2014 FIFA World Cup: Meet Spain’s Goalkeeper Iker Casillas

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. Pity the players who attempt to score on Spanish goalie Iker Casillas at the World Cup.

Casillas, who has represented his country more than any other Spanish player, is known for his quick reflexes and ability to keep his defense organized.

Throughout his 15-year career, Casillas has won everything there is to win for a pro — including the World Cup — and his epic saves have earned him the nickname “Saint Iker” from devout fans.

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In 2010, the goalkeeper, who also serves as team captain, wiped away tears after his team defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in South Africa. For Spain, it was their first World Cup title ever.

Casillas, 33, is ready to do it again in Brazil.

For his club Real Madrid, Casillas has been loyal. He got his start playing with Real Madrid’s youth academy, known as La Fabrica, in 1990 and has been part of the team ever since — a rarity in soccer where players change club teams as fast as they change their cleats.

Casillas is also a dad. To start, just “star” this story in ABC News’ phone app. More of a casual fan? Sign up for occasional dispatches from Brazil — including the best photos and limited highlights — by “starring” this story. He has a son with his partner, Sara Carbonero, who is also a sports journalist and covered the Spanish team at the last World Cup.

In addition, Casillas is also hot commodity for big brands and has garnered endorsements from Adidas, Reebok and Hyundai.

Get real-time World Cup results and news about all the matches you care about delivered right to your phone every day

TEXT-S&P ratings – UCL Rail B.V. | Reuters

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Ratings — UCL Rail B.V

Chelsea Fixtures Football Club News

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Dynamo Dresden 1 – 3 Bayern München Match report – 17/08/2015 Club Friendlies

Pascal Testroet sent the Dresden fans home happy with a late consolation, the forward rounding Starke to score with four minutes to play, but Bayern’s win was never in any doubt.

Bayern, who also gave David Alaba some playing time in the second half, promptly resumed control of possession and extended their advantage as Bernat converted Thomas Muller’s disguised throughball with 17 minutes to play.

The lively Hojbjerg was allowed time and space to roll a pass into the Chile international, who applied the finish – albeit with the aid of a deflection.

With his work done, Robben was replaced at the break by Arturo Vidal and the Chilean added Bayern’s second, before Juan Bernat completed a comfortable victory.

With a league clash against Hoffenheim on the horizon, Guardiola withdrew Robben and Lahm at the break but introduced Vidal as one of four changes – and the move paid dividends three minutes into the second half.

The Dutchman continued his recovery from recent muscular problems by opening the scoring before further goals from new signing Arturo Vidal and full-back Juan Bernat

Arjen Robben gave Pep Guardiola plenty to smile about by looking back to his fluent best during a first-half cameo in Bayern Munich’s 3-1 friendly win over Dynamo Dresden.

The Netherlands international netted the opening goal on a rain-sodden Monday evening in Dresden, capping an impressive 45 minutes as he continued to build up his fitness after a muscular problem.

After setting Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg up for the game’s first chance, Robben embarked on a personal quest to open the scoring.

Guardiola made nine changes from the side that opened the Bundesliga campaign with a 5-0 win over Hamburg, with only Robben and Philipp Lahm retaining their places in the starting XI.

That meant valuable game time for some of Bayern’s squad players, but it was Robben who impressed early on with piercing runs behind the Dresden defence.

His first effort thudded against a post and the second was well saved by Patrick Wiegers, but the Netherlands international made it third time lucky with a calm finish after 17 minutes.

Dresden enjoyed fleeting attacks of their own, Niklas Kreuzer forcing a reflex save out of Sven Ulreich.

Substitute goalkeeper Tom Starke kept Bayern’s two-goal advantage intact with a superb reaction save to keep out Tim Vayrynen’s bullet header on the hour.

Chelsea keeping tabs on £30m Gonzalo Higuain

He wants to fight for the title but was on the bench against Barcelona at the weekend when Real lost 3-1 and he knows where his place is now.

‘He would be interested in what people have to say to him.’

Chelsea are preparing a 30million bid to land Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.

