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A suspect with “Islamist links” has been arrested by German police following a bomb attack on the bus of the Borussia Dortmund soccer team.

German prosecutors also said the three explosive devices contained metal pieces.

Two letters claiming the attack on April 11 were being investigated, they said.

Prosecutors are treating the blasts as a terrorist attack, but say the precise motive is unclear at present.

On April 12, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the attack was “an appalling crime” and praised the fans of both Dortmund and their Champions League opponents, Monaco, for coming together.

Fans later filled Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund for the rescheduled quarter-final first-leg, which kicked off at 18:45 local time.

Image source Flickr

There was a rousing rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone by both sets of fans before kick-off.

Earlier, a spokeswoman for Germany’s federal prosecutor, Frauke Kohler, said: “Two suspects from the Islamist spectrum have become the focus of our investigation. Both of their apartments were searched, and one of the two has been detained.”

German media are reporting that the suspect detained is a 25-year-old Iraqi, and the second suspect is a 28-year-old German.

The explosion radius of the attack was about 100m. Prosecutors said it was lucky the casualties were not worse.

Frauke Kohler said a piece of shrapnel had embedded itself in the headrest of one of the seats on the team bus.

She said three copies of the same letter were found near the site of the blasts, indicating that the attacker had links to ISIS. The terrorist had said it carried out the attack on a Christmas market in Berlin in December that killed 12 people.

Frauke Kohler said the letter demanded “the withdrawal of [German] tornado fighter jets from Syria and, I quote, the closure of Ramstein airbase.”

Ramstein is a significant US Air Force base. The text is being analyzed to see if it is authentic.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said the letter began with the phrase “in the name of Allah”.

However, the newspaper said it was possible the perpetrators were deliberately trying to mislead the investigation.

A second letter was published online, in which left-wing extremist groups claimed to have carried out the attack, but prosecutors had reason to believe this letter was not authentic.

Borussia Dortmund players were on their way to their Champions League match, when three explosive charges detonated, police said.

Spain international Marc Bartra underwent an operation after breaking a bone in his wrist. No other players were hurt, but a police officer on a motorbike escorting the bus suffered trauma from the noise of the explosions.

Several reports said the explosives had been hidden in a hedge.

Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki told Swiss news outlet Blick that the bus had turned on to the main road when there was a loud noise.

The players ducked to the floor of the bus, not knowing if there would be more blasts, he said.


This June sees Chile host soccer’s Copa America. The world’s oldest international soccer tournament is also one of the most raucous and colorful sporting festivals in the world.

Some of the most entertaining soccer players in the world combine with wild spectators to create a dramatic spectacle throughout the whole of the four week-long competition. Supporters are currently snapping up tickets for this year’s event which takes place in Chile and begins on June 11.

One of the most interesting aspects of this year’s Copa America will be watching how two of the giants of world soccer react following their last tournament performances, which were played out in the FIFA World Cup a year ago.

Copa America 2015 - Fans, Flair and Fatigue

Copa America 2015 – Fans, Flair and Fatigue

Recently, Brazil looks to have overcome the hangover following the harrowing 7-1 defeat to Germany in the World Cup semifinals. As if the scoreline was not embarrassing enough, the result was exacerbated by the fact that the Brazilians were on home soil, in front of their adoring fans.

Legendary World Cup winner Dunga is now in charge of la seleção, and they have powered to eight straight wins since last summer’s debacle. The form of talismanic striker Neymar, now installed as captain, has had a big role to play.

Eternal rivals Argentina managed to progress one round further at the World Cup, eventually losing out to Germany in the final. It will be 22 years since Argentina lifted silverware—their last trophy being 1993’s Copa America.

National coach Gerardo Martino will be looking to knit together a side that can be as resilient as it is exhilarating. Blessed with a forward line that reads like a who’s who of the world’s greatest—Lionel Messi,  Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria—surely the time has come for them to deliver?

And yet, the 2015 Copa America could be the most unpredictable tournament in years. Most of the world’s finest players migrate toward the riches of the European soccer leagues for their regular jobs. This year, a mere five days separates the end of the European soccer season and the opening game of the Copa America. (The UEFA Champions League final takes place in Berlin, Germany on June 6th).

