Sports Sport compact: German handball players tremble in the EM...

Sport compact: German handball players tremble in the EM main round


From "A" like American football to "F" like football to "Z" like decathlon: the world of sport is diverse. Every day somewhere in the world there are sometimes more and sometimes less important competitions, which due to the dominance of fewer sports are hardly noticed or even go under. Wrongly, we think – and report here and above all about high-class sport away from football.

January 13: German handball players tremble in the European Championship intermediate round

The German national handball team has reached the intermediate round of the European Championship with great difficulty. The team of national coach Christian Prokop trembled against Latvia in Trondheim, Norway, for a conceivably close 28:27 victory, which was in grave danger in the last few minutes. In the meantime, the DHB selection had already led by seven goals, but again there was a significant break in the game of the Germans. Therefore, the German players cheered only cautiously about their success. The best thrower in front of 3540 spectators was backspace player Julius Kühn with eight goals. The DHB team will continue on Thursday in Vienna, where they will meet Belarus. Only Croatia has been determined as another opponent in the main round.

January 13: Madrid celebrates red sinner Valverde

A brutal foul can also bring fame to Real Madrid, the Spanish football record champions. After the triumph of the royal team in the final of the Spanish Supercup over city rivals Atlético (0: 0, 4: 1 on penalties), red-sinners Federico Valverde was also celebrated by the media, fans and teammates, and above all because of a game-deciding emergency brake. The Madrid-based specialist newspaper "Marca" immediately raised the "little bird" (Pajarito), as the team-mate is called by Toni Kroos, as a "hero". His kick "goes down in history."

With a tackle from behind and a very hard kick in the legs of Álvaro Morata, the 21-year-old had the Atlético striker heading for Thibaut Courtois's goal in the 115th minute of extra time on Sunday at the King Abdullah Stadium in Saudi Arabia brought down – and thereby thwarted a "100 percent" chance. Morata rolled on the floor for a long time, there was a long scuffle.

Federico Valverde kicks Alvaro Morata from behind and prevents a possible winner from Atlético

Federico Valverde kicks Alvaro Morata from behind and prevents a possible winner from Atlético

Not only "Marca" cheered Valverde. The competition newspaper "AS" wrote: "Madrid has toasted Valverde. Never before has a red card been celebrated so much at Real." Despite (or also because of?) The emergency brake, Valverde was voted MVP, the best player in the final.

According to media reports, Captain Sergio Ramos & Co. celebrated Valverde loudly in the real changing room for minutes. The man who switched from Peñarol Montevideo to the "Royal" in 2016 also received support from fans on social networks: "Long live Valverde!" and "Uruguayans, Uruguayans!". Coach Zinedine Zidane, however, was more cautious: "He acted well. He had to do it, and then he apologized to Morata."

January 13: Crazy NFL – three touchdowns in three minutes

After an unbelievable race to catch up, the Kansas City Chiefs in the North American NFL secured the ticket to the semi-finals. Led by the brilliant quarterback Patrick Mahomes, they turned the match against the Houston Texans within minutes. The highlights of the evening were the last minutes of the second quarter. The Chiefs needed exactly 3:24 minutes for three touchdowns, switching from 0:24 to 21:24. Ultimately, they even went into the half with a lead. In a wild game, head coach Andy Reid's team defeated the Texans in front of 80,000 spectators with 51:31 points. To qualify for the Superbowl, the Kansas City Chiefs still have to get the Tennessee Titans out of the way on January 18.

January 12: Motorbike pilot dies at Dakar Rally

The Portuguese motorcycle pilot Paulo Gonçalves was killed in an accident at the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia. The 40-year-old veteran died on the seventh stage from Riyadh to Wadi al-Dawasir as a result of a fall. As the organizers informed, the accident happened on the route section after 276 kilometers. "The entire Dakar caravan expresses its sincere condolences to friends and relatives," said an official tweet.

After the organizers received an emergency call at 10:08 a.m. (local time), a helicopter reached the driver, who was passed out after a cardiac arrest, only eight minutes later. After attempts at resuscitation on site, Gonçalves was taken to a nearby hospital. There he could only be declared dead.

Gonçalves made his Dakar debut back in 2006 and was there for the 13th time at the rally. He was among the top 10 four times. At this year's edition, he was in 46th place after six stages.

