By DAN KARELL
Bayern Munich could be facing an injury crisis as they head into the FIFA Club World Cup later this month.
The club confirmed that winger Arjen Robben, who was stretchered off on Wednesday after a nasty collision with the Augsburg goalkeeper in Bayern’s 2-0 victory, will be out for the next six weeks with a knee injury. Robben suffered a deep laceration that caused a lot of swelling and blood to be lost in the area where the injury occurred.
“Obviously I’m bitterly disappointed,” Robben told Bayern’s website. “I’ve been in such good form and really looking forward to every game with our team, but now this has happened. However, I’ll return fully fit and rejoin the team as we pursue the targets we’ve set ourselves for the season.“
The German champions have just two Bundesliga matches and one UEFA Champions League match before the domestic winter break. However, due to winning the Champions League last season, Bayern will be taking part at the Club World Cup in Morocco, and they’ll now be without Robben. On the bright side, Franck Ribery played his first minutes on Wednesday as a second half substitute since he suffered a cracked rib with France against Ukraine in November.
Here are some more stories to start your Thursday:
SUAREZ CLAIMS HE’S HAPPY NOW AT LIVERPOOL
Much was made last summer of Luis Suarez’s desire to leave Liverpool, but five months later, it seems that all has changed.
The Liverpool forward scored an outrageous four goals against Norwich City on Wednesday evening at Anfield in a 5-1 win, becoming the first South American to score four goals in an English Premier League game. It was clear to see following each goal that nobody had a bigger smile on their face than Suarez himself.
“Yes, I am happy here and I will stay (at Liverpool), said the Uruguayan star to Spanish publication Marca after the match. “When I’m happy off the field, it shows within. I’m at home in the Premier League, it is the best league out there.”
In nine Premier League games this season, Suarez has 13 goals and two assists, as Liverpool looks to make it back into the Champions League. Suarez was subject to much speculation over a move to Arsenal or potentially Real Madrid, but it seems that he’s happy to stay in Merseyside for the near future.
HONORS EVEN BETWEEN LANUS AND PONTE PRETA IN SUDAMERICANA FINAL FIRST LEG
Nothing separates Brazilian club Ponte Preta and Argentine side Lanus as they head into the second leg of the Copa Sudamericana final next Wednesday.
In the first-leg match at the Pacaembu Stadium in Sao Paulo, Ponte Preta and Lanus played to a 1-1 draw that was underlined by two brilliant free kick goals. The Argentinian club were the first to break the deadlock as center back Paulo Goltz stepped up and curled in a beauty in the 57th minute, freezing Ponte Preta goalkeeper Roberto Tigrao.
But the hosts were not to be denied as midfielder Felipe Bastos equalized with a great free kick of his own in the 78th minute. Bastos curled the ball around the wall and just beyond the reach of the diving Agustin Marchesin of Lanus.
The two teams meet again at La Fortaleza, the informal name of Lanus’ home stadium, to decide the champion.
INTER INTERESTED IN JOVETIC AND OSVALDO
As Inter Milan heads into their first transfer window under new ownership, two forwards in the English Premier League who have yet to settle look to be at the top of Inter’s wish list.
According to a report from Sky Sports Italia, Inter are considering signing Manchester City’s Stevan Jovetic or Southampton’s Dani Osvaldo next month after Inter coach Walter Mazzari reportedly told new owner Erick Thohir that he’d like another striker in the transfer window. Inter has been rumored to be interested in a number of other targets too including Paris Saint-Germain’s Lucas, Ezequiel Lavezzi, and Man City’s Edin Dzeko.
Jovetic has struggled to settle in Man City as he’s made just five appearances so far for the Sky Blues in all competitions since his €26 million move last July from Fiorentina. Osvaldo meanwhile hasn’t put up the goal numbers that he did in Rome or with Espanyol in Spain for Southampton, scoring just twice in 11 English Premier League matches.
Brazil’s sports minister has updated FIFA and confirmed that six of the 12 venues for the 2014 World Cup won’t be finished by the end of December. (REPORT)
UEFA President and FIFA Vice President Michel Platini has confirmed that the World Cup won’t be moved from Qatar in 2022. (REPORT)
David Moyes is considering another try at signing Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera this January after seeing his side get dominated in the midfield by Everton on Wednesday. (REPORT)
AS Roma captain Francesco Totti spent part of Thursday’s training session with the first team as he slowly works his way back to fitness following a hamstring injury. (REPORT)
The president of Sevilla FC, Jose Maria del Nido, has been sentenced to seven years in prison for embezzlement and breach of trust. (REPORT)
In an interview on his 40th birthday (today), Inter Milan captain Javier Zanetti says he’s not yet ready to retire and once he’s done, he doesn’t plan on becoming a coach. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? How much will Bayern miss Robben for the next few matches? Glad to see Suarez staying committed to Liverpool? Think he should join Real Madrid?