With such close proximity between the Copa America and a regular season which followed a World Cup year, a major factor in deciding the outcome of the tournament could be which nation copes best with fatigue.


Lionel Messi became the Champions League’s all-time top scorer with a hat-trick in Barcelona against Apoel Nicosia match.

Lionel Messi, 27, went into the Group F game in Cyprus level on 71 goals with former Real Madrid forward Raul.

Luis Suarez had already opened the scoring with his first goal for the club when Lionel Messi diverted Rafinha’s 38th-minute shot past the keeper.

Lionel Messi netted his second in the 58th-minute with a low right-foot finish before tapping home from close range.

“I am happy for having achieved such a nice record in a competition of this importance,” he said.

“But the really relevant thing is that we took the three points.

“Barcelona played a great match.”

It is Lionel Messi’s second major record in four days, having scored a landmark 253rd Spanish top-flight goal with a hat-trick against Sevilla on November 23.

Lionel Messi’s latest achievement earned him glowing praise from his manager Luis Enrique.

“I’ll say it again, he’s the best ever in this game,” said the former Spain midfielder.

Both teams finished with 10 men on November 25, Rafinha sent off for two bookable offences 20 minutes from time before Apoel Nicosia’s Joao Guilherme followed him 14 minutes later, also for a second booking.

It was Lionel Messi’s 28th Barcelona hat-trick, and his fifth in the Champions League.

The Argentina international now has 74 Champions League goals in 91 appearances in the competition.

Raul’s 71 goals came in 142 games.

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who is expected to line up at Basel on November 26 in the competition, has 70 goals.

Barcelona had already qualified for the knockout stages before their visit to Cyprus.

Bayern Munich won a pulsating all-Bundesliga encounter against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final on Wembley.

Borussia Dortmund 1 (Gundogan 67′ penalty) – Bayern Munich 2 (Mandzukic 60′ Robben 89′)

The Champions League’s recent history has offered little other than unrelenting misery for Arjen Robben and Bayern Munich – but the agony is over after a colourful, enthralling final that confirmed Germany as the new power base of European domestic football.

Bayern Munich had lost two finals in three years, including defeat on penalties to Chelsea in their own Allianz Arena last year, but on this occasion they cast off the tag of losers to claim the crown for the fifth time.

Only Real Madrid (nine) and AC Milan (seven) have won this tournament more times and the taste of victory was even sweeter for 29-year-old Arjen Robben and veteran Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, who steps aside to hand over to Pep Guardiola at the end of this season.

Jupp Heynckes will have the chance to bow out with a Treble; Bayern have already won their league and face VfB Stuttgart in the German Cup final next Saturday.

Arjen Robben was reduced to tears at the final whistle after playing in Bayern’s losing finals against Inter Milan and Chelsea, when he missed an extra-time penalty, and also losing semi-finals to Liverpool in 2005 and 2007 during his Stamford Bridge career.

And for 68-year-old elder statesman Jupp Heynckes, this was the perfect parting gift and proof of his enduring powers. He has provided a hard act for Pep Guardiola to follow, even with his outstanding track record of success at Barcelona, which included two Champions League triumphs.

Arjen Robben, however, was the central figure as he set up Mario Mandzukic’s first for Bayern on the hour but Dortmund, under the guidance of charismatic coach Jurgen Klopp, quickly equalised through Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty after Dante fouled Marco Reus.

And Arjen Robben finally had his revenge on a competition that has been so cruel to him in the past, showing great composure to taken Frank Ribery’s flick in his stride in the 89th minute and beat Dortmund’s outstanding keeper Roman Weidenfeller.

Arjen Robben’s goal was the decisive moment of a Champions League final that saw the Bundesliga come to London and deliver a powerful statement of intent about its current status.

As well as the quality of the football, which was truly exceptional, the supporters of Dortmund and Bayern splashed their yellow and red colours spectacularly across Wembley’s canvas and the dignity and grace in defeat and victory of Jurgen Klopp and Jupp Heynckes only confirmed this was an occasion that did great credit to these two German heavyweights.

