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Sports news feed: August 24-30, 2020

Robert Lewandowski, Hansi Flick and Pernille Harder have all been rewarded for their 2019-20 seasons with major awards. Meanwhile there has been a positive coronavirus test at the US Open. The latest sports news is here.

Hello and welcome one and all to DW's rolling sports news feed with the latest headlines from around the world of sports. If you're looking for the latest Bundesliga transfer news click here.

Latest headlines

  • Lewandowski, Flick and Harder win awards
  • NBA wants to finish season as Trump criticizes boycotts
  • Osaka an injury doubt for US Open

August 30

Positive coronavirus test at US Open

A player has withdrawn from the US Open after testing positive for coronavirus, the tournament’s organizers USTA said in a statement. The player, who hasn’t been named, will go into isolation for at least ten days, and is showing no symptoms.

Contact tracing will be initiated to determine whether other players or staff members will have to go into quarantine as a result. 

The US Open will start on Monday under strict restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak. Germany’s Alexander Zverev (5) and Angelique Kerber (17) will start their tournament facing Kevin Anderson and Ajla Tomljanovic respectively.

Football trio win major awards

Robert Lewandowski has been voted the 2020 male footballer of the year by Germany’s sports journalists. The Polish striker secured 276 votes out of possible 525, over five times more than second-placed Thomas Müller, who received 54 votes.

Wolfsburg’s Pernille Harder was voted female football of the year. This is the first time in three years that Lyon and Germany midfielder Dzenifer Maroszan didn't claim the prize.

In another category, Bayern Munich’s Hansi Flick was voted the 2020 coach of the year.

August 29

Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in Belgium

Championship leader and reigning champion Lewis Hamilton dominated proceedings to claim a record-extending 93rd career pole for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix. The British driver then dedicated it to 'Black Panther' film star Chadwick Boseman who died of colon cancer on Friday.

It was the 35-year-old's fifth pole from seven races this season and a record-extending sixth at the Spa-Francorchamps track. Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas completes the front row while Red Bull's Max Verstappen will start in third.

But it was yet another tough day in a miserable season for Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc in 13th and Sebastian Vettel 14th.

Osaka pulls out of US Open warmup

Japan's Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Western & Southern Open final with a hamstring, just two days before the start of the US Open.

The withdrawal of the two time grand slam champion means Victoria Azarenka takes the title by default. "I'm sorry to have to withdraw today with an injury," said Osaka, who is currently scheduled to play in the US Open on Monday.

"I pulled my left hamstring yesterday in the second set tiebreak and it has not recovered overnight."

Osaka had previously threatened not to play in the semifinals to protest the police shooting of African-American Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. But organizers then postponed all semi-final matches to Friday, which inspired Osaka to change her mind and play.

"This has been an emotional week and I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support," said Osaka, who had said on Friday her actions and the reaction of others had made her "more aware of the impact my voice could have."

Lewandowski says he should have won Ballon d'Or

Bayern Munich's prolific Polish striker Robert Lewandowski has told Polish website ONet that he should have won the Ballon d'Or rather than the award, given to the best footabller in the world, being canceled in 2020.

"I would give it to myself. We have won everything there was to win. I was top scorer in every competition. I believe that when a player has achieved so much, he should win the Ballon d'Or," the treble winner said.

Lewandowski, who scored 55 goals in 47 games in 2019-20 also pointed to Bayern's squad depth as a key factor in their success. "When Coutinho and Perisic are substituted in the 80th minute, the opponent knows what's going on. They realise that we have no intention of stopping pressing and so they feel insecure," the 32-year-old said.

Deignan claims La Course win in Nice

Britain's Lizzie Deignan edged a thrilling sprint finish along the Nice seafront to beat great rival Marianne Vos and win La Course by Le Tour de France on Saturday.

"It's phenomenal to win La Course," she said after winning the one-day cycling event. "Sometimes when you're training hard and things aren't going your way, it's really frustrating but finally it feels the luck is on our side."

La Course by Le Tour, featuring the best female cyclists, is the curtain-raiser for the Tour de France which starts later on Saturday in Nice.

