Nowitzki sparks speculation of European return

Basketball star Dirk Nowitzki gave German team recruiters reason to hope at the weekend, after remarking that he might be forced to look back to Europe in the event of a long NBA lockout in North America.

Nowitzki sparks speculation of European return
Photo: DPA

“If the lock-out lasts for a long time, I’d definitively have to look for something there in January or February,” he said at a press conference on Saturday.

The players’ union and team owners of the National Basketball Association, NBA, remain deadlocked over contract negotiations – prompting the cancellation of the first two weeks of regular play.

Nowitzki’s comments came on the sidelines of the third game of the US baseball World Series between the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals. As a member of the Dallas Mavericks, also a Texas-based team, Nowitzki is a die-hard Rangers fan.

The German basketball star was given the honour of throwing out the first pitch at the game, in front of more than 51,000 spectators.

In the past, Nowitzki has quashed speculation that he could return to play Bundesliga basketball in Germany. Three teams – ALBA Berlin, Brose Baskets Bamberg and Bayern Munich – have publicly expressed interest in nabbing the star forward, but Nowitzki has said choosing one of them would mean disappointing the others.

“If he really wanted to play in Germany, then there would be only one club for him: FC Bayern Munich,” said Munich coach Dirk Bauermann.

With the NBA lockout still in place, Nowitzki said he plans to fly back to Germany in the coming weeks to train with his mentor and private coach Holger Geschwindner.

He also expressed his disappointment at the lack of progress in NBA negotiations between the two sides. “Hopefully we’ll achieve something soon, but it’s not looking good,” Nowitzki said.

DPA/The Local/arp

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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.