January 9: Prokop explains dropouts with word finding disorder

National handball coach Christian Prokop re-established why he forgot the name of his player Timo Kastening during a break. "I also looked at it again. I think it's human, everyone understands that you have a word finding disorder in certain situations," said the 41-year-old with a smile on Friday in Trondheim. "I was looking for Timo, but I didn't find him."

A day earlier, during the European Championship game against the Netherlands (34:23), it was shown live on ZDF how Prokop did not come up with the name of Kastening during a break. "Uh, uh, what's your name?" He had asked the stunned right wing from TSV Hannover-Burgdorf. Shortly after the game, the national coach said that it was just a joke and that he wanted to demand a reaction from the team.

January 9: Sovereign mandatory win for the DHB team at the start of the World Cup

Captain Uwe Gensheimer saw red, national coach Christian Prokop a long time idle: the German handball players did not yet spread the hoped-for splendor at the start of their medal mission. Thanks to a strong performance by goalkeeper Andreas Wolff and a significant increase in the second half, the fourth in the World Cup landed on Thursday in front of 4000 spectators in Trondheim, but ended up a safe 34:23 (15:13) win against EM newcomer Netherlands and posted the first two points in group C.

The best throwers for the German team were back area players Kai Häfner and circular runner Jannik Kohlbacher, each with five goals. The first key game of the final against defending champions Spain is scheduled for Saturday. Then a clear increase is needed.

January 9: Fan ban due to racist chants against Balotelli

An Italian football fan has been banned from entering Europe for five years because of racist chants against striker Mario Balotelli. This was decided by the Verona police chief, Ivana Petricca, as the Ansa news agency reported on Thursday. Previously, the police had identified the 38-year-old Verona fan using video footage from the city's Marcantonio Bentegodi stadium. There Balotelli was racially insulted on November 3, 2019 during the Serie A game of his club Brescia Calcio against Hellas Verona.

According to Ansa, the 38-year-old is also no longer allowed to go to the fan zones, where Verona fans usually meet on their way to the Bentegodi stadium. The 29-year-old Balotelli was born in Italy to Ghanaian parents. He has repeatedly been the victim of racist chants and boos. Recently Lazio fans racially insulted Balotelli during a game, the football club now has to pay a fine of 20,000 euros.

January 9: Hermann finishes as second sprint misery of the German biathletes

This time Denise Herrmann did almost everything right. Instead of falling into old patterns and hectic pace, the 31-year-old paused a long time before the last shot and then hit the bull's eye: In the end, Oberhof's fog soup not only jumped out of her best result of the season in the sprint. Hermann also ended the historical misery of the German biathletes, who had no podium at the first three World Cups.

"In some places I lacked the looseness," said Herrmann: "I always want to be on the podium and that also puts internal pressure on my own expectations." In terms of running it is world class anyway and delivered the best running time in the Thuringian Forest over the 7.5 kilometers. But Herrmann wants to intervene regularly on the podium and also in the medal fight at the World Cup in Antholz in mid-February.

January 9: Kroos fools Valencia with a direct corner goal

National soccer player Toni Kroos Real Madrid paved the way to the final of the Spanish Super Cup with a directly transformed corner kick. The 30-year-old gave the royal team the lead in the 16th minute in a 3-1 win against Valencia CF on Wednesday evening in Saudi Arabia. While Valencia's goalkeeper Jaume Domenech stood several meters in front of his goal, Kroos quickly laid the ball down and circled it with one step into the goal. Domenech still got his hands on the leather, but could no longer prevent the impact. Isco increased to 2: 0 (39.) before the break; after the 3-0 win by Vice World Champion Luka Modric (65th) Real was the first finalist in the reformed Supercup. The late goal from Daniel Parejo (90. + 2) did not change anything.

January 8: Lewandowski praises Flick and indirectly criticizes Kovac

Robert Lewandowski praised Bayern coach Hansi Flick in an interview with the Polish news site "". "Flick has great contact with the players," said the attacker. "Communication is on a different level. The tactical idea is probably clearer for the majority of the guys. We didn't really know why we make mistakes and how we can fix them. At the highest level, this is crucial to deal with the most important ones To play trophies. "

With these statements, the Pole criticizes ex-coach Niko Kovac, who apparently did not master communication with the team. After the 1: 5 debacle at Eintracht Frankfurt, FCB and Kovac parted ways at the beginning of November – a decision that Lewandowski understood: "Certainly something was missing. We won the championship and the cup together, in the Champions League we did played too defensively and was afraid to attack. That was a period in which you could learn a lot. "

January 7: Red Bull extends with Max Verstappen

Red Bull answered one of the most exciting personnel questions in Formula 1 at an early stage and will rely on attack pilot Max Verstappen by the end of 2023. With the contract extension, the Austrian Formula 1 racing team secured the services of the coveted 22-year-old Dutchman, whose contract would have expired after the coming season. "I want to win with Red Bull, and of course our goal is to fight for the World Cup together," Verstappen said.

