Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak has apologised to former team-mate Robert Lewandowski after their goal-mouth collision left the Bayern Munich striker with a fractured cheekbone, nose and concussion. Ex-Dortmund forward Lewandowski, who has scored 23 goals in his first season with Bayern, spent Tuesday night in a Munich hospital following the collision with Langerak in extra time during Dortmund’s German Cup semi-final win. “Robert and I are friends and of course I am sorry for what happened,” said Langerak. “I hope he can play as soon as possible. Anyone who knows me knows it wasn’t intentional and that I wanted to clear the ball.”
Borussia Dortmund have confirmed that midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will not renew his contract, which expires in 2016. The obvious implication is that he will be leaving this summer, with Manchester United among the clubs linked with the combative Germany international.
Belgian footballer Gregory Mertens has died of heart failure, three days after collapsing during a match. The 24-year-old Lokeren defender was treated on the pitch during the first half of Monday’s reserve-team game with Genk but did not recover after time in hospital on a life-support machine. A club statement said: “The medical staff have done everything to save Gregory, but they finally had to acknowledge their impotence. “Gregory passed away at around 16:30.” The former Belgium Under-21 international’s condition had worsened since he was taken to hospital in Genk, with doctors giving him little chance of survival. On Thursday his family agreed his life support should be switched off. Lokeren say that the exact nature of Mertens’s heart condition has yet to be established. But he passed all pre-season health tests required by Europe’s football governing body UEFA, and was judged to be one of the fittest players at his club. He joined Lokeren in January 2014 from Cercle Brugge and played 15 league games this season, as well as featuring against Hull City in the Europa League in August. The club statement continued: “Gregory was only one-and-a-half years at the club, but in that short time his quiet modesty made him an indispensable person. “Now we will have to learn to live with the loss.”
Qatar have sacked Algerian coach Djamel Belmadi just over a month before the start of their joint 2018 World Cup and Asian Cup qualifying campaign. The Qatar Football Association said: “We’re currently on the look-out for a new coach. We thank Mr Belmadi for his services and co-operation. “We got some very good results in his stint as coach. He was one of our finest coaches. “He lifted the spirit of the players and carried out his tasks well.” Belmadi, who was appointed in March 2014 after a spell with the B side, seemed to have Qatar on the right path by winning the Gulf Cup of Nations in November but they endured a miserable Asian Cup campaign in January. The 2022 World Cup hosts lost all three matches in Australia to finish bottom of Group C. Qatar have been drawn with China, Bhutan, Maldives and Hong Kong in 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup qualifying and begin their campaign on 11 June.
Parma have been relegated from Serie A after a turbulent season in which they were declared bankrupt and docked seven points for financial irregularities. Defeat at Lazio and Atalanta’s 2-2 draw at Cesena leaves Roberto Donadoni’s side bottom of the table and 16 points from safety with five games to play. Parma were declared bankrupt in March with debts estimated at £54m. Their players have not been paid this campaign and have had to do their own laundry and drive the team bus. Second-placed Lazio scored three in six minutes through Marco Parolo, Miroslav Klose and Antonio Candreva before Balde Keita added a fourth in a one-sided encounter at the Stadio Olimpico. Parma, who have changed ownership twice this season, were Serie A runners-up in 1997, won the UEFA Cup in 1995 and 1999, and the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1993. The club had in the past featured great players like Hernan Crespo, Faustino Aspirilla, Gianfranco Zola, Dino Baggio, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluigi Buffon and Lilian Thuram.
A former Premier League footballer has been jailed for two-and-a-half years after being convicted of match fixing allegations. Delroy Facey, of Woodhouse Hill, Huddersfield, was found guilty at Birmingham Crown Court of conspiring to bribe non-league players. Judge Mary Stacey said Facey’s offences struck “at the very heart of football”. Facey, who played for Bolton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion and Hull City, had denied any wrongdoing. Former non-league player Moses Swaibu, 25, of Tooley Street, London, was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery. He was jailed for 16 months for his part in the conspiracy. The two were arrested as part of a National Crime Agency investigation into match fixing. The trial heard Facey urged a footballer at a struggling non-league club to make some “easy money” by fixing the result of a match. He also told a contact some Football Conference teams would “do” a game in return for payment, the jury heard.
Chelsea stand one win away from the Premier League title after mounting an impressive comeback to beat Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. Jose Mourinho’s side needed to call on all their reserves of quality and resilience to overcome Leicester City’s fiercely determined challenge which earned them a deserved first-half lead through Marc Albrighton. As expectations of another victory on the road to Premier League safety rose in a thunderous atmosphere, Chelsea responded in the style of champions-elect to earn the victory that means they will be crowned champions for the first time in five years if they beat Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Didier Drogba restored equality early in the second half and further goals from captain John Terry and Ramires wrapped up a win that was testimony to the qualities that have put Chelsea on the brink of glory.
