Berlin, Oct 17 (AP/UNB) — Borussia Mönchengladbach's gamble on a new coach appears to be paying off.
Former Salzburg coach Marco Rose has led the team to the top of the Bundesliga even though his ideas are only just beginning to take hold.
Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl announced in April the club would not be continuing with the experienced Dieter Hecking as coach beyond the end of the season, saying he was looking for a change in direction after steady but unspectacular progress.
Eberl convinced the then-42-year-old Rose, a former Mainz defender, to take over. Rose had led Salzburg to the Austrian title and semifinals of the Europa League the season before, and he followed up by guiding it to another league title last season.
Last week, Rose celebrated his 100th day in charge at Gladbach. They could hardly have gone any better.
"Leading the standings is a nice snapshot in time that we're very happy about. The 16 points from the first seven games are far more important, however," Eberl said. "We decided before the season to change our way of playing. Every point at the beginning of this new way does us good."
Eberl acknowledged that the team's performances were "not yet consistently very good," but pointed to the latest win, a 5-1 rout of Augsburg, as a step in the right direction.
It was Gladbach's fourth straight league win, but the first game under Rose in which the team really excelled.
"There was a lot there in the type of soccer we want to see," Eberl said. "The team now knows that the coach and his staff's ideas work."
Hecking had placed his faith in possession-based soccer, while Rose favors a fast-paced high-pressure game, switching quickly from defense to attack. It hadn't worked until Augsburg came along, even if the results had been going Gladbach's way.
"I know how to look at things objectively. We still have a lot, a lot of work ahead of us," Rose said.
The win - and the nature of the performance - led to an impromptu party despite teeming rain at Borussia-Park, where home supporters sang somewhat prematurely that Gladbach would be Bundesliga champions.
"If I were a fan I'd also grab a beer. Or five of them - one for each goal," Gladbach defender Tony Jantschke joked.
World Cup winner Christoph Kramer was happy with his team's position in the league.
"I've been here a long time and I've never been at the top of the Bundesliga," the Gladbach midfielder said. "I'll be looking at the standings more often now."
The club's new found optimism will be put to the test on Saturday at Borussia Dortmund, which is desperate for a win after falling four points off the pace after three straight 2-2 draws.
The visitors will be confronted by two familiar faces in Dortmund coach Lucien Favre and captain Marco Reus. Both were at Gladbach when it was last leading the Bundesliga, on Aug. 26, 2011.
Colombo, Oct 17 (AP/UNB) — Lasith Malinga will return to lead Sri Lanka in a three-match Twenty20 cricket series against Australia but many players from the young team that performed well on the tour of Pakistan have retained their places.
Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella were the other senior players included in a 16-man squad announced by Sri Lanka Cricket on Thursday.
Sri Lanka sent a second-string team to Pakistan to play ODI and Twenty20 series after several withdrawals over security concerns. Sri Lanka lost the ODI series but stunned Pakistan with a 3-0 series sweep in the T20s without pacer Malinga, who has already retired from ODIs.
It was the first long tour to Pakistan by a Sri Lankan national team since the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus that killed eight people and injured some players.
International teams have avoided playing cricket in Pakistan for the past decade except for a few short series involving Zimbabwe, a World XI and Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka gave players a choice over whether to tour Pakistan, and a majority of regular players opted out.
Pakistan provided what it called presidential-level security for the touring Sri Lanka team.
The first T20 against Australia is at Adelaide on Oct. 27.
Lasith Malinga (captain), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Oshada Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha.
Madrid, Oct 17 (AP/UNB) — A 16-year-old forward born in Guinea-Bissau has become the next promising soccer star in Spain.
Ansu Fati, who made his debut with Barcelona this season, has quickly attracted everyone's attention and is already touted by many as the next big thing for the Spanish national team.
Fati played his first match with Spain's under-21 squad on Tuesday and the next day shared front-page headlines with the senior squad, which had sealed its place in the 2020 European Championship on the same night.
"I'll never forget this moment," said Fati, who recently gained his Spanish citizenship. "I truly enjoyed it."
There is already talk he could be part of the main Spain squad at Euro 2020, or at least make it to the Olympic team for the Tokyo Games.
"It's extraordinary what has been happening to this kid at this age," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "We are all thrilled with him."
The Spanish soccer federation moved quickly to make sure Fati was eligible to play for Spain following his rapid rise with the Catalan club. He has been living in Spain since a young age but reportedly also could have chosen to play for Portugal.
