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HOLTBY WANTS CHANCE

German international Lewis Holtby, who moved from Tottenham to Fulham in the January transfer window, says that performing well for his new club helps him appear at the World Cup 2014. The 23-year-old has featured for the national team thrice in his career. He made his debut back in 2010, but the incredible strength in depth has meant that Joachim Loew has been hardly able to give Holtby an opportunity in recent times. On Holtby’s part, he has been unable to feature regularly for Tottenham due to the strength in depth of the squad.

After having completed the loan move – till the end of the season – to Fulham, Holtby says that the time is right for him to start performing and hopefully reach the World Cup. After primarily representing Schalke in German football, Holtby came to Tottenham in the summer. He made 24 appearances for the team and scored one goal in the first half of the campaign. However, Tim Sherwood does not appear to see him as part of the plans – for now. Hence, he has made the loan move to Fulham, who are struggling down at the foot of the table.

The arrival of the 23-year-old will provide the coach with some much-needed quality up front. They have been unable to score goals on a regular basis this campaign.

“I’m hungry for games, especially in the Premier League, that’s what I came here for. It is a great opportunity for me now at Fulham to get these games and get the full trust of the gaffer, Mr Meulensteen, and show my abilities and what I can do and maybe slot in to the Germany side too, somehow, to get my confidence running. I want to show the Premier League and all the pundits what I can do week in, week out on the pitch,” said Holtby.

GNABRY CHANCE

Arsene Wenger has talked up the chances of Serge Gnabry featuring for Germany in the World Cup 2014. The German youngster has been in fine form for Arsenal after making the move from Stuttgart two years ago. The 18-year-old is expected to get more first-team opportunities in the team due to the recent injury for midfielder Theo Walcott. The England international will miss the rest of the season due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Even with several first-team players available to replace him, Wenger has given more game time to Gnabry.

The youngster has not failed to take his chances since he has been impressive in the Arsenal colours this campaign. Despite being extremely young, Wenger says that there is a chance that Germany manager Joachim Loew could decide to take the youngster to Brazil. His chances will certainly be helped by the presence of other German internationals at the club. Loew will undoubtedly be keeping tabs with the progress of players like Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker. This may help Gnabry get attention in the eyes of the national team manager.

Germany are especially going to be weak in this position due to the age and injuries faced by the current strikers Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose. Both players have not featured much for their clubs this campaign.

“We are looking at a guy who has good individual talent, he can pass people, is a good finisher, and has a very good football brain with good vision. He has great pace. Two footed, can finish right and left. He has a lot in the locker. I am not afraid to play him. I have shown that against Tottenham in the FA Cup – it was a big game. He has convinced many people that he at least deserves another chance,” said Wenger.

LOW WILL REST STARS

Germany manager Joachim Low confirmed prior to the England match that he would be resting a number of key players like Mesut Ozil. This would also allow the opportunity to test a number of new players for the team ahead of the World Cup. However, this has been interpreted as a sign of disrespect towards England, who are not regarded as one of the top teams in the world right now. Low, though, has clarified his comments by saying that he only wants to use his squad strength and look at a number of new players.

Germany qualified for the World Cup with relative ease by managing to do so several weeks prior to the end of the qualification campaign. The team recently suffered badly in the form of injury to Sami Khedira, which would possibly rule him out of the World Cup. Hence, Low needs a player who can do the job as the Real Madrid man has efficiently done in the last few years. Ozil has also been playing constantly since the start of the season, which would wear him out at the start of the World Cup.

“It was clear for me that these two matches against Italy and England, I would use them to try out new players in key positions and what better test for these up-and-coming players than to play in front of a partisan crowd of 80,000 fans spurring their own team on. It was a deliberate acid test for these young players and it’s definitely not the case that we’re fielding a B team or that there’s any lack of respect to our hosts,” said Low.

Due to these reasons, Low will be looking at some of the younger players like Mario Gotze. England do not have such luxury in terms of squad strength.

LOEW SHOCKED AT OZIL

German national team manager Joachim Loew has said that he is extremely surprised at the decision taken by Real Madrid to sell midfield star Mesut Ozil to Arsenal. The German midfielder was sold to Arsenal in a £ 42.5 million deal on the transfer deadline day. He has been one of the prolific players for Madrid since moving to the Spanish club in 2010. He was signed by former manager José Mourinho for € 15 million right after a stunning World Cup with Germany. He has been a major contributor to the team in terms of assists rather than goals.

He has been sold by Madrid in order to generate funds for the purchase of Gareth Bale, who has cost them a world record £ 86 million. The Spanish giants are thought to have taken huge loans from several banks in order to make this transfer possible. Hence, they had to sell Ozil in a move that has not proven to be popular even amongst the current Madrid players. Loew has also said that Madrid was wrong to sell the 24-year-old because it is not advisable to lose a class player, but he did acknowledge that some difficult decisions have to be taken in business.

“The transfer is good for the national team, he will have a top coach at Arsenal and will be playing at a very high level, that’ll suit him well. I have heard a few players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Sami Khedira are sad to lose a class player. And for me it’s hard to understand why Real let one of their top scorers go, but that’s business. He’s a sensitive player who needs a lot of confidence in him from his club and coach,” said the German manager. Ozil also expressed the lack of confidence from Madrid in his final days.

Soccer Safari football game

One thing that there is no shortage of these days is slots games based around the various sports – as their success has led more sports betting fans to hit online casino websites – and a fair proportion of these games are football slots.