Sporting Lokeren and Belgium defender Gregory Mertens collapsed on the pitch with a heart-related illness. He is in a critical condition after being given CPR in the first half of Monday’s reserve-team game with Genk. The 24-year-old is in an induced coma in a Genk hospital on a life support machine. “Sporting Lokeren sympathises with the family and hopes for a positive outcome,” read a club statement. The Jupiler Pro League club say that the exact nature of Mertens’ heart condition has yet to be established. They added that Mertens passed all the pre-season health tests required by Europe’s football governing body Uefa and was judged to be one of the fittest players at the club. A former Belgium Under-21 international, Mertens joined Lokeren in the summer from Cercle Brugge, and has played in 15 league games this term, as well as against Hull City in the Europa League in August. Monday’s game was postponed while Mertens was being treated. Nigeria’s Peter Rufai once played for Lokeren, his first port of call in Europe.
Ethiopia have appointed Yohannes Sahle as the new national team coach. Sahle replaces Portuguese Mariano Barreto, who paid the price for failing to qualify the team for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. “I played for Ethiopia from the youth team to the national team. Now I am very happy to be the coach of the team I played for,” Sahle told BBC Sport. “I’m delighted and really grateful to be given this role. I will serve with dignity and my full potential.” The 49-year-old’s first task is to prepare the team for the 2017 Nations Cup qualifiers, starting in June. Sahle is an Ethiopia-born US citizen who had a successful playing career in the mid 1980s with the top Ethiopian teams before leaving for America. He returned to Ethiopia in 2010 to take the technical director role at Ethiopian Football Federation. Later he managed the U-17 national team and his last role was as coach of Dedebit, one of the top teams in the Ethiopian Premier League.
Watford returned to the Premier League after an absence of eight years, beating Brighton in a lunchtime kick-off and then watching Middlesbrough and Norwich, their close rivals for promotion, slip up unexpectedly while they were aboard the team coach going home. The new Premier League side were made to work for their victory, their seventh in the last nine away, only making sure with a last-minute goal from Matej Vydra but the real drama came on the M25 as they headed back from the Amex Stadium. Middlesbrough slipped to a 4-3 defeat at Fulham and Norwich, reduced to ten men by the sending-off of Lewis Grabban, were held at 1-1 at Rotherham. Watford will be confirmed as champions if they beat Sheffield Wednesday in their last fixture at Vicarage Road on the final day.
Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge may not play again this season, says boss Brendan Rodgers. Sturridge, 25, has been sidelined by hip and thigh injuries and has not played since the FA Cup quarter-final win over Blackburn on 8 April. Rodgers said: “We’ll see if he’s going to be back this season or pre-season.” Sturridge has managed to play just 18 games for Liverpool this season, scoring five times, compared to a haul of 24 goals from 33 appearances last term. He was sidelined for more than five months from September with a thigh injury, and was forced to miss England’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania in March with a hip problem. “It has been difficult for Daniel. He’s a good lad who wants to play and be working and helping the team,” said Rodgers. “It’s just been one of those seasons for him where it has been very unfortunate. We are going to have to monitor that day by day and see where he’s at. “When he’s been fit he’s been brilliant for the team. We need to get him back fit and consistently playing.”
BBC World Service has revealed the five names in contention for its inaugural Women’s Footballer of the Year award. Spain’s Veronica Boquete, Germany’s Nadine Kessler and Scotland’s Kim Little are joined by Brazilian forward Marta and Liverpool and Nigerian youngster Asisat Oshoala. The winner will be revealed on BBC World Service on 26 May after being decided by a public vote. Voting is open now and closes on 11 May at 10:00 BST. A panel of experts – including administrators, journalists, coaches and former players – decided the shortlist. Fans can vote online through the BBC website or by SMS. To vote for BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2015 by SMS, text the number of the player you wish to vote for to +44 7786 20 20 04 . Text 1 for Veronica Boquete, 2 for Nadine Kessler, 3 for Kim Little, 4 for Marta and 5 for Asisat Oshoala. Oshoala said: “I worked hard last year but I am surprised to be nominated and I feel very appreciated. This award is a very good thing for women’s football. It can really help us by encouraging other countries to support their ladies more and treat them the same way they treat the men.” Asisat!! Go girl!!!
