Eintracht Frankfurt substitute Stefan Ilsanker on Wednesday scored twice in 10 minutes to complete a 3-0 win away to Werder Bremen, who stayed in the Bundesliga drop zone as their dismal home record continued. Forward Andre Silva headed the visitors ahead in the 61st minute of a physical, trying match and Ilsanker took advantage of poor marking to turn in the second in the 81st minute, less than one minute after coming on. The Austrian also headed in the third eight minutes later. Werder extended their winless league run at the Weserstadion — where they have won only once in the league all season — to 12 matches and stayed 17th in the 18-team table with 25 points from 29 games, two adrift of Fortuna Duesseldorf. Eintracht climbed to 11th in the Bundesliga table with 35 points. The hosts had the better of the first half and towering striker Davie Selke twice got through, but was denied by goalkeeper Kevin Trapp the first time and then by a timely David Abraham tackle. Werder thought that they had won a penalty when Abraham handled while challenging Davy Klaassen for the ball, but after a video assistant referee review that took nearly three minutes, officials ruled that the Bremen player was fractionally offside. Frankfurt had a goal disallowed for offside after the break, but went ahead in the next attack. Makoto Hasebe won possession in midfield and the ball was fed to Filip Kostic, whose cross from the left was headed home by Silva. Ilsanker needed 19 seconds on the pitch to add the second when he was left alone at a corner and calmly side-footed the ball in. He was again unmarked when he headed in from a free-kick to complete another unhappy evening for Bremen.
Fans on Wednesday found a way not to be left out as the Portuguese Primeira Liga resumed in empty stadiums, with leaders Porto losing 2-1 at Famalicao. Fans could be heard chanting outside the ground during the match, while some supporters watched from the balconies of nearby buildings overlooking the pitch. Porto fans had gathered to support the side as they left their hotel for the match, as the league returned after a shutdown of nearly three months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The competition officially resumed earlier on Wednesday when relegation-threatened Portimonense SC defeated midtable Gil Vicente 1-0 at home. Local authorities had expressed concern over the Porto match after one of the club’s fan groups said that about 300 people would make the away trip to support the side. Although the group said that they would follow the health and safety measures established by authorities, there was virtually no social distancing as the fans sang, waved flags and cheered on the side as their bus passed on its way to the stadium. The chants from fans outside the stadium were loudly heard during the television broadcast before the match, but eventually subsided. About 50 fans took advantage of buildings near the small municipal stadium to watch the match, even if from afar. Media members were allowed to cover the match. Two big banners placed in the main stands read: “We stay together” and “For all of us, thank you.” Players wore masks on the benches and there were few interactions before the match, which started following a moment of silence as the players gathered around the center circle. Club officials stayed a few meters from each other in the VIP seats. Huge images of crowds were placed in the stands at the stadium in Portimao in the earlier match, along with banners from sponsors. Lucas Fernandes scored in the second half
If Megan Rapinoe decides to take a knee at next year’s Olympic Games, she could get a reprimand, but if she does it at the women’s World Cup in 2023, she could get a round of applause. Over the past week, athletes, sports teams and leagues have expressed solidarity with protesters demanding an end to systemic racism and police brutality in the US. However, the chorus of concern has, in several cases, highlighted a sharp contrast between the solemn statements of support and how some sports bodies view protests by their own athletes. In Germany, three Bundesliga players, including Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho and Schalke 04 midfielder Weston McKennie, were placed under formal investigation by the German soccer federation (DFB) for protesting against racism during matches at the weekend. Sancho marked his goal by removing his shirt to reveal a T-shirt with the slogan “Justice For George Floyd” — the African American whose death during an arrest by police in Minneapolis last week triggered the wave of US protests — while McKennie wore a black armband with the message “Justice for George.” German authorities said that they were obliged to investigate the players because of long-standing FIFA regulations that forbid soccer players from displaying any “political, religious or personal” messages on their uniforms during games. Yet, all players under scrutiny were on Wednesday told that they would not face punishment. That followed a statement from FIFA that appeared to mark a clear softening of the previous stance, with the world soccer governing body stating that leagues should consider the “context” of each protest and apply “common sense.” FIFA president Gianni Infantino later went even farther. “For the avoidance of doubt, in a FIFA competition the recent demonstrations of players in Bundesliga matches would deserve applause and not a punishment,” Infantino said. The FIFA edict would appear to contradict rules
