Bundesliga tie provides exciting foreshadow to Champions League final

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With an all-German Champions League final set, it was only fitting Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund met in the league prior to the big match.

Neither side could secure a victory as the game finished 1-1, but there was plenty of excitement – and tension – to go around at Westfalenstadion.

Kevin Grosskreutz and Mario Gomez both found the back of the net, and there was a nasty edge to the match as 7 yellow cards were shown between the two sides.

Midfielder Anatoliy Tymoschuk picked up the game’s first yellow and first of 6 for Bayern as he scythed down Robert Lewandowski in the 10th minute, a contentious moment for both sides.

Two of the yellows found Bayern defender Rafinha, the second of which he received for a vicious elbow to Grosskreutz that caught the ire of Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp and sent the Brazilian defender to an early shower.

Ultimately, the Bundesliga runners up will be kicking themselves for not leaving their fortress with 3 points, as Lewandowski had a penalty saved by Manuel Neuer after Jerome Boateng’s questionable handball saw the referee point to the spot.

Both managers will be happy they kept some star players out of harm’s way for the combative match.  Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes deemed Mario Mandzukic, Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribery, and Dante too important to risk in the match.  On the other end, Marco Reus was relegated to a 71st minute bench replacement, and Mats Hummels and Lukasz Piszczek were both kept off the pitch altogether.

Despite the use of backups, Klopp will have a headache as he adds Ilkay Gundogan to his injury list after colliding with Diego Contenato.  Mario Gotze has already found that list, and the jury is still out on whether his torn thigh muscle will heal in time for the final at Wembley.

Obviously, that match will need a winner to complete.

Chelsea facing possible two-year transfer ban

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Chelsea face a two-year transfer ban, allegedly recommended by FIFA’s integrity and compliance unit, over their signing of foreign under-18 players.

[ MORE: Fulham hire Claudio Ranieri after firing Slavisa Jokanovic ]

According to documents from Football Leaks, French website Mediapart claims 19 of the club’s signings — 14 of which were under the age of 18 — have been looked at in a three year-long investigation. Former striker Bertrand Traore is the most well-known of the players, and allegedly the most egregious of the transfers, in question.

It is alleged that Chelsea misled FIFA over the date Traore signed his first professional contract with the club and when he was registered with the English Football Association. The Burkinabe forward made 25 appearances — at under-16, under-18 and first-team levels — for Chelsea despite allegedly not being registered with the FA.

His initial contract is also alleged to have been a four-and-a-half-year deal, when the limit for players under the age of 18 is capped at three years.

[ MORE: Chelsea expected to let Gary Cahill leave on loan in January ]

FIFA transfer rules stipulate that players can only be transferred to another country if the player’s parents move to the country in which the new club is located for non-footballing reasons.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid each endured transfer bans for similar misdeeds with under-18 signings in recent years.

Scudamore gets $6 million as he leaves Premier League

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LONDON (AP) Premier League clubs have agreed to give departing chairman Richard Scudamore $6 million over three years despite a public backlash.

The Football Supporters’ Federation had urged clubs not to give Scudamore the money after news of the planned payment leaked. But the league says “the payments are in recognition of the outstanding work Richard has carried out over the last 19 years.”

In a statement after a meeting of the 20 clubs on Thursday, the league said Scudamore will “remain available in an advisory capacity,” and justified the payments as being a “vital” part of “a comprehensive set of non-compete clauses.”

Premier League clubs vote VAR into use for 2019-20 season

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It’s been inevitable for quite some time, but now it’s official: video review will be used in the Premier League when the 2019-20 season kicks off next August.

[ MORE: Fulham hire Claudio Ranieri after firing Slavisa Jokanovic ]

20 of 20 current PL clubs voted on Thursday to confirm the use of the modern technology beginning next season.

The Bundesliga and Serie A began using the video assistant referee (VAR) at the start of the 2017-18 season, and have continued (successful) operation of the system in 2018-19. Major League Soccer introduced the protocol two-thirds of the way through its 2017 season, to far greater degrees of varying success. La Liga is set to begin use of VAR next season as well.

[ MORE: England vs. USMNT preview ]

VAR was first used in the English game last season, when select FA Cup fixtures were used as test runs, while the same is being done in the EFL Cup this season.

Chelsea expected to let Cahill leave on loan in January

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Gary Cahill is no longer first-choice at Chelsea — anything but, in fact, as he’s played just 21 minutes in the Premier League this season — and the club is prepared to allow its captain to leave on loan in January as a reward for six years of excellent service, according to a report from the Guardian.

[ MORE: Fulham hire Claudio Ranieri after firing Slavisa Jokanovic ]

New Blues boss Maurizio Sarri has used Cahill sparingly thus far — even leaving him out of the 18-man team for Sunday’s draw with Everton — but has praised the 32-year-old for his professionalism and influence as a valued member inside the locker room. For those reasons, Sarri is prepared to do right by one of the club’s most senior members as Cahill seeks regular first-team minutes.

[ MORE: England vs. USMNT preview ]

Cahill’s current contract is set to expire in the summer of 2020, thus a loan in January and an ensuing permanent transfer this coming summer represents the club’s final opportunity to recoup a small fee for a player who will surely garner plenty of interest from within the PL. Having paid under $9 million to sign him from Bolton in January 2012, Chelsea have gotten pretty good value for their initial investment, including two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup, and one Champions League and Europa League title each during Cahill’s spell at the club.