Defending champions Bayern Munich were held to a dull goalless draw by Werder Bremen on Saturday as both sides prepared for their Champions League opening games with mediocre performances.
Bremen host Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow, while Bayern take on AS Roma on Wednesday, but neither side were impressive at Munich’s Allianz Arena.
Bremen squandered clear second-half chances when Austrian striker Marko Arnautovic and Germany midfielder Tim Borowski both fired just off target as Werder gave debuts to new signings Wesley and Mikael Silvestre.
Bayern coach Louis van Gaal played Germany striker Miroslav Klose at centerforward behind Ivica Olic, but it was his second-half replacement, Toni Kroos, who came closest to scoring, twice testing Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese.
The result leaves both sides in mid-table on four points.
Earlier on Saturday, Germany captain Michael Ballack suffered a further setback on his return from injury when he was forced to limp out of Bayer Leverkusen’s 2-2 draw at 10-man Hannover 96.
The 33-year-old came off after 30 minutes following a heavy tackle on his left knee, but later played down the seriousness of the injury.
“I took a knock on the knee, but one shouldn’t make a drama out of it,” said Ballack, who sat out Germany’s two recent Euro 2012 qualification wins over Belgium and Azerbaijan.
Ballack missed the World Cup after tearing a ligament in his right ankle and on only his third Bundesliga game back he has now injured his left knee and, despite trying to play on, was substituted soon after.
Hannover’s Ivory Coast striker Didier Ya Konan had earlier scored his second goal in three games when the 26-year-old capitalized on a rare mistake in Leverkusen’s defense and slotted his shot home on 20 minutes.
Hannover were reduced to 10 men after just 36 minutes when Emanuel Pogatetz was shown a second yellow card and the subsequent red when he sent Leverkusen’s Arturo Vidal flying with a dangerous tackle.
The hosts scored their second goal when Norway striker Mohammed Abdellaoue was left unmarked at a corner and headed home on 50 minutes.
Leverkusen’s Swiss striker Eren Derdiyok scored on 62 minutes, just two minutes after coming off the bench, before Patrick Helmes scored from a free-kick in the 89th minute as Leverkusen fought back.
In the tense closing stages, Hannover coach Mirko Slomka, who turned 43 yesterday, was sent to the stands for arguing with the assistant referee.
The result leaves Leverkusen in mid-table and Hannover third behind leaders TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
Hamburg SV drew 1-1 at home to Nuremberg which leaves them second in the table.
In the day’s other matches, VfB Stuttgart lost 2-1 at SC Freiburg to suffer their third defeat of the season, while Eintracht Frankfurt routed Borussia Moenchengladbach 4-0.
Former England manager Steve McClaren is still looking for his first win of the season as his VfL Wolfsburg side lost 2-0 at Borussia Dortmund, whose Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa scored his first Bundesliga goal.
On Friday, Hoffenheim kept up their dream start with a 2-0 win over Schalke 04.
Uncertainty grips next year’s postponed Tokyo Olympic Games: Will there be fans or empty stadiums in 14 months? How will thousands of athletes, staff members and technical officials travel, be housed and stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic? And the Tokyo Games are not the only event. China, where COVID-19 was first detected, is to hold three mega-sports events in the year after the Tokyo Olympics are set to close. The World University Games in Chengdu, China, are to open, with up to 8,000 athletes, only 10 days after the Tokyo Games close. Next come the Beijing Winter Olympics beginning on Feb. 4, 2022,
When South Korea’s domestic women’s golf tour held its premier event last week — without spectators because of the COVID-19 pandemic — no fewer than three of the world’s top 10 players took part. The country of 52 million people has a disproportionate share of the women’s world golf rankings, providing eight of the current top 20. In a demonstration of their prominence, South Korean women have won at least one major every season since 2010, with coronavirus cancellations perhaps the biggest threat to their run this year. The phenomenon, players and commentators have said, results from driven parents, intense training, a highly
The COVID-19 pandemic has stalled young Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas’ burgeoning career, but he remains philosophical about the tennis shutdown. The world No. 6 would have been preparing for the French Open that was originally scheduled to start this weekend, but was postponed to September. While he is missing life on the ATP Tour, Tsitsipas believes that the lockdown has given the planet a breather. “I actually think they should put us in lockdown once a year — it’s good for nature, it’s good for our planet,” Tsitsipas said in an Instagram Live conversation for At Home With Babsi on Eurosport’s Instagram page. “I
PANDEMIC HYGIENE: Players had their temperatures checked, carried their own equipment and towels, and tapped rackets to congratulate the match winners Alison Riske and Danielle Collins of the US and Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic were among the winners on Friday, the opening day of a women’s tennis mini-tournament in Florida that offered professional players an opportunity to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The WTA women’s tennis tour canceled four more events this week and is not to resume until at least July 20. However, four women ranked in the top 60 in the world turned out for the UTR Pro Match Series event in Palm Beach, which followed a similar event for men two weeks ago. World No. 51 Collins toppled 28th-ranked compatriot Amanda Anisimova