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BySportsmail Reporter Updated: 07:12 GMT, 15 December 2011

The 150,000-a-week striker has scored just three Barclays Premier League goals since his move to Stamford Bridge and Chelsea are prepared to listen to offers.

On the way out? Chelsea flop Torres could be sold in JanuaryOn the way out? Chelsea flop Torres could be sold in January

A source is quoted in the Daily Star as saying: ‘Higuain is unhappy at being left out all of the time.

Higuain is out of favour at Real Madrid and while there has been no official contact between the two clubs, Chelsea are monitoring the situation.

The future of Fernando Torres also remains unclear.

All white on the night: Chelsea are monitoring Real Madrid striker Gonzalo HiguainAll white on the night: Chelsea are monitoring Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain

Torres, who signed for the west London club in a 50m deal in January, could be sold when the transfer window re-opens next month.

Paris Saint-Germain and River Plate are also considering a move for the 24-year-old striker. Manager Andre Villas-Boas is short of options in attack after selling Nicolas Anelka earlier this month, while Ivory Coast international Dider Drogba will leave to play in the African Cup of Nations in January

UEFA Champions League Draw 2011–12 and Fixtures Announced

Other top teams include Chelsea in Group E and Arsenal in Group F. These two teams will be part of Group H. The tournament final isn’t until May of next year and will be held at Bayern Munich’s home field.. This is all heading towards Allianz Arena in 2012 where the champion is ultimately going to be decided.

This year’s UEFA Champions League draw was held at Monaco earlier on Thursday with several former and current players on hand to help out. Manchester United was drawn in Group C, while Real Madrid is part of Group D. Fans could be in store for some exciting games as this year’s championships is decided!

The UEFA Champions League draw for 2011Â-12 as well as the fixtures schedule have been unveiled. In total, the drawing unveiled groups A through H, with four teams per group. The UEFA Champions group stage of play will begin on September 13th and last until early December, with a knockout phase to be drawn on December 16th. The field of teams includes 11 former winners of the league tournament. Early on, many are talking about two teams which were drawn in the same group, Barcelona and Milan.

At the Washington Post, they are saying that Group H will feature the best individual matchup of them all, with Barcelona and Milan set to face off at some point. However, there is no clear favorite in the UEFA Champions League Draw 2011Â-12 as of yet

Countries that have Dictatorial Governments

While homosexuality is a criminal offense, the women here aren’t a very happy lot either. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is the man wielding the power here and has officially classified oil revenue figures as a state secret. The point is, that the government only chooses to listen to what they want to listen.

For Iran’s women and LGBT community, it’s a different ballgame altogether. Prices of basic commodities have skyrocketed, and the people who can afford them are choosing instead to spend their money on fleeing the country. Syria indeed, has never really enjoyed a sense of calm since its independence from the French after the Second World War. The Iran we know and recognize now is completely under the sway of this man here and his ilk.

Ayatollah Khomeini

Victoria Falls: A Symbol of Beauty

North Korea

Without Google Earth, one could have easily questioned the very existence of this country on our planet. Already weakened by malnutrition and HIV/AIDS, the life expectancy here has dipped significantly.

North Korea: From a distance

Depending on how you see it, the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi river can either seem like a tourist attraction or an escape route out of Zimbabwe.

Other Countries Under Dictatorship. While the human rights watchdogs in the US have often chided the country’s dictatorial regime for the atrocious living conditions in the country, Mbasogo was considered a “friend” by ex-US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice in 2006, and the current President of the US seems to be agreeing with her. Ancient civilizations made this region their home thousands of years ago, and its citizens pioneered in the fields of science, philosophy, literature, arts, astronomy, and mathematics.

But that was a long, long time ago. A communist country that it is, its citizens require government permits to do pretty much everything, and that even includes changing their jobs or buying cars. The only ones apparently minting the greens from the oil wells are the people in power. People who’ve had the opportunity to visit this country describe it as watching an elaborately sketched opera, only if it wasn’t so bone-chilling.

Get a load of this –

Citizens receive free education until the secondary level, and it is compulsory. Now you know why the world and it’s grandma can’t ever leave a petulant child like Iran alone.

