Pulisic happy at Dortmund amidst Liverpool links

Borussia Dortmund winger Christian Pulisic has stated that he is enjoying his football at the Bundesliga club and doesn't have any plans to move on.

Liverpool are reportedly interested in bringing the 18-year-old to Anfield this transfer window, but he remains focused on the job at hand.

The American was also a reported target of Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich in July, but also stated then that he is committed to the BVB, where he played his first full season in 2016/17 and made 29 league appearances.

"I am very happy in Dortmund," he told Sport Bild. "I have read about it [Liverpool interest], but what can I say about it? I am fully focused on the start of the new season.

"I want to be very clear, I am not thinking about a transfer. I only signed a new deal until 2020 at the start of the year.

"I established myself at a European top club in Dortmund last season, which was always my dream when I was a little kid."

Sahin praises BVB spirit after 2016/17's bomb attack

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin has praised the spirit of the club in how everyone responded with a show of strength after last season's bomb attack on the team bus.

The 28-year-old was a part of the squad when the club's bus was hit by a roadside bomb in April this year, ahead of BVB's first leg UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Monaco.

Defender Marc Batra was injured in the attack after shards of broken glass from shattered windows in the blast damaged his wrist, although he has since made a full recovery.

Writing in the Player's Tribune, the Turkey international said, "I had no idea what was going on. I just sort of froze I guess. But my mind was racing. In the span of maybe two seconds, I thought of my entire life.

"I thought of dying, but I thought of living, too. And then I thought of my family. I saw my five-year-old son, my one-year-old daughter and my wife. I could feel them there with me.

"And then I snapped out of it and I realized where I was. I turned around and saw my teammate Marc Bartra. His arm was bleeding, badly, and I looked up and saw his eyes. I'll never forget his eyes. They were dark and terrified.

"I saw other guys behind him start to stand up, but I screamed as loud as I could, 'Stay down! Stay down! Get away from the windows!'"

He added of the club's incredible response to the terrifying incident in the game which would eventually take place the following night from the attack, "The fans had created a massive tifosi that read: BVB, which is our club's abbreviated name.

"It stretched from the very top of the stands all the way down to the pitch. It was awesome. And, even if only for a few minutes, it made me feel that everything was going to be all right."

 

Ancelotti: Bayern should be ready for league opener

Bayern Munich manager Carlo Ancelotti is eager for their Bundesliga campaign to get underway and believes his players will be ready for the opening clash.

Die Roten begin the defence of their Bundesliga title at home against Bayer Leverkusen on Friday and Ancelotti is hopeful that his charges can get off to a winning start.

"We're looking forward to starting off against Leverkusen," he told the club's official website.

"The first match is always tough but I think we're ready for the match, and I hope we'll turn in a good display."

When asked about pre-season preparation, he added: "[It] wasn't easy. Many players were on holiday when we started, so it was difficult to prepare for the trip to Asia."

"Everything's going according to plan, our rhythm is good at the moment. We'll see which players will be available on Friday. We'll be able to integrate all our players then."

Schurrle to miss Dortmund's opening month

Borussia Dortmund have been dealt a blow ahead of their Bundesliga campaign with the news that winger Andre Schurrle is out with an injury for the first month.

The 26-year-old has endured a difficult time at the BVB since signing from Wolfsburg at the start of last season. The Germany international missed 20 Bundesliga games last term due to a knee injury.

The former Chelsea man also picked up an Achilles injury later in the campaign and missed the final two months. He is now sidelined with a thigh injury and is expected to be out for a month.

Dortmund get their Bundesliga season underway on Saturday when they travel to Schurrle's former club Wolfsburg.

Nagelsmann defends defeat to Reds

Hoffenheim manager Julian Nagelsmann believes his side had the better chances despite their 2-1 Champions League qualifier defeat to Liverpool.

Reds teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold opened the scoring with a free kick before Havard Nordtveit found his own net to double their advantage late on.

"I feel that we played a really good match, especially in the first half," Nagelsmann said. "I think we had the better chances, the clearer chances."

While an 87th-minute strike from Marc Uth means Hoffenheim are still in the tie ahead of the return leg at Anfield, they could have taken the lead had Andrej Kramaric not missed his 12th-minute penalty.

