s first European place of next season’s tournament, and we have some tremendous battles on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday in the EFL Cup (formerly the League Cup).

Today we focus on the 24 hours ahead of us, focusing on Tuesday’s five matches and allowing the Manchester Derby, West Ham-Chelsea, and Southampton-Sunderland to percolate a bit.

[ MORE: Finland’s “Leicester” gets it done ]

That’s not to say we don’t have a pair of giants dueling on Tuesday. Liverpool is three wins away from a return to the final, where the Reds fell in penalties last season. Standing in their way is Tottenham Hotspur, a deep squad which won’t have to worry much about a quick turnaround from Saturday.

That said, the Reds didn’t have to play at all last week, while this will be Spurs third match in a week. Spurs have been to the EFL Cup final thrice since 2008, and one of two teams (Chelsea) to make three finals this decade. Liverpool will start Simon Mignolet between the sticks.

The remaining four EFL Cup matches include at least one team outside the Premier League.

Arsenal will host USMNT midfielder Danny Williams and Reading.

— Hull City is off to Ashton Gate to face Bristol City.

— Newcastle United is leading the Championship, and will get a visit from Preston North End in the first of two matches between the two sides this week.

— Norwich City will pay a visit to Elland Road and Garry Monk‘s Leeds United.

FC Dallas gave injured Mauro Diaz a home champagne shower (video)

FRISCO, TX - APRIL 12:  Mauro Diaz #10 of the FC Dallas controls the ball against the Seattle Sounders FC on April 12, 2014 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images
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FC Dallas has two jewels of its triple crown all set, having claimed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.

One of the key reasons the club was able to sustain its pace this season was Mauro Diaz, 25, who shone even as Fabian Castillo shockingly left the club before the stretch run.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

A River Plate product, Diaz gave FCD seven goals and 15 assists over 32 appearances before tearing an achilles tendon last week.

Diaz underwent season-ending surgery, but his teammates made sure he was a part of the champagne celebration by heading to his very nice-looking house for an early morning visit.

[ MORE: Pre-playoff power rankings ]


VIDEO: Premier League Player of the Week – Matchday 9

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There was some eye-popping moments in the Premier League this weekend, yet still very little debate who shone brightest.

Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of Goal of the Month competitors in the same day in the Potters’ 2-0 win at Hull City on Monday.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

The first was a curling wonder from distance, while the second came from a bit closer as the big-calfed Swiss attacker bamboozled the Hull wall and goalkeeper.

The Potters are up to 16th in the Premier League table with nine points.

Finnish fans celebrate surprise title for IFK Mariehamn

IFK Mariehamm
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HELSINKI (AP) Fans of IFK Mariehamn have gathered in the main square of the remote Finnish town to celebrate their team’s surprise league title.

“I feel very proud,” the club’s managing director, Peter Mattsson, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday, adding that “thousands” were expected to turn up for the party.

Watched by more than 4,000, Mariehamn clinched the Finnish title on Sunday with a 2-1 home victory over Ilves, from the industrial city of Tampere.

[ MORE: Full MLS Cup bracket ]

Mariehamn held off 11 other teams, including the traditionally strong Helsinki club, HJK, and defending champion SJK from western Finland. It ended three points clear of second-placed HJK for its first league title.

Local media dubbed the team “Leicester” after the surprise English Premier League champions last season.

Mariehamn, which has a population of 11,500, is the capital of the Aland islands off the southwestern Finnish coast