August 28

Union Berlin to hold friendly with fans

Berlin authorities have approved Union Berlin’s plans of hosting the club’s friendly against Nuremberg with up to 5,000 fans in attendance. The exhibition, which will celebrate their stadium's 100th birthday, will take place on September 5.

This is the first time since the coronavirus pandemic that a game will be held at Union's home ground, the Stadion an der Alten Föresterei, with fans in attendance. Nuremberg was the first opponent Union played when the stadium opened on August 7, 1920.

Tickets will be available for club members older than 12 in a lottery system. The tickets will be personalized in order for the club to comply with the current coronavirus restrictions, with fans agreeing to have the personal details transferred to authorities for tracking potential infections.

NBA maintains season will finish amid game boycotts

A day after postponing playoff games over boycotts protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake, the NBA announced on Thursday that the season would finish as planned.

After a board of governors meeting on Thursday, the league said in a statement scheduled games on Thursday would be postponed but hoped the playoffs would resume as planned on Friday.

A sporting boycott spread across the US on Wednesday after the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the floor for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic. Milwaukee, Wisconsin is approximately 40 miles (74 kilometers) north of Kenosha, where Blake was shot multiple times by a police officer while getting into his car.

Players were divided over whether the playoffs, already delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, should conclude, according to multiple reports in the US. Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers players voted to end the season in an emotional, three-hour meeting on Wednesday between players and coaches — one superstar Lebron James reportedly stormed out of. 

Donald Trump criticizes boycotts

During a briefing on Hurricane Laura on Thursday, US President Donald Trump criticized the NBA's decision to postpone six playoff games in response to a player boycott protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

"They've become like a political organization, and that's not a good thing," Trump said. 

Trump has consistently condemned social justice protests in US sports. He has been vocal over his disdain for the "take a knee" protest, in which players kneel during the US national anthem, started by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. 

NHL postpones playoff games

The National Hockey League postponed two playoff games on Thursday amid criticism it responded to slowly to a nationwide boycott of sporting events.

While games in the NBA and WNBA basketball leagues, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer — as well as a WTA tennis event — were called off on Wednesday, NHL games went ahead as planned.

The hockey league was criticized by its Black players for taking too long to acknowledge the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin. But NHL has now reached an agreement with its players' association to put off games on Thursday and Friday.

"We strongly feel this sends a clear message that human rights take priority over sports," the NHL said in a statement.

August 27

German Cup 1st Round schedule set in stone

The German Football Association (DFB) have released the kickoff times for the opening round of the 2020-21 German Cup. On account of how they "wonderfully represented German football in the Champions League final," titleholders Bayern won't be in action until October 15. 

Pogba left out of France squad after positive COVID-19 test

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has tested positive for COVID-19, the club confirmed on their website. The 27-year-old has been left out of France's squad for Nations League matches against Sweden and Croatia next month as a result.

"I had to make a change last minute because Paul Pogba was supposed to be in the squad," France head coach Didier Deschamps said. "Unfortunately for him, he had a test yesterday that was positive this morning." Pogba was replaced by 17-year-old Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga.

Müller talks down national team return

Thomas Müller says a potential return to the German national side is not on his mind despite his excellent form in helping Bayern Munich win another treble.  

"Of course in the last months due to the team's success and my role in it this national team question has come up again," the 30-year-old forward said at a sponsor's engagement Thursday, "but there is nothing new and it is also not currently a topic for me." 

Bundesliga fans won't return to before November

The German government has extended a ban on spectators in stadiums until October 31 after a recent surge in coronavirus cases. The resolution was announced Thursday after discussions between German chancellor Angela Merkel and state premiers.

The decision deals a blow to a reworked hygeine concept developed by the German football association (DFB) and the German Football League (DFL) that would have allowed fans to once again see their football teams in person when the German football season kicks off in September. 

American sports teams boycott games after Jacob Blake shooting

Players and teams in North American basketball, baseball, soccer and tennis leagues sat out their competitions Wednesday night in protest of a police shooting in Wisconsin over the weekend.