But wait, all’s not lost…

…yet. The country is reeling under a cholera epidemic that broke out in 2008, with death figures of close to 100,000 being attributed to the disease. In fact, Iranians thrive on expressing their dissent. For a continent that is abundant with nature’s best resources, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Africa’s natural treasures are indeed a curse for the people here. With the winds of rebellion sweeping the desert lands, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to imagine it taking Iran by storm.

And the escape route: Row it faster… An eye for an eye, one might say. Political freedom is not a complete nonentity here. Wouldn’t be too wrong to say that everything went down a deep oil well since then.

The life of an ordinary Iranian is a little tricky to describe. Not too surprising, since the government here has taken great pains to keep this country in the exact state in which they found it, around sixty years ago.

Let’s just revisit that era for a bit, shall we?

“I took a pic of the Cuban Government and all I got is this rusted car.”

Iran in the Persian language, translates as the ‘Land of the Aryans’. South Africa, Zambia and Botswana beckon the people of Zimbabwe, and they are in a hurry to get there. ‘La Revolucin’, they called it, and made some pretty badass slogans to accompany it; most of which remain as graffiti on Havana’s street sides and are a major tourist draw besides the pristine beaches, Cuban cigars and some delicious Moros y Cristianos.

Not much to speak about their economy…

…now that the Russian aid has dried up. Is that a sigh of relief or dread? Only time will tell.

Equatorial Guinea

Owning huge reserves of oil is never a good thing, and one just needs to take a look at Equatorial Guinea for proof. Bashar Hafez al-Assad’s tyranny defies belief, and the Syrian people’s resolve stuns the skeptics. The 99% literacy rate makes North Korea one of the most literate countries in the world.

But wait, there’s a catch…

Political indoctrination begins in preschool, with tiny tots being taught to worship the “Great Leader” Kim Il Sung and his Juche way of living. Vintage cars, cobbled streets and colonial architecture greet you on arrival. Keeping in line with his discriminatory policies, Mugabe ordered a seizure of the entire country’s commercial farming lands owned by, you guessed it right, the white minorities. A significant size of Iran’s population is under the age of thirty. But in the true spirit of dictatorship, the man simply chose to distribute the land among his pals who didn’t possess an ounce of farming acumen.

Mugabe’s thoughtless gifting led to a food scarcity situation so bleak that it led to a complete collapse of the agrarian economy, and not to mention left the country’s population starving.

Syrians, as a lot, are not new to the concept of living under an occupation; the Romans, Mongols and the Turks among others have ensured that. So it isn’t really a wonder when we associate dictatorship with tyranny and autocracy.

Those breathing the democratic air reserve their most scathing ridicule for these tyrants, because, quite frankly, their citizens are too wound up with fear to do that. The government’s tactic to adjust the currency exchange rate fell flat on its face, without invoking any sympathy from Russia or the IMF.

The word on the streets is that the Lords in Moscow are speculating backing another puppet to run the show. However, certain pockets of Darfur, especially in its western region is showing signs of stabilizing.

As for the Man himself…

Omar al-Bashir is the self-appointed President-God of Sudan and holds the dubious distinction of being the first sitting head of a nation who has been issued an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court. But upset Russia it has, and is silently bearing the brunt. What it has to its credit is the world’s most fortified border, a few nukes and a complete hogwash under the name of human rights.

The government keeps an eye on everything, and that means everything, because seriously, whatever else can they ask their special agents to do all day?

The person running the cult-like and autocratic Juche-scripted theatrics is Kim Jong-un, the son of former Supreme Leader Kim Jong Il, and grandson to the country’s Eternal President, Kim Il Sung. Lots of tourists visit Cuba to get their teeth aligned or get a fancier nose, as they’re apparently dirt cheap, and provide the dear people of Cuba with some much-needed cash.

Sudan

Which isn’t too bad, barring a few things like…

…who’s really in charge. Official salaries obviously don’t earn them much.

Speaking about the media is not possible, simply because there isn’t any, barring the state-controlled Korean Central News Agency.

Any citizen reeking of rebellion is handed a one-way pass to one of the country’s infamous internment camps where they are treated worse than plague-infected rats.

