Bundesliga International CEO says German football league is a role model

The CEO of Bundesliga International Robert Klein called the German league a trendsetter in European football after RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich reached the final four of the 2019-20 Champions League, with the Bavarians winning this season’s treble.

German football can be a role model in several ways, Klein said in a recent interview.

The fact that three German coaches made it to the Champions League semifinals tells the story of a successful coaching education system, he underlined.

Manuel Neuer (C), captain of FC Bayern Munich lifts the UEFA Champions League trophy following his team’s victory in the UEFA Champions League Final match between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich at Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica in Lisbon, Portugal, Aug. 23, 2020. (Photo by Julian Finney/UEFA via Xinhua)

“Germany has been the first nation to have three of its coaches among the final four in the Champions League,” he added.

The reasons seem apparent in Klein’s view.

To coach in Germany’s top three leagues, one must obtain a football coaching licence, and the country has a strict and selective education system, he explained: “Each year, only 24 or 25 applicants are accepted at the only education venue, the Hennes-Weisweiler Academy in Cologne.”

The academy, named after one of the country’s most famous coaches, is solely responsible for the highest available coaching license.

The success of clubs and coaches strengthens the Bundesliga’s position in European football, against the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, the Italian Serie A, and France’s Ligue 1.

Looking at the big five European leagues, the Bundesliga is the one with the most goals per game.

Bayern’s success also proves football clubs can succeed at the highest level and follow reasonable financial procedures.

Klein called safeguarding the club’s financial pattern more important than ever for the future of football.

Germany has been on the right track over the last decades, keeping an eye on its clubs’ financial policy. The COVID-19 pandemic might have enforced the impression.

Bayern remains the league’s flagship from an international perspective, the official underlined.

Despite the Bavarians having dominated the national and international stage, close competition is secured as domestic competitors such as RB Leipzig, Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund have caught up over recent years.

The 2020/2021 season will provide thrilling games for fans as the leading clubs are close together. “We had only four points between the top three before the pandemic outbreak.”

The pandemic forced clubs to develop creative concepts to stay in close contact with fans and partners worldwide. “Virtual tours run by several clubs have been a great success,” he added.

Klein is expecting the many young talents to continue their performance. He mentioned Dortmund’s Erling Haaland as one of the examples next to Jadon Sancho.

Chinese fans are fond of the football played by German clubs, he said. “The Bundesliga is big in China,” Klein commented.

The league association is happy about setting up concepts, allowing a certain number of fans to return to stadiums using a day-to-day approach considering infection numbers.

The safety and health of fans, players, and staff remains the primary target, Klein said. Depending on local figures, Leipzig set up a concept to allow 8,500 fans to see their first home game against FSV Mainz 05 on Sept. 20.

Other clubs are expected to follow.

Concepts base on the league’s general concept, leading to the earliest re-start of all European leagues.

The Bundesliga is also going to intensify its efforts to support football development in China.

German clubs are increasing their effort to find Chinese talents for their squads. “We know there are a lot of talented players in China and I believe we will have Chinese players in the Bundesliga in the foreseeable future,” Klein added.

COVID-19 updates around the world

China Registers 2 New COVID-19 Cases, No Deaths in Past 24 Hours – Authorities

China has registered two new COVID-19 cases, with no people having died of the disease over the past 24 hours, the National Health Commission said on Sunday.

Of the new cases, one is imported. It was recorded in the city of Shanghai. The other is a case of local transmission in the northern province of Shanxi.

“The National Health Commission has received information from 31 provinces … about 82,877 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection, including 531 who are still ill (10 people are in serious condition), 77,713 people who have been discharged from hospitals, and 4,633 who have died,” the commission reported.

Over the past 24 hours, the country has detected 12 asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers. A total of 968 of such people remain under medical supervision. The commission started reporting figures on asymptomatic cases on April 1.

No new COVID-19 cases or deaths have been reported in Hubei, the province where the virus was first detected in China. Its hospitals are free of coronavirus patients.

Separately, Hong Kong accounts for 1,039 cumulative cases and four fatalities, and Macao for 45 cases. Taiwan has confirmed a total of 432 cases, including six deaths.

Russian Cabinet Lifts Temporary Ban on Exports of Masks, Personal Protective Equipment

The Russian government has lifted a temporary ban on exports of face masks and personal protective equipment, according to the relevant document published on the legal information portal on Saturday.

The decree takes effect immediately upon publication.

