Braunschweig seal return
Former champions Eintracht Braunschweig returned to the Bundesliga after a 28-year absence after a 1-0 win at Inglostadt 04 on Friday secured a top-two finish in the second tier with three games left. Braunschweig, Bundesliga champions in 1967 and relegated in 1985, join Hertha BSC Berlin in winning automatic promotion. “It is an amazing day,” Braunschweig coach Torsten Lieberknecht told reporters as celebrations kicked off with a beer shower on the pitch. Braunschweig have 65 points, one fewer than Hertha. Third-placed Kaiserslautern, on 52, have four games to play.
Furth in need of home win
Bottom side SpVgg Greuther Furth are just one game away from an unwanted Bundesliga record after their 3-2 defeat to Hanover 96 on Friday left them on the verge of becoming the first team to fail to win any home matches in a league season. Furth face SC Freiburg at their Trolli Arena stadium on May 11 in their last bid to pick up their first German league win at home on their debut season in the Bundesliga. Serbian striker Nikola Djurdjic scored both Furth goals, including an 83rd-minute equalizer after midfielder Andre Hoffmann and Norway’s Mohammed Abdellaoue had put Hanover ahead. However, Hanover midfielder Sergio da Silva Pinto broke Furth hearts with an 87th-minute winner. Furth have won just three matches this season — all away. The Franconians are almost sure to be relegated and are eight points from safety with three games left.
Osasuna dent Rayo hopes
Rayo Vallecano de Madrid’s hopes of qualifying for Europe next season suffered a setback when they were held 2-2 at home by La Liga strugglers CA Osasuna on Friday. The result left the Madrid-based club eighth on 46 points, two behind seventh-placed Real Betis Balompie, who host RC Deportivo La Coruna tomorrow. The teams in fifth and sixth position qualify automatically for the Europa League. Pamplona-based Osasuna are 15th on 33 points, five above the relegation zone. Andrija Delibasic headed Vallecano in front in the seventh minute but the home side quickly fell behind after poor defending allowed Raoul Loe to equalize before Alejandro Arribas made it 2-1 in the 13th minute. Captain Piti scored Vallecano’s second, and his 15th in the league this season, in the 57th minute and although his team dominated possession they were unable to find a winner. Leaders Barcelona needed a win at Athletic Bilbao yesterday to secure a fourth title in five years, providing second-placed Real Madrid lost at Atletico Madrid in the Madrid derby.
Fans eye Old Trafford bid
A Manchester United supporters group has made an application to be given the opportunity to buy Old Trafford should the stadium ever be put up for sale. The club’s owners, the Glazer family, are not looking to sell the team’s world-famous home, where they have played since 1910. However, that has not stopped the Manchester United Supporters Trust submitting a nomination to the local council for the ground to be registered as an “Asset of Community Value.” If the application is accepted, the group would be given the opportunity to buy the stadium should the Glazers decide to sell. While the notion seems far-fetched, there have been instances in the past where clubs have lost control of their stadiums and therefore the right to make money from them. Trafford Council has eight weeks to make a decision, leaving potential for the Glazers to appeal.