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FOOTBALL

Borussia take point from Arsenal in return to Champions League

German champions Borussia Dortmund drew 1-1 with Arsenal on Tuesday night, in their return to the Champions League after an absence of nine years.

Borussia take point from Arsenal in return to Champions League
Perisic does the business for Dortmund. Photo: DPA

Although they had more than twice the attempts on goal than the Gunners, Dortmund had to wait for an 88th-minute equaliser from Croatia midfielder Ivan Perisic to claim a point after Arsenal captain Robin van Persie’s first-half strike had put the Gunners ahead in the Group F clash.

After his captain Sebastian Kehl was at fault for Van Persie’s goal, Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp was in philosophical mood.

“Shit happens,” said the Dortmund boss.

“I was happy with a good performance from Sebastian Kehl, he is just coming back from injury and it was an unlucky situation.

“I told the lads at half time, even though we were 1-0 down, if we kept playing like we had done, then we would get a good result.

“I am very satisfied with the overall performance from a young side lacking experience at this level.

“We played really, really well over 90 minutes: we were cheeky, we were brave and at the end we got our reward.”

It is Arsenal’s 14th successive season in the tournament, while Dortmund has been away for nine years – and the difference in experience showed.

The hosts had 22 attempts on goal compared to Arsenal’s eight and Rice says his side did very well to leave Germany with a point.

Arsenal assistant coach Pat Rice insisted his side has proved they are over their poor start to the season after earning a 1-1 draw at Dortmund in their opening Champions League clash.

“To defend with such determination is a high quality skill and I don’t think many teams will come here and get a result,” he said.

“Of course, we would have loved to have got the win here, but you can argue a point apiece is a good result.”

Arsenal have struggled this season after the sale of captain Cesc Fabregas and play-maker Samir Nasri, while injuries and suspensions culminated in the humiliating 8-2 defeat at Manchester United a fortnight ago.

The Gunners picked up only their first Premier League win of the season on Saturday with a 1-0 win over newly promoted Swansea, but the draw at Dortmund’s 65,000 sell-out stadium proved Arsenal were on the way back, claimed Rice.

Coach Arsene Wenger was in the stands as he serves a two-match Champions League ban and his stand-in Rice said recent results showed the Gunners’ crisis was receding.

“It seems Saturday’s win over Swansea was the start of the season for us,” said Rice, who admitted he missed Wenger on the Arsenal bench.

“Before that there was so much uncertainty with regards to who would leave us and who wouldn’t.

“The players who have come in are quality and I am convinced they will show that over the games to come.”

Three of the new signings, midfielders Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun, plus defender Per Mertesacker started against Dortmund, while Andre Santos was on the bench.

Rice insisted it was just a matter of time before the new signings found their feet in England’s Premier League and the Champions League campaign, especially Mertesacker, who seemed to struggle on occasions against Dortmund.

“I thought Per Mertesacker did very well, you can’t play as many games for Germany as he has and be a bad player, it is just not possible.”

AFP/The Local/hc

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FOOTBALL

British football teams allowed to skip Germany’s quarantine for Euro 2020

Germany's government announced on Tuesday it will allow England, Scotland and Wales to enter the country without quarantine to play at Euro 2020 despite a recent rise in cases linked to the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Britain.

British football teams allowed to skip Germany's quarantine for Euro 2020
One of the venues for Euro 2020 is in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The three teams could potentially reach the quarter-final held in Munich on July 2nd.

If that were the case, they would be exempt from the rule that travellers from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland must currently observe a 14-day isolation period due to the virus strain of concern – Delta – first identified in India.

“The people accredited for the European football Championship are exempt from the quarantine obligation, even after arriving from an area impacted by a variant” Berlin said in a statement.

“This exemption concerns all the people who have been accredited by the organising committee for the preparation, participation, the holding and the follow-up of international sporting events,” it added.

The exemption does not include fans, who will be obliged to follow German government self-isolation rules.

Germany declared the UK a ‘virus variant area of concern’ on May 23rd due to rising cases linked to the Delta variant in parts of the country. 

READ ALSO: Germany makes UK ‘virus variant area of concern’: How does it affect you?

This reclassification came just seven days after the UK was put back on Germany’s list at the lowest risk level, and barely a month after it was taken off all risk lists completely.

The ban was put in place despite the UK’s relatively low Covid rates as a precautionary measure.

A general ban on entry is in place for people coming from countries on the ‘virus variant’ list – such as India and Brazil – the highest of Germany’s risk categories. 

There are some exceptions for entering from these countries – for example German residents and citizens. However, anyone who does enter from Germany is required to submit a Covid-19 test before boarding the flight and must quarantine for 14 days on arrival, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

READ ALSO: Germany’s new relaxed quarantine and testing rules after travel

Euro 2020 starts on Friday as Italy host Turkey in Rome with the Bavarian city hosting three group games as well as the last-eight match.

Around 14,000 fans will be allowed into the Allianz Arena for the fixtures.

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