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FOOTBALL

Transfer jitters unsettle Munich and Hamburg

Spain midfielder Javier Martinez looked set to sign for Bayern Munich on Wednesday after passing a medical in the Bavarian capital, according to German media. Yet his club said he did not have permission to take the test.

Transfer jitters unsettle Munich and Hamburg
Could be record transfer - Javier Martinez. Photo: DPA

The 23-year-old has been a Bayern target for weeks and the Bavarian giants are reported to be set to pay a Bundesliga record fee of €40 million for him.

German Sky broadcast images of Martinez, who currently plays for Athletic Bilbao, arriving in Munich at midnight on Tuesday before he completed the medical in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Martinez trained with his Spanish team on Tuesday, but Bilbao on Wednesday demanded an explanation and insisted they had not authorised his trip to Germany.

“Athletic Club wish to state that they did not at any point authorise Javi Martinez’s trip to Munich on August 28,” read a statement on the club’s website.

“Athletic Club have asked for an explanation for the player, who still belongs to them.”

The defensive midfielder has made eight appearances for Spain and he came off the bench for Spain briefly at both the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

Bayern have already strengthened their squad this season with midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri arriving from FC Basel, striker Mario Mandzukic from Wolfsburg and Brazilian defender Dante from Mönchengladbach.

With the transfer window set to close on Friday, fans in Hamburg were on Wednesday hoping that HSV would be able to raise enough cash to buy Rafael van der Vaart from Tottenham Hotspurs.

Van der Vaart is something of a hero in Hamburg, having played for HSV between 2005 and 2008.

And he says he is ready to return to Hamburg, the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper said on Wednesday. But the bad news, the paper said, was that Spurs boss Daniel Levy would not let him go for less than €18 million – far too much for Hamburg.

The Hamburgers have €10 million, the paper said – and could probably bump this up to €12 million to get van der Vaart – but even that would be well short of the Spurs price tag.

“If two parties are so far away from each other, there is no basis for negotiation,” said HSV trainer Thorsten Fink. But he said he was still hopeful that Levy would let them have the Dutchman.

The Hamburger Morgenpost said Levy was in the midst of an expensive shopping spree for players. Although he had just sold Luka Modric to Real Madrid for €30 million, Levy would need more money to buy the players he had in mind and was ready to sell van der Vaart.

AFP/The Local/hc

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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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