Empty seats have been the norm over the past few years at the University of Kansas, where a succession of football coaches has failed to turn around the flailing fortunes of the Jayhawks. Now, all those open seats — and short lines and quiet concourses — are to be the norm in stadiums just about everywhere. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced universities, leagues and franchises to evaluate how they might someday welcome back fans. While opinions vary from sport to sport and nation to nation, one thing seems clear: Social distancing is a sure bet when fans return. No one should expect 100,000-plus fans packed into Michigan Stadium for a football game this fall or 16,300 seated inside Kansas’ storied Allen Fieldhouse when college basketball season rolls around. “We don’t know how we’ll be coming back,” Jayhawks athletic director Jeff Long said. “We’ve modeled 15 to 16,000 in Memorial Stadium, and to be honest with you, we’ve modeled Allen Fieldhouse — and I can’t bring myself to look at it because I know how few people it will be and that’s upsetting.” Most colleges rely heavily on ticket sales, souvenirs and concessions in football and basketball to raise the bottom line to the point that nonrevenue sports can be fully funded, but smaller crowds are going to be necessary to ensure proper social distancing — in professional sports around the globe, too. Forbes magazine estimates that the NFL would lose US$5.5 billion in stadium revenue if all games are played without fans, and the fallout for other leagues without lucrative TV deals could be catastrophic. The coronavirus is most easily spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, spreading the droplets to people nearby. That is why guidelines from the WHO preach separation in public as an effective safeguard. However, in a stadium, creating that kind of a
England rugby union coach Eddie Jones said that stoppages and too many reserve players are making the sport too much like American football, and steps need to be taken to speed up the game. In an interview on New Zealand television, Jones said that matches of two scheduled 40-minute halves regularly take more than 110 minutes to complete because of stoppages for scrum resets, head injury assessments and reviews of referees’ decisions. The ball is in play for only 35 minutes, a statistic which has not changed over 20 years, he said. Jones has been head coach of national teams in Australia, Japan and England, and was part of the coaching group in South Africa’s winning Rugby World Cup campaign in 2007. “We need to make the game faster,” Jones told Sky’s The Breakdown. He advocates eliminating scrum resets in favor of free-kicks and reducing the number of replacement players from eight to six to help make rugby more attractive to fans. Jones highlighted the recently introduced “six again” rule in Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL), which prevents teams from slowing down play at the rucks, as an example of how simple rule changes can improve a sport. Rugby union has “gone too far down the power line and we need to get some more continuity back in the game,” he said. Reducing the number of bench players in rugby would also help improve the game, Jones said, adding that the ability to replace almost half of a team late in the second half changes how coaches and teams approach matches. “I’d only have six reserves and I reckon that’d make a hell of a difference,” he said, listing cover for all three front-row positions, another forward for the back five and two for the backline. “That would introduce some fatigue into the game.” Endless scrum resets had become the
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike yesterday said that it might be necessary to a stage a “simplified” Olympic Games next year due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and that organizers are discussing possible changes. Koike’s comments come after the Yomiuri newspaper reported that various options, such as mandatory COVID-19 testing and having fewer spectators, were being considered by organizers. A lack of a defense against the virus is threatening the Games, said John Coates, head of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) inspectorate for Tokyo, adding that organizers need to plan for what could be a “very different” Olympics if there are no signs of COVID-19 being eradicated. Koike did not go into details, but said that such discussions are necessary. “Holding the Olympic and Paralympic Games calls for sympathy and understanding of Tokyoites and the Japanese people,” Koike told reporters. “For that, we need to rationalize what needs to be rationalized and simplify what needs to be simplified.” The Yomiuri, citing government and organizing committee sources, reported that making polymerase chain reaction tests mandatory for all spectators and limiting movement in and out of the athletes’ village were among the options that Japan would discuss with the IOC. The IOC and the Japanese government in March delayed the Games for a year, but have ruled out a delay beyond next year.
