The Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund certainly lived up to all the pre-match hype with a late Arjen Robben goal securing a memorable 2-1 win over their old rivals. It was a showcase of the best European football has to offer with razor-sharp skills, high tempo and tactical prowess from both clubs. Bayern winger Robben played a starring role, creating the opening goal and then scoring the winner as the clock ticked down with a cleverly-placed shot. In their third attempt at a Champions League final in four years, the Bavarian powerhouse avoided another tragedy by claiming the silverware in the end. They level Liverpool’s record of winning five European cups, but still trail Real Madrid (9 times) and AC Milan (7 times). Notably, they could also turn their laughable “treble runners-up” last year into “treble champions” this season if they can beat Stuttgart in the German Cup final this week. World Gaming magazine will feature a fascinating story on the rise of German football in issue #24 so keep an eye out for it next month!
Summer break is here, but Premier League clubs can’t wait to show their business prowess across the world. Just a week after their Premier League campaigns drew to a close, Chelsea and Manchester City landed in New York this week to play out a friendly at Yankee Stadium (won 5-3 by City). Tottenham Hotspur flew to the Bahamas for another exhibition game against Jamaica and thus became the first EPL club to travel to the Caribbean island. England will face off against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil in the coming week at Wembley Stadium and in Rio de Janeiro respectively. The traditional summer break when English football players would spend their days on the golf course have long gone – now even the post-season is full of meaningless “exhibition games” to fill in the schedule!
The truth is, few fans would raise an eyebrow for these kind of games, with the real battle going on in the transfer market. Newly promoted French Ligue 1 club Monaco has joined Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain among the super rich with the club’s owner, Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev, ranked #119 on Forbes’ list of billionaires. He splashed a combined €70 million on João Moutinho and James Rodríguez from Porto and has made Atlético Madrid star Radamel Falcao his next target at a cost of €60 million. According to reports in Spain, the prolific Colombian is set to have medical at Monaco this week. Barcelona has responded with its own marquee signing in Neymar – the Santos whiz kid now officially confirmed to join the Catalan team for around €60 million. With the widespread change of managers around Europe, no doubt we can expect more astonishing transfers in the coming months.