The coup after Christmas can confidently be seen as an announcement to the competition for permanent triumphant Mercedes and permanent pursuer Ferrari. In the past, Verstappen has been associated with both racing teams more than once. The Scuderia had announced the extension of the contract with Charles Leclerc one day before Christmas Eve. Monegasse is also 22 years old, both are considered champions of the future.

Last season, sixth world champion Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes rival Valtteri Bottas were third in the championship, Leclerc fourth – only then Sebastian Vettel came in the second Ferrari. Whose future remains unclear, what is open with Hamilton, with whom Ferrari had flirted recently, and Bottas will happen after the coming season.

January 7: Out for the German tennis team at ATP Cup – Zverev loses again

The German tennis men left the ATP Cup in Australia. The DTB team lost 1-2 in their last group game against Canada, which secured them second place in group A. In the decisive doubles, the two French Open winners Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies lost 3: 6, 6: 7 (4: 7) against Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov in Brisbane on Tuesday.

Previously, Alexander Zverev had lost the top individual against Shapovalov 2: 6, 2: 6 and again showed an alarmingly weak performance. Without visible will and effort, the German number one simply suffered the defeat. Already in the first group games, Zverev had disappointed the Australian Nick Kyrgios and the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas. Jan-Lennard Struff had shown a strong performance in the first individual against Auger-Aliassime and provided the lead with 6: 1, 6: 4.

In addition to the six group winners, the best two runners-up qualify for the quarter-finals in Sydney in the new team competition. The Canadians now have to wait for the results in the other groups.

January 6: Geiger crowns strong tour with podium

The 68th Four Hills Tournament is history and Germany's ski jumpers have to wait for the first victory since Sven Hannawald (2001/02). The Oberdorfer Karl Geiger landed in second place in the final jumping on the Paul Ausserleitner hill in Bischofshofen after jumps at 140 and 136 meters and thus defended his third place in the overall ranking. This marks the third time in a row that the DSV jumpers celebrated a podium finish in the world's most important ski jumping competition. The tour victory in 2020 was secured for the first time by individual world champion Dawid Kubacki with 143 and 140.5 meters, who was the third pole after Adam Malysz and Kamil Stoch at the traditional event. Norway's debutant Marius Lindvik, who jumped 139 and 137 meters in Bischofshofen, finished his day's victories in Oberstdorf and Innsbruck with second place after finishing third in Bischofshofen.

The four other German ski jumpers made it into the second round like Geiger at the tour final. Markus Eisenbichler (14th), Constantin Schmid (18th), Stephan Leyhe (20th) and Pius Paschke (28th) confirmed their ascending shape curve. Youngster Moritz Baer had already left due to an illness before qualifying on Sunday. In the final accounts, the third year last year Stefan Leyhe slipped from sixth to tenth overall place. Markus Eisenbichler – second in 2019 – finished 15th ahead of Konstantin Schmid.

January 6: Hans Tilkowski is dead

German football mourns the loss of Hans Tilkowski. The former goalkeeper of the German national team died on Sunday at the age of 84 after a long illness, as his former club Borussia Dortmund confirmed on Monday, citing Tilkowski's family. His name is closely linked to the legendary Wembley goal from the 1966 World Cup final. Although the ball did not fully cross the line, the Swiss referee Gottfried Dienst decided on goal. This paved the way for the English to 4-2 success over Germany and robbed the BVB keeper of the greatest success of his career.

Nevertheless, this hit contributed to Tilkowski's legendary status. Just like the "Miracle of Glasgow", in which the Dortmund team won the European Cup in 1966 with the 2-1 win over the highly favored Liverpool as the first German team. In addition, Tilkowski, who was one of the world's best keepers of his time alongside Gordon Banks from England and Russian Lev Yashin from Russia, was voted "Germany's first goalkeeper" one year before the World Cup final.