DRIVING AMBITION: ‘I was excited by playing at the Olympics ... Who knows what’s going to happen? Hopefully, I could have a chance to win a medal,’ Tiffany Chan said
After just three tournaments this year, a chance of Olympic glory postponed and two weeks alone in quarantine, golfer Tiffany Chan could be forgiven for feeling sorry for herself. Instead, Hong Kong’s first LPGA Tour player is sporting a broad grin and taking the positives from the game’s COVID-19 shutdown, determined to establish herself in the fiercely competitive world of women’s golf. The talented 26-year-old kept herself fit physically and mentally during the lockdown, and is happy to be back on the fairways since the easing of coronavirus restrictions last month. “When I came back to Hong Kong [in March], I actually did a lot of good motivational stuff,” she told reporters at the Hong Kong Golf Club. “I read more, I did home workouts and I spent more time with my parents.” Her first 14 days back in the territory were spent in isolation and she is to have two more weeks in quarantine when she returns to her Las Vegas base later this month, ahead of the tour’s expected resumption next month, but Chan dismisses any notion of hardship. “With all the difficulties that are going on around the whole world, I should be positive and making good use of this period to make myself a better player,” she said. Chan ranked 140th on the money list after her rookie 2018 LPGA Tour season, forcing her back to qualifying school. In her second season, a more experienced Chan recorded two top-20 finishes and made her maiden cut in a major at the US Women’s Open. Chan kept her card and was targeting further success this year before the COVID-19 pandemic laid waste to everyone’s plans. Unlike some toward the bottom of the money list, Chan has few financial worries, despite having no prize money to play for since her last tournament, the Australian Open in early February. “It’s
Eleven-year-old skateboarder Sky Brown, who is hoping to become Britain’s youngest Olympian next year, fractured her skull and broke bones in her left hand after falling from a ramp during a training session in California. Brown posted a video of the accident on Instagram, but reassured supporters that she was fine. “I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them ... but this was my worst fall. I just want everyone to know that it’s OK — don’t worry, I’m OK,” she said. “I’m going to push boundaries for girls with my skating and surfing. I’m going for gold in 2021 and nothing will stop me.” The BBC reported that Brown was taken to hospital by helicopter and was unresponsive on arrival. “Sky landed headfirst off a ramp on her hand,” her father Stewart was quoted as saying by the BBC. “When she first came to hospital, everyone was fearful for her life... Sky had the gnarliest fall she’s ever had and is lucky to be alive... [She] remains positive and strong. The whole medical team is shocked to see her positivity.” At next year’s Tokyo Games, Brown is hoping to eclipse the record set by swimmer Margery Hinton, who was 13 years and 43 days old when she competed at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam. Brown, whose mother is Japanese and father British, is also an accomplished surfer. Five new sports — including baseball, skateboarding and surfing — are to be featured at the Tokyo Olympics as part of the International Olympic Committee’s revamping of the Games program.
Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton said that he is “completely overcome with rage” about racial injustice in the wake of the death of George Floyd. It is the second time this week that Britain’s six-time world champion has spoken angrily about the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man who died on Monday last week during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “This past week has been so dark. I have failed to keep hold of my emotions,” Hamilton wrote on Tuesday on social media. “I have felt so much anger, sadness and disbelief in what my eyes have seen,” he added, after days of protests that have gripped cities across the US, prompting curfews and the use of force by law enforcement agencies. “I am completely overcome with rage at the sight of such blatant disregard for the lives of our people.” Earlier this week, Hamilton lashed out at leading figures in his “white dominated” sport for not speaking out. “I see those of you who are staying silent — some of you the biggest of stars, yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice,” he said. It prompted several top drivers to express outrage and support. Formula One on Tuesday issued its first response. “We stand with you and all people in the fight against racism,” the statement said. “It is an evil that no sport or society is truly immune from. And it is only together we can oppose an eradicate it. Together we are stronger.” Hamilton questioned why protests were needed before the police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, Derek Chauvin, was arrested. “It is only when there are riots and screams for justice that the powers that be cave in and do something, but by then it is far too late and not enough has been done,” Hamilton