Fati played his first professional match less than two months ago, coming off the bench in Barcelona's 5-2 victory over Real Betis in the Spanish league. In his following game, Fati became the club's youngest player to score in the Spanish league, and then was also the youngest to score at Camp Nou. Fati later played in the Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund, becoming Barcelona's youngest player to appear in a UEFA competition.
Fati has racked up nearly 240 minutes in six appearances with the Catalan club so far, most of them coming off the bench.
He was brought up from Barcelona's academy to the main team after a wave of injuries to players in the senior squad at the beginning of the season, including Lionel Messi.
"Ansu Fati caught my attention the first time I saw him practicing," Messi said. "But this takes time, he is only 16 and shouldn't be taking on the responsibility that people want him to have. He has the potential to become a very important player, but it takes time and he needs help."
Fati has great skills and moves that make him especially dangerous in one-on-one situations. The speedy forward has impressed the most with his maturity on the field, though, not showing signs he has been affected by the pressure to which he has been exposed to since starting to play professionally.
Fati, whose full name is Anssumane Fati Vieira, moved to Spain with his family at an early age and joined Barcelona's academy when he was 10. There he was a teammate of Japanese teenager Takefusa Kubo, who is playing for Mallorca on a loan from Real Madrid.
Fati played only about 10 minutes off the bench in Spain's 2-0 win over Montenegro in qualifying for the 2021 Under-21 European Championship on Tuesday, but it was enough for him to get a glimpse of what could lie ahead.
"It's time to keep working so I can keep having more opportunities," he said on Instagram, where he has already gained nearly 1.8 million followers in the few months since his professional debut.
Dhaka, Oct 17 (UNB) — The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) took a stern step against two coaches at First Class level for not selecting leg-spinners in their respective playing XIs in the ongoing National Cricket League (NCL).
BCB dismissed Rangpur Division coach Masud Parvez and Dhaka Division coach Zahangir Alam for not picking any leg-spinners in their playing XI in their second round games of NCL, the country’s flagship First Class cricket division.
Masud overlooked Fardeen Hasan and Riashad Hossain while Zahangir failed to pick Jubair Hossain Likhon in their playing XI.
To replace them, BCB handed the job to Jafrul Ehsan for Rangpur and Mohammad Selim for Dhaka Division.
BCB president Nazmul Hassan said that despite the direct instruction to include leg-spinners in the team, the coaches failed to do it.
“We made it clear to field leg-spinners in NCL. But neither Riashad nor Jubair got into their team. If they don’t get game time, how will they improve their quality?” Nazmul told the media on Thursday.
BCB have announced that every team in the upcoming edition of the Bangladesh Premier League have to field leg-spinners in their playing XI, plus some other unprecedented directives regarding team selection. Today’s action may signal the board is indeed serious about implementing them.
Dhaka, Oct 17 (UNB) - Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Nazmul Hasan has said the board is upbeat about hosting the special edition of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) from December 6 next as per the schedule.
The board had earlier announced the date to start the new edition of BPL which is dedicated to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and renamed as Bangabandhu BPL.
But it was under doubt as a BCB director told the media that BPL could be deferred by one week or 10 days. However, the BCB president expressed the other idea on Thursday.
“There’s no chance to change the date. Most of the main works have already been done, and we’re confident to host the BPL from December 6. We have no much time in our hand because of the scheduled Pakistan series right after the BPL,” Nazmul told the media.
In the media briefing on Thursday, Nazmul ruled out the notion of recruiting only foreign coaches in the BPL. He rather said the local coaches also have the chances to be appointed as the head coaches in the most prestigious domestic cricket event of the country.
“We’ll assign a board director with every team of the upcoming BPL. Along with the team sponsors, they’ll appoint head coaches. I don't think that there’s no chance for the local coaches,” he added.
According to the board president, a total of 38 foreign coaches have applied to work in the BPL, but it does not mean the local coaches will be overlooked.
A total of 393 foreign cricketers have expressed their interest to play in the BPL, the board president confirmed. He also confirmed that a players’ draft is likely to take place on November 12.
There will be no franchise in this edition of BPL. BCB is now having a busy time to appoint the team sponsors.
“We’ve received requests from nine different business groups who are interested to be part of the BPL. However, we’re yet to finalise the team sponsors,” Nazmul further said.