Wednesday Kickoff: Barcelona stay unbeaten, Lewandowski confirms Bayern move; and more

NeymarBarcelona3-RealSociedad2013 (Reuters)

By DAN KARELL

Thanks to goals from Neymar and Messi inside eight minutes, Barcelona kept their 100 percent record as they cruised to their sixth straight La Liga victory, defeating Real Sociedad, 4-1, at the Camp Nou on Tuesday evening.

Defensive errors and miscommunication allowed Neymar to stroll through the box and end up at the end of a cross, walking the ball into the net for his first league goal in a Barcelona shirt in the 5th minute. Three minutes later, the Brazilian star turned provider to Messi, sending a cross in the air to the far post that Messi headed home on the counter attack.

Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets scored the team’s third in the 23rd minute with a left footed strike, but it came just seconds after a cheeky back-heel attempt on goal by Messi as well as a close range rebound from him that clattered the crossbar. Real Sociedad’s Alberto de la Bella put the visitors on the scoreboard with a 63rd minute goal but young Barcelona defender Marc Bartra finished the game off in the 76th minute with an easy goal.

Despite the victory, the win came at a cost, as Javier Mascherano limped off in the first half, and has now been ruled out by the Barcelona medical staff for 10-15 days with a hamstring strain.

Here are some more stories to start your Wednesday:

LEWANDOWSKI CONFIRMS INTENT TO JOIN BAYERN NEXT SEASON

After Gareth Bale’s move to Real Madrid, the world’s worst kept secret is Robert Lewandowski’s move south from Borussia Dortmund to UEFA Champions League winner Bayern Munich.

On Tuesday, the Polish international forward finally publicly admitted in an interview with Sport1 TV in Germany that he’ll be moving to Bayern at the end of this season, signing a pre-contract deal on January 2, when the next transfer window opens in Germany. Borussia Dortmund could have sold him this summer for €24 million or more, but they decided to hang on to him, knowing that they had already lost Mario Götze to Bayern in the same window.

Borussia will have to hope that they make another deep run in Europe to bring in some more money to the club, considering that they’ll lose Lewandowski for free in July.

Last season, the 25-year-old scored 36 goals in all competitions, including a stunning four-goal performance against Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals. This season, Lewandowski already has four goals in six Bundesliga games.

BENFICA COACH CHARGED BY GUIMARAES AUTHORITIES

Benfica won their third consecutive match in all competitions on Sunday, but all of the news coming from the game is what happened after the final whistle.

Following their 1-0 victory at Vitoria Guimaraes, a number of away fans stormed the field to celebrate with the Benfica players, and ask for a jersey to take home to remember the impressive road win by. While the police became involved to try and keep the fans off the field, Benfica head coach Jorge Jesus began to tussle with the police, trying to free one of the fans so he could receive a jersey.

Though Jesus was eventually separated from the police, reports in Portugal state that the Benfica boss has been charged by the local authorities, while the Portuguese League could fine and suspend Jesus for becoming involved in an incident with police after a game.

To his credit, in an interview with Benfica TV, Jesus apologized and said that he was only trying to calm tempers and celebrate the win with the fans who traveled to Guimaraes to the match.

QUICK KICKS

Galatasaray have sacked manager Fatih Terim after a poor start to the season, leaving the manager to solely be able to concentrate on the Turkey National Team. (REPORT)

Paris Saint-Germain forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s new contract extension will pay him €15 million per season, an increase of €1.2 million per year from his first PSG contract. (REPORT)

Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp has been banned for one match in the UEFA Champions League following his outburst at the officials in his side’s 2-1 defeat to Napoli. (REPORT)

The official diagnosis is worse than expected for Theo Walcott, ruling the Arsenal winger out of England’s next World Cup qualifiers due to needing an operation on his stomach injury. (REPORT)

Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke has been ruled out for four to six weeks due to a hip injury, though manager Paul Lambert says it’s better than originally feared. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Impressed with Barcelona’s start? Do you see Lewandowski moving in January or July? What do you think of Jesus’ actions?

Share your thoughts below.

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22 Responses to Wednesday Kickoff: Barcelona stay unbeaten, Lewandowski confirms Bayern move; and more

  1. Mikeg says:

    Lewandowski = big loss by Dortmund…not only the player, but the chance to sell him and get a return…poor business decisions by Dortmund.

    • THomas says:

      I think they’re banking on a deep run in the Champions League to make up for that. Which, if they sold him, would be much more difficult. So in the end with the prize money they may get, it could end up being just as good, if not better for them.

      Plus, I’m sure they’re willing to miss out on some money for a shot at the title.

    • Adam says:

      Not necessarily….. making the Champions League usually earns the club a pretty sizeable payout (Man City made 28 million euros for finishing last in the group stage last year), and Dortmund may feel that their best chance of finishing high in the standings and securing qualification for 2014-2015 was to keep Lewandowski in the fold for another year. If they can make the round of 16 this year and secure advancement for next year it may end up being a good piece of business for them…

      Obviously, there is still the possibility that they will miss the 2014-15 Champions League even after keeping Lewandowski…or the possibility they could have made it without him…but I dont blame them for taking the chance.

