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FOOTBALL

Neuer confirms he’s leaving Schalke 04

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer wept openly on Wednesday as he explained why he will not extend his contract, which runs until 2012, at Champions League semi-finalists Schalke 04.

Neuer confirms he's leaving Schalke 04

The 25-year-old has been with the Royal Blues since 1991, having supported the club as a boy, and said he wants to quit the Gelsenkirchen-based club to further his career.

German champions Bayern Munich have expressed an interest in signing the national team’s goalkeeper, but Neuer says he just wants to focus now on helping his team win silverware.

Schalke host Premier League giants Manchester United in their Champions League semi-final first leg on Tuesday and face Duisburg in the German Cup final at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on May 21.

A red-faced Neuer cried throughout Wednesday’s press conference as he explained his decision and said he expects a hostile reception from Schalke’s fans when his team host Kaiserslautern on Saturday at the Veltins Arena.

“This was not an easy decision to make, I wanted to be honest and to explain my reasons,” said Neuer, who has won 17 caps for Germany.

“I know this is not a great moment for Schalke fans, but I am a professional footballer and I am looking from a different perspective. It is clear some fans will be upset.”

Schalke’s director of sport Horst Heldt said Bayern have already asked for a meeting to discuss Neuer’s future.

“Bayern have asked for a meeting, but we have said that is not possible at this moment in time,” he said. “We have some important sporting objectives coming up, but eventually there will certainly be a meeting and we will talk.”

Having become Schalke’s first-choice goalkeeper in 2006, Neuer took over as Germany’s number one at last year’s World Cup and is enjoying a stellar season.

“We have taken note of this news with a heavy heart. We must accept and respect it,” said Heldt.

Bayern have long been reported to be set to offer Neuer a four-year contract as they have not settled on a regular goalkeeper since captain Oliver Kahn retired in 2008.

AFP/The Local/mdm

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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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