Bayern Munich defender Holger Badstuber hadn’t played a match in over 20 months, the last time being in December 2012 against Borussia Dortmund. In that contest, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament, one of the most devastating injuries for an athlete.
But on Sunday, he finally made his official comeback, taking the pitch for 79 minutes in DFB-Pokal on Sunday, as Bayern defeated Preussen Munster, 4-1.
He was ecstatic to ave the opportunity to compete with the first-class German squad again.
The 25-year-old has made 101 appearances for the Bavarians since he debuted in 2009, when he made the jump from Bayern II to the first team before signing a four-year extension through 2010. Following his leg injury, in February 2013, Bayern recognized his significance to the club’s future at defense, inking him through 2017 with another four-year deal.
Bayern’s weakness in the central defense has been witnessed. Pep Guardiola and Bayern’s management are obviously trusting that Badstuber can fortify to the back line, assuming his form will pan out as it did in 2009-10. Rocky performances during the 2010 World Cup and 2011 Bundesliga season have hopefully subsided for the German footballer.
Roma’s Spalletti on massive transfer fees, Italians in Premier League, more
Luciano Spalletti takes his longest pause before answering a question on the massive and controversial transfer fees paid out for Serie A stars Gonzalo Higuain and (probably) Paul Pogba.
Some of his players, like Francesco Totti, have been very vocal in their distaste for Higuain’s departure from Napoli for one of the highest fees in football history, but Spalletti understands what’s going on.
The 57-year-old AS Roma manager has been around the block, highlighted by two stints each with Roma and Udinese as well as parts of five seasons with Zenit Saint Petersburg which included a pair of league titles.
And when it comes to making more than $100 million on a player, you do it. As for buying a player like that, it’s a different story.
“You have to sell that player because you can turn that into two or three very good players,” Spalletti said in a translated interview Friday with ProSoccerTalk. “I think it’s the best thing. Personally, I wouldn’t spend that kind of money on a single player, but these clubs have very high goals like winning the Champions League.”
Of course Spalletti has that goal as well.
The manager was speaking ahead of Roma’s date with Liverpool in St. Louis on Monday, one of two dates in North America. I Lupi faces the Montreal Impact on Wednesday before heading home to prepare for its Aug. 20 Serie A opener against Spalletti’s former club, Udinese.
Spalletti’s second stint with Roma saw the club go to the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16, and his familiarity with success in the competition bodes well for the club moving forward.
He shepherded i Lupi to the quarterfinals in 2006-07 and 2007-08 before being bounced in the Round of 16 in the final season of his first stint, and also led Zenit to two UCL Round of 16s.
Roma also finished third in Serie A despite being mid-table when Spalletti took over. He’d like to better that this season, after selling superstar Miralem Pjanic but picking up Stephan El Shaaraway and making standout defender Antonio Rudiger’s loan permanent.
“I can count on a very good squad,” Spalletti said. “It won’t be easy to build on the season, but we want to keep doing what we just finished.”
PST asked Spalletti about the quartet of Italian coaches who’ve taken the step to the Premier League. Claudio Ranieri won the Premier League with Leicester last season while Francesco Guidolin helped rescue Swansea City.
Now Chelsea has hired Italian mastermind Antonio Conte, and Watford has brought in Walter Mazzerri. It’s a source of pride for coaches in Serie A.
“Italy has a great tradition of coaches and production,” Spalletti said. “The Italian league allows you to build a coach with valuable experience that you can later pass on at international levels. The two coaches, Conte and Mazzarri, are two great coaches who have proven their class.”
Since then, road teams have won a total of two matches in 26 tries moving, making the home team record for the season 107W-67D-34L. That’s now 1.88 points per game and points in close to 84 percent of games.
So, of course, this week’s marquee match-up could defy the trend.
Game of the Week
With apologies to FC Dallas and its three point advantage on Colorado, each conference’s top team will face off Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
The Rapids bring their MLS-best 1.9 points-per-game into the match, while NYC currently sits atop the East despite its second humbling at the hands of the Red Bulls.
Colorado has done a masterful job at finding points on the road, with two wins and five draws in nine tries. That should bode well for them despite the cross-country flight, especially when you toss in NYC’s meager 3W-3L-5T mark at home this season.
Really, it’s a case of studs and duds. The first three matches of Sunday are living in high-five country, while the majority of the 6:30 p.m. ET kickoffs don’t inspire much outside of the Trillium Cup showdown in Toronto and a “Dominic Kinnear Derby” in Texas.
Full schedule Colorado at NYCFC — 3 p.m. ET Saturday
Portland at Sporting KC — 2 p.m. ET Sunday
L.A. Galaxy at Seattle — 4 p.m. ET Sunday
Vancouver at FC Dallas — 6 p.m. ET Sunday
Montreal at DC United — 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday
New York Red Bulls at Chicago — 7 p.m. ET Sunday
Real Salt Lake at Philadelphia — 7 p.m. ET Sunday
Columbus at Toronto — 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday
New England at Orlando City — 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday
San Jose at Houston — 9 p.m. ET Sunday
“If you bring one player in for £100m and he gets injured, then it all goes through the chimney,’ he said.
“The day that this is football, I’m not in a job anymore, because the game is about playing together.”
“If I spend money, it is because I am trying to build a team, a real team. Barcelona did it. You can win championships, you can win titles, but there is a manner in which you want it.”
Klopp has spent a lot of money, but he’s spaced it out in picking up six players for around 2/3 of the Pogba fee this summer (Granted two were on free transfers).
That said, he didn’t exactly take over a club lacking star power that required loads and loads of buys. Klopp is at a different standard in answering to the media and public right now. While that’s pretty well-deserved, the way he’s getting credit for the price tags on assets he’s sold is kind of hilarious.
Either way, we are loving Klopp in the Premier League. Bring on the season.
Yet this summer has been an incredible one for transfers, with so many Premier League teams leading the way in business, that names like Sadio Mane, Michy Batshuayi, Nico Gaitan, and Nolito miss out list (and they are just the tip of the iceberg).
Here’s our Top Ten so far
10. Mario Gotze, Bayern Munich –> Borussia Dortmund
Will a return “home” do the trick for the World Cup clinching attacker?