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Granqvist welcomes baby, preps for England at World Cup

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SAMARA, Russia (AP) Even though Andreas Granqvist has a lot going on right now, he claims he’s not overwhelmed.

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The Sweden captain welcomed his baby daughter from afar early Friday while his team gets ready for its World Cup quarterfinal match against England on Saturday.

“I just try to enjoy it,” he said with a grin. “I just try to be present, in the now.”

Granqvist and his wife Sofie each posted photos of the newborn, named Mika, although Granqvist used a hashtag: (hash)worldcupbaby.

“Good timing. I didn’t sleep very well last night, so I’m glad that it’s happened now,” he said Friday after the early morning birth. “My wife did a wonderful job back home. Everything went well.”

Indeed the timing couldn’t have been better.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

Now rather than stress about the arrival of his second child, Granqvist can focus his full attention on guiding Sweden to what the team hopes is its first trip to the World Cup semifinals since 1994. The Swedes have made it to the final once, at home back in 1958, falling to Pele and Brazil.

Granqvist, a 33-year-old center back, has played in Russia for Krasnodar for the past five years, but he will join Helsingborg, a second-tier team in his native Sweden, following the World Cup.

Known by his nickname Granen, Granqvist is part of a stout defense that has been Sweden’s strength in Russia. The team has conceded only two goals so far in the tournament, both in the group stage against defending champion Germany.

It’s part of a team-first strategy as Sweden moves past the Zlatan Ibrahimovic era.

Ibrahimovic, the all-time leading scorer for Sweden, retired from international soccer in 2016 but still plays at club level for the LA Galaxy. There was talk in the run-up to the World Cup that he might be willing to play for the national team, but ultimately coach Janne Andersson decided to go forward without him.

“We’re a team, we do this together on and off the pitch, and this has meant that we’ve been as successful as we have so far,” Granqvist said. “We might not have on paper the best team or individually, but together we’re very high achievers.”

So far the recipe has worked in Russia. After finishing at the top of its group, the Swedes beat Switzerland in the knockout round 1-0. If they can get past England, they’ll face the winner of Saturday’s match between Russia and Croatia.

“I think there was a coach who said about his team once, `They’re quite easy to analyze and quite difficult to beat.’ I think that’s a good description for us,” Andersson said.

England and Sweden have met twice previously in World Cup play, a 2-2 draw in 2006 and a 1-1 draw in 2002. Overall, Sweden has gone undefeated in 13 of the last 15 matches.

Andersson agreed with his captain that Sweden’s strength is its unity.

“We’re in Day 45 now together. And even I will have a bad day sometimes. And then you go to your room for a little rest and you come back with new energy and you can contribute to the team,” Andersson said. “They’ve been extraordinary in how they’ve done it.”

More AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/WorldCup

Bundesliga preview: Paderborn v. Borussia Dortmund

Paderborn v. Borussia Dortmund preview
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Last-place Paderborn is running out of time to make a run out of the drop zone, and a visit from Borussia Dortmund wouldn’t normally inspire too much.

But Sunday’s match between the two sides sees Dortmund taking the pitch for the first time since seeing its title hopes dashed in a fierce Klassiker, and Paderborn’s picked up points in all three matches since play resumed from the coronavirus pause.

Not only that, the sides drew 3-3 in November at Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion, BVB firing back from a 3-0 halftime deficit thanks to goals from Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus, and Axel Witsel.

[ Bundesliga: Live scores | Week 29 preview, predictions  ] 

Paderborn has been playing well for a last-place side, ornery and collecting more cards than most teams in the Bundesliga.

As for Dortmund, the black and yellow side performed well enough to get a result from Bayern but lost on a Joshua Kimmich wondergoal and will likely still be lamenting what could’ve been if VAR reviewed an apparent Jerome Boateng handball in the box.

Still, there’s too much talent here, even at a desperate host. In a non-coronavirus world, the home crowd changes our opinion a little on the score line. We’re feeling a blowout, Dortmund 4-0.

Below is how to watch Borussia Dortmund v. Paderborn on TV in the USA this Saturday, while above you can follow the action live, as the three points are so valuable to both clubs but for very different reasons.