Bayern Munich won a pulsating all-Bundesliga encounter against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final on Wembley

Bayern Munich won a pulsating all-Bundesliga encounter against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final on Wembley

Jupp Heynckes cut a mellow figure beside the animated Jurgen Klopp in Wembley’s technical area but Dortmund’s coach, with his flamboyant gestures and trademark grin, has established a reputation as one of football’s most significant figures.

And he will know, just as much as his players, that this was an opportunity missed by Dortmund. They paid a heavy price for failing to capitalise on a first half hour in which they dominated Bayern and were only kept at bay by the brilliance of Germany keeper Manuel Neuer.

The intense pressing style that is the trademark of Jurgen Klopp’s team pushed Bayern on to the back foot in the opening phases and left Dortmund regretting they did not take at least one of a succession of opportunities.

Manuel Neuer made five important saves in the first 35 minutes as Dortmund tested Bayern in a manner that proved way beyond Barcelona when they were humiliated 7-0 over two legs in the semi-final.

He thwarted Robert Lewandowski twice and saved superbly at his near post from Marco Reus, who saw another shot blocked. Manuel Neuer was also tested by Sven Bender.

Marco Reus then tested Manuel Neuer once more as Dortmund poured forward, urged on from the technical area by the animated Jurgen Klopp as he delivered a constant stream of encouragement and applause in the direction of his players.

Bayern Munich – finally emerging as an attacking force – may have had the feeling it was going to be another night of Champions League final misery when Roman Weidenfeller touched Mario Mandzukic’s header on to the bar and denied Arjen Robben one-on-one before unwittingly blocking another effort from the eventual match-winner with his face.

The Bundesliga champions had been a growing threat after a poor start and the breakthrough finally came on the hour when Frank Ribery played in Arjen Robben and his cross gave Mario Mandzukic the simplest of tasks to finish from six yards.

Borussia Dortmund required a swift response and it came inside seven minutes – thanks to a piece of recklessness from Dante.

The Bayern defender, who had already been booked, needlessly raised his foot and caught Reus in the stomach. Gundogan stepped forward to score coolly from the penalty spot.

It took a magnificent piece of last-ditch defending from Neven Subotic to keep Dortmund on terms. Thomas Mueller rounded Roman Weidenfeller and his shot looked destined for the net until the lunging Neven Subotic somehow recovered to clear, prompting a fierce fist-pumping response from Jurgen Klopp.

Both goalkeepers had been outstanding throughout and it was Roman Weidenfeller’s turn to demonstrate his ability once more with fine stops from David Alaba and Bastian Schweinsteiger as this enthralling final drew towards a climax.

It was Arjen Robben who made the decisive contribution and when Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli sounded the final whistle to start wild Bayern Munich celebrations, he was reduced to tears as he finally realised his dream.

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UEFA has responded to growing concerns over the high cost of watching football in England by reducing the cheapest ticket for this year’s Champions League final at Wembley to £68 ($108).

European football’s governing body was accused of exploiting supporters when the match was last staged in London two years ago – Barcelona beat Manchester United 3-1 – by charging £176 ($281) for the cheapest ticket.

UEFA will announce later on Friday that it has listened to that criticism and lowered prices for the showpiece match, which takes place on 25 May, after consulting football fans across Europe.

“It is correct we should give the opportunity to everyone to go to the match irrespective of their financial conditions,” a spokesman said.

But many supporters may still view the entry level price of almost £70 as too high – even for what is arguably the biggest game of the season.

Only 13,000 of the 59,000 tickets on general sale will be priced in this new low category. The rest will be sold at much higher prices ranging from £140 to £330.

This year’s competition resumes next week with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Celtic, Arsenal, AC Milan and Bayern Munich all involved in the last 16 ties.

And some fans may still question why 20,000 seats are not being put on sale to the general public. UEFA hold back these tickets for sponsors, commercial partners and officials and administrators from European and world football.

UEFA’s response is nevertheless a sign that football’s authorities may be aware of the increased sensitivity around the cost of watching football – particularly in England where some Premier League clubs have been accused of ripping off away supporters.

