Mats Hummels

Getty Images

Muller ‘angry’ after being dropped by Germany

Leave a comment

Thomas Muller has spoken out for the first time since it was announced that Germany manager Jogi Low would drop Muller, Mats Hummels, and Jerome Boateng from selection in 2019 as part of a “new start for the German national team.”

Low came under fire after Germany was bounced from its group in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and it seems he is making drastic changes to kickstart the country’s push towards Euro 2020.

In an Instagram video, Muller has spoken out against the decision, saying, “The more I think about it, the more the way it was done, makes me angry.”

Muller explains that he is under the impression that Low’s decision was not about his play on the field, but his presence in the locker room. “The coach’s sudden decision obviously left me puzzled,” the Bayern Munich striker said. “A coach must make sporting decisions, no problem, I do not have a problem with that. But it’s mostly the character of the decision that I don’t understand. Mats, Jerome and I are still able to play at the highest level.”

The 29-year-old was also not satisfied with the process which the German national team took to publicly announce the decision. “The press releases of the German football federation and its president [Reinhard Grindel], prepared in advance, were from my point of view in bad taste and showed a lack of consideration.”

Muller is not the only one to speak publicly against the decision. Bayern Munich president Karl-Heinz Rumminedge explained his issue with the announcement, deeming it problematic for other reasons. “We consider the timing and circumstances of the announcement, both to the players and public, as questionable,” said Rummenigge in a joint statement with Bayern sport director Hasan Salihamidzic. “The last international match of the German national team took place on 19 November 2018 – three and a half months ago.”

Boateng also shared his disappointment with the decision, although his prepared statement was not as harsh or heartfelt as Muller’s more personal video. “Low told me in a straightforward conversation today that I will not continue to be a part of the Germany team because he wants to offer the stage to young players and give the team a new face,” Boateng wrote on Twitter. “I personally am convinced that I can still play at the highest level and I will show that in future. … I’d have wished for a different type of farewell for us.”

Back on Tuesday when the decision was announced, Low explained he hoped to use this moment to push his younger players into a more feature role on and off the field. We want to give the team a new look. I am convinced that this is the right step,” Low said. “The youngsters coming through will have the room they need to grow. Now it’s up to them to take on responsibility.”

Muller has made exactly 100 appearances for the German national team, scoring 38 goals including five in the 2014 World Cup as the team rode to victory in Brazil. He scored once in the infamous 7-1 victory over Brazil in the semifinals of that tournament and won the Golden Boot in the 2010 World Cup with five goals as well. Muller had some duds on the international level as well, failing to register a goal in Euro 2016 which saw Germany fall to France in the semifinals, and in Euro 2012 as Germany dropped to Italy in the semis as well. He went goalless in the 2018 World Cup as Germany fell to the bottom of its group looking to defend its title.

Bayern takes swipe at Germany coach over dropped players

Photo by Matt Dunham - Pool/Getty Images
1 Comment

MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich took a swipe at Germany coach Joachim Loew on Wednesday for the manner and timing of his move to prematurely end the international careers of three of the club’s players.

Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels were all informed Tuesday that they were no longer in Loew’s plans, part of an ongoing shake-up following Germany’s woeful performance at last year’s World Cup.

[ MORE: Real-Ajax recap | Ajax reacts ]

“Basically we do not comment on the sporting decisions of the national coach, but we find the timing and circumstances of the announcement of this decision to the players and the public to be questionable,” Bayern said in a statement.

Bayern also pointed out that Germany’s last game was on Nov. 19 and “the fact the players and public were informed around three months later” before games against Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga and Liverpool in the Champions League “irritates us.”

Loew, however, is expected to name his squad for the team’s next matches in the coming days.

Bayern also paid tribute to its players’ achievements with Germany. All three helped the country win the World Cup in 2014.

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

UEFA WCQ: Late drama for Germany; Kane scores on Sept. 1

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Friday’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers in Europe…

Czech Republic 1-2 Germany

Germany gave the Czech Republic every chance they could have done to steal a point (all three, even), but the World Cup holders eked out a victory in Prague. Timo Werner put Germany ahead after just four minutes, but the following 74 minutes consisted of the Czechs asking questions Joachim Loew’s side couldn’t really answer. In the 78th minute, Vladimir Darida unleashed a laser from 25 yards out, hitting the underside of the crossbar and drawing the home side level.