Russia suspended exports of a number of medical supplies amid the pandemic, except for items transported for personal use or as part of humanitarian aid. The measures were supposed to remain in effect until 1 June.

Number of COVID-19 Cases in India Rises by 2,644 to 39,980

India has confirmed a record 2,644 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, taking the total to 39,980, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Sunday.

The death toll has risen by 83 to 1,301.

A day before, the country reported 2,293 new cases, which was also a record daily increase, and 71 fatalities.

The number of recoveries has grown by 682 to 10,632.

India extended the tough lockdown for two additional weeks on May 1. The quarantine regime prescribes closure of educational institutions, entertainment centers and suspension of public transport, train and subway services. Moreover, the authorities have closed borders between states to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In areas with less exposure to COVID-19, people are allowed to use public transport and taxi, albeit with certain restrictions.

Germany’s COVID-19 Tally Rises by 793 to 162,496, Deaths Top 6,600 – Koch Institute

Germany has confirmed 793 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, taking the total to 162,496, the Robert Koch Institute said Sunday.

The death toll has risen by 74 to 6,649 people in the given period.

A day earlier, the country recorded 945 new cases and 94 fatalities.

Over 130,000 COVID-19 patients have recovered in Germany since the beginning of the outbreak.

The most coronavirus cases have been recorded in Bavaria (42,792), North Rhine-Westphalia (33,428) and Baden-Wurttemberg (32,291). Berlin has 5,976 cases.

Naked Qualms. German doctors go nude to protest shortage of equipment

German doctors are stripping off their clothes to protest shortages of personal protective equipment.

Photos appearing to show nude medical workers with body parts artfully obscured by stethoscopes and other medical equipment have been posted to the website Blanke Bedenken, which translates to “Naked Qualms,” according to the Guardian.

“We are your GPs. To be able to treat you safely, we need protective gear…When we run out of the little we have, we look like this,” the site reads.

German doctor

“The nudity is a symbol of how vulnerable we are without protection,” one doctor tells German media, per the Guardian.

The protest was reportedly inspired by Alain Colombié, a French doctor photographed naked in his practice in late March. Colombié, who said the lack of PPE followed months of warnings from health workers, intended to “push a stunt and come to the defense of the entire family of healthcare workers,” the Mirror reported.

A recent study cited by the Guardian found German doctors were in need of 150 million masks, some 60 million gloves, and 60 million aprons.

German shoppers taking their time as shops reopen for business

German consumers are counting their pennies rather than returning to shop in large numbers as stores gradually reopen after being locked down during the coronavirus crisis, the national retailers association said on Wednesday.

Stores of up to 800 square metres (8,600 square feet) were allowed to open again from Monday, along with car and bicycle dealers and bookstores, provided they adhere to strict social distancing and hygiene rules.

But the HDE association said the mood among shoppers remained very subdued due to concerns about jobs and finances. “Consumers are in a crisis mode, consumer sentiment is in the doldrums,” a spokesman said.

In some parts of Europe’s biggest economy, larger stores have also been allowed to open, such as furniture and homeware chain Ikea in the western state of North Rhine Westphalia. Elsewhere, large stores such as Media Markt and Saturn have cordoned off a smaller sales area to meet the 800-square-metre rule.

The HDE has criticised the decision to only allow smaller stores to open, calling the move confusing for customers and said both large and small shops were capable of respecting the rules.

Germany’s lockdown took effect on 17 March.

The government says social distancing rules will remain in force until at least 3 May but hopes schools can reopen the following day

Angela Merkel warns nations against reopening their economies ‘too fast’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized some German states for moving too briskly in trying to reopen their economies.

Germany has been praised for its approach to the pandemic and has a much lower reported death toll than other large European countries.

“We’re not living in the final phase of the pandemic, but still at the beginning,” Merkel warned. “Let us not squander what we have achieved and risk a setback. It would be a shame if premature hope ultimately punishes us all.”

Governments are bearing that risk in mind with the onset of Ramadan, the holy month of daytime fasting, overnight festivities and communal prayer that begins for the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims with the new moon this week. Many Muslim leaders have closed mosques or banned collective evening prayer to ward off new infections.

The virus has already disrupted Christianity’s Holy Week, Passover, the Muslim hajj pilgrimage and other major religious events. Authorities in the capital of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, extended its disease-fighting restrictions to cover all of Ramadan, Turkey banned communal eating during the holiday.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan bowed to the country’s religious clerics, refusing to close the mosques despite a warning from the nation’s doctors that such gatherings are like a petri dish for spreading the virus in a country with a fragile health care system.

