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Fantasy Football: Hat-trick heroes headline our Goal Champions League Team of the Week – football news

This was the week of forwards in the Champions League. Three players scored hat-tricks during the latest round of play, with each propelling his side to a much-needed win. Paulo Dybala stepped up when needed as Juventus had to play without Ronaldo, Edn Dzeko broke his six-match drought in front of goal helping Roma pick up their first win of the tournament, and Neymar helped PSG get back on track after their opening loss to Liverpool.

Below you can find the eight other players that put in big performances for their clubs and your Fantasy sides this week!

Goal-Fantasy-Football-registertowin

GK: Roman Bürki – Dortmund – 1 Game, 5 Saves, 1 Clean Sheet = 9 Points

DEF: Leonardo Bonucci – Juventus – 1 Game, 1 Assist, 1 Clean Sheet = 10 Points

Bonucci’s performance against Young Boys was impressive and earned him a second consecutive spot in our Champions League Team of the Week. He didn’t just luck into his assist either, as he completed a team-high 83 passes on the day. Given their tendency to keep clean sheets and Manchester United’s struggles in front goal, Bonucci is someone you can feel confident in playing every week.

DEF: Aleksandar Kolarov – Roma – 1 Game, 1 Assist, 1 Clean Sheet = 10 Points

DEF: Alex Telles – FC Porto – 1 Game, 1 Assist, 1 Clean Sheet = 10 Points

Alex Telles Porto

MID: Cengiz Under – Roma – 1 Game, 1 Goal, 2 Assists = 14 Points

Under was inches away from scoring the goal of the round but will have to just settle for his goal and two assists. The Turkish international isn’t known for his finishing, but the assists may well be here to stay as he leads the club in that category in both Serie A and the Champions League. It’s hard to imagine not owning at least one Roma player for the next round as they will get another opportunity to pile on the goals against Plzen.

MID: Marco Reus – Dortmund – 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Assist = 11 Points

MID: Erik Lamela – Tottenham – 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Assist = 11 Points

The Tottenham man is in remarkable form right now, having scored or assisted in every appearance he’s made for the club this season. Lamela is now tied as the third highest point earning midfielder in the Goal game and, assuming his injury isn’t too bad, he could have even more luck against Group B minnows PSV.

Erik Lamela Tottenham

MID: Philippe Coutinho – Barcelona – 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Assist = 11 Points

FOR: Neymar – PSG – 1 Game, 3 Goals = 17 Points

There’s been a lot of controversy and debate surrounding Neymar after the World Cup, but he certainly showed the goods on Wednesday. The Brazilian led all players in shots on target and touches in the box this round, as well as obviously bulging the net three times. We will see how PSG fare when they inevitably make it to the knockout stages but, for now, Neymar is a must own and a solid captain option every week.

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FOR: Paulo Dybala – Juventus – 1 Game, 3 Goals = 17 Points

FOR: Edin Dzeko – Roma – 1 Game, 3 Goals = 17 Points

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Matthaus expecting three-way race for Bundesliga title – football news

Former Germany international Lothar Matthaus expects a tight Bundesliga title race this season.

Bayern won the league by 21 points last season, collecting 84 points, while nearest challengers Schalke won just 63.

Nevertheless, Matthaus believes that both Borussia Dortmund, who finished fourth, and Wolfsburg, who amazingly survived relegation by beating Holstein Kiel 4-1 on aggregate in the play-offs, can challenge Niko Kovac’s men for the title this time around.

Indeed, Wolfsburg signed as many as seven players in the summer, and Matthaus has been impressed with their dealings.

“All great team goes through cycles of success and failure, and Bayern has seen a lot of success in recent years thanks to Jupp Heynckes, Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola, so it will be interesting to see if Bayern can defend their title, as they are undergoing a transition, with new coach Niko Kovac,” he told Goal in an exclusive interview.

“Since this season, Bayern have increasingly relied on young talents.

“An example of this is the departure of Arturo Vidal and the commitment of Leon Goretzka. As the first few games have shown, this strategy seems to work and Bayern is currently the league leader.

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“But they can´t rest, because the newly established BVB and revived VfL Wolfsburg are close to their heels. I expect an exciting season.”

Bayern – who travel to Schalke on Saturday – have won their first three Bundesliga games, while Dortmund and Wolfsburg have each picked up two victories and a draw.

 

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Favre admits young Dortmund stars struggled in Bruges – football news

Lucien Favre admitted his young players struggled to break down Club Brugge after Christian Pulisic’s late goal earned Borussia Dortmund a 1-0 win in their Champions League opener .