Bundesliga schedule

  • TV Channels: FS1
  • Stream LiveVia Fox Soccer
  • When: Saturday, May 30 – 12:30 p.m. ET: Bayern Munich v Fortuna Dusseldorf
  • Americans Abroad: Giovanni Reyna (Dortmund)

Remaining Premier League fixtures ahead of June 17 return

Premier League schedule
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The 2019-20 Premier League season will restart on June 17, the league confirmed Thursday, as ‘Project Restart’ readies for empty stadiums around England.

So who’s left on the schedule? The slate of 92 matches features some doozies including the Merseyside Derby (Matchday 30), the North London Derby (Matchday 35), and — of course — Liverpool’s visit to Manchester City (Matchday 32)

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Check out all the stats for the season so far, as well as the state of play for all 20 clubs’ seasons in the races for the Champions League, Europa League, and safety from relegation.

Of course, you’ll be able to watch the Premier League via NBCSports.com all summer long.

Additionally, the matches will be staged in non-traditional windows. Here are the kickoff times for midweek and weekend matches.

Matchday 28 — June 17

Aston Villa v. Sheffield United
Manchester City v. Arsenal

Matchday 30

Aston Villa v. Chelsea
Bournemouth v. Crystal Palace
Brighton and Hove Albion v. Arsenal
Everton v. Liverpool
Manchester City v. Burnley
Newcastle United v. Sheffield United
Norwich City v. Southampton
Tottenham v. Manchester United
Watford v. Leicester City
West Ham v. Wolves

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Matchday 31

Burnley v. Watford
Liverpool v. Crystal Palace
Tottenham v. West Ham
Wolves v. Bournemouth

Matchday 31 to be rescheduled due to FA Cup quarters
Chelsea v. Manchester City
Leicester City v. Brighton and Hove Albion
Manchester United v. Sheffield United
Newcastle United v. Aston Villa
Norwich City v. Everton
Southampton v. Arsenal

Matchday 32

Arsenal v. Norwich City
Aston Villa v. Wolves
Bournemouth v. Newcastle United
Brighton and Hove Albion v. Manchester United
Crystal Palace v. Burnley
Everton v. Leicester City
Manchester City v. Liverpool
Sheffield United v. Tottenham
Watford v. Southampton
West Ham v. Chelsea

Matchday 33

Burnley v. Sheffield United
Chelsea v. Watford
Leicester City v. Crystal Palace
Liverpool v. Aston Villa
Manchester United v. Bournemouth
Newcastle United v. West Ham
Norwich City v. Brighton and Hove Albion
Southampton v. Manchester City
Tottenham v. Everton
Wolves v. Arsenal

(Paul Harding/PA via AP)

Matchday 34

Arsenal v. Leicester City
Aston Villa v. Manchester United
Brighton and Hove Albion v. Liverpool
Bournemouth v. Tottenham
Crystal Palace v. Chelsea
Everton v. Southampton
Manchester City v. Newcastle United
Sheffield United v. Wolves
Watford v. Norwich City
West Ham v. Burnley

Matchday 35

Aston Villa v. Crystal Palace
Bournemouth v. Leicester City
Brighton and Hove Albion v. Manchester City
Liverpool v. Burnley
Manchester United v. Southampton
Norwich City v. West Ham
Sheffield United v. Chelsea
Tottenham v. Arsenal
Watford v. Newcastle United
Wolves v. Everton

(Photo by Visionhaus)

Matchday 36

Arsenal v. Liverpool
Burnley v. Wolves
Chelsea v. Norwich City
Crystal Palace v. Manchester United
Everton v. Aston Villa
Leicester City v. Sheffield United
Manchester City v. Bournemouth
Newcastle United v. Tottenham
Southampton v. Brighton and Hove Albion
West Ham v. Watford

Matchday 37

Aston Villa v. Arsenal
Bournemouth v. Southampton
Brighton and Hove Albion v. Newcastle United
Liverpool v. Chelsea
Manchester United v. West Ham
Norwich City v. Burnley
Sheffield United v. Everton
Tottenham v. Leicester City
Watford v. Manchester City
Wolves v. Crystal Palace