Thai king ‘quarantined’ with 20 beautiful women in a German hotel

King of Thailand Maha Vajiralongkorn is a frequent visitor of Germany, where he owns property on Lake Starnberg.

His trip to the hotel was authorised in spite of the lockdown imposed in Bavaria due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected 67,051 people across Germany as at Thursday, according to media reports.

King of Thailand Maha Vajiralongkorn

King of Thailand Maha Vajiralongkorn

The 67-year-old monarch reportedly “isolated” himself at the Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in a Bavarian resort in Germany. He is said to be enjoying the company of 20 ladies while his country is in lockdown, Bild reported.

According to the German newspaper, Maha Vajiralongkorn booked all of the room after German officials lifted quarantine regulations on the hotel thereby allowing the king and his retinue to be classified as “a household”.

The king’s extravagant venture did not sit well with Thais.

A large number of Thai citizens have poured out their hearts on Twitter, expressing discontent with the 67-year-old monarch’s trip.

A Thai-language hashtag that could be translated as “Why do we need a king?” has emerged on Twitter – even despite Thailand’s law prohibiting criticism of the monarchy under penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

The king’s trip to Germany comes as the country is experiencing one of the worst coronavirus crises, with 67,051 infected and 650 dead, making the nation the fifth worst-hit country in the world.

In his homeland Thailand, there are 1,651 cases of COVID-19 with 10 fatalities.

Germany’s Merkel quarantined after doctor tested positive to COVID-19

German Chancellor Angela Merkel self-isolated on 22 March after being told that a doctor who had administered a vaccine to her against pneumococcal infection had tested positive for COVID-19.

Angela Merkel took a test to determine whether she had the new coronavirus and it came back negative, spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters.

“Other tests will be conducted in the coming days”, he added.

Earlier, the spokesman said that the chancellor was glad to receive good health wishes from so many people.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said earlier in the day that Merkel had asked him to stand in for her during a parliamentary address on 25 March, during which the government will unveil a $167 billion aid package to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.

Germany recorded 4,000 new infections overnight, bringing the tally to 22,672, while 86 people have died in the country since the outbreak began. Director of the Robert Koch Institute Lothar Wieler said these estimates were inconclusive because not all German states had submitted their latest figures.

As of Monday, the number of global COVID-19 cases surpassed 353,600, with more than 15,400 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University’s website.

Man arrested in Germany for ‘impersonating’ Adolf Hitler

A man impersonating Adolf Hitler was arrested by police after trying to get into a brewery in Germany.

Harald Zenz was stopped outside of a bar in Munich, where he was reportedly wearing a Nazi outfit – decorated with symbols and fake memorabilia – which is forbidden in public in Germany.

The man who also goes by the name of Harald Hitler is believed to be a supporter of the far-right and Nazi ideology, and members of the German Workers Club. He had reportedly reserved a 10-person table, which staff later cancelled.

Harald Zenz arrested.jpg

Images: Harald Zenz accosted by police in Germany

Zenz was previously arrested in 2017 having visited Hitler’s birthplace, Braunau am Inn, in Austria.

He was spotted in a bookstore browsing through magazines about World War II and was also heard giving his name as Harald Hitler.

Praising the Nazi dictator is against Austrian law.

Police spokesman David Furtner said: “It was obvious he glorified Hitler.”

In 2017, Zenz committed similar offence and was detained near the Austrian border town of Braunau am Inn where Adolf Hitler was born.

German police say drunken driver who crushed 6 tourists is not a terrorist

A drunken driver speeding on a mountain road plowed into a group of young German tourists in northern Italy early Sunday, killing six people and injuring 11 others, Italian authorities said.

The deadly crash occurred in a village of Valle Aurina, northeast of Bolzano in the Alto Adige region, shortly after 1 a.m. as the Germans gathered near their tour bus. They were between the ages of 20 and 25.

The largely German-speaking autonomous region of northern Italy, with its ski resorts in the Dolomites and quaint villages around Bolzano, is popular with German tourists. “The new year begins with a terrible tragedy,” said the regional president of Alto Adige, Arno Kompatscher. “We are left stunned.”

The driver of the car had a high blood alcohol content and was driving particularly fast, a Carabineri police official in Brunico told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to give his name. He said police had concluded that the crash wasn’t an act of terrorism.

Italian news reports said the driver’s blood alcohol level was nearly four times the legal limit, and that he slammed into the tourists as they were getting off their bus and returning home after an evening out.