Vic Fangio sees racism as a problem in society as a whole, but not as much in the NFL. The Denver Broncos head coach, talking on Tuesday on a videoconferencing call, spoke out in favor of societal changes in the wake of George Floyd’s death. He then went on to defend the NFL’s record on race. Asked about the evolution of player activism during his NFL career, Fangio said: “I don’t know that it’s changed a whole lot, to be honest with you. I haven’t seen a great, great change other than — I just don’t think there’s been a tremendous change and I don’t say that to be negative. I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal. We’re a league of meritocracy. You earn what you get, you get what you earn.” “I don’t see racism at all in the NFL,” Fangio said. “I don’t see discrimination in the NFL. We live in a great atmosphere. Like I alluded to earlier, we’re lucky. We all live together joined as one for one common goal, and we all intermingle and mix tremendously. If society reflected an NFL team, we’d all be great.” Fangio had said earlier on the call that he “was shocked, sad and angry when I saw what the policeman [did] to a handcuffed George Floyd on his stomach that led to his death... It’s a societal issue that we all have to join in to correct.” “The Minnesota cop failed the 99 percent of the police that do a great job and we are all paying a price for that,” he said. “I’ve listened to many people talk the past few days. The one that resonated with me the most was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He also recognized that 98 to 99 percent of the police do a tremendous job
Claude Giroux’s Philadelphia Flyers were the hottest team in the NHL back when hockey was still being played, but that was more than two months ago and their next game could be two more months away. Giroux said that he cannot predict how the season might go if allowed to resume. “I don’t know,” he said. “Right now, everything’s an unknown.” Among the unknowns about the NHL returning amid the COVID-19 pandemic is what the on-ice product might look like. In a team sport that demands rhythm and chemistry, players would need to quickly adapt after so much time apart to recapture what it takes to jump right into the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup. “We want to see great hockey played,” Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares said. “It’s not an exact science. It’s something we’ve never dealt with before, and we want to make the best and most conscious decision we possibly can to obviously make sure not only guys stay safe, but that the quality of hockey is extremely high.” Unlike basketball, where one player can dominate a game and carry a team, hockey is predicated on players being in sync, knowing where teammates are — and where they are headed next — for tape-to-tape passes. Timing as a unit is an essential ingredient to success and it is that timing that could be missing early on because of so much time spent off the ice. With the exception of a handful of players who were rehabbing injuries, living in Sweden or somehow able to find an open rink, most have not skated since the season was halted in the middle of March. Recapturing that skating stride and building back up to avoid injuries is to be a big part of voluntary workouts before the anticipated start of training camps next month. Some players have
Playing in empty stadiums is not ideal, but a bigger challenge for players during England’s home series against West Indies would be changing the way they shine the ball and keeping a lid on celebrations, former England captain Nasser Hussain has said. Subject to government approval, the three-Test series would take place next month behind closed doors, with the use of saliva to shine the ball likely to be banned as part of measures to prevent spread of COVID-19. Hussain, 52, told Sky Sports News that the teams would have no choice but to create their own atmosphere in the empty venues, although other aspects of post-shutdown cricket would be more difficult to get used to. “Some of the stuff they have trained their brain for 10 years to do — shining a cricket ball, celebrating a wicket — will be the difficult thing for them,” he said. “They are used to putting saliva on a cricket ball and can’t do that anymore, so they will have to retrain the brain.” Several pace bowlers have voiced concerns about the potential ban, which they fear would restrict their ability to generate swing, but England captain Joe Root said it could make his bowlers even more accurate. “It could work in our favor and up skill levels,” Root told Sky Sports.
MOST WANTED: Timo Werner, who has been linked with a move to Liverpool, raced clear on a rapid counterattack to score his 31st goal of the season in all competitions
RB Leipzig on Monday returned to third place in the Bundesliga with an entertaining 4-2 victory at Cologne. Jhon Cordoba claimed the early advantage for the home side, but Leipzig scored four in 37 minutes, including Timo Werner’s 31st goal in all competitions, to climb back above Borussia Moenchengladbach and Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the hunt for a UEFA Champions League place. “We wanted the three points, we succeeded, but it is annoying that we fell behind early and wasted a few chances,” Leipzig managing director Oliver Mintzlaff told broadcaster DAZN. “We are back on course for the Champions League, which is our goal, but the pressure is great. Everyone has to go all in, be totally focused and focused,” he said. Cologne coach Markus Gisdol made four changes from Wednesday last week’s loss at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, starting Rafael Czichos in place of the suspended Sebastian Bournaauw, red-carded in the defeat. Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann switched both his wingbacks from Wednesday last week’s draw with Hertha BSC as Angelino, on loan from English Premier League side Manchester City, and France youth international Nordi Mukiele started. The hosts took the early lead as Cordoba poached his 10th home goal of the campaign. Midfielder Elvis Rexhbecaj’s effort deflected onto the far post and the Colombian finished from the rebound after seven minutes. The sides were level 13 minutes later when Patrik Schick headed home Angelino’s cross to start the flurry of goals. Things went from bad to worse for Gisdol’s men four minutes later when Cordoba was forced off with an injury and replaced by Anthony Modeste. Leipzig took the lead eight minutes from halftime when Christopher Nkunku claimed his first goal since January. Austria midfielder Konrad Laimer played a clever ball into the penalty area and the former Paris Saint-Germain striker dinked his finish over the onrushing Timo Horn. Leipzig went further ahead
