World champions Germany get the defence of their title underway against Marco Fabian’s Mexico at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday (kick-off: 5 pm CEST/4pm BST/11am ET) with captain Manuel Neuer returning to form and physical fitness at just the correct time.
The Bayern Munich shot-stopper broke his foot two times in the 2017/18 campaign and was restricted to just three Bundesliga appearances – each and every one of them clean sheets – as the champions sealed their 28th German major-flight title. Getting played a put together 135 minutes in Die Mannschaft’s latest friendlies with Austria and Saudi Arabia, the 32-year-old will guide his team out against Mexico with Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen acting as the 1st understudy. Leroy Sane was perhaps the most surprising omission when coach Joachim Löw announced his ultimate 23-man squad for the match, but with Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus – like Neuer – again to his finest, the Manchester City winger’s absence could perfectly prove to be negligible.
If Germany had been impressive in winning all 10 of their games in UEFA qualifying portion, Mexico had been not far behind. El Tri only missing a single of their twelve games in the CONCACAF zone – their ultimate a single, against Honduras, when qualification was already assured. In Fabian and Carlos Salcedo, Mexico boasts two players who lifted the DFB Cup with Eintracht Frankfurt, at Bayern’s expenditure, in May. The pair is anticipated to begin, with previous Bayer Leverkusen favourite Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez primary the line.
Germany: Neuer (c) – Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Hector – Kroos, Khedira – Müller, Özil, Reus – Werner
Subs: ter Stegen, Ginter, Plattenhardt, Rüdiger, Süle, Brandt, Draxler, Goretzka, Gündogan, Rudy, Gomez, Trapp
Mentor: Joachim Löw
Mexico: Ochoa – Salcedo, Reyes, Moreno, Layun – Marquez, Guardado (c) – Vela, Herrera, Fabian – Chicharito
Subs: Telavera, Alvarez, Ayala, Gallardo, Aquino, G. dos Santos, J. dos Santos, Corona, Jimenez, Lozano, Peralta
Mentor: Juan Carlos Osorio
Head coach Steve Komphela of Kaizer Chiefs during 2017 Macufe Cup game between Bloemfontein Celtic and Kaizer Chiefs at Free State Stadium on 08 October [email protected] Kgakatsi/BackpagePix
Thursday Nov 23, 2017. 17:30
Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela has admitted that he is concerned at learning that his team took more than an hour to register their first shot on target against AmaZulu yesterday.
The Amakhosi played to a goalless draw away to Usuthu at Princess Magogo Stadium, having offered little threat through the match. Their first shot on target only arrived from a header by Gustavo Paez in the 66th minute – and they had only one more in the remainder of the game.
The hosts, by contrast, were ‘trigger happy’ and hit eight shots on target, only to find Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune in superb form, as he even kept out a penalty kick.
“Someone asked me that after the match. I still have to go back and look,” Komphela told reporters after the match, as quoted by Kick-Off.
“Looking at how the match unfolded, how many did AmaZulu have? How many? I’m trying to draw a comparison and then without defending us, because if you say at the 60th minute we got nothing and AmaZulu was 14 shots on target then there’s really cause for concern… we have to look at that.
“If it’s 60 minutes Chiefs zero, AmaZulu zero, one or two, then it points at the match. The conditions just didn’t make it easy but that doesn’t have to come out with excuses.
“I wish I knew how many AmaZulu had after 60 minutes, then I’ll respond with a little bit more relevance. But we need to create chances and goalmouth action, but again when you are playing a team that is pressing that is not going to be easy.”
Komphela added, “In the first half I thought they did better and we got to grips in the second half.
“They missed the penalty, we were lucky to survive but congratulations again must go to Itu, who read the situation and stood his ground, made the save.
“We also had a couple of chances. I thought we should’ve won the match. There’s a number of maybe calls that we should’ve done better with in terms of our defensive line.
“In the final third we were a bit desperate in terms of taking chances. On any given day or under other circumstances we could’ve taken those chances even the [Siphiwe Tshabalala] ‘Shabba’ one in the last minute.”
Sunday Nov 12, 2017. 13:00
Egyptian star Mohamed Salah has better stats at this stage of his Liverpool career than either Luis Suarez or Fernando Torres managed.
The Pharaohs attacker has been a revelation for the Reds since joining from Roma at the start of the 2017/18 season.
Salah has thus far managed 12 goals and three assists in his first 17 games for Liverpool across all competitions.
Salah’s tally of 12 is more than Torres and Suarez managed, even though both were out-and-out strikers.
The Egyptian has been given the current international break off by Pharaohs coach Hector Cuper, and will play no part in the Ghana v Egypt World Cup qualifier later today.
But he is sure to be back in Liverpool red when they host Southampton for a Premier League clash on Saturday 18 November.
Thulani Hlatshwayo, Gabadinhno Mhango and Buhle Mkhwanazi of Bidvest Wits holds aloft the trophy as Wits are crowned the 2016/2017 Absa Premiership Champions during the Absa Premiership 2016/17 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Bidvest Wits at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg South Africa on 27 May 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Sunday May 28, 2017. 10:00
AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the numbers after the 2016/17 Absa Premiership season wrapped up on Saturday with eight matches played simultaneously across South Africa.
We look at the campaign’s most salient stats following Bidvest Wits’ title triumph, direct relegation for Highlands Park and Baroka FC’s entry into the playoffs.
1 – Bidvest Wits’ title triumph was the club’s first in its 96-year history.
2 – Outgoing champions Mamelodi Sundowns finished second despite having the best attack (52 goals scored), best defence (20 goals conceded), best goal difference (+32) and fewest defeats (five).
4 – Wits manager Gavin Hunt has now won four PSL titles (three with SuperSport United, one with the Clever Boys) and joins Gordon Igesund and Ted Dumitru as four-time champions in South Africa’s top flight.
6 – Wits’ Daine Klate won a record sixth PSL title as a player – he won three with SuperSport, two with Orlando Pirates (those five arrived in succession) and now one with the Clever Boys.
9 – Bloemfontein Celtic avoided the relegation zone by one point despite failing to win any of their last nine league matches.
11 – The final league position of Orlando Pirates. It is the first time the Buccaneers have finished outside of the top eight in the PSL era (1996/97 onwards).
13 – The number of goals netted by Cape Town City’s Lebogang Manyama to be the Absa Premiership’s leading scorer this season.
16 – The number of goals scored by Bloemfontein Celtic, the lowest of any team in the PSL since Jomo Cosmos’ tally of 13 in the 2007/08 season.
22-10 – A total of 22 points covered the top half of the table, while just 10 points covered the bottom half. Two points covered the bottom five finishers.
44 – Despite having the equal-worst defence in the league (44 goals conceded, the same as relegated Highlands Park) Golden Arrows still finished in the top eight.
60 – Wits’ points total of 60 is the lowest to win the title since Kaizer Chiefs claimed the 2012/13 championship with 57 points.
538 – The number of goals scored in the 2016/17 Absa Premiership season, at an average of 2.24 per match.
10-million – The prize money in South African rand won by Bidvest Wits for their Absa Premiership title success.