Bayern lose Dante, Gustavo
Bayern Munich defender Dante and midfielder Luiz Gustavo will miss today’s DFB Pokal final against VfB Stuttgart after Brazil told the pair to report for training today, the Bavarian club said. Bayern, hoping to complete a UEFA Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB Pokal treble, accused Brazil of exerting “psychological pressure” on the duo. The Brazilian Football Confederation wanted Dante and Luiz Gustavo to be available 14 days before the FIFA Confederations Cup, as stipulated by the rules of world soccer’s governing body. The eight-team tournament starts on June 15. “We were forced into this step,” Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told a press conference. “We tried to find a solution with FIFA and the DFB — the situation is unpleasant for us. We had the impression some sort of psychological pressure was put on the players in that it would be the end of their international careers if they did not report on time. I find that absolutely unacceptable.”
Racing snubbed by bookies
International online bookmakers have not included Racing Club’s controversial Argentine championship match at relegation-threatened Quilmes yesterday in their bets for the weekend. Bookmakers such as Bwin and Spanish-language miapuesta.com may have acted on pamphlets circulated at Racing last weekend threatening the players if they did not lose, the sports daily Ole said on Thursday. “Players, lose or things will turn rotten,” the pamphlets said. “In ’83 the Reds sent us to the B [division]. In ’95, Independiente held back against Velez [Sarsfield] and we weren’t champions.” Although it is not known who circulated the leaflets, Racing’s hardcore fans allegedly would rather see archrivals Independiente relegated for the first time than their own team beating Quilmes. Ole quoted a member of one unnamed Spanish bookmaker saying: “We don’t know why [the match is not included], but it’s not illogical to think it might be over suspicion of a fix.” “What’s being said is stupid, no player goes onto the pitch to lose. Forget it,” Quilmes president Anibal Fernandez said.
Pasching spring Cup upset
Third-tier Pasching upset champions Austria Vienna 1-0 on Thursday to win the Austrian Cup in one of the greatest soccer upsets the country has seen. Daniel Sobkova headed the only goal early in the second half as Pasching, who eliminated Rapid Vienna and Salzburg in the previous rounds, became the first third-division side to win the competition in its 94-year history. The win means they will enter next season’s Europa League in the final qualifying round. Austria Vienna, who have a record 27 cup wins, appeared to be suffering the after-effects from Tuesday, when they celebrated their league title at Vienna city hall.
Djukic to leave Valladolid
Real Valladolid coach Miroslav Djukic is leaving the La Liga club after two seasons at the helm, despite still having a year left on his contract. “It is the moment to seek new challenges,” the 47-year-old former Serbia international told a press conference on Thursday. “It was a three-year project, but because the players have done things so well, we have completed our objective in two. We have consolidated the team in the top flight, playing with our own particular style. I am not sure where I am going to go, I am just saying I will not continue.” Valladolid’s attractive play has caught the eye this season and Djukic has been linked with Valencia, where he was a player for six years.