Pitchside Europe

  • Klose enters the territory of Lazio legends

    As his Bologna players traipsed back into the away dressing room of the Stadio Olimpico, their pride hurting after a humiliating 6-0 defeat to Lazio, the club's heaviest since 1991, coach Stefano Pioli wasn't angry. Well, maybe just a little. His prevailing emotion, as became clear in his post-match press conference, was empathy.

    Pioli had been in this position more or less before. He knew what they were going through.

    He felt their pain. "As a coach I have never lost 6-0 but as a player," he explained. "I did even worse, losing 8-2. I even got sent off.

    "Would you like to know where it

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  • Nice celebrate but best could still be to come

    The celebrations were meant to be in the capital. Officially or not, Paris Saint-Germain were supposed to wrap up the title when they played host to Valenciennes on Sunday night.

    Alas, the champagne is very much on ice after a poor performance by Carlo Ancelotti's team in a 1-1 draw that was marred by the sending-off of Thiago Silva and a shameful shoulder charge by PSG sporting director Leonardo on the referee at full time.

    Meanwhile, more than 500 miles to the south, hundreds of fans gathered at Nice airport to welcome home their heroes, who had taken another giant stride towards qualifying

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  • European Team of the Week: May 3-5

    Taking pride of place in our European Team of the Week are two strikers who enjoyed impressive goalscoring feats at the weekend.

    Lazio star Miroslav Klose is an obvious choice after banging in five in Lazio's 6-0 over Bologna at the weekend.

    Napoli star Edinson Cavani also makes the selection after claiming a hat-trick in a win over Inter.

    Playing behind the Serie A stars in a midfield that includes Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Arturo Vidal of Juventus is a surprise pick.

    Reading's Jem Karacan makes the cut after claiming a goal and an assist in a victory at Fulham.

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  • The end of the Barcelona era?

    Bayern Munich's tremendous 7-0 aggregate victory over Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals has been hailed as a changing of the guard moment.

    With Borussia Dortmund also seeing off Real Madrid, an era of German dominance could be on the cards after around five years of Spain hogging the headlines.

    Bayern are set to welcome Pep Guardiola to the club in June and it is suspected that he will complete the job of deposing his former club, Barca, as Europe's pre-eminent force.

    But did we witness the end of an era on Wednesday night? And are Bayern now world football's leading club?


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  • View from the Bernabeu: Dortmund’s incredible night

    The English influence isn’t completely absent from the Champions League. No Premier League club made it beyond the last 16, but the 5,000 Borussia Dortmund fans happily sang ‘Here we go’; another song to the tune of ‘The Wild Rover’ and another to a Bananarama hit. No, not 'Robert Di Niro’s waiting', but their cover of 'Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss him goodbye)' as their players re-emerged from the dressing room to dance ecstatically in front of their fans. So did coach Jurgen Klopp, who bowed in reverence towards those supporters who absolutely adore him. He’s revolutionised their side and their

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  • Arjen Robben paying the penalty for missed chances

    Bayern Munich's Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben looks up during warm-up prior to the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg against Barcelona (AFP)

    Arjen Robben’s virtuoso performance for Bayern Munich against Barcelona in the Champions League last week could be his last for the Bavarians at the Allianz Arena.

    The Dutchman doesn’t fit into the plans of incoming coach Pep Guardiola and is set to end a four-year stint in Munich that began with trophies but will be remembered for on-pitch fights with team-mates, injuries and missed penalties that cost the club dear.

    The 29-year-old’s fine individual effort in the 4-0 first leg semi-final win against Barcelona showed just what the talented Robben is still capable of.

    A brilliant dribbler,

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  • Internazionale's Javier Zanetti shakes hands with his coach Andrea Stramaccioni

    To Javier Zanetti, it's hopefully nothing more than a pit stop. "I had to change tyres after so many miles," he said upon leaving the San Matteo hospital in Pavia last night. The Inter captain had got 1,101 appearances out of them when he suffered a blowout on his left side in Palermo.

    It'd happened in the 14th minute of the game. Already trailing by a goal to nil after some woeful defending by Matias Silvestre and Juan Jesus had allowed Josip Ilicic to strike what would ultimately prove the match-winner, Zanetti was motoring down the right and setting himself to make a cross into the box

    Read More »from Beat serious injury at 39? If anyone can, Javier Zanetti can
  • First title in 19 years not good enough for PSG

    Carlo Ancelotti reacts after Marco Verratti's red card

    The moment that Paris Saint-Germain have been waiting almost two decades for is approaching, but celebrations of their now inevitable title success look set to be overshadowed by the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of coach Carlo Ancelotti.

    PSG are on the verge of the third league title in their history, and their first since 1994, after Sunday's 1-0 win away to Evian in Annecy. It was a win that left the capital club nine points clear of second-placed Marseille with just four games of the season remaining, and the title could officially be theirs next weekend if OM fail to win

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  • European Team of the Week: April 26-28

    There's a distinctly German feel to our European Team of the Week with the Bundesliga contributing six of the XI.

    Leading the pack is Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who scored a hat-trick and claimed an assist in a 4-1 win over Hamburg.

    Alongside the Netherlands international is Roma striker Pablo Osvaldo, who also bagged three as Roma hammered Siena 4-0 in Serie A.

    Two Premier League players join the midfield with Oscar and Jordan Henderson representing Chelsea and Liverpool respectively.

    But it is the Bundesliga which dominates this week, contributing a further two midfielders, two

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  • Uli Hoeness joins in with the fans at Bayern's resounding win over Barcelona (Reuters)

    In the space of 24 hours Uli Hoeness was involved in a tax avoidance scandal, the transfer coup of the season and a mauling of Barcelona in the Champions League semis.

    All in a day’s work for the Bayern Munich president, surely the most colourful football official in Europe.

    Hoeness isn’t the first German multi-millionaire to open a Swiss bank account but when he turned himself in on Monday there was genuine surprise and anger, in and outside football.

    That’s because Hoeness is much more than the president of Germany’s biggest club: ‘‘Mr. Bayern’’ has become the go-to man for journalists

    Read More »from Poaching Germany’s best is just what Hoeness and Bayern do