Tilkowski, born in Dortmund, signed his first professional contract with Westfalia Herne in 1955. He had his best time at BVB from 1963 to 1967. He played 39 caps for the German national team. After almost three more years at Eintracht Frankfurt, he ended his professional career. He played 39 games for the German national team.

Tilkowski remained a football coach. From 1970 to early 1982 he coached Werder Bremen, TSV 1860 Munich, 1. FC Nürnberg, 1. FC Saarbrücken and at AEK Athens.

January 5: NFL defender New England eliminated

Defending champion New England Patriots has already been eliminated from the wild card games in the playoffs of the North American football league NFL. The team around six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady lost 13:20 against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday evening (local time) and thus suffered the first playoff home defeat since 2012.

For 42-year-old Brady, who only sold 20 of his 37 passes, it was possibly the last game in the Patriots' dress. After this season, he is without a contract. Regarding his situation, he said: "I don't know what the future looks like, so I don't want to predict anything." But it was "pretty unlikely" that he would end his career.

Man of the game was Derrick Henry, who scored a touchdown for the Titans and set a club record with 182 rushing yards. Tennessee will face the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Playoffs.

The Houston Texans had already crowned a strong race to catch up against the Buffalo Bills. In the third quarter they were 0:16 behind, but in the end the home side triumphed with 22:19 after extra time. The decisive field goal was achieved by Ka'imi Fairbairn. While Buffalo has been waiting for a win in the playoffs for 24 years, the Texans meet the Kansas City Chiefs in the second round.

January 4: Wife of Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean injured by snowboarder

Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean and his wife Marion spent the turn of the year in the French Alps. While she was taking a beginner ski course, he raced down the slopes. In the end, the 38-year-old was injured. A snowboarder caught Marion Grosjean and gave her a broken lip. The TV presenter took the accident with humor and wrote a photo on Instagram: "In 2020, I will involuntarily have my lips redone." The athlete was not so relaxed about it. On Twitter he scolded: "Thanks to that stupid snowboarder who split my wife in two and then ran off like a thief. Friends, adjust your speed, and it'll work on the slopes too." In the meantime Grosjean has probably realized that he has overreacted something. His wife's face is still swollen, but she is fine, the 33-year-old wrote on Instagram.

January 3: "Not yet good enough": Nagelsmann doesn't believe in titles for RB Leipzig

In the first half of the season, RB Leipzig has established itself as the table leader with impressively stable performances. Nevertheless, according to coach Julian Nagelsmann, the club is not yet ready for the first league title in the Bundesliga. "We have to develop. At the moment we are not good enough to become champions," said the 32-year-old from the "Bild" newspaper. His team was in first place at the start of the second half of the season, "because many others don't have the performance they could have," added the coach.

To win the championship title, his team must also win against record champions FC Bayern and Borussia Dortmund in the second half of the season. "Otherwise it will just be difficult at the end of the season." RB drew against both teams in the first half of the season. Nagelsmann also considers Borussia Mönchengladbach and FC Schalke to be title candidates. With 37 points from 17 games, Leipzig is at the top of the table after the first half of the season, followed by Gladbach (35 points), the series champions FC Bayern (33) and Borussia Dortmund (30).

January 1: Ski jumper Geiger finishes second in Garmisch – Lindvik wins

The Norwegian Marius Lindvik won the New Year's competition on the four hill tour and set the ten-year-old hill record of the Swiss Simon Ammann with his set on 143.5 meters. Best German ski jumper was second in Garmisch-Partenkirchen as in the opening in Oberstdorf Karl Geiger. Last year's winner and Oberstdorf winner Ryoyu Kobayashi came fourth. The top moved closer together in the overall standings. Third place went to Poland's Dawid Kubacki. The second best athlete from the team of national coach Stefan Horngacher was Constantin Schmid in seventh place. Markus Eisenbichler came in tenth.

With his victory Lindvik prevented a record. With success, Kobayashi could have become the first ski jumper to win six competitions in succession at the traditional event in Oberstdorf, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Innsbruck and Bischofshofen.

January 1: 2-0 victory in the final: Podolski and Fink cup winners in Japan

Lukas Podolski cup victory Japan

To round off his career in Japan, another title: Lukas Podolski (right) celebrates the cup victory with his team Vissel Kobe

Former international Lukas Podolski and coach Thorsten Fink have won the Japanese Cup final with Vissel Kobe. Kobe won the Kashima Antlers 2-0 (2-0) on New Year's Day in the New National Stadium in Tokyo, where the Olympic and Paralympic Games take place in the summer. The 34-year-old Podolski, who has been playing in Japan since summer 2017 but whose contract expires at the end of January, was in the starting XI. He was replaced in injury time for the former Spanish world and European champions David Villa. The goals were scored by Tomoya Inukai (18th) with an own goal and Noriaki Fujimoto (38th).

