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Borussia Dortmund signs Nico Schulz from Hoffenheim

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DORTMUND, Germany (AP) Borussia Dortmund signed Germany defender Nico Schulz from Bundesliga rival Hoffenheim on Tuesday.

Dortmund, which finished runner-up in the league, said the 26-year-old Schulz signed a deal through June 2024.

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“We will benefit greatly from his physicality, his tempo and his extreme dynamism,” Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said. “A player like him with his fighting spirit and his desire to be successful would help any team.”

Schulz, who will be familiar to Dortmund coach Lucien Favre from their time together at Borussia Moenchengladbach, scored one goal and set up six more for Hoffenheim last season.

Kicker magazine reported that Dortmund was paying 27 million euros ($30 million) for the player, making Schulz Dortmund’s second most expensive signing after Andre Schuerrle.

Schulz has scored two goals in six appearances for Germany.

Dortmund was also reportedly on the verge of signing 19-year-old Spanish right back Mateu Morey on a free transfer from Barcelona, while Belgium international Thorgan Hazard was expected to join from Gladbach and Germany midfielder Julian Brandt of Bayer Leverkusen remained a target.

More AP German soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/Bundesliga and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Toni Kroos signs new contract at Real Madrid

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German midfielder Toni Kroos has extended his stay at Real Madrid.

Kroos, 29, has signed a new contract at the Santiago Bernabeu which means he will be there until at least 2023, as the former Bayern Munich midfielder will close in on almost 10 years as a Real player.

The silky central midfielder who delivers stunning set pieces for club and country spoke on Monday in a press conference arranged by Real Madrid.

He has won three Champions League trophies and a La Liga title at Real, and although this season was easily their worst since he arrived at the club, locking the German down to a long-term deal makes sense.

Luka Modric’s future has been uncertain despite the Croatian midfielder, now 33, picking up the Ballon d’Or this year and the likes of Casemiro and Isco have had campaigns to forget.

With Zinedine Zidane back in charge of Real and their horror 2018-19 campaign over (it ended, typically, with a 2-0 home defeat to midtable Real Betis) it is all about moving on as quickly as possible at Real.

Kroos will be a key part of their future.

Bayern extends lead in Bundesliga to four points (video)

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich extended its lead in the Bundesliga to four points with a 1-0 win over Werder Bremen on Saturday.

Niklas Sule scored in the 75th minute with Bayern’s 22nd shot of the game, his effort taking a deflection off Bremen’s Davy Klaassen.

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Bremen lost Milos Veljkovic to a second yellow card around the hour mark at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern leads with 70 points and has four games left. Second-place Borussia Dortmund, which plays Freiburg on Sunday, has 66 points.

Also Saturday, Augsburg thrashed relegation-threatened Stuttgart 6-0 and Bayer Leverkusen beat 17th-place Nuremberg 2-0.

Mainz beat Fortuna Duesseldorf 3-1 in a mid-table clash.

More AP German soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/Bundesliga and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Auschwitz Memorial offers Hennessey lesson on Nazi history, salute

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Wayne Hennessey will not be charged for making what was alleged to have been a Nazi salute earlier this year after he successfully pleaded to the Football Association that he did not know what a Nazi salute was, it was announced on Tuesday.

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The FA deemed it a case of “considerable ignorance” on Hennessey’s part. “Improbable as that may seem to those of us of an older generation, we do not reject that assertion as untrue,” their statement read.

“In fact, when cross-examined about this, Mr. Hennessey displayed a very considerable — one might even say lamentable — degree of ignorance about anything to do with Hitler, fascism and the Nazi regime.

“Regrettable though it may be that anyone should be unaware of so important a part of our own and world history, we do not feel we should therefore find he was not telling the truth about this.

“All we would say (at the risk of sounding patronizing) is that Mr. Hennessey would be well advised to familiarize himself with events which continue to have great significance to those who live in a free country.”

As such, the Auschwitz Memorial, the museum which preserves the site of the former German Nazi Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp, has referred the Crystal Palace goalkeeper to a 37-step an online course about Nazi propaganda and the symbols and gestures which came to represent Nazism.

The 32-year-old Welsh international explained his actions the day after the photo was posted online by teammate Max Meyer, saying, “I waved and shouted at the person taking the picture to get on with it and at the same time put my hand over my mouth to make the sound carry. It’s been brought to my attention that frozen in a moment by the camera this looks like I am making a completely inappropriate type of salute. I can assure everyone I would never ever do that and any resemblance to that kind of gesture is absolutely coincidental.”

Hennessey has played in just three games for Palace — two in the Premier League and one in the FA Cup — since the photo was taken on Jan. 5.

Chairman Ralph Krueger leaves Southampton

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Influential Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger will leave the club effective June 30, saying:

“Everything has a beginning and everything has an end. It is the journey in-between that I will treasure. Thank you Southampton Football Club for the journey.”

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Krueger was a surprise hire at St. Mary’s, having come from a hockey background in Germany and a short stint with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.

Shortly after the time in Alberta, Krueger signed on to run Saints, shepherding the club after Mauricio Pochettino left to join Tottenham Hotspur.

The team qualified for the League Cup Final under his stewardship, and twice qualified for the Europa League.

But successive Premier League relegation scraps led to a change, and perhaps the timing of the end of the NHL regular season could also be a sign that hockey is calling him home?

Saints owner Katharina Liebherr said, “Ralph laid the foundations for the Saints to be a sustainable team that put pressure on the top sides in the Premier League.”

That’s the truth. What’s next for Ralph? JPW spoke at length with the chairman in 2017. We trust you’ll be impressed with the men (or both men. Your call).