Ironically enough, this country is called DPRK – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Iran

Cuba

Let’s not forget Cameroon, Chad, Uganda, Angola, Eritrea, The Gambia, Rwanda, Burundi, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Central African Republic, Mauritania and Burkina Faso.

The way of life in the African continent is harmonious with nature. And if you think you’re falling short, you just bring in a bride like the luxury-obsessed Asma al-Assad who will rise to the occasion like a modern-day Marie Antoinette. And the worst part? The country is currently waging a war with itself for the past 56 years. Uprisings, be it military or guerrilla, are common in these regions as they are funded by the “International Association of Countries with Vested Interests”. But this time around, it’s not an outsider who’s attempting to strangulate their land – it’s their own President. From the times of Julius Caesar to Muammar Gaddafi, dictators have ruled their people with the proverbial iron fist. In a perfect dictatorial style, he gave a good old-fashioned heave-ho to the outraged international peacekeepers, first by befriending Osama bin Laden, and later by going on a trip to visit his like-minded pals in Qatar and Egypt.

Phrases like ‘a ray of hope’ or ‘the glass is half full’ die a depressed death the moment they set their dainty feet on Sudanese soil. The dictatorial form of governance is not new to our world. faaster!!!

Seeds of rebellion were sowed when Fidel Castro and his buddy Che Guevara, the famous t-shirt model (other than Bob Marley, that is), took on the Cuban government, overturned it, and put up something of a non-capitalist/non-plutocratic/very-Marxist/so-Leninist/bordering-on Fascist kind of a structure on the poor country. Their opinions amount to nothing, and no one gets surprised to see a woman being executed for having an opinion on anything other than, say, kebab recipes. The Arab Spring revolution hit the streets of Syria in 2011, and several thousand deaths, tortures and kidnappings later, the situation still hangs in a limbo. Foreign investors coming to Belarus are shooed away like flies. The country’s economy runs primarily on agriculture, oil and tourism. This philosophy promotes self-reliance and entitles each citizen to take charge of their country’s welfare and charter its course of progress.

North Korea: Up close

Sudan: At war on both sides of the Nile

Zimbabwe is a beautiful country blessed with an abundance of natural resources. Border disputes, child soldier armies, illegal arms trade, human rights violations, famines and natural disasters are so common here that most citizens in these countries have a distorted view of normalcy. It was only in 2010 that President Raul Castro permitted the citizens to build their own houses, which, to people in a democratic country, would be equivalent to granting a right to freedom of sneezing at will.

The literacy rate in Cuba is 99.8% as the government wants to ensure that its people read the Revolucin slogans on the street sides. He decided against disputing the accuracy of her observation, and has retained Belarus’ status as the only country upholding the dictatorial tradition in continental Europe. But no other government in Syria has inspired such extreme hatred than the Assad absolutism.

A deserted Umayyad Mosque in Damascus

To the outsider, it seems like being Bashar Hafez al-Assad entitles you to disrupt, bully, torture, and maraud the entire country as you wish. What began as a trivial dispute between nomadic herders and sedentary farmers blew out of proportion to become a full-fledged conflict between the Arab and non-Arab Sudanese. Any hopes of a peaceful reign post the creation of South Sudan were quashed with the two nations fighting on what else, but oil.

And then there’s Darfur…

…the place that is the genocide capital of the world. The insulated environment that we live in gives us the right to have an opinion on everything, which includes all dictators and their oppressive ilk.

One fine day in 1979, the world woke up to the news that this country (which, by now had become a famine-ravaged battlefield) had suddenly become the Islamic Republic of Iran. Easier said than done, peace won’t come to us as easily as we want it to.

Belarus

Belarus’ President, Mr. Things are marginally better in the newly-created South Sudan, but there’s a conflict brimming underneath the pseudo-peaceful exterior.

Zimbabwe

Being in Cuba is the closest you can get to traveling back in time. It seems though, that the time for change is nearing, as rebellions are brimming. Until recently, it was also among the most stable economies in Africa.

But why would a dictator worth his salt like to keep it that way?

