Mario Götze to miss Champions League final against future club Bayern

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Big news breaking out of Germany ahead of Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final.

Borussia Dortmund’s star playmaker, Mario Götze will miss the biggest game in world club soccer after injuring his hamstring in training.

“Mario has felt something again in his hamstring,” Dortmund GM, Michael Zorc, said. “That is why he stopped. We don’t know how bad it is and whether he is still suffering from it.”

But it looks as if the injury which he suffered in the semifinal victory over Real Madrid will keep him out of the game against his future club.

This thickens the plot as Götze was due to be under intense scrutiny after announcing he would switch to Bayern Munich next season, after the German champions reached his $48m release clause for a summer move.

There is no doubt losing Götze will be a huge blow to Dortmund’s chances of lifting the UCL title for the second-time in club history. Saturday’s final at Wembley Stadium marks the first time the side from Germany’s North West have reached European soccer’s biggest game since 1997 when they famously defeated Juventus.

So have Dortmund got a chance against the side who finished just one-place, but 25 points ahead of them this season?

I call it 30-70. Yes Dortmund swept aside Real Madrid but Bayern just demolished Barcelona and didn’t concede a goal.

(More: Götze seals Munich move from rivals Dortmund)

Defensively Munich are sound and Götze was the one man they feared. Hence why they signed him. Now the 20-year-old German is no longer a worry, Munich will be rubbing their hands gleefully.

And with key central defender Mats Hummels also nursing an injury, Dortmund could be without two of their most influential players for the showpiece finale.

With or without those two players, BVB’s teamwork and unity will shine through as these two old foes descend on London, knowing only one side will return home to Deutschland with the “big eared” trophy under their arms.

Götze’s fairytale ending at the club where he’s been since a young child looks to be in ruins. Can his team come through and win the trophy for him? If they do then he can at least show off his shiny Champions League winners medal to his new Bayern Munich teammates later this summer… I’m sure that would win him plenty of friends.

Maybe not.

(More: Thinking through Mario Gotze’s hamstring injury)

Croatia smashes disheveled Argentina

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Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, and Ivan Rakitic have Croatia in the knockout rounds and Argentina on the verge of World Cup disaster.

Croatia scored a pair of second half goals, one aided by a Willy Caballero howler, in a 2-0 win in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday.

Argentina will enter its final match against Nigeria on the outskirts of the knockout rounds regardless of how Nigeria-Iceland ends on Friday.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Ivan Perisic forced a big save out of Wily Caballero for an early Croatia corner kick that came to nothing.

Messi had a chance stopped inside of 10 minutes, then started a play that Dejan Lovren blocked for a corner in the 13th.

Enzo Perez missed an open goal off a poor Croatia giveaway in the 30th minute.

There were a pair of fouls not out of place on a red card lowlight reel, one for each team, but neither resulting in a sending off.

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Croatia took the lead through Caballero’s gaffe and Rebic’s smash in the 54th.

Argentina nearly answered moments later. After a mazy Messi dribble, Argentina regained possession in the 64th minute, spearheaded by a Gonzalo Higuain run that led to a corner.

Croatia came close to making it 2-0, as Mario Mandzukic couldn’t turn a flick on frame and instead saw it glide into the outside of the goal.

Then Modric put the match to bed as the clock hit 80, an absolute beauty. Another huge defensive mistake allowed Mateo Kovacic to cue up Rakitic for the third.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

WATCH: Caballero blunder punished as Rebic rip puts Argentina on ropes

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Willy Caballero has made one of the bigger blunders in recent World Cup history.

His Argentina side needs at least a point from Thursday’s match-up with Croatia, and the match remained scoreless into halftime.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

But 10 minutes after the break, Caballero flubbed a clearance in a big way.

The Argentina goalkeeper then could only watch as Ante Rebic kept his composure to blast a side volley into the goal.

It was a fine finish, to be sure, but not possible without such a terrible gaffe.

Transfer rumor roundup: Chelsea in for Pjanic; Lozano to Juventus?

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Pro Soccer Talk examines some of Thursday’s top transfer stories, including a Premier League giant looking to add to its midfield.

[ MORE: Uruguay reaches Round of 16 courtesy of Luis Suarez ]


Chelsea could be set to join Barcelona in the race for Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, according to the Daily Mail.

The Blues and new manager Maurizio Sarri are said to be open to looking to Serie A to solve some of the team’s troubled areas, including in the center of the park to join France international N'Golo Kante.

Sarri is already said to be keen on signing Napoli star Dries Mertens, whom he has coached for several years at the Stadio San Paolo


Meanwhile, Juve has interest in a World Cup star, with Mexico’s Hirving Lozano attracting significant looks from around the world.

Lozano scored for El Tri in their 1-0 victory over Germany to open their 2018 World Cup campaign, and has become an instant star in the Dutch Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven.

PSV would reportedly be willing to complete a deal if the Serie A champions shell out over $40 million.


Sticking with Juve, Emre Can‘s move to the Turin side appears to be close to finalization.

Can is set to have a medical in Italy on Thursday, as the 24-year-old anticipates completing a five-year contract with the Serie A giants.


Finally, West Ham United is looking to add to its attacking options next season, and the club could be nearing a record move.

Lazio winger Felipe Anderson is reportedly set to come to the London Stadium in 2018/19 as the Hammers prepare a $46 million deal.

Anderson tallied four goals in 21 Serie A matches last season for the Biancocelesti.

RB Leipzig names Julian Nagelsmann future manager

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Julian Nagelsmann won’t take over at his new club until the 2019/20 season, but Red Bull Leipzig has put a lot of confidence in one of the youngest managers in global football.

[ MORE: Ronaldo’s tally gives Portugal win over Morocco ]

On Thursday, the Bundesliga side announced the appointment of the Hoffenheim coach, who will continue in his current capacity for the upcoming 2018/19 German campaign.

Nagelsmann signs on with Leipzig until the conclusion of the 2022/23 season.

The 30-year-old has spent two seasons managing Hoffenheim, guiding the club to back-to-back top-four finishes in the Bundesliga.

Leipzig is currently without a manager ahead of the next season, so it remains unclear who will take over until Nagelsmann assumes his role in 2019.