UEFA has responded to growing concerns over the high cost of watching football in England by reducing the cheapest ticket for this year's Champions League final at Wembley to £68

UEFA has responded to growing concerns over the high cost of watching football in England by reducing the cheapest ticket for this year’s Champions League final at Wembley to £68

In January, Manchester City fans returned nearly a third of the ticket allocation for their game at Arsenal, saying the £62 price was too high.

Supporters groups have warned the Premier League it risks alienating a generation of fans by charging too much to watch games.

The Premier League says it cannot tell clubs to reduce prices but argues many have become more sophisticated over the past decade, introducing stretched ticketing policies where higher-priced tickets help subsidise cheaper tickets for fans on lower incomes.

Despite that, some campaigners want to see a greater commitment to reduce prices especially at a time when Premier League clubs are poised to see a huge increase in income thanks to the competition’s new improved TV rights deals, which take effect from this August.


UEFA is considering ditching the Europa League in favour of extending the Champions League from 32 to 64 teams.

“We’re discussing it. We will make a decision in 2014. Nothing is decided yet,” European football’s governing body president Michel Platini told French newspaper Ouest-France.

UEFA is looking at changing the format of European competitions from 2015.

“There is an ongoing debate to determine what form the European competitions will have between 2015 and 2018,” added Michel Platini.

The Europa League has been criticised by some since it replaced the UEFA Cup in 2009 and exists in the shadow of the more lucrative Champions League.

The Champions League is far more financially beneficial, for UEFA and the clubs concerned, than Europe’s second-tier tournament.

UEFA is considering ditching the Europa League in favour of extending the Champions League from 32 to 64 teams

UEFA is considering ditching the Europa League in favour of extending the Champions League from 32 to 64 teams

It has been reported that Europe’s richest clubs will form a breakaway European league if the Champions League is not expanded.

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell said earlier this month that he would like to cut the number of teams competing in the top tier of domestic leagues and increase the number of clubs in the Champions League.

But Michel Platini, a former France international, said he was not worried by talk of a tournament to rival the Champions League being set up.

“It’s a question that is regularly brought up,” he said.

“I can’t see how it could work outside the UEFA framework. Who will referee them? In what stadiums will they play?”

Chelsea has won the Champions League for the first time after stunned Bayern Munich in a dramatic penalty shoot-out at the Allianz Arena.

Thomas Mueller’s late header put Bayern on the brink of victory on home territory but Didier Drogba levelled things up with a bullet header at the death before coolly converting the decisive spot-kick.

The tournament which gave Chelsea their greatest agony when they lost on penalties to Manchester United four years ago in Moscow has now delivered the greatest glory in their 107-year history.

Juan Mata missed Chelsea’s first penalty but David Luiz, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole were all successful. Philipp Lahm, Mario Gomez and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer were all on target for Bayern.

The momentum shifted decisively when Cech denied Ivica Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger hit the post to leave Chelsea on the brink and present Drogba with his moment of destiny.

He was calmness personified as he rolled the ball past Neuer to spark wild scenes of elation among Chelsea’s players, staff and supporters.

Suspended captain John Terry joined the celebrations and lifted the trophy alongside Lampard but it was Drogba who was the hero, running the length of the pitch swirling his shirt above his head in triumph, as owner Roman Abramovich finally claimed the prize he craved above all others.

Chelsea has won the Champions League for the first time after stunned Bayern Munich in a dramatic penalty shoot-out at the Allianz Arena

Chelsea has won the Champions League for the first time after stunned Bayern Munich in a dramatic penalty shoot-out at the Allianz Arena

The questions will now start about the future of interim manager Roberto Di Matteo – who has given the Russian what he wanted after so many painful failures, including that defeat on penalties by Manchester United in the rain of Moscow in 2008 which also saw Drogba sent off.

And it is hard to see how Drogba, now 34 but still able to produce the brilliance that defines big occasions, can be allowed to walk away as his contract reaches its conclusion.

This was a victory in the mould of Chelsea’s semi-final win against Barcelona, built on resilience, discipline, defensive organisation and nerve at the crucial times and done without the suspended Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles.

Abramovich will leave the big decisions for another day, but this was a night he and his club have desired since he walked into Stamford Bridge nine years ago – and achieved with an interim manager he had to appoint after sacking his personal choice, Andre Villas-Boas.

