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Football Extras: Dortmund to attempt the impossible against Tottenham

March 04, 2019 18:03 IST

News of all that's transpired on and off the football field

Marco Reus

IMAGE: Bundesliga leaders Dortmund have managed just one win in their last five league games. Photograph: Borussia Dortmund/Twitter

Borussia Dortmund are going into their Champions League Round-of-16 second leg at home against Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday with a clear disadvantage after a 3-0 first-leg loss but the Germans will attempt a major upset, said captain Marco Reus.

Bundesliga leaders Dortmund have managed just one win in their last five league games, while also losing to Tottenham in London and being eliminated by Werder Bremen in the German Cup.

 

Reus, injured in the game against Werder in early February, returned on Friday but could do nothing to avert their second league loss of the season, 2-1 at Augsburg.

On Monday, he sounded confident that his team could still turn things around against the English side if they hit top form on the night.

"I think this stadium (in Dortmund) has seen its share of games where history was written," Reus told a news conference. "We can also do it. But we need a top performance and to score the goals at the right time. I think we are in a position to achieve the impossible."

Dortmund still have the best attack in the German Bundesliga but in recent weeks they have struggled to score while also conceding goals through individual errors.

Their seven-point gap a few weeks ago has now shrunk to a slim goal difference ahead of second-placed Bayern Munich while their lacklustre first-leg performance against Tottenham also raised alarm bells.

"We know in the past weeks we have gifted away points because we made too many mistakes," Reus said. "We have to remain positive and keep working.

"We have to be stronger, have a stronger mentality, like we had in the previous months. We will emerge from this."

Toronto FC sign Pozuelo from Belgium's Genk

Toronto FC signed a third designated player by acquiring Spanish midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo from Belgian league leaders KRC Genk, the Major League Soccer club said on Monday.

Details of the transfer were not disclosed.

Pozuelo made 175 appearances in five seasons with Genk, scoring 25 goals with 60 assists across all competitions.

"Alejandro is an excellent player that has the ability to both create and score goals,” Toronto FC general manager Ali Curtis said in a statement.

"He is the best player on the best team in Belgium’s top division."

Toronto FC had big holes to fill in their squad after the departure of Italian striker Sebastian Giovinco, the league's former most valuable player, to Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilaland and Spanish midfielder Victor Vazquez to Qatari side Al-Arabi.

England bids farewell to World Cup-winning keeper Banks

Thousands of fans joined luminaries of English football for a final farewell on Monday to Gordon Banks, a steelworker's son who became one of the world's greatest goalkeepers and will forever be remembered for a miraculous save against Pele.

Team mates from England's 1966 World Cup win and members of former clubs Stoke City and Leicester rode in a cortege from the Stoke stadium to a church funeral for Banks who died aged 81 last month of cancer.

"As a goalkeeper, he's one of the few superstars of our position," Leicester and Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who was a pallbearer at the funeral, told Reuters.

"Great keeper; great man. It's an incredibly sad day."

Banks was best known for the stunning one-handed save from a Pele bullet header that bounced awkwardly in front of him during England's group-stage game against Brazil at the 1970 World Cup.

"With the luck of the gods, the angle at which I'd managed to lift that ball was perfect, and it ballooned in the air and over the bar," the genial and down-to-earth Banks said in one of the many recountings begged by fans and media.

Footage shows Banks chuckling afterwards, as England's Bobby Moore jokingly chides him for not catching the ball.

His achievements went far further than stopping Pele.

Midfielder Sergi Samper to leave Barcelona

Barcelona has reached a deal with Sergi Samper to end the midfielder's contract, the La Liga leaders said on Monday.

The 24-year-old was once considered the successor to Sergio Busquets after progressing from the Barcelona's academy, but several injuries have proved a setback, disrupting loan spells at Granada and Las Palmas.

"The club would like to thank Sergi Samper for his dedication and commitment during his time at FC Barcelona and wishes him all the best for the future," it said in a statement.

Samper was part of the Barcelona first team squad this season but did not make a single appearance.

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