Japan’s top baseball players yesterday got their first taste of competitive action more than 10 weeks after the scheduled start of the season, as warm-up matches were held across the nation. Nippon Professional Baseball is to stage its first competitive matches on June 19, albeit in empty stadiums, as the Japanese government lifts COVID-19 restrictions that delayed the season from its March 20 start. All 12 teams were due to hold practice games yesterday, including reigning Japan Series champions the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, as well as last year’s Central League champions the Yomiuri Giants. This season’s schedule, which has been reduced to 120 games, has been devised to limit the amount teams need to travel in the hope of reducing the risk of infection. Yokohama DeNA BayStars held their first game against Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in an empty stadium with only limited media and officials allowed to attend. Everyone entering Yokohama Stadium had their temperature taken and were required to answer questions about their health. None of the players wore masks, but all members of both teams’ coaching and support staff did. BayStars manager Alex Ramirez said that despite playing in an empty stadium and suffering from a delayed start to the season, his players needed to just focus on what they can control. “I just want the guys to go out there and play, and do the best they can do,” Venezuelan-born Ramirez told reporters before the game. “Just stay in control of themselves and then we will see what happens. I am not expecting too much from them.”
With fans barred from entering stadiums due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Danish Superliga leaders Midtjylland took an imaginative approach to their return to action with a “drive-in” broadcast for supporters. The club on Monday installed giant screens in the parking lot of the MCH Arena to allow fans to watch their match against AC Horsens from the their vehicles from the more than 2,000 available parking spaces. Fans turned out with the vehicles emblazoned in the club’s red and black colors, with balloons and flags on show. While fans, who listened to the commentary on their radios, would have been glad for the chance to see their team back in action, the hosts suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat to 10th-placed Horsens. A goal from Louka Prip in the 36th minute settled the outcome, although Midtjylland remain nine points clear of Copenhagen at the top of the table. The top six in the Superliga play a 10-game “mini-league” to determine the champions.
England paceman James Anderson believes the extended break afforded to him by cricket’s suspension during the COVID-19 pandemic could prolong his career by up to two years. The cricket season was brought to a halt in March and England’s three-Test series against the West Indies was pushed back from its scheduled start this month. The England and Wales Cricket Board has set a provisional date of July 8 for the series to begin and Anderson, who has not played since suffering a rib injury in January, was part of a 55-strong group asked to return to training. “The break could just add on a year or two at the end of my career,” 37-year-old Anderson, Test cricket’s most prolific fast bowler with 584 wickets, said on the Tailenders podcast. “I’ve really enjoyed being back — and as odd as it is just bowling into a net with not many people around, it’s still nice to be back and playing cricket.” England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler previously said that the shutdown had allowed cricketers to recharge their batteries and could prove beneficial in the long term. With games set to be played without fans, Anderson believes that crowd noise should be piped in to improve the atmosphere. “I’ve been watching the rugby league in Australia and I actually thought there was a crowd watching,” the Lancashire paceman said. “I thought it worked. It was nice to have that sort of atmosphere even though there was no one there.”
Former Brazil international Fred on Monday began on a five-day, 600km cycle ride to help poor families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 36-year-old announced his “Tour de Fred” on Twitter, from the southeastern city of Belo Horizonte to Rio de Janeiro, where he plays for Fluminense. He said he wants to “help 4,000 poor families” and vowed to donate a food basket for every kilometer he rides, while he has also launched an online campaign to collect donations. Fred left at dawn and is due to take dirt tracks and small roads to avoid main highways, and the potential of crowds breaking social distancing rules in coming out to cheer him on. His final destination is Fluminense’s training center close to Rio de Janeiro Olympic Park. Fred scored 18 goals in 39 appearances for Brazil. He played at the 2006 and 2014 FIFA World Cup finals. He helped Brazil to victory in the 2007 Copa America and 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. He has previously played for Atletico Mineiro and Cruzeiro, the two biggest clubs in Belo Horizonte.