Robert Mugabe came to Zimbabwe’s rescue to free it from the clutches of the tortuous colonial white minority-led government, only to completely strangle it himself. That, and the fact that they also dabble in nukes. Major cities of Damascus and Aleppo experience disturbance in certain pockets, but travel further to Homs, Deraa and villages like these and you’ll get the real picture. Depending heavily on Russia for its bread, butter and jam (read: oil), Belarus can’t afford to upset its hulk-of-a-neighbor. As with all dictators, our Kim Jong-un doesn’t like to delegate minor tasks like the country’s welfare to his people.

This is what his government chooses to do instead –

The economy is completely controlled by the government, and international trade is virtually nonexistent.

A large number of citizens covertly indulge into small businesses that account for a significant portion of their income. In this article though, we’re looking at the oppressed, not at the oppressors, because frankly, it is the people here who deserve the world’s undivided attention.

Syria

As for its people…

They have little choice except to queue up along the border and leave. That the friendship has its roots entrenched in Equatorial Guinea’s amply-stocked oil wells is an open secret; the pall of gloom doesn’t look like it’s going to recede any sooner.

Sudan is a country that can easily top any poll on hopelessly tortured countries, although amidst some heavy-duty competition from her African neighbors. All three of which have taken a beating since the civil war that began last year.

As the world continues to watch the Syrian government and the rebel forces collide, all it can do is to politically isolate the troubled nation, which it already has. The world has duly recognized the efforts of Shirin Ebadi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi towards putting Iran’s problems out in the open, but what else has been really done, other than naming Iran as “the axis of evil”?

Why doesn’t the world leave them to their devices then?

Because Iran owns the world’s second largest natural gas reserve and the third largest oil reserve. But is it affecting Assad? Not apparently, as he enjoys trade relations with Iran and continues to crush the rebellion with characteristic brutality.

So far, we know all about Gaddafi’s coterie of virgin bodyguards, Kim Jong-Il’s (supposedly) phenomenal golf skills and Robert Mugabe’s well-chronicled love of the Chelsea football club. The presence of international peacekeeping forces amounts to little as rebel attacks continue to wreck mayhem in the displaced persons’ camps in the region. Alexander Lukashenko couldn’t stop blushing after ex-US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called his country “truly still the last remaining true dictatorship in the heart of Europe”. A nation that is as elusive as elusive can ever be, North Korea and its people remain firmly and permanently shrouded in mystery; perhaps by force, perhaps by choice

UEFA Champions League Winners List and Short History

However, after Inter Milan and Bayern Munich defied bookies and reached the final last year anything could happen is this year’s Champions League!

In its modern form the Champions League has 3 stages; First there is the qualification stage for the clubs who do not qualify automatically, then when the main competition begins there is a group stage consisting of 8 groups of 4 teams. Here is a list of all the Champions League winners:

Football Team – Times Won – Years WonReal Madrid – 9 titles – 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002AC Milan – 7 titles – 1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2007Liverpool FC – 5 titles – 1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, 2005Bayern Munich – 4 titles – 1974, 1975, 1976, 2001Ajax – 4 titles – 1971, 1972, 1973, 1995Barcelona – 3 titles – 1992, 2006, 2009Inter Milan – 3 titles – 1964, 1965, 2010Manchester United – 3 titles – 1968, 1999, 2008Benfica – 2 titles – 1961, 1962Juventus – 2 titles – 1985, 1996Nottingham Forest – 2 titles – 1979, 1980Porto – 2 titles – 1987, 2004Celtic – 1 title – 1967Hamburg – 1 title – 1983Steaua Bucuresti – 1 title – 1986Marseille – 1 title – 1993Feyenoord – 1 title – 1970Aston Villa – 1 title – 1982PSV Eindhoven – 1 title – 1988Red Star Belgrade – 1 title – 1991Borussia Dortmund – 1 title – 1997It can be seen that Real Madrid and AC Milan have been most prolific in the Champions League throughout history, but in the modern era Barcelona have dominated with 3 wins in the last 18 years. What’s more, participating clubs also receive TV revenue on top of prize money which again is highly lucrative considering that the Champions League final is the most watched sporting event in the world with around 100 million global viewers. Given all this it is no surprise that the Champions League is considered the biggest and best club football competition in the world.