“They were torn from their lives by the actions of someone speeding under the influence of alcohol,” said Armin Laschet, the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, the German state that is home to most of the victims.

The Lutago volunteer fire service said on Facebook that six people were killed at the scene. The 11 injured, four of whom were in critical condition, were taken to several regional hospitals, including two who were airlifted to a hospital in Innsbruck, Austria, said Bolzano Carabinieri Cmdr. Alessandro Coassin.

Coassin said the driver, identified by Italian media as a 28-year-old man from the nearby town of Chienes, was arrested on suspicion of highway manslaughter and injury and was being treated at the hospital in Brunico.

Most of the victims hailed from western Germany, though two of the injured were Italian, officials said. “These young people wanted to spend a good time together and were torn out of their lives or seriously injured from one second to the next,” Laschet said.

Speaking to reporters in Germany, Laschet said the victims came from various cities. “It was a single group … but not everyone knew each other,” he said. In all, 160 rescue workers and emergency medical personnel responded to the crash, which “looked like a battlefield,” according to Helmut Abfalterer of the Lutago volunteer fire service.

Mourners later left candles and flowers at the crash scene, which was located along a two-lane road dotted by hotels and piles of snow in the mountainous region. Kompatscher told a press conference the victims were part of a group of young Germans on vacation. He expressed his condolences to their families and declined to provide further details pending notification to their loved ones.

The accident occurred on the final long weekend of the Christmas and New Year’s holiday in Italy, which will be capped by Epiphany on Monday.

Igbo-group in Germany tenders apology to Ike Ekweremadu

Ndi-Igbo in Germany has apologized to former Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, over the attack on him by alleged members of the Indigenous People of Biafra in Nuremberg, Germany, last Saturday.

The group, which organised the event where the attack took place, described the incident as an embarrassment to the entire Igbo race and Nigeria.

In a statement on Monday, the group said that those involved in the attack would face the wrath of the law.

The statement reads, “Ndi-Igbo Germany wish to offer our unequivocal apology to our special guest of honour, Senator Ike Ekweremadu for the unfortunate treatment misdirected at him by members of Indigenous People of Biafra in Germany during the occasion of our 2nd annual Igbo Cultural Festival and Convention 2019.

“It must be emphasized that Senator Ekweremadu had nothing personal to gain in attending our cultural day.

“Rather Igbo residents in Germany lost an opportunity to tap into his reservoir of knowledge.

“No words can describe our shock, our consternation, and our sadness at this inexcusable, shameful and senseless attack.

“We apologise from the depths of our hearts that you had to experience such a horrible thing in our midst.

“Our apologies go to Ohaneze Ndi Igbo and to all well-meaning Igbo-Diasporan groups and associations both at home and abroad for this disgrace.

“We sincerely apologize to the National Assembly and indeed to our entire country for such an unwarranted assault on Senator Ekweremadu by the IPOB members in Germany.

“We are committed to working and cooperating with our host country Germany and with her constituted authorities. Ndi–Igbo Germany will let the full weight of the law take its course.”

Avalanche hits France and Germany

 

Avalanche 2.jpg

A five-meter-high avalanche reached the streets of the Bavarian community of Marktschellenberg, Focus reported, citing police. Police, fire and mountain rescue services arrived at the scene. No one was hurt. A specially-trained dog was used to look through the debris.

“Until now, there was no threat of avalanches in this area, we were somewhat taken aback,” a police spokesman said.

Authorities also had to close roads and train lines because of heavy snowfall in Bavaria.

According to AP, officials say a large avalanche has slammed into a hotel in southern Germany, damaging the building but causing no injuries.

A spokeswoman for Oberallgaeu regional authorities said the hotel’s 100 guests were evacuated to other dwellings in the village of Balderschwang.

Brigitte Kloepf told The Associated Press that about 1,100 people are unable to leave Balderschwang, near the Austrian border, because of an avalanche risk on roads following days of intense snowfall.

Authorities in parts of Austria, Germany and Switzerland have warned that further snow and rainfall is raising the risk of avalanches, and increase the weight on snow-laden roofs. Dozens of people have died in avalanches or weather-related accidents across central Europe in recent days.

German Chancellor calls for peace and unity in her New Year message

 

Angela Merkel.jpg

German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to pull the country together for 2019 in her New Year’s speech on Sunday with a call for solidarity and cooperation to overcome deep political divisions.

Merkel said she recognized that many Germans “bemoaned” the ruling coalition that took office in March, an alliance of her conservative bloc and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD).

