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German Cup draw pits Dortmund against Gladbach

February 5, 2021

The biggest two clubs left in the German Cup, Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Mönchengladbach, will meet in the quarterfinal following Sunday's draw. And Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana has received a one-year doping ban.

Borussia Mönchengladbach v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund last won the German Cup in 2017, Gladbach in 1995Image: Lars Baron/Getty Images

Latest headlines:

  • Ajax's Andre Onana handed one-year doping suspension
  • Australian Open players cleared of COVID-19 after positive case
  • Organizers for Tokyo Olympics unveil first COVID-19 'playbook'
  • Rights groups demand boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

February 7

Battle of Borussias in German Cup

A lower league side will reach the German Cup semifinals, following Sunday's quarterfinal draw. With Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Mönchengladbach and Wolfsburg and RB Leipzig clashing, the rest of the draw is made up of two sides from the 2. Bundesliga, regional league side Rot Weiss Essen and midtable topflight outfit Werder Bremen.

February 5

Ajax goalkeeper handed one-year doping ban

Ajax's Andre Onana has received a 12-month doping ban from UEFA, Europe's football confederation, the club has confirmed.

An offseason drug test by Onana came back positive for the banned diuretic Furosemide. Ajax said in a club statement that the test resulted from the Cameroonian goalkeeper "unknowingly" taking one of his wife's prescription tablets.

Ajax said Onana intends to appeal the verdict to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS).

"This is a terrible setback, for Andre himself but certainly also for us as a club. Andre is a top goalkeeper, who has proven his worth for Ajax for years and is very popular with the fans," Ajax managing director Edwin van der Saar said in the club statement. 

"We had hoped for a conditional suspension or for a suspension much shorter than these twelve months, because it was arguably not intended to strengthen his body and thus improve his performance."

Onana has 18 months remaining on his current contract and has been linked to a move to Borussia Dortmund.

Australian Open logo with a medical glove
Australian Open players and staff tested negative for the coronavirus Image: Dave Hunt/AAP/dpa/picture alliance

Isolated Australian Open players cleared of COVID-19

All 507 Australian Open players and staff who were forced to isolate due to a COVID-19 case in their Melbourne hotel have tested negative and have been cleared to participate in the Grand Slam.

"Everyone that tested, tested negative," Tiley told reporters at Melbourne Park on Friday. "So that's a really good outcome not only for the community but also for the playing group."

The players and staff were told to isolate after a worker at the Grand Hyatt Hotel they were staying in contracted the novel coronavirus. Warm-up matches at Melbourne Park were called off on Thursday but are set to resume Friday.

The Australian Open is set to begin on Monday.

February 4

Liverpool denied entry to Germany for Champions League clash

RB Leipzig must find a new venue for their Champions League clash with Liverpool later this month after the German government denied the English champions an exemption to strict entry rules due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"German federal police informed RB Leipzig today that the described case does not meet the requirements for an exception" to the travel restrictions, the Germany Interior Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Leipzig and Liverpool are set to play the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on February 16. 

Tokyo Olympics chief retracts sexist remarks, refuses to resign

Yoshiro Mori, head of the organizing committee for this year's Tokyo Olympics, apologized for sexist comments about women talking too much, but insisted he would not leave his post.

Mori, 83, a former Japanese Prime Minister, made the comments at a Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) board of trustees meeting this week.

Tokyo Olympics head Yoshiro Mori
Tokyo Olympics head Yoshiro Mori has refused to resign after making sexist remarksImage: Reuters/E. Gaillard

"If we increase the number of female board members, we have to make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying," he said, according to local media.

"We have about seven women at the organising committee but everyone understands their place."

His remarks sparked outrage online, and the hashtag "Mori, please resign" was trending in Japan.

His apology came at a hastily organized press conference to respond to the comments. But when pressed whether he really believed that women talk too much, he responded: "I don't listen to women that much lately so I don't know."

February 3

Australian Open: Hundreds forced to isolate after COVID-19 case

Up to 600 players and officials connected to the Australian Open tennis tournament will have to isolate after a worker at the Melbourne hotel they are staying in tested positive for COVID-19.

The players and officials have been told to isolate until they get test negatively for the coronavirus.

The incident is likely to effect warm-up events for the Australian Open, which is set to begin next week, but not the Grand Slam tournament itself.

"At this stage there is no impact on the tournament proper," Victoria's State Premier Daniel Andrews said. "I must say (the Australian Open) is important to us but the issues are much broader and that is about public health and public safety."

The state of Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, has reintroduced mandatory mask-wearing rules for indoor public places from Thursday.

Olympic Organizers unveil first COVID-19 playbook

Organizers for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics have published the first in a series of guidelines designed to combat the coronavirus pandemic and restore confidence that the event can indeed take place this year.

The 32-page "playbook," meant for sporting officials, include bans on singing and chanting during events and mandating event participants to wear masks at "all times" except when eating, sleeping or outdoors.

The guide also calls on those traveling to Japan for the Games to keep physical contact with others at a minimum two weeks before arriving in the country. 

