Eintracht Frankfurt coach Adi Huetter said that Sunday was one of the worst days of his career as his side were thrashed 6-1 by Bayer Leverkusen, just days before they travel to Chelsea for the second leg of their Europa League semi-final tie.
“Today is a very dark day, one of my worst as a coach,” Huetter told Sky.
Frankfurt, who are challenging for a top four spot in the Bundesliga and held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw at home last week, were stunned in a bizarre first half at the BayArena where all seven goals were scored.
“We knew Frankfurt had an intense Europa League game behind them, so we wanted to play with energy from the beginning,” Leverkusen striker Kevin Volland told Sky.
Kai Havertz opened the scoring for Leverkusen after just two minutes, and Julian Brandt added another before Jonathan Tah deflected in a Filip Kostic shot to briefly allow Frankfurt back into the game.
A brace from Lucas Alario, a Charles Aranguiz strike and a Martin Hinteregger own goal put Leverkusen 6-1 up by the 36th minute and completed a Bundesliga record of seven goals in the first half.
Frankfurt remain in fourth but are now level on points with Leverkusen, and only three points ahead of seventh-place Hoffenheim.
“I am not going to kick my team when they are down, we need to get the boys back on track,” said Huetter.
Sunday’s horror show also damaged what had been a healthy goal difference advantage over their rivals in the race for Europe.
– Schalke safe –
Elsewhere, Schalke secured their Bundesliga survival with a 0-0 draw at home to Augsburg.
“It’s a shame for the fans that we weren’t able to win today, but staying up was the main thing,” said interim coach Huub Stevens.
Stevens, who had twice managed the club before and led them to UEFA Cup glory in 1997, stepped in and took the reins from Domenico Tedesco in March with Schalke just four points clear of the bottom three.
Sunday’s draw put them seven points clear of Stuttgart, who are in the relegation play-off place, sealing safety with two games to spare.
Stevens refused to answer questions about former Huddersfield coach David Wagner, who played under him at Schalke in the 1990s and is rumoured to be next in line for the head coach job.
“As a member of the Schalke board, I am unable to comment,” he said.
Freiburg also avoided the drop as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Fortuna Duesseldorf.
Vincenzo Grifo gave the hosts an early lead from the penalty spot, before Dawid Kownacki smashed in the equaliser for Duesseldorf on the half-hour mark.
Freiburg’s Janik Haberer was sent off in the second half, but they held on to secure the point and another year in the top flight.
U20 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: FIFA inspection team arrives today
FIFA inspection team will arrive in Nigeria today to inspect facilities for the country’s FIFA U20
Women’s World Cup 2020 hosting rights bid, the Nigeria Football Federation [NFF] confirmed on Sunday.
Christopher Exley, Sara Jane Booth, Kliment Taseski, Rhiannon Ceirwen Martin and Heyral Kaj Jurgen are the FIFA officials expected in Abuja by Nigeria’s top football officers.
The FIFA delegation from the headquarters of world football body in Zurich will make a detailed inspection of the hosts’ venues, training grounds, hospitals and stadia earmarked for the event.
In a statement to the press, NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire said Lagos, Asaba, Benin City and Uyo have been picked as the four host cities for the women’s age-grade tournament billed for the summer of 2020.
“A five-man inspection team from world football governing body, FIFA will arrive in Lagos on Monday for a four-day inspection of facilities and equipment that Nigeria has put forward to host the 10th FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup championship next year,” the statement read.
“The inspection team will begin its work in Lagos on Tuesday, with visits to the Onikan Stadium (match venue), St. Nicholas Hospital and Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (referral hospitals), Teslim
Balogun Stadium, National Stadium Legacy Pitch, Eagle Club, Campos Square and the University of Lagos Sports Centre (training sites) before a courtesy call on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the Government House in Alausa.
“Joined by NFF President Pinnick, General Secretary Sanusi, Mainasara Illo (Coordinator of the Bid), Aisha Falode, Commissioner of Police Garba Baba (security) and Dr. Paul Onyeudo (medical), the team will fly to Benin City same day to inspect facilities at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium (match venue), Western Boys College and University of Benin Sports Centre (training sites) and the Edo Specialist Hospital and University of Benin Teaching Hospital (referral hospitals).
“The contingent will check out the facilities in Asaba and Uyo on Wednesday. In Asaba, the Stephen Keshi Stadium is the proposed match venue, while training sites are Asaba Squash Courts and St. Patrick’s College. The referral hospitals are St. Luke’s Hospital and Asaba General Hospital.
“In Uyo, the focus will be on the Godswill Akpabio Stadium (match venue), Ikot Ekpene Stadium and Godswill Akpabio Training Pitch (training sites) and Ibom Specialist Hospital and University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (referral hospitals).
“The inspection party will then fly to Abuja on Thursday for a meeting with the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Olusade Adesola (representing the Honourable Minister) and a courtesy call on His Excellency, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (GCON) at the Presidential Villa.”
Nigeria reached the final in 2010 and 2014 but lost to Germany on both two occasions.
No African nation has hosted a FIFA organised women’s football tournament – a streak Nigeria will be aiming to break by staging the 10th edition next year.
Nigeria beat Cameroon to reach Quarter-Finals
The Super Eagles of Nigeria have qualified for the quarter-finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, after defeating the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon 3-2 in Alexandria.
Odion Ighalo scored a brace, and Alex Iwobi got one goal to book Nigeria a match next Wednesday with the winner between Egypt and South Africa.
Buhari urges Super Eagles to honour Nigeria in AFCON
President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the Super Eagles to play every match for the honour of their motherland as they file out in their first match against Burundi in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON 2019), holding in Egypt.
The President, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Saturday, urged the Eagles to lift the flag of Nigeria high, and reinforce the reputation of the country as a football powerhouse on the continent.
He said: “I will be watching, just as millions of Nigerians would also do.
“You have our solid support, and we will cheer you to victory,”he said.
He added: “Nigerians are known for their unconquerable spirit. Show this in the group stages, and even beyond. Nothing but lifting of the diadem is good enough for our country,”he stated.
He also enjoined the Super Eagles to be mindful of fair play, and sportsman like conduct, as they strive to return home with the AFCON trophy.