  2. Eurosnob says:

    Actually, Dortmund’s front office has been generally making shewd decision in recent years so I will give them the benefit of a doubt. Lewandowski is a big loss, but it has never been about money for Dortmund in Lewandowski situation. After losing Goetze to Bayern and the circumstances surrounding the move, they simply had to push back to avoid appearance of becoming essentially a farm club for their biggest competitor, FC Bayern.

  3. biff says:

    With all due respect to the comments below, this is total BS that Dortmund gave up a 30m transfer fee to keep Lewandoski from going this year. Bayern has been in the background pulling the strings on this story and also the Mario Gotze story creating instability at Dortmund since last April when Bayern was scared stuffless about Dortmund’s great showing in the Champions League not to mention having won the Bundesliga title the previous two years. Bayern never made an offer for Lewandoski and had they offered 20-25m or more Dortmund no doubt would have accepted. Dortmund was open to the transfer but said they had to make their own transfer plans and told Bayern to make an offer in June, which never came.

    And now Lewandoski’s two advisors feeding stories to the Polish press about the impending contract in January and no doubt FC Bayern are giggling again with glee, as Lewandoski’s mouthing off once again is sending shock waves through Dortmund yet again. Dortmund raised his salary for this last year from 1.5m to 5m and he still pouring gasoline on the fire, not to mention missing easy shots in each of the last three games (Neapel, Nurnberg, 1860 Munich) that he would have nailed last year and it make you wonder. Can’t be good for the Dortmund locker room.

    Dortmund needs to talk to their lawyers on this and see what legal options are open, whether Fifa regulations on contract talks were broken.

    • THomas says:

      biff, just so I’m understanding your point. You’re saying that Dortmund had no choice in the whole matter since Bayern never actually made an offer? And somehow Bayern/Lewandowski’s camp have been behind talking behind the scenes to plan the whole free transfer after this season?

      • Increase says:

        Pretty sure agents can talk to whoever they want.
        However Lweandowski can’t its quite odd.

        The person i really feel bad for in all this is Mario Mandzukic. The man has played far beyond what he was bought to do.

      • biff says:

        I can only say that, according to news reports that quoted Dortmund had Joachim Watzke, Bayern never made a concrete offer. As a Dortmund fan, I have been following this story closely since it exploded in April. Most of the stories that have been published are either written by quoting anonymous sources and, like this latest story, coming from the Polish press, which points the finger at Lewa’s advisers. And basically the stories said that Lewa had already agreed terms with Bayern and all that was left was to negotiate a transfer fee. But Bayern never put one on the table.

        Bayern definitely benefitted from all the turmoil, first in May during the Champions League final, and now as the season gets underway. As for Bayern’s true intentions, one could speculate that originally they wanted to sit back and watch Dortmund squirm and then swoop in during the last week of the August transufer window with a ridiculous bid. But Dortmund, possibly suspecting that, gave Bayern a deadline in June saying, we a bid by then or the door will be closed and that is what happened.

        But it would be a win-win for Bayern. Once the door is closed, Dortmund is stuck with a loose disgruntled cannon in the name of Lewandoski putting poison in the locker room like he did yesterday with his comments. Plus he happens to be missing easy shots that he put in the back of the net and that no doubt is making teammates and coaches wonder whether he is intentionally missing. The big winner: FC Bayern again because of all the locker room problems and now Wenger is trying to rile things up in his Champions League group saying he wants Marco Reus and Ilkay Gundogan.

        But Bayern can either have Lewa for a couple of million in January or free on July 1. And the is speculation on the German boards that if Lewa goes for free he and his advisers are going to get huge payouts from Bayern, possibly 8 figures, because Bayern did not have to pay the 30m transfer fee. And maybe for a job well done :-)

        It is a mess of a situation and I would love for a huge shot of karma today in the form of Hannover knocking Bayern out of the DFB Pokal.

        • biff says:

          Plus he happens to be missing easy shots that *last year* he put in the back of the net…

        • THomas says:

          Okay…got it. Thanks for the insight. I’m not a support of Dortmund’s but I do like what they’ve accomplished and love watching them play.

          Hopefully, by the end of the season, we can say it worked out for both teams. I know you don’t care if it works out for Bayern. But if they get their guy for free and Dortmund can use him to get deep into the Champs league and make some money, then it’s at least benefiting both clubs.

  4. slowleftarm says:

    “the Portuguese League could fine and suspend Jesus” Blasphemy!!

  5. Roman Lewandowski says:

    Don’t do it, Lewy!

  6. Roman Lewandowski says:

    We only hear the Lewandowski-as-mercenary side of the story outside of Poland. But the BVB management really hasn’t treated Lewy like a top-class player. It is more than just a money grab, and Lewy is, by all accounts, a classy guy.

    Having said that, I think Bayern sucks the joy out of the Bundesliga, and I really hope he doesn’t go there. I wish that club nothing but the worst.

  7. ThatKidNandez says:

    Hate to say it but i’m gonna miss DiCanio’s hilarious antics

  8. Steevens says:

    Lewandowski back-tracks: “Looking at the video [of his interview] again, I became frightened of it,” Lewandowski told Sport Bild. “What I really wanted to express right after the game was that I will be able to pen a new deal in January at the earliest.

    “I only wanted to answer the question of when I will finally be taking a stand on my future. Like I have said many times, I want to leave Borussia Dortmund in the summer. Everything else I can only say in January.”

    from: link to espnfc.com