Podolski, who had played 130 caps for Germany, celebrated his fourth cup victory in the fourth country. In 2008 he won the cup with FC Bayern in Germany, 2014 with FC Arsenal in England and 2016 with Galatasaray Istanbul in Turkey.

December 31: Ski jumper Geiger wins qualification in Garmisch – Eisenbichler fifth

Germany's ski jumping hope Karl Geiger has mastered the next hurdle brilliantly and won the qualification for the New Year's competition. The 26-year-old Allgäuer jumped 139 meters in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Tuesday and thus prevailed against the entire competition. His direct competitor Ryoyu Kobayashi from Japan came 138 meters and was third. There is a prize money of 5000 Swiss Francs for violinists. Second place went to Austrian Philipp Aschenwald.

December 31: Another setback for handball players: Semper is out for EM

The national handball team has to do without Franz Semper at the European Championship in Norway, Sweden and Austria starting on January 9th. The 22-year-old left-hander of the SC DHfK Leipzig has been banned from sports for at least three weeks because of signs of an inflammation of the heart muscle, the German Handball Federation said on Tuesday. National coach Christian Prokop nominated David Schmidt from Bundesliga club TVB 1898 Stuttgart. The 26-year-old backspace player is about to make his national team debut.

Semper paused last Sunday at the Leipziger Bundesliga game in Balingen due to a protracted flu-like infection. "With Franz Semper's cancellation due to illness, we again have a backroom rider who has a lot of power," said Prokop. After Steffen Weinhold, Fabian Wiede, Tim Suton, Simon Ernst and Martin Strobel, Semper is already the sixth backfield player who is missing Prokop.

December 30: Pellegrino Matarazzo becomes new coach at VfB Stuttgart

Second division football team VfB Stuttgart have signed coach Pellegrino Matarazzo, almost unknown to the general public, as the successor to the dismissed Tim Walter. As the VfB announced a week after the separation from Walter on Monday, the 42-year-old will receive a contract until summer 2021. The almost two-meter tall man with an American and Italian passport has been an assistant coach with the Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in the past two years and worked for a long time in the youth division of 1. FC Nürnberg. In Stuttgart, he should lead the third in the league to promotion. The first game is on January 29 against 1. FC Heidenheim.

December 29: Borussia Dortmund signs storm talent Erling Haaland

Borussia Dortmund won the transfer poker for storm talent Erling Haaland. As the Bundesliga soccer team announced on Sunday, the 19-year-old Norwegian from Red Bull Salzburg signed a contract until June 30, 2024 and will join the team at the training club's training club on January 3. "Despite many offers from absolute top clubs from all over Europe, Erling Haaland decided on the sporting task at BVB and the perspective we showed him. Our persistence paid off," said BVB management Hans-Joachim Watzke. The transfer sum is said to be around 20 million euros.

Storm talent Erling Haaland changes to BVB

Erling Haaland changes from RB Salzburg to BVB

According to BVB, Haaland is "probably the most exciting center-forward talent in Europe". In 14 league games for Salzburg, he scored 16 goals and prepared six more. In addition, the 1.94 meter offensive player scored eight times in six Champions League games. In addition to BVB, RB Leipzig, Manchester United and Juventus Turin had sought Haaland's commitment.

"I had intensive discussions with the club management and the sports management, especially with Hans-Joachim Watzke, Michael Zorc and trainer Lucien Favre. From the beginning there was the feeling that I absolutely had to switch to this club, go this way and in this incredible way Dortmund atmosphere wants to play football in front of more than 80,000 spectators. I am already burning for it, "said Haaland.

December 29: German basketball professional fined $ 25,000

Oklahoma City Thunder international basketball player Dennis Schröder has been fined $ 25,000 for touching the referee while playing his club with the Charlotte Hornets. The 26-year-old construction player grabbed the referee's arm during the 104: 102 win in the third quarter to show him how he was supposedly fouled. The referee immediately punished this with a technical foul – now the NBA fined it for "deliberately touching a league official". Schröder had scored 24 points in Oklahoma's overtime win.

