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FOOTBALL

Heynckes targets Champions League for Bayern

In the wake of Jürgen Klinsmann's sacking by Bayern Munich, caretaker coach Jupp Heynckes said Tuesday his goal is to ensure his side qualify for the Champions League in his five games in charge.

Heynckes targets Champions League for Bayern
Photo: DPA

“A club like Bayern Munich must be playing in the Champions League next year,” said Heynckes who won two Bundesliga titles with Bayern in his first spell as Munich coach between 1987 and 1991. “Five teams can still win the league and the players are better, for example, than the way they played last weekend.”

Klinsmann was sacked Monday after the last in a series of bad results, a 1-0 home defeat to Schalke 04, left the defending champions in third place three points behind leaders Wolfsburg.

Heynckes, 63, said he was “surprised” to be asked to take over from Klinsmann, but he quickly accepted the position “out of friendship for Bayern Munich and for Uli” Hoeness, who is Bayern team manager.

Along with assistant Hermann Gerland, who was promoted from coaching Bayern’s reserve team, Heynckes was set to take his first training session on Tuesday afternoon and wants to hold one-on-one talks with the players.

“I want to see how the players are moving, how active they are,” he said.

Heynckes’ first game in charge this Saturday will be against Borussia Mönchengladbach, the club he represented for eight years, winning four Bundesliga crowns and the UEFA Cup, in 1975.

“It’s not exactly a dream start,” he admitted.

But in his bid for a top two finish, Heynckes faces two relegation-threatened sides in ‘Gladbach and then Energie Cottbus the following weekend.

Although Bayern are only three points off the pace, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Hertha Berlin are also in the race for the Bundesliga title. Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said he aims to name Klinsmann’s permanent successor within the next six weeks and scotched rumours Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger – who speaks fluent German – has been approached about the job.

Having guided Germany to third place at the 2006 World Cup, Klinsmann’s Bayern contract was until June 30, 2010, but he only lasted 10 months in his first role in charge of a domestic team and lost seven of his 29 league games.

The first signs of trouble came last September in the Bundesliga when Werder Bremen embarrassed Bayern 5-2 in front of their own fans. The alarm bells then rang when Bayern were hammered 5-1 at Wolfsburg on April 4 in the Bundesliga before being routed 4-0 at Barcelona at four days later in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final.

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MUNICH

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.

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