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01/23/2014
 

Borussia Dortmund will be 'hunting' third place in the Bundesliga when they host Augsburg on Saturday, before they even think about closing the 12-point gap behind leaders Bayern Munich.


A bad run of injuries, and subsequent poor league form, saw Dortmund claim just four points from their last six league games of 2013, including three consecutive home defeats, to slump from second to fourth. With wing backs Lukasz Piszczek and Marcel Schmelzer included in those back from injury, coach Juergen Klopp says he is now enjoying making tough selection choices, rather than cobbling a team together.


With Dortmund five points behind second-placed Bayer Leverkusen and just a point adrift of third-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach, Klopp wants to catch up with those rivals before even thinking about Bayern: "It will be the first time that I will have to make some hard decisions about who will play, which is nice," said Klopp as the Bundesliga resumes this weekend after a four-week winter break.


"To be able to fight, you need a goal you can reach and we are so far back that we have to catch up with the two teams ahead of us first. We are in the role of the hunters now, we're fourth and catching Bayern isn't our goal. It's all about facing Augsburg and trying to get third place back."


Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said that Borussia's goal for the rest of the season is to qualify directly for next season's Champions League, which would mean a top three league finish. Klopp said both his Germany stars, midfielder Ilkay Gundogan and centre-back Mats Hummels, are not yet fit to face Augsburg, but will return in the coming weeks.


"Ilkay had a back problem, then a virus, but it won't be long before he is back," said Klopp. "Mats is looking good in training, his hamstring isn't a problem and I expect him to return for Eintracht Braunschweig (on Friday 31 January)."


Meanwhile, Dortmund have asked the German Football League (DFL) to change the kick-off time for their home Ruhr Valley derby against Schalke 04 on March 25 be moved from 2030 (local time) to 2000. The thinking is to give security stewards and police a better chance of curbing violence during daylight after rioting broke out before the last derby in Dortmund in October 2012.

 
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07/22/2013
 

Now with pre-season well underway, it would appear as if glamour club Monaco with all their big name signings which include Colombian striker Radamel Falcao who signed from Atletico Madrid for $78 million have a long way to go if they want to challenge Paris Saint-Germain for the French Ligue 1 title next season.

 

After having lost their first pre-season game to Bundesliga 2 side Fortuna Dusseldorf 3-2, a game in which marquee signing Falcao scored his first goal for billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev’s team, Les Rouge et Blanc followed on with a second defeat. This time losing to top-flight German side Augsburg 1-0 in a game that could very well have seen Monaco’s star player sent off.

 

If you watch the video below you will see that the Colombian is constantly having his ankles kicked or his legs taken from under him until finally he can take it no more kicking the ball into the boards along the side of the pitch and then shoving an Augsburg player in the chest.

 

Monaco manager 61-year old coach Claudio Ranieri benched Falcao for the second half, but it was obvious to everyone watching, that Monaco football club is very much a work in progress.

 
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