Favre handed a place in his starting line-up to 18-year-old playmaker Jadon Sancho, but it was second-half substitute Pulisic, on his 20th birthday, who turned the game with his strike in the 85th minute.

The result ensured Dortmund remain unbeaten in five games in all competitions this season, but Favre pulled no punches when discussing the challenges his players faced during a first half in which they were second best.

“It was difficult,” he told reporters. “They are Belgian champions and they worked hard.

“In the end, they were tired, but it was difficult – it was very, very hard for us. We did not move enough in the first half, which is why we struggled to create chances.

“We are satisfied that we have won our first away game. But we have had trouble and we have much to do.

“It is a very good thing that we won, but we should not exaggerate expectations.

“We have many young players, it takes time to play well.”

The late goal denied Brugge a share of the points in a tough Group A that includes Atletico Madrid and Monaco.

Midfielder Arnaut Groeneveld remained defiant, however, saying: “The result is disappointing.

Article continues below

“In the first half we played our own game, we had more ball possession. But we started with confidence in the second half as well and that makes the final result a bit harsh.

“I think everyone can see now that if we play our own game we can do pretty well. I think we will just need to continue like this and the points will follow.”

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VIDEO: Cavani, Kane and Reus – The Ones to Watch as the UEFA Champions League returns – football news

The wait is finally over – the UEFA Champions League is back!

Europe’s premier club competition returns this week with a number of mouth-watering ties between the continent’s biggest and best.

And that includes a host of stars going head-to-head on what promises to be memorable Tuesday night.

But who will be the star of the show? Which superstar will be crowned the inaugural UEFA Champions Player of the Week, sponsored by Banco Santander?

Will Dortmund’s Marco Reus continue his fine form after hitting 12 goals and providing 4 assists in his last 16 UEFA Champions League outings?

Or will Tottenham hotshot Harry Kane outgun the Germany star? Kane has a stunning 9 goals in his 10 career appearances in the UCL.

Elsewhere, will PSG’s Edinson Cavani shoot down Liverpool? After all, the Uruguay international has hit a stunning 8 goals in 14 matches against English opposition in this competition.

Or will Porto’s Vincent Aboubakar draw closer to the great Samuel Eto’o as the top-scoring Cameroonian player in the UCL’s great history?

POTW Ones To Watch | UCL Matchday 1

The #UCL is back 🙌 Who will steal the show on opening night?
Posted by Football Santander on Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Voting for Player of the Week opens on Thursday.

Follow Football Santander on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for continued coverage of the UEFA Champions League.

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Matthaus should stop trampling on Gotze, claims Dortmund chief – football news

Mario Gotze might not have played a single minute of competitive football this season, but he does not merit criticism from Lothar Matthaus, according to Hans-Joachim Watzke, Borussia Dortmund’s CEO.

Matthaus has come down hard on the player in recent days, indicating that if the player who scored the World Cup-winning goal in 2014 is to thrive once again, he will have to depart Dortmund.

The Germany icon says that level is currently “behind” the 26-year-old, who is “missing quality” and the opportunity to play in a position that he can thrive in.

Watzke, however, has taken exception to these comments.

“I know that Lothar Matthaus earns his money as a pundit and has to put forward provocative theories, but it would be nice, if one of the greatest players that Germany ever had, he could leave Mario alone and not trample on him,” the CEO said.

“Mario is doing the right things: he trains well, he does not let up, he gives to the team, he’s totally focused, he’s an important part of our squad and I’m sure he’ll play some great games for BVB this season.”

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New head coach Lucien Favre has yet to use the playmaker, who was forced to watch in frustration as Dortmund beat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1 on Friday.

“I know for sure that the coach has a very high opinion of him and will use him, as he clearly said after the match,” Watzke confirmed.

Since moving back to BVB in 2016, Gotze has managed fewer than 50 appearances and has mustered only four goals in all competitions.

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Gotze is missing quality and should leave Dortmund in order to re-start his career, says Matthaus – football news

Lothar Matthaus has advised Mario Gotze to seek a move away from Borussia Dortmund in order to resuscitate his career.

Gotze’s form has stalled since he scored the winning goal for Germany in the 2014 World Cup final, and he was not selected in Joachim Low’s squad for the defence of their title in Russia in the summer.

