Mats Hummels

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Walker extends Man City deal; Hummels returns to Dortmund

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Kyle Walker has extended his contract at Manchester City until the summer of 2024.

Walker, 29, has signed a two-year contract extension to his current deal at City with the England right back a huge part of their back-to-back Premier League titles wins.

Speaking about his new deal at the Etihad Stadium, Walker was delighted to extend his time playing under Pep Guardiola.

“I’m thrilled to have signed a new deal. Playing for City has been everything I’d hoped it would be and more,” Walker said. “It was an easy decision. I want to be competing for trophies, playing at the highest level, and I feel I have improved hugely as a player during my time here. The Club’s vision – both on and off the pitch – matches mine perfectly and I’m looking forward to spending the new five years here, hopefully winning more silverware.”

Walker has had his critics for some of his defensive work, but there’s no doubt he has improved on the ball under Guardiola and he is now versatile enough to play at center back if needed too.

His power and pace down the right flank gives City an extra option in attack and he has fulfilled his wish of winning trophies following his $63 million transfer from Tottenham in the summer of 2017 with two PL titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup to his name.

Walker has seen off the challenge from Danilo to his right back slot but it is believed City Joao Cancelo will arrive from Juventus this summer to push Walker further at right back. If he does lose his slot to Cancelo he can also play at left back at a push and at center back, so that versatility will be hugely important for Guardiola moving forward.


Everyone says you should never go back, but Mats Hummels has.

The German defender, 30, has returned to Borussia Dortmund after a three-year spell at Bayern Munich, as he heads back to the club where he won back-to-back Bundesliga titles from 2010-12.

Hummels returns to Dortmund on a three-year contract for a transfer fee in the region of $35 million, as that is only $4 million less than Bayern bought him for in 2016. Since then he has won four-straight league titles with Bayern Munich, his boyhood club, but couldn’t help them get any closer to winning the UEFA Champions League title again.

Even though he hasn’t played as well as he would have liked for Bayern and Germany over the past season or so, Hummels is still a very reliable center back and is also capable of playing out of the back. Given Dortmund’s raft of young defenders he could also be key in their development and the fact he left Dortmund in the right way and was a hero in their back-to-back league titles means he will be welcomed back with open arms.

Dortmund have now added Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt and Hummels during the offseason as head coach Lucien Favre has also signed a new contract. The second-place Bundesliga team from last season have certainly got their business done early as they look to jump ahead of Bayern who just pipped them to the title in 2018-19.

Hummels’ influence on and off the pitch at the Westfalenstadion will be hugely important for Dortmund.

Muller ‘angry’ after being dropped by Germany

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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

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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.

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“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

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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

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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.”

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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.”