This is understandable, as football is one of the biggest sports globally, but it means that there is a lot of competition amongst football themed slots games. One such game that seems to have risen above the general pack is the World Cup-inspired five reel video slot Soccer Safari, but why has this particular game proven such a hit? Read more »

MARIN HEADS TO SPAIN

German international Marko Marin has joined Spanish club Sevilla on a season long loan deal from Chelsea. The former Werder Bremen winger was a £ 7 million signing for Chelsea only 12 months ago, but he has failed to establish himself in the first team of Chelsea due to several injury problems. Chelsea also changed management after just a few months of his arrival to the club. This also had an effect on the player, who is now intent on re-establishing himself at club and international level with impressive performances for Sevilla.

The winger was expected to become part of the first-team plans after the arrival of José Mourinho, but the arrival of new signings in the form of Andre Schurrle and Kevin De Bruyne. The latter is expected to be more of a first-team player this season after spending the last season on loan at Werder Bremen. During his 12 months at Chelsea, Marin made only six starts. The 24-year-old is hoping to rediscover his form in the next 12 months at Sevilla. The departure of Jesus Navas to Manchester city is expected to free up a place at Sevilla.

The club are expected to be one of the contenders for a Champions League place.

“I come here with more ambition than when I signed for Chelsea. Sevilla is a club of tradition that I have come to for the new season with the hope of helping them return to a position in the league that they occupied not so many years ago. I hope to take on the role of a leader. After talking with (sporting director) Monchi and (Sevilla midfielder) Ivan Rakitic, who is also a leader in the team, I have understood the project and the philosophy of this club,” said Marin.

Marin has not featured for the national team since 2010.

What next for Robert Lewandowski?

The past two seasons have been phenomenally successful for Borussia Dortmund and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski. Since his arrival from Lech Poznan for just shy of £4m back in 2010, he has bagged 75 goals in 139 appearances, a statistic which has grabbed the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Although his team were Bundesliga champions as recently as 2012 and reached the Champions League final, Lewandowski has seemingly been angling for a move to a bigger club. As his contract is due to expire with the Ruhr side in 12 months’ time, Dortmund’s moneymen may reluctantly sell him, but where could he end up playing next season should he leave? Read more »

GOTZE HEADS TO BAYERN

Bayern Munich recently managed to secure the signing of Borussia Dortmund star Mario Gotze, as they start the preparations for the arrival of Guardiola in the summer. Gotze has been a Bayern Munich target for a long time now, but the club has been unable to sign him since the player has been rejecting any advances up until now. Now, they have managed to agree personal terms with the 20-year-old, who is widely regarded as the best young talent in Germany right now.

They have also managed to capture his signature without connecting any negotiations with his club Dortmund since they activated his release clause of around £ 35 million. The move was announced ahead of the Champions league semi-final with Real Madrid, which is one of the biggest matches of the season. It is also especially important for Dortmund since they could reach the final of the competition after more than a decade. Germany national team manager Joachim Loew has expressed surprise at the timing of this announcement.

Dortmund manager Klopp has been calling for the fans to stay supportive of Gotze, as he still remains a Dortmund player with aspirations to beat Real Madrid. The club could face Bayern Munich in the final of the competition at Wembley.

“I was not surprised that a player is going to Bayern Munich. This is a top destination in the league, and I’m glad that Mario will remain in the Bundesliga. However, the timing of the announcement surprised me and I think that it was very questionable,” said Low after the announcement was made. Gotze had been linked with a move to several clubs including Arsenal and Manchester city in the last few months. He has had a brilliant season for Dortmund. The club are several points behind Bayern in the Bundesliga table.

KEEP FOCUSSED

Germany manager Joachim Loew has said that his team should remain extremely focused despite the fact that there will be coming up against one of the minnows in the competition. Germany will be playing against Kazakhstan in the World Cup qualifying match. In the reverse fixture, Germany managed to beat their opposition 3-0, but many are expecting a much bigger scoreline this time around due to the fact that it will be at Germany’s home. As a result, there has been a relaxed atmosphere ahead of the match. Loew has said that he has warned his players enough about being complacent.

He has said that the team has not qualified for the World Cup yet, and they want to do so in style. A victory in the match could put Germany eight points clear at the top of the table. As a result, they believe that Germany almost into the finals of the World Cup. Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger will be a major absentee for the match as he is suspended. However, Loew has said that the team has enough quality players across the squad to be able to replace him for this match. Schweinsteiger was one of the players who scored in the reverse fixture.

“If you score a victory away then there is the danger that you keep this in your head for some time. We have to keep reminding the players that we are playing at home and we will only win if we have the right attitude. If we can start on the front foot, like we did against Sweden, and have the pressing, cohesive unit that we had the other night and stop Austria playing, then we can build our attacks from there,” said the Germany manager ahead of the match. Germany’s next match will be against Ecuador.

GERMANY SET FOR FRIENDLY

Germany were taking on France in a friendly match looking to build on the recent unbeaten form, which has taken the pressure off the manager Joachim Loew. After failing to win the last two major tournaments despite having extremely close, the manager has come under intense pressure of late. Results like the 4-4 draw with Sweden in which they threw away a four goal lead in the second half have also resulted in reports suggesting that he will be replaced if results do not improve. However, he faced one of the biggest tests of his managerial reign when Germany visited France looking for the first victory since 1987.

Things looked to have gone horribly wrong after the half-time break due to the fact that France managed to take the lead in the 44th minute. However, two goals in the second half but that Loew was able to rejoice a famous victory over one of Germany’s important rival. After the match, Loew said that it is always not easy to play in front of 75,000 fans supporting the opposition. He has said that the character of the team to come back from being a goal down in such situations is extremely remarkable. He has called for the team to build on this result.

“This was an important game for the development of my players and for the team as a whole. To play here in front of 75,000 fans against a team that has had some great results recently, and to come from behind to do so, was fantastic. Both teams played some good stuff, but we wanted to put in a performance and we were the better side over the 90 minutes,” said the German manager. Sami Khedira and Thomas Müller scored the goals for Germany in this amazing comeback victory.