Separate guidelines are expected for athletes, media and broadcasters.

Human rights groups demand boycott of Beijing Winter Games

A coalition of 180 human rights groups have called for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing over reported human rights abuses of ethnic minorities in China.

The coalition is composed of groups representing Tibetans, Uighurs, Inner Mongolians, residents of Hong Kong and others. The collective has issued an open letter to world governments calling for a boycott of the Olympics "to ensure they are not used to embolden the Chinese government's appalling rights abuses and crackdowns on dissent.''

Next year's winter games, scheduled to start on February 4, 2022, is set to go ahead as scheduled despite the coronavirus pandemic.

February 2

Aussie tour of South Africa scrapped

Cricket Australia says it had "no choice" but to pull out of their tour to South Africa, scheduled for this month and next, because of concerns centering on the new, more contagious, coronavirus strain in the country.

The teams were due to play three Tests, subject to bio-secure protocols being agreed.

"This decision has not been made lightly," said Cricket Australia interim CEO Nick Hockley.

"It has become clear that travelling from Australia to South Africa at this current time poses an unacceptable level of health and safety risk to our players, support staff and the community."

Their hosts believe their biosecure bubble would have protected players. "To be informed about the decision at the 11th hour is frustrating," said Cricket South Africa chief and former captain Graeme Smith.

Venue for RB Leipzig – Liverpool match up in the air 

RB Leipzig have been given until February 8 to find a solution for staging the first and home leg of their Champions League round of 16 match against Liverpool.  Under government restrictions on people entering Germany from territories affected by new COVID-19 mutations, which include Great Britain, Liverpool would not be able to travel to Leipzig for the match. 

The only exceptions are for for German nationals or foreigners who reside in Germany. These people must provide a negative test for the Sars-CoV-2 virus before entering the country. Germany's interior ministry has said there will be no exceptions made for athletes traveling to sporting events.

Red Bull Arena Leipzig
Due to COVID restrictions, RB Leipzig may not be able to host Liverpool at their home groundImage: picture-alliance/dpa/T. Schulze

"UEFA is in contact with both the clubs concerned and the German Football Association (DFB), which in turn is in contact with the German government, European football's governing body said in response to a query from the DPA news agency. "At the moment, we are unable to provide any further information." 

Under UEFA's updated regulations for the knockout stages, the home team is responsible for ensuring that the match is played, possibly at a neutral venue, if government legislation prevents it from taking place at its home ground.

However, on Tuesday, RB Leipzig's spokesman Till Müller said they have asked for authorities to look closely at the matter. "Of course we are in talks with the authorities, with UEFA and with Liverpool," Müller said. "That also includes the fact that we applied for an exemption on Monday for the entry of the Liverpool team." 

Apart from moving the match to a neutral venue, possibly in Austria, another option could be to reverse the home matches, as the current restrictions apply only until February 17, a day after Leipzig's home match. However, it is not clear whether Liverpool would agree to this, nor is there any guarantee that the current restrictions won't be extended. 

February 1

Leon Draisaitl earns 6 assists for Oilers

Germany's Leon Draisaitl collected a career-high six assists while teammate Connor McDavid netted one goal and five points to lead the host Edmonton Oilers to a wild 8-5 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night.  McDavid is now up to 22 points on the season, while Draisaitl is at 21, the most by an Oilers player through 11 games since Wayne Gretzky had 26 points in 1987-88. The NHL record for assists in a game is seven, set by Gretzky (three times) and Billy Taylor in 1947.

Draisaitl became the first NHL player to post six assists in a game since Philadelphia's Eric Lindros on Feb. 26, 1997 and just the 29th in league history.

Two other Germans also got onto the scoreboard; Edmonton's Dominik Kahun opened the scoring just eight seconds into the game, which tied a franchise record set by Gretzky for the fastest goal to start a game. The 2020 No. 3 overall draft pick, Tim Stützle also scored his second of the season for the Senators.

Italian FA to investigate Ibrahimovic-Lukaku incident

Italy's football association (FIGC) has opened an investigation into the verbal clash between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku during last week's Coppa Italia quarterfinal.

The former Manchester United teammates had to be restrained as the players left the pitch at the end of the first half, with Inter Milan's Lukaku seemingly incensed by something AC Milan's Ibrahimovic said.

The BBC reported that a pitchside microphone had picked up Ibrahimovic saying "go do your voodoo" to Lukaku, an apparent reference to 2018 comments from Everton owner Farhad Moshiri that the Belgian turned down an offer to stay in Merseyside on the advice of a "voodoo message."

Both players have already received a one-match suspension.

Union sign Croatian forward Musa on loan

Bundesliga club Union Berlin have dipped into the transfer market just hours before the winter transfer window closes. The league's 8th-placed teams announced on Monday that they have signed Croatian attacker Petar Musa on loan from Slavia Prague. 

"I'm delighted that the move to Union has worked out and I can't wait to play in the Bundesliga," the 22-year-old said. "The team is having a great season so far, I want to help the boys continue to be successful."