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Sports news feed: Fun match-ups in German Cup draw

There will be just two all-Bundesliga clashes in the men's German Cup Round of 16, while the favourites dodged each other in the women's quarterfinals. Meanwhile, PSG have named a new head coach.

  • Fun match-ups in German Cup draw
  • Pochettino new PSG head coach
  • Japanese PM insists Olympics will go ahead

January 3

Fun match-ups in German Cup draw

In the men's draw for the Round of 16, fourth-division side Rot-Weiss Essen will get a Bundesliga side and in-form second-division side Bochum have been handed a tough trip to Leipzig. The catch-up fixtures will be played on January 12 and 13. The Round of 16 games are scheduled for February 2 and 3.

Kiel/Bayern Munich — Darmstadt
Dortmund — Paderborn
Leipzig — Bochum 
Rot-Weiss Essen — Leverkusen/Frankfurt
Wolfsburg — Schalke
Stuttgart — Gladbach
Bremen — Fürth
Regensburg — Cologne

In the Women's quarterfinal draw, Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich avoided one another, although the possibility of the latter facing Hoffenheim is exciting. The quarterfinals are set to be played on March 20 and 21.

SC Freiburg — Potsdam/Sand
SG Andernach — Eintracht Frankfurt
Wolfsburg — Bremen/Meppen
Hoffenheim — Walddörfer SV/Bayern München

January 2

Pochettino new PSG head coach

Not long after Thomas Tuchel's departure, former Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino has been named as the Paris Saint-Germain head coach.

In a statement on the French side's website, PSG revealed that Pochettino had signed a contract until June 30, 2022 with an option for an additional year.

January 1

Stützle turning heads at World Juniors

Tim Stützle has been taking the IIHF World Juniors ice hockey tournament by storm in Edmonton. The Ottawa Senators' No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 entry draft has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in the first four games of the tournament to put him third in scoring. He was also a big part of why that Germany have advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in their history – by beating Switzerland 5-4. 

Not to be forgotten is his German teammate, Buffalo Sabres draft pick John-Jason Peterka, who also has 10 points (four goals, six assists) after four games, including a hat trick against Switzerland. 

But all eyes are on Stützle, whose performances in Edmonton have some observers predicting that the Adler Mannheim winger, who turns 19 later this month, will play in the NHL sometime after the season starts on January 13. 

"Let’s put it this way, I’ve learned over the years to try to not get super-excited when I see a player dominate at this tournament," said NHL analyst Ray Ferraro of TSN in an interview with Postmedia earlier this week.   

"I don’t think there's a player in the tournament more NHL ready, and I mean not even close, than Tim... Tim will impact positively with that team (Ottawa). I will be shocked if he doesn’t have a positive impact immediately." 

Stützle could join the Senators training camp sooner than he might want to, as Germany will be the overwhelming underdogs as they face Russia in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

 

Japanese PM insists Games will go ahead

Rising coronavirus cases in Japan will not stop the postponed Tokyo Olympics from going ahead later this year, according to the country's Prime Minister.

Yoshihide Suga released a written statement promising to "protect the lives of the people" and work on "virus countermeasures and economic recovery."

"The Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held this summer," he added, saying that preparations for the delayed events were under way.

About 3,480 people have died in Japan from around 235,700 cases during the pandemic so far.

Watch video 02:28

Summer Olympics organizers confident despite pandemic

December 31

Kolasinac returns to Bundesliga bottom side Schalke

Left-back Sead Kolasinac has returned to Schalke on loan from Arsenal for the rest of the season.

The 27-year-old Bosnia international left the Royal Blues for Arsenal in 2017 but has found first-team opportunities limited under Mikel Arteta.

"We have worked intensively on the return of Sead Kolasinac and are really proud that a real Schalke boy is coming home," board member responsible for sport and communications, Jochen Schneider, said in a statement. "Sead embodies exactly the values that characterize Schalke, and are elementary in the fight to stay in the league: an irrepressible will and a strong character."

Hammon becomes first woman to lead NBA team

Becky Hammon took temporary charge of the San Antonio Spurs against the Los Angeles Lakers, becoming the first woman to lead an NBA team during a game.

Head coach Gregg Popovich was ejected in the second quarter of Spurs' 127-107 defeat and chose assistant coach Hammon to take over.

Former WNBA star Hammon, who became the first female on an NBA coaching staff in 2014, said: "Obviously it's a big deal, a substantial moment."

Former top German sports politician Tröger passes away   

German Walther Tröger, an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee, has died at the age of 91.