With that in mind, Nagelsmann was not buying Reds manager Jurgen Klopp’s claim that the Reds allowed Hoffenheim to have possession in nonthreatening situations.

"No, I don't agree, we had the ball in many important spaces," he said. "He has to say that and defend his team, he won't say 'Hoffenheim played so well and we were s**t." 

"I can give one example when [Sandro] Wagner played a square pass into space that was an important ball and another situation with Serge Gnabry and many others."

The result means that Hoffenheim need to score at least twice when they visit England next week Wednesday for the second leg.

"I don't really make a difference between home or away matches, so I don't really care," Nagelsmann added.

"I can assure you that our commitment will be the same at Anfield. I know that we made a good match here and I can promise you that we will make a good match over there."

Liverpool edge Hoffenheim in first leg

Liverpool edged their Champions League play-off round first leg tie away to Hoffenheim 2-1 despite a nervy defensive display.

  • Hoffenheim 1 Liverpool 2
  • Kramaric's 12th' penalty is saved
  • Alexander-Arnold with a superb free-kick on 35'
  • Nordtveit directs a Milner shot in on 74'
  • Uth pulls a goal back with 87' played

Match summary

Andrej Kramaric saw his weak early penalty saved by Simon Mignolet before young right-back Trent ALexander-Arnold scored a peach of a free-kick to break the deadlock at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena.

Havard Nordtveit was unlucky to direct a James Milner shot on target in the second half before Mark Uth pulled a goal back for Hoffenheim in the dying minutes of this match.

Full report

Liverpool started knocking the ball around well but Hoffenheim threatened first with Joel Matip forced to deflect the ball off the toe of Serge Gnabry in front of goal.

After a wasted cross from Sadio Mane, the home side were awarded a penalty after the additional assistant referee adjudged Dejan Lovren to have upended Gnabry into the box following a clumsy tackle.

Kramaric, however, placed a woefully taken spot-kick straight down the throat of Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who hardly moved to make the stop.

Mohamed Salah then found himself one-on-one with home stopper Oliver Baumann, on 15 minutes, after a swift break forward, but he placed his shot wide.

Pavel Kaderabek did well to get a shot away as he connected to a good Kerem Demirbay delivery on 27 minutes in an increasingly open game while Baumann got down quickly to save at his near post after a poor clearance had dropped for Alexander-Arnold, but he lashed his shot straight at the keeper.

But it was in the 35th minute when the young right-back really announced himself on the game with a fantastic free-kick that flew over the wall and into the bottom corner of Baumann's goal.

Hoffenheim ended the first half strongly, with two good chances after some poor defending from Liverpool, with Gnabry getting the better of Alberto Moreno before fizzing a good shot at Mignolet. The loose ball then dropped to Sandro Wagner who fired his shot against a post.

Liverpool though so nearly went into the break two goals up after a Lovren header across the face of goal flew inches wide with Baumann well beaten.

The home side where quickly out of the blocks after the break although Roberto Firmino really should have scored on 47 minutes when he was fed a good cross from Mane from the left, but he only succeeded in picking out Baumann.

Gnabry blazed a first-time shot on 66 minutes well over after some good work from Kramaric as Salah saw his 70th minute drive turned behind by a busy home keeper.

Milner, only just on for Jordan Henderson, then finished off a piece of quick thinking from Liverpool, after a quick free-kick, with a superb curling shot - that was awarded to Nordtveit - as it seemingly squired off the defender's chest, taking it up and over Baumann. It appeared as if the set-piece was taken from the wrong place though and with the ball still rolling.

Liverpool were very much on top after the goal, with Hoffenheim's next real chance arriving on 82 minutes when Nadiem Amiri smashed a shot at Mignolet after the ball was headed down to him on the edge of the box.

Mane sliced an 84th minute shot wide before substitute Uth pulled a goal back with three minutes to play having replaced Gnabry. The striker controlled a ball well on his chest before drilling in a low shot into the far corner.

Only Benjamin Hubner will know how he headed over a 91st minute free-kick as the tie ended with Liverpool substitute Marko Grujic forcing a final save from the excellent Baumann.

The two teams will square up for the return leg at Anfield is on August 23.

