Nearly 13,000 cardboard cut-outs of Borussia Moenchengladbach supporters are set to welcome the team for tomorrow’s Bundesliga match against Bayer Leverkusen behind closed doors. Gladbach hosted the first Bundesliga game ever played without fans on March 11, shortly before the German season was put on hold because of the coronavirus outbreak. One of the club’s supporters’ groups, “Fanprojekt Moenchengladbach”, subsequently came up with the idea of allowing fans to print life-sized images of themselves to be placed inside the ground. The cut-outs line the stadium’s otherwise empty stands, with season ticket holders able to have their cardboard lookalike allocated to their regular spot.
Gladbach are third in the table and six points behind leaders Bayern Munich. They won 3-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend as the Bundesliga returned following a two-month interruption.
Barca midfielder De Jong
‘not ready to play yet’
Dutch international Frenkie de Jong said he was glad to resume training with Barcelona but is “not ready to play a game yet” after a two-month stoppage because of the coronavirus pandemic. Spanish clubs began training in groups of 10 players on Monday, in line with health protocols, as La Liga took another step towards the planned resumption of the season next month.
“I was missing training, my team-mates, playing football and all that,” De Jong said in an interview on the club website. “Two or three months apart were a long time. It is always nice to meet up again after a separation for holidays or whatever, but it’s normally just three weeks or so and this was almost three months.”
Teams in the top two divisions in Spain returned to their training grounds earlier this month, with players initially working individually as part of La Liga’s staggered programme. “I don’t think I’m ready to play a game yet. We still need a few weeks of training. First individually, then in small groups and then as a whole team. We’ll be ready to play again in a few weeks’ time,” said De Jong.
undergoes Knee Surgery
World Cup finalist and Atletico Madrid defender Sime Vrsaljko went under the knife to remove surgical material left there in a previous operation, the Spanish club said. The 28-year-old right-back starred in Croatia’s run to the World Cup final in 2018 but missed almost all of the following year through injury.
Vrsaljko underwent an arthroscopy on his left knee to remove surgical material from a ligament operation he had 16 months ago. Atletico said the operation in Madrid would soon allow Vrsaljko to begin training.
American investor set to buy French club Toulouse
The owners of French football club Toulouse are in negotiations with the American investment group RedBird Capital Partners to sell 85 % of the club, the two parties said. Toulouse will be in the French second flight next season after ending the shortened 2019-2020 campaign rock bottom of Ligue 1 and suffering automatic relegation.
But Toulouse now appear on the brink of an injection of American investment by a former Goldman Sachs partner. American investors have in recent season taken control of Marseille, Bordeaux and Le Havre. Frenchman Olivier Sadran, who currently owns Toulouse, is hoping to keep part ownership.
Another Dynamo Dresden player tests positive
German second division club Dynamo Dresden, where the entire squad is nearing the end of a 14-day quarantine after three players tested positive for Covid-19, say a fourth player plus a staff member have returned positive tests.
However, the club, who are bottom of the Bundesliga 2, said health authorities had not extended the collective quarantine and that only the infected pair would be isolated. The club said that all other members, including the three players who had previously tested positive, had returned negative results in the fifth batch of testing and could begin group training tomorrow. The club announced its first positive case on May 4 followed by two more five days later. At that point, the local authority, which has the final say, ordered the entire squad to be quarantined. As a result, when the 2.
Ribery returns to Fiorentina training after six months out
Former France international Franck Ribery is back in training with Fiorentina after missing almost six months with a serious ankle injury. The 37-year-old took part in an individual session on Wednesday after Serie A clubs were given the green light to resume group training this week.
Ribery, who joined Fiorentina this season after 12 years with Bayern Munich, returned to Italy a fortnight ago after spending several weeks in Germany during the coronavirus lockdown. He scored twice in 11 games for Fiorentina before undergoing surgery on his right ankle.
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