Formula One has a perfect opportunity to experiment with back-to-back races in Austria next month, but champions Mercedes are standing in the way, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said on Monday. The governing FIA and the sport’s commercial rights holder Liberty Media have suggested a reverse-grid qualifying race on the second Saturday to decide that race’s starting order and add to the excitement. The idea would see qualifying replaced by a 30-minute race, with drivers starting in reverse order of their previous finishing position. Mercedes opposed the idea when it was raised last year and were not supportive when it came up again at a meeting on Friday last week. “I think we’ve got a unique situation this year and having two races at the same venue — it would seem the perfect time to try something different at that second event,” Horner told Sky Sports. “Otherwise, with stable weather conditions, we’re likely to have the same output in race two as we have in race one.” “The only person that wasn’t particularly supportive of it [the proposal] was [Mercedes team principal] Toto [Wolff], because he thought it would interfere with Lewis’ [Hamilton’s] seventh world championship campaign and it would be too much of a variable,” he said. Sky quoted Mercedes as saying that “we don’t believe F1 needs gimmicks to make it attractive. We believe in the sport to deliver excitement.” Mercedes have won both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles for the past six years and another for Hamilton would equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven. Formula One has yet to start its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but was expected to issue a revised calendar yesterday with a string of European races in quick succession. Any change to the race weekend format has to be approved by all the teams. An online vote on the
Retired All Blacks captain Kieran Read is backing calls for an integrated international rugby union season, but is concerned that money “coming out of the north” might frustrate attempts to create a global calendar. Read yesterday in an interview with the Stuff Web site echoed the widespread view that international rugby union needs to move away from the current schedule which frequently forces players from both hemispheres to play Tests out of season. Read, who retired from Tests after last year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan and after leading the All Blacks in 52 of his 127 matches, suggested the richer northern hemisphere might continue to influence how the global calendar is structured. Northern hemisphere teams currently play Tests in the southern hemisphere this month or next month — at the end of their season — and southern hemisphere nations tour the north in November and December. Those international windows, which fall either of the middle of the Super Rugby season or the European club seasons, substantially lengthen the season for top players. Re-elected World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont has pledged to work toward a more integrated calendar which provides room for the Six Nations and Rugby Championship tournaments, as well as northern and southern hemisphere professional competitions. Beaumont is a strong advocate of a world Test championship, though his efforts to establish one last year were stalled by an impasse over promotion and relegation. Southern hemisphere nations opposed Beaumont’s re-election, favoring the reform candidacy of Argentina’s Agustin Pichot. In part, Beaumont was seen as being too protective of the Six Nations, and British and French club tournaments. He has already made clear he would oppose any move to reschedule the Six Nations, which features Ireland, France, Italy, Wales, Scotland and England. Read hoped an agreement could be reached which would better integrate the global season and provide more
‘BITTERSWEET’: Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho revealed a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ message after ’Gladbach’s Marcus Thuram earlier took a knee to protest the death
England winger Jadon Sancho on Sunday scored a hat-trick and revealed a “Justice for George Floyd” protest message in Borussia Dortmund’s 6-1 rout of bottom side SC Paderborn 07 that trimmed Bayern Munich’s lead at the top of the Bundesliga to seven points. Sancho, who has 17 goals and 17 assists in the Bundesliga this season, joined a host of protests in the German top-flight over the weekend at the death of an unarmed black man in the US. “Delighted to get my first career hat trick, a bittersweet moment personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that we must address and help make a change,” Sancho wrote on Instagram. Morocco international Achraf Hakimi lifted his jersey to deliver the same message as Sancho after scoring Dortmund’s fourth goal at Paderborn. George Floyd, 46, died in Minneapolis during an arrest by a police officer who pinned him to the ground for several minutes by kneeling on his neck, sparking protests across the US. Earlier on Sunday, Borussia Moenchengladbach’s French forward Marcus Thuram took a knee to protest Floyd’s death, while Schalke 04’s US international Weston McKennie wore a “Justice for George” armband on Saturday. At Paderborn, second-placed Dortmund kept their remote title hopes intact as Sancho stole the limelight with teenage striker Erling Braut Haaland sidelined by a leg injury. “We’re going to give everything to win every game,” Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Buerki said. Bayern are firmly on course for an eighth successive title with just six matches left to play and Borussia Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc said the focus was now on securing UEFA Champions League qualification as quickly as possible. “It’s clear that Bayern will be German champions at the end,” Zorc said. After Dortmund’s attack struggled to break the deadlock, Hazard scored the opening goal on 54 minutes when presented