Terry was locked in conversation with former England coach Fabio Capello at pitchside before kick-off, the defender looking ruefully around the magnificent arena as he contemplated missing out because of his red card in Barcelona.

And Di Matteo delivered a surprise in his starting line-up, with youngster Ryan Bertrand handed a role on the left flank in front of Cole in an attempt to stifle the threat of former Blues winger Arjen Robben.

Chelsea’s blanket of defensive defiance served them well in the Nou Camp – and acted as a dress rehearsal for a first half spent almost entirely in their territory.

While the west London team were organised and resolute, they were also grateful that Bayern striker Gomez’s touch in front of goal deserted him at decisive moments.

Cech saved with his legs from Robben, but Gomez was guilty of failing to control just eight yards out when Franck Ribery’s shot landed at his feet, the German striker shooting wildly off target after a smart turn in the area.

Chelsea’s only serious response was a shot from Salomon Kalou eight minutes before half-time that was comfortably held by Bayern keeper Neuer.

The pattern continued after the break and Ribery thought he had finally pierced Chelsea’s resilience after 53 minutes, only to be ruled offside when Cole deflected Robben’s shot into his path.

At times this encounter was simply a matter of Bayern’s attack against Chelsea’s defence.

There was a rare moment of anxiety for Neuer when he could only half-clear Cole’s cross as he backpedalled, but Drogba’s shot lacked power and the keeper was able to recover.

As the frustration grew among the massed Bayern support they wasted another opportunity as Mueller pulled another presentable chance well wide from inside the area.

Mueller made amends in the best possible manner though, when he headed Bayern in front with seven minutes left. He arrived unmarked onto Toni Kroos’ cross to head past Cech.

Chelsea immediately sent on Fernando Torres for Kalou – but it was the man for the big occasion who delivered again in the 88th minute. Drogba won himself just enough space at the near post to meet Lampard’s corner and head powerfully past Neuer, who got a touch but could not keep it out.

Drogba went from hero to villain in the opening moments of the extra period when he conceded a penalty after bringing down Ribery with a reckless challenge. The France international was eventually taken off injured but in the meantime Chelsea keeper Cech was the saviour as he plunged low to save Robben’s poorly struck spot-kick.

Bayern had been over-generous in front of goal and were architects of their own frustration after 107 minutes when Olic tried to set up Daniel van Buyten in front of an open goal but the defender failed to react to his pass.

And so to penalties and the dramatic conclusion that gave Chelsea the biggest prize in European domestic football as the Champions League finally went to Stamford Bridge.

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UEFA has confirmed that yellow cards rules used by the Champions League will not be changed for at least three years.

Seven players are suspended for the Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich final after six were cautioned in the semi-finals.

The rules are different for Euro 2012 when UEFA will wipe the slate clean for yellow cards after the quarter-finals.

A UEFA spokesman said: “Different rules can apply in different competitions. The rules are a result of careful, democratic procedure.”

UEFA has confirmed that yellow cards rules used by the Champions League will not be changed for at least three years

UEFA has confirmed that yellow cards rules used by the Champions League will not be changed for at least three years

International players’ union FIFPro had made a plea for the six players who are suspended to be allowed to play, which was rejected.

Chelsea’s captain John Terry will also be suspended after being sent off against Barcelona in the semi-final second leg at the Nou Camp.

Michael van Praag, head of UEFA’s Champions League Rules group, was quoted on FIFPro’s website saying: “We have just had three sessions with representatives of the European Clubs’ Association and others, in which we confirmed the rule for the coming three years.

“We did not receive any request whatsoever concerning the yellow card rule, not even from the representative of Bayern Munich. And so we will be continuing the rule for the next three years.”

Before that announcement, Simon Barker – a spokesman for FIFPro – had said: “Anybody committing a serious offence in the semi-final should be awarded a red card and miss the final, but the offences that result in a yellow card do not justify the serious punishment of missing the match of your life.

“Some people say this will give players the licence to kick all and sundry during the semi-final, but that is utter nonsense.

“Any serious offence will result in a red card and that still means exclusion from the final.”

At Euro 2012, only players sent off in the quarter-final or semi-final will be banned from the final in Kiev.