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FOOTBALL

Cool to be in quarters, says Dortmund’s Klopp

Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp tried to play down expectations, but admitted it was "extremely cool" to be in the Champions League quarter-finals after their 3-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday night in their Last 16 second leg clash.

Cool to be in quarters, says Dortmund's Klopp
Photo: DPA

Having drawn 2-2 in Ukraine three weeks ago in the first leg, Borussia went through 5-2 on aggregate as goals by Felipe Santana, Mario Götze and Jakub ‘Kuba’ Blaszczykowski capped the German champions’ dominant display.

After the defeat, Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu repeated his bold prediction that the winner of this tie will reach the final at Wembley on May 25 and said he hopes Dortmund prove him right.

“They have a strong team, they were deserved winners, and like I said yesterday, I think the team that won today will reach the final and I wish them plenty of success,” said the Romanian.

Lucescu is not alone in backing Borussia.

Before his side crashed out at the hands of Real Madrid at home on Tuesday, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson tipped Dortmund to win the title, but Klopp played down rising expectations.

“We have received many compliments on the way we have played in Europe and it feels good to win, but we can’t look further than April 2 when the quarter-finals start,” said the 45-year-old.

“There are still lots of strong teams in the competition. We are just delighted with the result and I am proud of the team.”

Dortmund are in the quarter-finals for the first time in 15 years and can be joined in the last eight by Bundesliga rivals Schalke 04, who host Galatasaray, and Bayern Munich, who are home to Arsenal, next week.

Klopp said he had no preferred opponent in the last eight, whether or not that involved a trip outside Germany, or even just the 40 kilometre (24 miles) drive east to Gelsenkirchen-based Schalke.

“We’ll have to travel where ever we go, well maybe not to Schalke, but we are just happy to be in the last eight,” he said. “We’ll watch the other games, see what the other teams do, it’s just extremely cool to be in the quarter-finals.”

This was their fourth straight home win in Europe this season and their fifth in all.

But the victory came at a cost with both defensive midfielders Sven Bender and Sebastian Kehl facing a race against time to be fit for Saturday’s Ruhr derby at Schalke.

“Sven has an ankle injury, he’s not sure to face Schalke, while Sebastian Kehl also aggravated a rib injury and we have to see how he goes,” said Klopp.

The hosts dominated their Ukrainian opponents with Germany’s rising star Götze, 20, and defensive midfielder Ilkay Gundogan proving a constant thorn in Shakhtar’s side.

“We knew we had a huge chance to reach the quarter-finals and we delivered a great performance,” said Götze. “Obviously scoring two goals in the first half gave us a lot of confidence.”

Centre-back Neven Subotic said Dortmund are proving themselves on the European stage as they target their first Champions League win since 1997, when they beat Juventus 3-1.

“We hope it is our season, we have showed against a big team tonight and in a tough group that we can come out on top,” said Subotic after Dortmund saw off Ajax, Real Madrid and Manchester City in the group stages. “We want to prolong this Champions League experience as long as we can.”

AFP/mry

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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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