He re-signed for Dortmund 2016, three years after leaving to join Bayern Munich in the wake of Jurgen Klopp’s side’s run to the Champions League final in 2013, but he has failed to recapture the form that once made him one of Europe’s most sought-after midfield players.

And Germany’s record international cap-holder thinks another move will now be necessary if Gotze is to re-start his career.

“His form, which he had before the 2014 World Cup and included his winning goal in the final, is behind him,” Matthaus told Sky Sports in Germany.

“For him, you would have to invent a system at Borussia Dortmund that does not exist right now.

“He has since been with two clubs and played under several coaches – so it is not on the coach.”

Gotze spent several months on the sidelines in 2017 due to a metabolic disorder, but he returned to the side to rack up 16 appearances as the team finished third in the Bundesliga.

Despite criticism amongst fans and the German press, he made 114 appearances for Bayern across three seasons, scoring 36 goals, but has appeared only once for Germany in the last 18 months and now faces a struggle to regain his place in the national team, despite their poor showing at the Russia World Cup.

Article continues below

“Mario is missing the quality and the right position at the moment,” said Matthaus. “He does not have the defensive qualities as an eight, and [Dortmund coach] Lucien Favre does not have a nine and a half as he once explained.”

Dortmund have made an unbeaten start to the new Bundesliga season, with Gotze yet to feature.

 

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Alcacer scores, hurts ankle on Dortmund debut – football news

Paco Alcacer scored on his competitive debut for Borussia Dortmund, but coach Lucien Favre revealed the forward suffered an ankle injury against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Alcacer joined Dortmund on loan from Barcelona late last month and his debut on Friday was a successful one.

The Spain international was involved in Marius Wolf’s goal and later struck from 20 yards to seal Dortmund’s 3-1 win, after Abdou Diallo’s opener was cancelled out by Sebastien Haller.

Favre said the 25-year-old still needed time, before revealing Alcacer hurt his ankle late at Signal Iduna Park.

“He hasn’t played all that much recently. He needs time to get to full fitness,” he said.

“We’re not sure exactly what happened, but at the end of the match he unfortunately felt some pain on the back of his ankle.”

Favre was pleased with the result, which took his team to the top of the Bundesliga table with seven points from three games.

”They were a tough team to play against. The lead we took in the first half wasn’t entirely undeserved but we were a bit lucky nonetheless. Although we controlled the match I wouldn’t say we dominated it,” he said.

“In the second half we were really eager to get the score to 2-0 as soon as possible, but we had a lot of trouble keeping the ball and controlling the match against the opposition’s pressing game. We lost patience and that’s what cost us our 1-0 lead.

“The substitutions gave us a sense of vigour. The goal which took the score to 2-1 was a really nice, well-worked goal. That’s when the team was firing once more.

“We’re really happy with the win.”

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Sahin joins Werder Bremen after Borussia Dortmund cancel contract – football news

Nuri Sahin has joined Werder Bremen after Borussia Dortmund agreed to cancel his contract, which had one year remaining.

The 29-year-old has signed what is believed to be a two-year deal with Florian Kohfeldt’s side, where he will wear the number 17 shirt.

“The talks with the owners and the coach were very good,” he told the club’s official website. “Werder are a big club, where you have the feeling something is growing. I’m looking forward to being part of it.”

Kohfeldt said: “I don’t think there’s much more to say about the qualities of Nuri. He has experienced almost everything in the Bundesliga, been a champion and cup-winner with Dortmund and played for Real Madrid and Liverpool.

“He has the potential to improve us further and gives us more options.”

Earlier, Sahin had thanked Dortmund and their fans for their support during two separate spells with the club, the first of which began when he joined as a youngster in 2001.

“I’d like to thank the club and the fans with all my heart for the past few years we’ve had together,” he said. “I’m not leaving, because Borussia will always be in my heart.

“I deeply thank [CEO Hans-Joachim] Watzke and [sporting director] Michael Zorc as well as all my coaches, but especially Jurgen Klopp, who always supported me.”

Sahin became the youngest player to appear in the Bundesliga, at the age of 16 years and 355 days, back in 2005. He was then the division’s youngest goalscorer when he struck against Nurnberg in November that year.

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After winning the Bundesliga under Klopp in 2010-11, Sahin joined Real Madrid, but his time in Spain was blighted by injury problems.

He spent half the 2012-13 season on loan at Liverpool before rejoining Dortmund, eventually on a permanent deal.

Sahin made 18 appearances in the Bundesliga last term, but the signings of Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney had seen the Turkey international slip further down the pecking order.

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