The protest began when the Milwaukee Bucks, set to play Game 5 of their first round NBA playoff series against the Orlando Magic Wednesday afternoon, refused to come out onto the floor. The boycott came as Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man shot by police on Sunday, was recovering from his injuries in a Milwaukee hospital.

The other two NBA playoff games scheduled Wednesday were also postponed, as were five MLS soccer games, three MLB baseball games, and three WNBA basketball games. The Western & Southern Open tennis tournament has also been paused after 2018 US Open winner Naomi Osaka refused to play her semifinal match.

August 26

Ajax's Blind 'feeling well' despite health scare

Daley Blind remains under observation after his implanted defibrillator (ICD) gave off an alarm in a friendly with Hertha Berlin. Blind went to the ground in the 80th minute without the intervention of an opponent but was able to leave the field without assistance. 

"The central defender is feeling well, given the circumstances," Ajax said in a statement. "He will undergo further examinations and await the results of these tests before resuming training."

Ceferin calls salary cap 'interesting', fans at Super Cup

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin believes that, while there are issues to iron out, some form of salary cap in football could soon become reality. "There are some interesting ideas but we need some time to discuss and analyse their feasibility before we provide more details," he told German publication Bild. 

Ceferin's words come the day after UEFA announced that the Super Cup match between Bayern Munich and Sevilla later this month will be played in front of spectators. 

Serena 'frustrated' by shock exit to Sakkari

Serena Williams' preparations for a crack at a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title at the US Open were dealt a blow, after a surprise defeat to Greek player Maria Sakkari at the Western and Southern Open.

"It was tough. I literally should have won that match. There was no excuse," she said. "I literally put myself in this situation. You know, it's like dating a guy that you know sucks. That's literally what I keep doing out here. It's like I have got to get rid of this guy. It just makes no sense. It's frustrating."

August 25

Harry Maguire found guilty of assault, attempted bribery

A Greek court on Tuesday found Manchester United captain Harry Maguire guilty of assault, violence against public employees, insult and attempted bribery. The court also reportedly handed him a suspended prison sentence of 21 months and 10 days.

The charges stemmed from a brawl last week in Mykonos. Manchester United have issued a statement saying the 27-year-old defender "continues to strongly assert his innocence'' and would appeal the verdict. Nevertheless, Maguire has been withdrawn from the England squad for the upcoming Nations League encounters.

Joachim Löw names three first-timers in squad

With the UEFA Nations League just around the corner, Löw has named a 23-man squad for the matches against Spain and Switzerland. Bayern Munich's treble winners are all exempt from featuring, which has opened the door for three new names in goalkeeper Oliver Baumann, Atalanta's Robin Gosens and Florian Neuhaus of Borussia Mönchengladbach. 

Formula 1 adds new dates to calendar

F1 added four more races to this year's calendar on Tuesday and said "a limited number of fans'' will be able to attend some of the remaining events in the pandemic-disrupted season. Races in Turkey, Abu Dhabi and two in Bahrain will take place in November and December, completing the heavily reshaped calendar.

Schalke call off friendly after players tests positive for COVID-19

Bundesliga team Schalke called off a friendly with Würzburger Kickers after midfielder Alessandro Schöpf tested positive for the coronavirus. " Contact tracing is already underway,'' the club said on it's website before confirming that the first round of three additional tests for players and staff all returned negative. 

Read more: Former Schalke captain Höwedes calls time on career

Harry Maguire trial starts in Greece

The trial of Manchester United defender Harry Maguire began Tuesday in Greece following his arrest after a brawl with police last week in Mykonos. The England international and two other unnamed defendants have been charged with assault and swearing in public, while Maguire is also facing bribery charges.

Usain Bolt confirms positive test for COVID-19

World-record sprinter and eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt has tested positive for the coronavirus and is self-isolating in Jamaica after celebrating his 34th birthday with a mask-free bash. "Just to be safe I quarantined myself and just taking it easy," Bolt said in a video posted on social media.

Watch video 01:36

Bayern Munich defeats PSG to win Champions League