Frankfurt blast troublesome fans
Sun, 20 Jan 2013 10:52:00
Chelsea's interim manager Rafa Benitez is ready to take Fernando Torres out of the firing line and offer him a rest.
Torres' struggles at Stamford Bridge since completing a record-breaking ?50million move are well-documented, with the Spaniard having struggled for form throughout his stay in the capital.
It was hoped that a spell under Benitez, who brought the best out of him during their time together at Liverpool, would bring about a reversal in fortune.
Unfortunately, no dramatic improvement has materialised and Benitez has now hinted that he is ready to give Torres a break - with Demba Ba having been added to the Chelsea ranks to help shoulder the attacking workload.
Ahead of Sunday's derby date with Arsenal, which can be seen live on Sky Sports 1 HD, Benitez said: "Torres is a Chelsea player and the fans have to understand that he will always do his best.
"It is really important for everyone to understand the way to win is to win together.
"Hopefully we can change that now if Torres can rest. He will be fresher and fitter and play at the level we know he can play."
With Andre Villas-Boas inheriting the managerial hot-seat at White Hart Lane, Dawson was deemed surplus to requirements - despite being appointed club captain.
An offer from QPR was accepted, but Dawson snubbed the opportunity to make a move across London to Loftus Road.
Instead, he knuckled down at Tottenham and has become a regular in Villas-Boas' first-team plans.
Dawson said: "If I had wanted to leave, I could have gone.
"They accepted an offer for me and I chose to stay and fight for my position. I wasn't going to jump ship at the first sign of hard times.
"But the gaffer never once left me out of things. He's been great like that. Everyone's got their opinions and, hopefully, I've changed his opinion now.
"It was hard for me, but you can never doubt your own ability. You back yourself to bounce back and perform. I think I've done that.
"I've been at Tottenham for eight years this month and it's not always been easy. I've had times when I've been out of the team before and I've got back in. Now, hopefully, I can stay in for as long as possible."
Having forced his way back into contention, Dawson is now hoping to help Tottenham to a top-four finish in the Premier League and earn himself an England recall.
He added: "It would be nice if England wasn't too far away again, but I have to concentrate on Tottenham.
"I can't get carried away. A couple of months ago, I wasn't even playing for the club."
Sahin played the final five minutes of Dortmund's 5-0 win at Werder Bremen on Saturday, debuting for the club for the second time after returning on loan from the Spanish club for the next 18 months.
"It was pure goosebumps," he said.
"To get such a reception was out of the ordinary and I've got to thank those crazy fans, in a positive sense.
"I just couldn't wait to get onto the field again."
Sahin spent the last six months on loan at Liverpool, but made only fleeting appearances in their side.
He now hopes to return to the form which saw him voted as the Bundesliga's player of the year by his fellow professionals in 2012.
"Of course I want to play and I'll try to recommend myself in training," he told Sky television.
"I'm trying to be a very, very good option for the coach."
Bremen could certainly do with a player like Sahin after being humiliated in front of their own fans at the Weser Stadion.
"When you lose 5-0, then nothing can be good," said their captain Clemens Fritz.
City had been hoping that Tevez would agree to extend his stay at the Etihad Stadium, with a troubled past put to one side during contract negotiations.
Tevez has, however, snubbed the offer of a new two-year contract.
He will see out his current deal, which has 18 months left to run, but admits that he will then look to head home and link up with Boca Juniors for a second time.
Tevez said: "I've got a year left on my contract at Manchester City and they want me to sign for two more seasons.
"I would prefer to return home, but it is very difficult because City won't let me leave for nothing.
"I will stay in Europe for another two years and then go back.
"Boca's president always says the door is open for me to re-join them and I am dying to pull on their shirt once more. I want to end my career with them. It is my dream and the dream of my family as well.
"But I am under contract and have to be here in England."
Tevez has also revealed that he came closing to quitting the game last year during his now infamous spat with City boss Roberto Mancini - which led to him going AWOL.
He added: "I almost retired last year. I had lost the desire to play and spent time crying alone in my room.
"Bad things happened one after the other. I was knocked out of the Copa America with Argentina and I had my dispute with Roberto Mancini.
"I suffered psychologically. I did not want anything to do with football.
"I am much better now. I am winning people over because I began the new season well."
Hecking's debut on the Wolfsburg bench following his move from Nurnberg during the winter break ended with three points, but he saw plenty of room for improvement and has warned against reading too much into the scoreline.
Wolfsburg also beat Stuttgart on the opening day of the season, only to then go seven games without a win, and Hecking fears a repeat if they do not improve.
"I am not happy with the way my team played today," he said.
"We were far too cautious in the first half and that is not what I expected.
"Overall, it was a lucky win and it's good for a coach when you can say that there is still plenty to improve upon after a 2-0 win."
Indeed, Stuttgart were unlucky to be beaten by Wolfsburg for the second time this season having at least matched their opponents.
"It was a pretty decent away game from us, but we didn't do well inside the penalty area," said their coach Bruno Labbadia.
"The individual quality of Diego made the difference today, It's a shame that we didn't reward ourselves with a point."
Victory over the bottom-placed side was to be expected from the record German champions, who maintained a nine-point cushion at the top of the table, but Heynckes was not so impressed with the way they went about the job.
"My team know that they didn't play all that well today," said Heynckes, who will leave the club in the summer and be replaced by Pep Guardiola.
"Our play was very slow-moving, not as fluid as we are used to.
"But maybe that's positive. At least we know what we still need to work on.
"The first game (after the break) is always difficult and Furth played very cleverly today, defending very well and making things tight for us, trying to play on the counter-attack.
"Today proved once again that the Bundesliga is not a walk in the park."
Nevertheless, with 16 games of the season remaining, it is looking increasingly unlikely that Bayern will relinquish such an advantage.
"They are a team of perfect individuals," said Furth coach Mike Buskens.
"We had a high hurdle to cross today."
The game was halted for almost 10 minutes when fireworks and flares were lit by a group of people stood among the visiting supporters at the BayArena.
It was the latest incident which comes as the German Football League (DFL) and German Football Association (DFB) try to crack down on the use of pyrotechnic material inside German stadia.
"It's just this same old group of trouble-seekers - they are not fans," Bruchhagen told ARD television.
"They don't love football, they are just here to cause disruption and to provoke.
"It is highly depressing. We thought that the numerous measures and talks held over recent weeks had done something.
"This has thrown us back significantly."
Frankfurt's fans topped a recent report listing the greatest number of identified trouble-makers, although Bruchhagen came to their defence, claiming that the report was distorted by the fact that his club attracts the biggest following of supporters for away matches.
However, his patience now appears to have been tested too much.
"We need to find measures to keep these problem visitors away from the stadium," he said.
Full body checks and airport-style metal detectors have been proposed, although the DFL rejected calls for all-seater stadia.
Fans protested throughout Germany when firmer checks were agreed on before Christmas, although they clearly did not work in Leverkusen as trouble-makers were still able to enter the stadium with forbidden items.