Tröger was a major sports functionary for decades, leading the West German National Olympic Committee as general secretary and president. He was also Sport Director at the IOC and an IOC member.

His family announced he had died on Wednesday of old age.

F1 world champion Hamilton becomes Sir Lewis

Formula One's Lewis Hamilton has been knighted by the British Queen after he matched Michael Schumacher's record of seven world titles this season and surpassed the German in race wins.

The Mercedes driver joins the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Andy Murray and Sir Mo Farah in receiving one of Britain's highest honours.

Hamilton, 35, was also a prominent supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement for racial justice in 2020.

English Premier League rejects call for suspension 

The English Premier League says it is not planning to suspend the season amid an increase in COVID-19 cases among players.

West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce has called for a "circuit break" and a second game this week was postponed a few hours before kickoff on Wednesday. Fulham's match at Tottenham Hotspur was called off because of new coronavirus cases at the west London club.

But the Premier League said in a statement: "The league continues to have confidence in its COVID-19 protocols to enable fixtures to be played as scheduled, and these protocols continue to have the full backing of government."  

Germany make history at junior ice hockey worlds

Germany beat Switzerland 5-4 to reach the playoffs in the men's world junior ice hockey championship for the first time. 

John-Jason Peterka netted a hat trick and the NHL's third-overall draft pick,  Tim Stützle scored two goals and had three assists.

Finland defeated Slovakia 6-0 to set up a showdown with defending champion Canada for top spot in Group A.

December 30

Hitzlsperger to challenge VfB Stuttgart president in March election 

VfB Stuttgart board member for sport Thomas Hitzlsperger has criticized VfB Stuttgart president Claus Vogt and announced that he will stand against him in the election in March.

 "A deep crack is running through our club," Hitzlsperger wrote in an open letter, adding that the situation "has now finally become unacceptable."

Promoted Stuttgart are a heady seventh in the Bundesliga table after impressing in the first 13 games under coach Pellegrino Matarazzo. But like many German clubs, the hierarchy above the coach is quite complex. Sven Mislintat is the sporting director, with Hitzlsperger his boss as board member for sport and head of the board for the club, sometimes also called the chief executive. But Vogt is president of the supervisory board and the company's presidium which are ultimately in charge. 

Germany's Clemens bows out at Ally Pally

Gabriel Clemens' run at the PDC World Darts Championship came to a disappointing end on Tuesday night. The 37-year-old player from Germany's western Saarland state lost his round-of-16 match in a deciding seventh set to Krzysztof Ratajski of Poland.   

"It's best not to say anything," the German No. 1 said when asked what to say after such a match. He did concede though that he was angry with himself after missing umpteen winners. Despite the disappointment, Clemens did make darts history at London's Alexandra Palace, by becoming the first German to make it to the last 16 at the world championship. The match is also reported to have attracted a television audience in Germany of more than a million viewers. 

Karl Geiger wins first Four Hills event

German ski jumper Karl Geiger won the first stage of the annual Four Hills Tournament in Oberstdorf in Germany on Tuesday.  Geiger, who won the ski flying world championships in Planica in Slovenia in December, beat Pole Kamil Stoch with Norway's Marius Lindvik third.  

After winning in Planica, Geiger tested positive for Covid-19 on December 17 and only came out of quarantine on December 27, just in time to claim his seventh World Cup victory.

 

The competition moves to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day and then to Innsbruck and Bischofshofen in Austria. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year's Four Hills is taking place without spectators. 

December 29

BNP Paribas Open postponed indefinitely

The BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, which had been scheduled to be held at Indian Wells, California, been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, the governing body of men's tennis, the ATP said in a statement on Tuesday. 

"Alternative dates are being assessed for the tournament to potentially take place later in the year," it added,  

The event, which had been scheduled to be held from March 8-21, attracts the game's top players from both the men's and women's sides. 

This marks the second consecutive year the tournament, which is considered the most prestigious event in tennis apart from the four Grand Slams, has been affected by the pandemic. The 2020 edition was canceled 

Polish team to compete at Oberstdorf after all

Poland's ski jumpers led by title holder Dawid Kubacki and two-time champion Kamil Stoch will be allowed to compete at the Four Hills tournament opener on Tuesday after all because all of the jumpers have tested negative for the coronavirus.

The Polish team had originally been excluded from the Oberstdorf event and quarantined following a positive test from jumper Klemens Muranka. But he then tested negative in a second round of tests along with his six team-mates. A third round of negative tests led to the U-turn as local health authorities lifted the quarantine and organizers said the athletes could compete. 

The decision comes a day after the Poles were excluded from qualifying on Monday. Organizers have said they will be allowed extra training jumps before the start of the competition.  