December 28: Barça professional Vidal sues own club

Football professional Arturo Vidal from FC Barcelona has sued his own club for outstanding premiums and bonuses of EUR 2.4 million. The former Bayern player confirmed corresponding media reports during his vacation in his home country Chile. "I find it unfair that this money was not paid," he told Chilean radio station ADN. But his lawyers took care of the matter. The defensive midfielder emphasized that he didn't want to say anything else.

FC Barcelona responded on Saturday with the statement that Vidal had received all payments due to him for the 2018/19 season. The footballer would only be entitled to 50 percent of the premiums and bonuses for winning the Spanish league title and for reaching the Champions League quarter-finals because he had not played at least 60 percent of all games. The player assures that he has reached this minimum number contractually stipulated for the payment of the complete bonuses, but that is not true.

December 27: Zlatan Ibrahimovic returns to AC Milan

After weeks of speculation, football eccentric Zlatan Ibrahimovic is now returning to his former club AC Milan. The club announced this in two ominous, but almost unambiguous tweets on Twitter, which were briefly called "IZ COMING". According to information from Sky Italia and the "Gazzetta dello Sport" on Thursday, the Swedish superstar has given the Serie A club its promise. The videos were viewed and shared several thousand times within minutes.

According to a press release, the 38-year-old Swede should play until the end of the current season – with the option to extend the contract for the coming season. The club quotes Ibrahimovic as saying, "I am coming back to a club that I respect very much and to the city of Milan that I love. I will fight with my teammates to change the course of this season. I will do anything to make it happen ". The Swede will be in Milan on January 2nd to complete his medical examination. After that, he will have his first training sessions.

Ibrahimovic's return to AC Milan was recently a long way off: he was an "option" there, said the Technical Director, Paolo Maldini, Sky Sport. The latest speculation was that Ibrahimovic would get a five-month contract with Milan from January. There he played from 2010 to 2012 and won one of his four Italian titles. Ibrahimovic scored 56 goals in 85 games in his first time at AC Milan, according to the club. Milan is currently only eleventh in Serie A.

The former striker of the Swedish national team had left the US club Los Angeles Galaxy in mid-November after two seasons.

December 27: Jürgen Klopp is annoyed by hasty championship congratulations

Jürgen Klopp, 52, presents himself and the Liverpool fans on Christmas Day 2 with a 4-0 victory in the top game at the second-placed table in Leicester, shaking off the worst pursuers impressively. But there is no trace of a festive mood in the German coach. After the English media almost overturned and Liverpool almost congratulated on the championship, the ex-BVB coach makes it clear that he does not want to know about a title decision. "I can really let the pig out, you can ask my friends", Jürgen Klopp whispered strictly into the microphone in front of the assembled press and staged his seriousness with a frozen expression: "But I never wanted to party without a reason. If something to celebrate, I'll let you know – we'll work until then. "

Video: Klopp doesn't want to know anything about the championship

Previously, the title of the "Sun" included: "The unstoppable Reds destroy their most persistent pursuer". According to the "Telegraph", the new club World Cup winner already has "a hand on the trophy" after the 19th matchday – and the "Times" is certain with regard to the longed-for first championship since 1990: "Liverpool is too clever to throw it away now. " However, this thesis is not too daring. Finally, Klopp's undefeated team scored 52 out of 54 possible points, the Champions League winner is now 13 points ahead of Leicester – and also played one less game.

December 27: Hans-Jörg Criens died at the age of 59

Suddenly and unexpectedly, the former Borussia Mönchengladbach striker, Hans-Jörg Criens, died at the age of 59. According to consistent media reports, Criens died of a heart attack during Christmas. 1.FC Nürnberg, where the Neuss native ended his career in 1995, kondolierte Familie und Angehörigen bereits via Twitter, Hans-Jörg Criens absolvierte in den 1980er- und 90er-Jahren 290 Bundesligaspiele für die Gladbacher Fohlen. Dabei erzielte "der Lange" 92 Tore. Mit dieser Torquote ist der Kopfballspezialist die Nummer 3 in der ewigen Gladbacher Torschützenliste hinter Jupp Heynckes (195) und Herbert Laumen (97). Da er seine Treffer meist als Einwechselspieler erzielte, gilt Criens als der Prototyp des "Jokers". Nach seiner aktiven Zeit coachte er unterklassige Mannschaften und spielte in der Weisweiler-Elf, der Traditionsmannschaft von Borussia Mönchengladbach.„Ich kann richtig gut die Sau rauslassen, da können Sie meine Freunde fragen“, raunte Jürgen Klopp streng ins Mikrofon und inszenierte seine Seriosität zusätzlich mit eingefrorener Miene: „Aber ich wollte noch nie ohne Grund Party machen. Wenn es etwas zum Feiern gibt, werde ich es Ihnen mitteilen – bis dahin werden wir arbeiten.“

