Schalke wins Intertoto to reach UEFA Cup; Munich closes summer sales, Ballack is Klinsi's Captain Marvel -- and other news from the Bundesliga.
Ailton sealed Schalke's cup win and sent the Blues into Europe
Schalke 04 can thank the return to form of recently signed Brazilian striking star Ailton for their passage into the UEFA Cup competition after winning the second leg of the Intertoto Cup final against Slovan Liberec. A hard fought 1-0 away win over the Czech side was enough to seal the overall victory after the Royal Blues had beaten Liberec 2-1 at home in Gelsenkirchen. But Schalke had to wait until three minutes from the end of regulation time before the evening's work was completed in style. In the 87th minute, Ailton skipped past Liberec goalkeeper Hauzr to send the ball into an empty net. The visitors had previously gone close through Gerald Asamoah and Mladen Krstajic before the Brazilian made it six wins from six in the tournament which offers a place in the UEFA Cup along with the first silverware of the season.
Bayern Shuts Transfer Window
Bastian Schweinsteiger is staying at Bayern -- for now.
Bayern Munich has put any further transfer activity on hold, at least until the transfer window opens again in January. The deadline of August 31 is rapidly approaching and Karlheinz Rummenigge, chairman of the executive board, announced on Tuesday that there would be no more comings or goings before then. This means that Bastian Schweinsteiger (photo), the young German international star currently languishing in Bayern's amateur side, will be going nowhere. Speculation was rife that Schweinsteiger, a member of the German Euro 2004 team, would be looking for a loan move in a bid for first team soccer. Despite appearing surplus to requirements at Bayern so far this season, Schweinsteiger was called up by new Germany coach Jürgen Klinsmann for the 3-1 win against Austria last week.
"World Class" Ballack is First Choice for Klinsi
Germany's Captain Marvel.
Michael Ballack, the Bayern Munich midfielder recently promoted to captain of his country, has been praised by his international coach Jürgen Klinsmann who called him "world class" and indicated that Ballack would be an automatic choice for Germany as long as he was fit. "If he is healthy, he is in the team. Absolutely certain because he has world class potential," Klinsmann gushed in an interview with tabloid Bild Sport. Ballack, if fit, will lead out his countrymen against Brazil on September 8 in the latest friendly in what will seem like an endless list before the 2006 World Cup actually kicks-off. Klinsmann, however, seems in buoyant mood as always, deflecting talk of an attacking, defensive and goalkeeping crisis within the national team. The sporadic striking prowess of the forwards, the aging and creaking back line and the dueling goalies apparently "do not worry me in the slightest," Klinsmann told the newspaper.