PSG sack Tuchel 

Paris St-Germain have confirmed that German coach Thomas Tuchel has been fired following days of speculation about the move. The club said the decision followed a "deep analysis of the sporting situation."

The former Borussia Dortmund coach led PSG to two French League titles and they reached the Champions League final last season only to lose to Bayern Munich. 

But this season he has clashed with the club hierarachy and they sit only third in Ligue 1. His contract expires in June in any case.

Former Tottenham Hotspur coach Mauricio Pochettino, who played for PSG, is being hotly tipped in the media as Tuchel's replacement at the Qatari-backed club.

Poland's ski-jumpers led by title holder Dawid Kubacki and two-time champion Kamil Stoch will be allowed to compete at the Four Hills tournament opener on Tuesday after all because all of the jumpers have tested negative for the coronavirus. 

China drops 76ers broadcasts over Hong Kong row

Chinese streaming firm Tencent has stopped broadcasting live NBA games involving the Philadelphia 76ers in an apparent protest against the club's new president, Daryl Morey, who voiced support for Hong Kong demonstrators last year.

Morey used to work for the Houston Rockets and Tencent had already dropped their games, 

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, which holds the NBA TV rights, has not aired any games since the season began last week.

December 28

Strugglers Mainz look for new coach

Bundesliga second-bottom side Mainz have fired coach Jan-Moritz Lichte after just three months in the job. Former Huddersfield Town boss Jan Siewert has been put in temporary charge. 

The move comes after a major overhaul of the club hierarchy with former sporting director Christian Heidel returning as board member responsible for strategy, sport and communication while ex-Mainz coach Martin Schmidt is back as sporting director.

Mainz have six points from 13 games and visit Bayern Munich next on Jan.3

Everton query Premier League call to postpone City game

Manchester City's Premier League game at Everton was postponed just hours before kickoff following an increase in COVID-19 cases in City's squad.

The decision was taken by the Premier League board but Everton say they want "full disclosure" of information which led to the decision. It is the second Premier League game this season to be postponed because of the coronavirus.  

In contrast to the Premier League, games in the English League Cup, for example, are forfeited if a team cannot play due to COVID-19. 

Roger Federer to miss Australian Open

Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer will miss the Australian Open for the first time in his career as he continues his recovery from two rounds of knee surgery, organizers announced on Monday.

The 39-year-old Swiss, a huge favorite with the Melbourne crowds, hadn't missed the Australian Open since his debut in 2000, winning the trophy six times.

"In the end Roger ran out of time to get himself ready for the rigors of a Grand Slam and he's very disappointed he won't be coming to Melbourne in 2021," said tournament director Craig Tiley.

"We wish him all the best as he prepares for his comeback later in the year and look forward to seeing him in Melbourne in 2022."

This year's Australian Open is to start later than usual, on February 8, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Defending Four Hills champion, Poland out of opener

Dawid Kubacki will be unable to defend his Four Hills title as he and the rest of the Polish team won't compete in the tournament's opener after one of their jumpers tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Organizers said on Monday just hours ahead of qualifying in Oberstdorf, that health authorities decided that the team including Kubacki and former two-time Four Hills winner and Olympic champion Kamil Stoch can't take part.  

Klemens Muranka's positive result was announced late Sunday after all jumpers and team staff underwent mandatory testing. His teammates, who all tested negative, were not allowed to jump in Oberstdorf because they were in direct contact with him. 

Further tests are to determine possible quarantine measures and also whether when or whether at all the Polish team can return to the prestigious event which runs until January 6.  

Missing one event means that none of the Poles has a chance to get the overall title because that goes to the jumper with the most points garnered in all four events. 

Christian Gross named Schalke head coach

Schalke have officially appointed Christian Gross as their new coach, hoping that he can end the team's 29-game winless streak in the Bundesliga stretching back into last season. Schalke are currently dead last in the Bundesliga with just four points from 13 matches.

"The next five months will be all about managing to stay in the Bundesliga,'' Schalke sporting director Jochen Schneider said as Gross was unveiled on Sunday.

"Christian Gross has shown in both Germany and England that he can successfully take on challenges like this.''

The 66-year-old Swiss, whose former teams also include Stuttgart and Tottenham, is Schalke's fourth coach of the season, after David Wagner, Manuel Baum and Huub Stevens, who took over for just two games on an interim basis after Baum was fired on Dec. 18.

"We need to have a good atmosphere in and around the team to be successful again. I will give everything so that we can accomplish our goals together,'' Gross said in a statement posted on Schalke's website.

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