Champions League Winners List

Since the Champions League competition began in 1955 there have been 21 different clubs who have lifted the trophy. 2 teams qualify from each group through to the knockout stage of the Champions League. In terms of country wins the Champions League has been held the most in Italy, Spain and England with 12 titles for Spain and Italy and 11 titles for England.

The current Champions League champions are Inter Milan but the 2010/2011 competition is already underway and so it will not be long until there is a new title added to this list. It started out as a straight forward knockout football competition in 1955, in which only the club champions of each European country could enter.. As ever Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid have been ranked as favourites for the competition. Only 12 teams have managed to win the competition more than once and the record for most wins is held by Real Madrid with a tally of 9. In its current form the Champions League also allows more than national champions to enter with countries such as England and Spain having 4 teams qualify for the competition.

Champions League Prize Money and TV Ratings

The European cup is a highly lucrative competiton for football clubs in the modern era with Champions League prize money reaching up to 36.4 million for a championship winning campaign. Both Valencia and Stade Reims have reached the Champions League final twice but lost on both occasions. Even if a club lost every match in the group stage of the Champions League they would still walk away with 3.3 million.

Champions League MedalWhat is now known as the UEFA Champions League began life as the European Champions Club Cup and did not change its name to the Champions League until 1992

State of the Bundesliga championship race | Reuters

Holders Bayern take on Leverkusen, ensuring one of the Bundesliga heavyweights will not reach the semi-finals.

Paderborn are a point ahead on 24, with former European champions Hamburg SV on 25, level with Freiburg. Hanover 96, who have 27 points, and Hertha Berlin, on 29, are also still in the mix, although the capital club have also been improving.

Last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund have launched a recovery since the winter break and are hoping for a top six finish and Europa League action next season.

Dortmund have 33, one behind Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, another comeback team who imploded during the first half of the campaign but are now eyeing a European spot.

Led by Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and Dutch striker Bas Dost, the Volkswagen-backed club should comfortably hold on to second place and secure a retur to the Champions League for the first time since the 2009/10 season.

Europa League

With the top spot all but decided, there are three Champions League qualifying places up for grabs, two of them leading to the group stage and one to the last qualifying round.

Surprise package Augsburg, who are a further point behind, also have an outside chance of a top-four finish though their form as dipped since the league restarted in January

Darmstadt, another former Bundesliga club, are third, a further point behind, with that place leading to a relegation/promotion playoff with the 16th-placed Bundesliga finisher.

Second-placed VfL Wolfsburg are on course to take one of them, having opened up a seven-point lead over Borussia Moenchengladbach in third.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)

BERLIN Bundesliga

They have conceded only 13 goals in 26 games so far, scoring 70 for the best offensive and defensive records in the league.

Coach Pep Guardiola’s team has shown superb consistency despite struggling with a long injury list that has included Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Alaba, Philipp Lahm, Thiago Alcantara, Javi Martinez, Holger Badstuber and Franck Ribery.

Cup

A bitter relegation battle has been raging for months with bottom side VfB Stuttgart, champions in 2007, showing signs of a recovery, having lost one of their last four games.

Ingolstadt are edging closer to their maiden Bundesliga promotion as the Audi-backed team dominate the second tier competition with just three league defeats all season and a three-point lead over Kaiserslautern, who have 46.. However, competition is tight with Schalke, Augsburg and Hoffenheim, on 37, separated by just two points.

With eight games left to play defending champions Bayern Munich are 10 points clear at the top and with just two defeats and on track to celebrate a 25th German title and their 24th Bundesliga crown, since the top league’s introduction in 1963.

Gladbach, on 47 points, look set to battle it out with Bayer Leverkusen, who are two points behind them, and possibly Schalke 04, on 39, for third and the last automatic group stage spot.

Champions League

Promotion

Relegation

Dortmund could also secure a European ticket through the German Cup where they face Hoffenheim in the last eight. With Gladbach on track for a Champions League spot, the chances are even higher for Dortmund to grab a plae in Europe via through the Cup

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