All the results in full:

Qarabag 1 - 0 København

APOEL 2 - 0 Slavia Praha

Young Boys 0 - 1 CSKA Moskva

Hoffenheim 1 - 2 Liverpool

Sporting CP 0 - 0 FCSB

Jonker pleased with comprehensive friendly win

Wolfsburg manager Andries Jonker praised his team's performance in the 6-0 friendly win over fourth-division side VfV Borussia 06 Hildesheim on Monday.

The friendly clash at the AOK Stadion was arranged on short notice as final preparation ahead of Wolfsburg's Bundesliga opener against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

Paul-Georges Ntep, Nany Landry Dimata, and Robin Ziegele got on the scoresheet while Victor Osimhen netted a brace and Hildesheim's Konstantinos Drizis scored an own goal.

Jonker told the club's official website: "We played really well and with a lot of energy. Today we display exactly what we want to see in every game – the determination to get forward with pace and precision. That looked really good! 

"If there is anything we could be critical of it’s that we didn’t score a few more goals."

Monchengladbach sporting director wants eighth place

Borussia Monchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl has revealed that he wants to see the club finish in at least eighth position in the Bundesliga this season.

The Borussians claimed a ninth-place finish last season, but Eberl wants progress even though he admits that the club do not have the financial power of the bigger sides.

"We want to perform better than last season and want to finish at least eighth. In order to do that, we need to be performing consistently at a high level and to make the most of big clubs’ spells of poor form," Eberl told the club's official website.

"If that happens, we have a good chance of finishing in a good position. I think it’s a realistic goal as there are clubs who have much greater resources than us, but we’ve shown in the past that we can have great success without as much financial backing. 

"We’ve just got to give everything we’ve got and, if it ends up happening, it ends up happening."

PSV deny offer for wantaway striker De Jong

PSV Eindhoven say that striker Luuk de Jong is not leaving the club after reports of a switch to Hannover 96.
 
The 26-year-old Dutch international netted nine times in 39 games in all competitions for the Eredivisie side last season but has an impressive goals to games ratio with 67 in a 130 appearances.
 
Club director Marcel Brands say there no truth to the recent reports from Germany that the Bundesliga side had made a €7 million offer De Jong.
 
Speaking to Voetbal International, Brands said, “I have not had contact with Hannover 96.”
 
A former De Graafschap, FC Twente and Borussia Monchengladbach player, De Jong, who also spent time on loan with Newcastle United in 2014, played no part in the club's 3-2 league win over AZ Alkmaar this weekend.
 
He has previously stated his desire to leave the club after feeling unsettled.

Hoffenheim v Liverpool

Liverpool’s path to the Champions League goes through Germany with a tough clash away to Hoffenheim on Tuesday.

The Reds head to the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena for the first leg of their play-off tie fresh off their opening-day draw with Watford in the Premier League.

Their ability to find the net is not being doubted after the 3-3 thriller at Vicarage Road, but after dropping points by conceding a late equaliser against the Hornets, a bit more solidity at the back will be needed.

Meanwhile, Hoffenheim have yet to begin their Bundesliga campaign, but started their season with a 1-0 win over third-tier side Rot-Weiß Erfurt in the DFB-Pokal. They will surely have to offer more against the Reds.

The match will see Roberto Firmino face up against his former club, but the real rivalry will be between Reds boss Jurgen Klopp and his opposite number Julian Nagelsmann, who is seen as the next generation of German manager.

"I'm the old horse in the stable and there's a young horse," Klopp said, before also calling Nagelsmann a "big, big, big coaching talent".

Nagelsmann, though, has said that his team are clear underdogs, but he is "no more nervous than in the Bundesliga games".

"We know Liverpool are the favourites in this game," Nagelsmann said, "and we know we must come here and play well if we are going to shock our opponent.

"I don’t know if we need to shock them or shock the English football public. I can only say that our performance will have to be at the very top if we are to do that."

In team news, Reds striker Daniel Sturridge will miss out with a thigh injury, as will want-away playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who apparently has a back injury. Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne will also miss out with thigh and back problems respectively.

Nagelsmann has only one injury concern, with striker Sandro Wagner a doubt after he picked up a niggle in a friendly against Bologna, but they will otherwise be at full strength.