Pep Guardiola on mole leaking Bayern’s tactics ahead of Dortmund clash: “heads will roll”

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The next time Pep Guardiola gives a Bayern Munich team talk, he may have to whisper it or write it down in a cryptic message.

There’s a mole loose in the Bayern locker room and whoever it is, they’re upsetting Pep big time.

Before the massive Bundesliga clash against Munich’s fierce rivals Borussia Dortmund last Saturday, team tactics and news was leaked to the press in Germany. Bayern ended up winning ‘Der Klassiker’ 3-0 with a late flurry of goals but nevertheless, classified information leaking out of the squad has irked their Spanish manager.

“It does not matter who it is, heads will roll,” Guardiola was said to have told his players after the game. “I will throw him out. He will not play under me again.”

Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge echoed Guardiola’s sentiments and wants the leaking of team tactics and other sensitive information to stop.

“We will obviously not bring in the NSA (National Security Agency) to find out who it is,” Rummenigge said. “But I advise him to stop doing it or he will have a serious problem not only with Pep Guardiola but also the entire club.”

So, are there any candidates for who the person leaking Bayern’s tactics could be? Well, any player with a strong personnel link between Bayern and Dortmund could be the individual Guardiola shines the spotlight on as he ramps up his investigation into how his team talks are being leaked into the public domain.

(MORE: Dortmund 0-3 Bayern Munich: Bayern stay top, pull seven points clear of BVB)

Mario Gotze’s high-profile move from BVB to Bayern over the summer got everyone’s knickers in a twist, and the former Dortmund academy product was given plenty of abuse when he returned to the Westfalenstadion this weekend. He scored Bayern’s opener and helped his new side to easily dispatch his boyhood club in a second half canter to three points. Did Gotze leak Munich’s tactics to his old teammates before the clash?

I highly doubt Gotze has anything to do with it, why would he, or any other player for that matter, completely tear apart the inner sanctity of the the Bayern locker room? No real professional would, but perhaps a coach or one of the other members of Bayern’s support staff is the guilty party…

Wherever the fingers lies, because we could sit here and speculate all day long, Bayern are still top of the table, seven points clear of their rivals Dortmund and have qualified for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

But as long as that mole is lurking, Guardiola will be keeping his cards very close to his chest.

After slow start, Belgium takes care of business against feisty Panama

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All it took was one goal to bring Belgium to life.

Following a frustrating first 45 minutes, in which Belgium put a pair of shots into the side netting and forced saves from Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, Dries Mertens 47th minute goal opened the floodgates, as Belgium went on to defeat Panama, 3-0, Monday afternoon in Sochi.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

But Panama never made it easy for the Belgians. From the opening whistle the CONCACAF nation showed its incredible spirit, chasing down Belgium all across the field and making life incredibly difficult for Belgium attackers Romelu Lukaku, Mertens and Eden Hazard. Hazard was hacked down all over the field, and while he did earn fouls and a few yellow cards were issued to Panamanian players, it was enough to get in Hazard’s head.

Two minutes into the second half, everything changed. A wonderstrike from Mertens opened the game, and forced Panama to attack and try and tie the match, which gave Hazard, de Bruyne and Lukaku more space to operate.

In the heat and humidity of the Sochi summer, Panama’s veteran defense began to tire, allowing de Bruyne the space to deliver a terrific assist to Lukaku in the box, putting Belgium up 2-0 in the 69th minute.

 

Six minutes later, Lukaku was put through on the break, chipping over Penedo to confirm the victory.

With the win, Belgium moves to the top of Group G. Up next for Belgium is Tunisia on Saturday, while Panama takes on England on Sunday.

VIDEO: de Bruyne delivers gorgeous assist on Lukaku goal

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It took a little bit of patience, but Romelu Lukaku finally got on the scoresheet at the 2018 World Cup, thanks to a delicious assist from crosstown club rival Kevin De Bruyne.

The Manchester City playmaker delivered a spectacular outside-of-the-boot cross into the box, where Lukaku’s head met it and guided it towards the far post for Belgium’s second goal of the day.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Arsenal close in on Leno; Man City near Jorginho signing, and more

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Arsenal looks like it will have a new man between the pipes for next season.

According to a report from German publication SportBild, Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno will be introduced as an Arsenal player on Tuesday, after a reported $23-29 million transfer fee. The 26-year-old was on Germany’s 35-man pre-World Cup squad, but was one of the last cuts as Joachim Low went with Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Kevin Trapp in Russia.

Leno became the full-time starter for Leverkusen as a 20-year-old, and has held the position of the No. 1 for the last six seasons, earning plenty of Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League experience along the way.

It’s unclear what will happen to current Arsenal No. 1 Petr Cech. The 36-year-old Premier League legend experienced one of his worst seasons in net for Arsenal and he could begin the season as a backup, unless he moves to a new club. He reportedly has a contract through 2019.

Here’s some more transfer rumors from around the Premier League and Europe.

(more…)

VIDEO: Mertens scores wonderstrike for Belgium

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After a frustrating 45 minutes, it took only two minutes for Belgium to finally get on the board, even if it was a goal sprinkled with magic dust.

Off a partially cleared ball on the right side of the box, Belgium attacker Dries Mertens whalloped a shot that arced over Panama (and former LA Galaxy) goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, giving Belgium a 1-0 lead.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]