Former England midfielders Steven Gerrard, 34, and Frank Lampard, 36, shared the PFA Merit award. The veteran pair will leave the Premier League for Major League Soccer in the United States in the summer, having collected 220 England caps between them. “I’m a young boy from a council estate who has worked ever so hard to get to where I am today,” said Gerrard, who will bring his 17-year career at Anfield to an end this summer when he joins Los Angeles Galaxy. “I have been lucky, I have had a fantastic career, it has been full of highs and lows but some of the highs I have achieved have blown me away and I achieved a lot of my dreams playing for Liverpool and England. “Frank is an unbelievable player, a world-class player and I couldn’t ask for anyone better to share it with.” Lampard, on-loan at Manchester City from New York City FC, added: “I have been fortunate enough to have had a long time playing in the Premier League along with Steven. “It is a great honour to be alongside a player who himself has done so much for the game. For the two of us to get it, it is a nice send-off and a nice ending for me.”
Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane, 21, was named PFA Young Player of the Year. The 21-year-old was voted Young Player of the Year despite only beginning to feature regularly for the White Hart Lane club in November. Kane has 30 goals in all competitions for Mauricio Pochettino’s side this season and also scored on his England debut against Lithuania in March. “It is amazing. It is a very proud moment for myself and my family – hopefully the first of many to come,” said Kane about his award. “I have got to keep working hard, but to be recognised by your fellow players is something special and it is a night I won’t forget. “I got the opportunity with the gaffer and I have really enjoyed my season so far – I have taken my chance.”
Eden Hazard has won the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award, BBC reports. Hazard, 24, has scored 13 goals and made eight assists in 33 Premier League games to help leaders Chelsea move to the cusp of the title. The award was voted for by the Belgian midfielder’s fellow professionals. Hazard, who won last season’s young player accolade, was handed the prize at the Grosvenor Hotel in London on Sunday. “I’m very happy. One day I want to be the best and what I did this season is play very well, Chelsea played very well,” he said. “I don’t know if I deserve to win but it is good for me. It is better to be voted by the players – they know everything about football. “Personally I have played a good season, I have been there in the big games and I scored a lot of important goals, this is why I’m better this season.”
Wladimir Klitschko wasn’t nearly as dominant as the 14-1 odds suggested he’d be Saturday night. The long-reigning heavyweight champion beat Bryant Jennings by unanimous decision in a 12-round title fight at Madison Square Garden, but it was much more competitive than experts expected. Two judges – Robin Taylor and River Vale’s Steve Weisfeld – scored Klitschko a 116-111 winner. The third judge, Max DeLuca, credited Klitschko with a wider win than the action indicated he deserved (118-109).
Torino came from behind to beat runaway leaders Juventus to secure their first Turin derby victory for 20 years. Juve would have wrapped up a fourth consecutive title with a win, coupled with a Lazio defeat, and led when Andrea Pirlo curled home a free-kick. Matteo Darmian levelled in style as he chipped the ball into the box with his first touch from a cross and lashed home with his second. And Fabio Quagliarella tapped home against his old club for a famous win. At least 10 Torino fans were injured in the first half when a paper banger exploded, causing splinters from seats to hit supporters. Second-placed Lazio drew 1-1 with Chievo, meaning a Juventus win would not have secured the title anyway. But for Juve, the game was about more than the title as their 17-match unbeaten run and seven-game winning streak in the derby came to an end. And they almost rescued a point late on, just moments after Josef Martinez had a goal disallowed for Torino. Alessandro Matri’s cross hit the post and Simone Pepe was unable to turn in the rebound. In injury time, Pirlo had a glorious chance to level but shinned his shot from 18 yards out, firing well over.
Bayern Munich clinched their third consecutive Bundesliga title courtesy of Wolfsburg’s 1-0 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach, BBC reports. Pep Guardiola’s side beat Hertha Berlin 1-0 on Saturday to put them within sight of the title. Wolfsburg had to beat Gladbach, who move up to third, to make Bayern wait another week for their 25th title, but lost to an injury-time Max Kruse goal. Treble-chasing Bayern are in the Champions League and German Cup semis. They will have little time to celebrate this success as they face rivals Borussia Dortmund in the last four of the domestic cup on Tuesday. Bayern are bidding for their third consecutive domestic double, and second treble in three years. Guardiola has won five domestic titles in his six years as a manager; three out of four with Barcelona and now two in two for Bayern. The Bavarians face Barca in the Champions League semi-finals in May. Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “Retaining the title is a magnificent achievement. All credit to the coach and the team. They’ve been fantastic throughout, in a season following a World Cup where we had a host of players in action. “We’ll have a magnificent party at some stage, no worries. But all in good time. When we do, it’ll be a huge celebration.”