However, she added: “We will only master the challenges of our times if we stick together and collaborate with others across borders.”

Germany is still feeling the impact of Merkel’s 2015 decision to leave open the country’s borders to more than one million refugees, mainly fleeing war in the Middle East.

Resentment at that decision helped feed the rise of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), which surged into the Bundestag for the first time at last year’s federal election, fracturing the country’s political landscape.

Merkel has given up the leadership of her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), but wants to remain chancellor for the remainder of the current legislative period through to 2021 – a goal she referenced again in her New Year’s speech.

A poll on Sunday showed a majority of those surveyed Germans who expressed an opinion supported her staying on as chancellor for the full term.

Merkel stressed what she called Germany’s values of “openness, tolerance, respect” and said the country would work towards “global solutions” when it starts a two-year stint as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council from January 1.

Merkel has sought to defend the Western order on which Germany depends. She said she was committed to making the European Union (EU) more robust and capable of taking decisions.

“And with Britain, we want to maintain a close partnership despite the withdrawal from the EU,” she added.

German Chancellor calls for peace and unity in her New Year message

 

Angela Merkel.jpg

German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to pull the country together for 2019 in her New Year’s speech on Sunday with a call for solidarity and cooperation to overcome deep political divisions.

Merkel said she recognized that many Germans “bemoaned” the ruling coalition that took office in March, an alliance of her conservative bloc and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD).

However, she added: “We will only master the challenges of our times if we stick together and collaborate with others across borders.”

Germany is still feeling the impact of Merkel’s 2015 decision to leave open the country’s borders to more than one million refugees, mainly fleeing war in the Middle East.

Resentment at that decision helped feed the rise of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), which surged into the Bundestag for the first time at last year’s federal election, fracturing the country’s political landscape.

Merkel has given up the leadership of her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), but wants to remain chancellor for the remainder of the current legislative period through to 2021 – a goal she referenced again in her New Year’s speech.

A poll on Sunday showed a majority of those surveyed Germans who expressed an opinion supported her staying on as chancellor for the full term.

Merkel stressed what she called Germany’s values of “openness, tolerance, respect” and said the country would work towards “global solutions” when it starts a two-year stint as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council from January 1.

Merkel has sought to defend the Western order on which Germany depends. She said she was committed to making the European Union (EU) more robust and capable of taking decisions.

“And with Britain, we want to maintain a close partnership despite the withdrawal from the EU,” she added.

Mesut Ozil’s commitment means a lot to Arsenal – Unai Emery

 

Unai Emery has said his star player, Mesut Ozil, will not get preferential treatment at Arsenal just because he’s the highest-earner.

Ozil and Unai Emery.jpg

Image: Mesut Ozil and Unai Emery

Emery insists that Ozil has a bright future at the Emirates although the Germany international was an unused substitute during Arsenal’s quarter final defeat to Tottenham in the Carabao Cup earlier this week.

The mercurial midfielder has been a shadow of himself recently, having suffered a back injury which ruled him out for four games until earlier in November, when he started as part of Arsenal’s first eleven during a disappointing Europa League away game against Qarabag.

Ozil, who was a reliable link in Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, has been relegated to the sidelines since Emery’s arrival at the club. The left-footed player craves a taste of English Premier League action but the former PSG manager has no problems keeping him on the bench, a situation which stirred rumors that the German football icon will leave in January.

Speaking on Ozil’s possible exit, Emery insists that the former Germany national team captain has a future at Arsenal.

‘Why not, yes,’ the manager replied, however refusing to answer questions on the possibility of a move in January.

‘At this time, Ozil will be treated just like every other player in the squad…I’m not thinking about the likeliness that he will leave the Emirates Stadium.’

Emery praised Ozil for scoring three goals and offering assists.

‘Different matches demand some special adjustments in players and tactics…He [Ozil] is not the only one affected,’ he said.

The coach explained that he is unaware of his players’ salaries, also stressing that footballers’ financial status is not a criterion for making the first team or playing regularly. ‘I always explain my decisions to those who are selected for games and those on the bench.’

He continued, ‘The most important thing for me as a coach is commitment from every player…This shouldn’t affect their confidence or loyalty when–for tactical reasons–anyone is dropped for his teammates.’

The world in pictures (27 November, 2018)

 

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Contemporary Greek art on display at China’s National Art Museum.

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China’s home-built aircraft appears in college cafeteria

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British dancers break record for world’s largest disco dance.

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Heavy fog hits eastern and northern parts of China.

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The annual Christmas market was held in Germany.