German clubs target UEFA Cup quarterfinals

Bayern Munich will be among a trio of German teams targeting quarterfinal berths in UEFA Cup second round ties midweek, as the hopes of England's three contenders are in the balance.

German clubs target UEFA Cup quarterfinals
On target? Photo: dpa

Germany almost have two teams through with Bayern Munich virtually qualified after their 5-0 thrashing of Anderlecht in Brussels, and a Bundesliga side are guaranteed from the duel on Wednesday between Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen, which have a 1-0 advantage having won their home leg.

Werder Bremen, however, need to overcome a 2-0 deficit when they host Scottish side Rangers on Thursday, as the Bundesliga title chasers look to keep their bid to become the seventh German side to win Europe’s second-tier football competition alive.

However, England’s three hopefuls – Everton, Tottenham and Bolton – all face a tough task to stay in the competition which their country has won ten times.

Everton need two goals at home against Fiorentina, and Bolton need to win, or draw by 2-2 or 3-3, in Lisbon against Sporting Lisbon to make up for their 1-1 draw at home. Everton boss David Moyes knows his side face a tough challenge, but believes they are up to the task.

“The problem was that we were playing a good Italian team on the night and it wasn’t the way we have been playing of late,” said Moyes. “We have got to give them credit, they played well on the night, defended well and got their goals late on.”

Tottenham face the trickest task of the trio after being beaten 1-0 at home by PSV Eindhoven and need to win in the Netherlands.

Elsewhere French side Marseille, finalists in 1999 and 2004, travel to St. Petersburg as favourites after a comfortable 3-1 win at home against Zenit. Spaniards Getafe, playing their first UEFA Cup, could continue their surprise run as they hold a 2-1 advantage going into their home time against Benfica.

The Portuguese club have a new coach with former Portugal international Fernando Chalana replacing Jose Antonio Camacho who resigned Sunday claiming the motivation has disappeared from handling one of Portugal’s biggest clubs.


Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.