Hans-Jörg Criens gestorben

Mit 59 Jahren an einem Herzinfarkt gestorben: Ex-Gladbach-Profi Hans-Jörg Criens

23. Dezember: VfB Stuttgart feuert Trainer Tim Walter

Der VfB Stuttgart hat sich von Trainer Tim Walter getrennt. Der schwäbische Fußball-Zweitligist reagierte damit auf den anhaltenden Negativtrend vor der Winterpause. Der frühere Kieler Trainer Walter sollte nach dem Abstieg aus der Fußball-Bundesliga den Neuanfang gestalten. Nun endet seine Amtszeit nach nur einem halben Jahr. Der 44-Jährige war nach nur drei Siegen aus den vergangenen zehn Zweitliga-Spielen zunehmend unter Druck geraten. Dennoch geht der VfB als Tabellen-Dritter und punktgleich mit dem Zweiten Hamburger SV in die Winterpause. Der 1. FC Heidenheim als Vierter liegt allerdings nur einen Zähler zurück.

Als Weihnachtsmann mit dickem, weißem Vollbart und roter Weihnachtsmütze schaut David Alaba in die Kamera

23. Dezember: Profiboxer Felix Sturm ist wieder frei

Der wegen Steuerhinterziehung, Verstoß gegen das Anti-Doping-Gesetz und Körperverletzung angeklagte Felix Sturm ist am Montag aus der Justizvollzugsanstalt Köln in die Freiheit entlassen worden. "Wir haben Felix Sturm gerade seiner Frau übergeben und freuen uns sehr, dass die Familie nunmehr in aller Ruhe gemeinsam Weihnachten feiern kann", teilte sein Anwalt Nils Kröber mit.

Zuvor hatten seine beiden Verteidiger nach eigenen Angaben die vom Gericht festgesetzte Kaution von 300.000 Euro sowie den deutschen und den bosnischen Reisepass von Sturm bei Gericht hinterlegt und somit die vom Gericht gemachten Auflagen für eine Haftverschonung erfüllt. Seit Anfang November findet vor dem Kölner Landgericht ein Strafprozess gegen den 40-Jährigen statt. Die Staatsanwaltschaft wirft dem Boxer vor, von 2009 bis 2017 rund 5,8 Millionen Euro an Steuern hinterzogen zu haben. Ferner soll er beim Kampf gegen den Russen Fjodor Tschudinow im Februar 2016 gedopt gewesen sein. Weil der Kampf somit regelwidrig geführt worden wäre, ist der Boxer auch wegen Körperverletzung zum Nachteil des Russen angeklagt.

22. Dezember: Nase abgesägt – Ibrahimovic-Statue beschädigt

Die Statue des schwedischen Fußballers Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Malmö ist das Opfer von Vandalismus geworden. Unbekannte hatten in der Nacht zu Sonntag die Nase und einen Zeh abgesägt und die Statue mit silberner Farbe beschmiert, wie der schwedische TV-Sender SVT berichtet. The police are investigating. Die Statue wurde am 9. Oktober im Stadiontorget in Malmö eingeweiht. Nach der Ankündigung, dass Ibrahimovic einen Teil des Vereins Hammarby IF gekauft hat, wurde die Statue mehrmals zerstört. So wurde unter anderem ein Toilettensitz um die Statue gehängt und das Wort "Judas" daraufgeschmiert. Das Haus des Fußballers in Stockholm wurde ebenfalls beschädigt.

Der Angriff auf die Statue hat trotz des Zauns stattgefunden, der das Kunstwerk umgibt. Der Zaun wurde nach dem vorhergehenden Schaden aufgestellt, berichtet die Zeitung "Kvällsposten". Die Statue ist ein Geschenk des schwedischen Fußballverbandes.

Ohne Nase und mit Silberfarbe: Die Statue von Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ohne Nase und mit Silberfarbe: Die Statue von Zlatan Ibrahimovic


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