1-1 seemed destined to wind up the (fair) final score, but Mats Hummels had other ideas two minutes from full-time, when he headed home his fifth international goal. The result sends Germany onto 21 (out of a possible 21) points, still five points clear of second-place Northern Ireland, and now just a single point from guarantee a top-two finish (qualification playoffs).

Malta 0-4 England

21 hours prior to kickoff of England’s away clash with Malta, the clock struck midnight on August and gave way to September. Harry Kane, the England and Tottenham Hotspur striker infamously without a single goal in the month of August during his first-team career (this is his fourth season), was more aware of this fact than anyone.

How did Kane celebrate the arrival of September? With a goal, of course — and, not just any goal, but the winning goal in the 53rd minute, set up by his Tottenham teammate Dele Alli. Kane would score again, in the 91st minute, to make the final score 4-0 and notch his 10th England goal in 20 appearances.

Ryan Bertrand bagged his first international goal five minutes from full-time — a well-struck ball from 25 yards out — and Danny Welbeck took his tally to 15 seconds before Kane’s second goal.

England (17 points) remain atop Group F, their two point-lead on Slovakia still intact. Six points separate the Three Lions from third place, a playoff spot (at minimum) so nearly clinched already.

Denmark 4-0 Poland

The shocking result of the day came in Group E, where third-place Denmark put four unanswered goals past first-place Poland. Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen was, predictably, the star man for Denmark, playing a pivotal role in all four goals — scoring one himself and assisting on the other three.

Denmark (13 points) move to within three points of the top spot in the group and remain level with Montenegro for second place, though still behind on goal differential (+10 to +8).

Elsewhere

Group C

Norway 2-0 Azerbaijan
San Marino 0-3 Northern Ireland

Group E

Romania 1-0 Armenia
Kazakhstan 0-3 Montenegro

Group F

Lithuania 0-3 Scotland
Slovakia 1-0 Slovenia

Hummels makes a splash with balcony stunt

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
1 Comment

STUTTGART, Germany (AP) Mats Hummels is being reminded of his responsibilities as a Germany international after leaping from a balcony into a swimming pool.

The Bayern Munich defender posted a video on Instagram earlier this week of him jumping from the edge of the balcony ledge alongside a hashtag which, when split, read “Do not try this at home.”

[ MORE: Latest transfer news ]

Germany general manager Oliver Bierhoff says “it would have been even worse if he’d jumped in head first.”

Hummels is on Germany duty for two World Cup qualifiers.

Bierhoff says “naturally we aren’t the social media police for the players outside of the matches and we simply have to remind them that everything they say and do can be an example.”

Bayern banged up ahead of meeting with Real Madrid

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Bayern Munich will kick-off its highly anticipated Champions League matchup with Real Madrid on Wednesday, but they could be without two important parts of their defense.

Manuel Neuer, who is out after minor foot surgery, has yet to train according to reports across Europe. That doesn’t mean he is entirely ruled out yet, but it does shed serious doubt over his availability. Neuer is already behind schedule, as it was originally announced he would miss just two Bundesliga games against Augsburg and Hoffenheim, but he couldn’t prove fit for the win over Borussia Dortmund this weekend and still has been unable to return to first-team action.

Former Stuttgart youth product Sven Ulreich has deputized in goal during Neuer’s absence, and the 28-year-old would be the man between the sticks at Allianz Arena on Wednesday should Neuer miss out. Ulreich has backed up Neuer since arriving at Bayern during the summer of 2015, but he has just seven Bundesliga appearances due to the fantastic bill of health that Neuer has benefitted from.

The other bit of injury news from Bayern could see Mats Hummels miss out in front of Neuer, with the defender pulling up lame in training on Sunday, reportedly needing a stretcher to leave the field. Hummels has been first-choice for manager Carlo Ancelotti for much of the season, but he was rested this weekend against Dortmund, coming off the bench to play the final 11 minutes. However, he’s appeared in every Champions League match for Bayern so far this season, starting in six of the eight appearances. His miss would mean Javi Martinez and Jerome Boateng would likely start, as they did against Dortmund. Versatile youngster Josh Kimmich could also start in central defense.

Despite these absences, Bayern will be considered a worthy opponent for the high-flying Real Madrid, with the German side running away with the Bundesliga title currently with a 10-point lead. The Spaniards are with both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, with both missing out against Leganes on Wednesday due to injury, but both were able to return on the weekend in the draw with Atletico Madrid.