Matchday 38

Arsenal v. Watford
Burnley v. Brighton and Hove Albion
Chelsea v. Wolves
Crystal Palace v. Tottenham
Everton v. Bournemouth
Leicester City v. Manchester United
Manchester City v. Norwich City
Newcastle United v. Liverpool
Southampton v. Sheffield United
West Ham v. Aston Villa

Ndidi
(Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)

LIVE, Bundesliga: Week 29 begins with Freiburg-Bayer

Freiburg v. Bayer Leverkusen live
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Week 29 in Germany begins with two clubs holding onto hope of berths in the Champions League and Europa League, respectively, when Bayer Leverkusen visit Freiburg at the Black Forest Stadium.

Last time out, the scrappy hosts tossed away a 2-goal lead in drawing Eintracht, while Bayer saw its red-hot form cooled off with an exclamation point in a 4-1 loss to Wolfsburg. Freiburg’s now four points out of sixth and Bayer’s outside the top four on goal difference. That said, Kai Havertz’s Bayer has weapons for days and the creativity to get through the compact, physical Freiburg formation.

[ Bundesliga: Live scores | Week 29 preview, predictions  ] 

Matchweek 29 in the Bundesliga will again see games played in empty stadiums, which is the plan for the rest of the season and beyond. If you’re new to Germany’s top-flight, here’s a guide to help you pick a club to support.

How to Watch the Bundesliga

You can check out the full schedulestandings and find out how to watch the action, while we will have you covered right here on ProSoccerTalk with analysis, reaction and more.

[ MORE: Takeaways from Week 28 of the Bundesliga ]

Transfer news: Tecatito to Chelsea update; Pellistri to Man City

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In the latest transfer news there have been new updates surrounding Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona heading to Chelsea, while Man City have been linked with Uruguayan youngster Facundo Pellistri.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Starting at Chelsea, there were reports about Mexico winger Tecatito heading from FC Porto to the Blues and it appears they are some legs there.

Tecatito’s agent Matias Bunge confirmed to Medio Tiempo that they have held talks with Chelsea.

“At some point we talked to them,” Bunge said. “I cannot say if he’s option A, B or C, now they are rather rumours. We’ll have to wait a bit for this to continue moving forward and for the leagues to begin again, and from there see what the next movements will be because the market is a little bit stopped. He has two years left on his contract. He did awaken a lot of interest for his participation in this particular tournament (Primera Liga), which has been outstanding and at a high level. But now with the current situation of the virus everything has slowed down a bit, now the signings are in quarantine.”

Tecatito, 27, has had a really good season for Porto, scoring twice and adding 17 assists from the wing as he’s played in a more defensive role in recent months.

That flexibility will be key for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea as they like to switch between a 3-4-3 and 4-3-3 and Tecatito can play in both attacking and defensive roles easily. He’s also a much cheaper option than Jadon Sancho, who Chelsea have been linked with.

It is believed Inter Milan and Sevilla are both interested in Tecatito too and with Willian and Pedro set to leave Chelsea, they will be a little short of options out wide despite having Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and the impending arrival of Hakim Ziyech.

Moving to Manchester, Man City have been linked with a move for Uruguayan teenager Facundo Pellistri.

Pellistri, 18, is also interesting Newcastle United but City are reportedly keen on the young winger, according to the Daily Mail. Per the report, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Napoli and Boca Juniors are also following the teenager known as ‘Facu’ closely and he is coached by former Man Untied, Atletico and Uruguay forward Diego Forlan.

The Penarol winger is being tracked closely by City who have a full time scout in Uruguay and also a sister club Montevideo City Torque and reports state they’ve already spoken to his agent.

A talented winger, Pellistri is valued at $12.5 million and would likely be loaned out and developed before making a push for Man City’s first team in the years to come. Man City snapped up Gabriel Jesus as a teenager and that has worked out pretty well and South America is an area where both Real Madrid and Barcelona have plucked plenty of young gems from over the last few decades.