Berlin: Wearing gloves for hygienic reasons and observing social distancing on the pitch are among the challenges facing Bundesliga footballers back in training this week amid hopes the league could resume next month. Most of the 18 clubs in Germany’s top flight returned to their clubs on Monday, albeit in small groups with limited contact to meet health guidelines due to the coronavirus. League matches in Germany have been suspended since March 13. The German Football League (DFL) is in talks with the clubs and authorities about the Bundesliga resuming on May 2, but with matches played in front of empty terraces and fans locked out while public events remain banned in the country.A decision about when the competition can resume is expected on April 17, which could make it the first of Europe’s top leagues to return. Meanwhile, the league’s stars are adjusting to training in the era of social distancing. Defending champions Bayern Munich, who were four points clear when the league was halted, were typical of sides in holding sessions in small groups. Contact is kept to a minimum with hugs of greeting and handshakes banned and players staying 1.5m apart, even on the training pitch.”It was a very unusual feeling to train in small groups,” admitted Bayern captain Manuel Neuer with a maximum of five players per group permitted at their state-of-the-art training complex. Like most other clubs, Bayern’s squad members were told to shower elsewhere and handed post-training snacks in a box to eat at home. In Wolfsburg, the players trained wearing gloves despite warm spring temperatures.After weeks of training individually, or in online groups like Bayern did, most players were pleased to be back on a pitch. (Image credit: Getty Images)”For hygienic reasons, we have to wear gloves, even though it’s 22 degrees (Celsius),” said forward Maximilian Arnold. “Of course it’s necessary, but also a bit funny.” Tackling and close-quarter challenges for the ball are frowned upon at all outfits. “I would love to tackle, but I can’t do that now,” said Hoffenheim defender Havard Nordtveit. Previous weeks at home, in many cases filled by hours on the PlayStation games console, had left a toll.’Well regulated'”My ball control was never perfect, but you can tell that a few team-mates have not trained with the ball for three weeks,” Nordtveit added. “The most important thing, is to keep working on our fitness now and be ready” should the season resume. In Berlin, Union defender Christopher Lenz was just as happy to have team-mates to pass to again and “have a real ball” at his feet. “I missed the boys. The PlayStation had been my best friend”. After weeks of training individually, or in online groups like Bayern did, most players were pleased to be back on a pitch, despite the new hygiene measures. “It’s a nice feeling” to “play a bit of football and see the colleagues again,” Fortuna Duesseldorf forward Rouwen Hennings said.Also Read | Bayern Munich Hoffenheim Match In Bundesliga Marred By ‘Offensive’ Poster”Of course you can’t put in hard tackles or challenges, but I think it’s quite well regulated for the here and now.” In Gelsenkirchen, Schalke coach David Wagner said his squad were happy to be put through their paces. “The fitness coaches can really let off steam, and the boys are up for it too,” said the former Huddersfield boss. “Anything is better than running alone through the forest.” However, players training in small groups offers an extra advantage for eagle-eyed coaches. “Nobody can hide,” said Duesseldorf coach Uwe Roesler with any lack of fitness quickly showing up. For all the Latest Sports News News, Football News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.
Poised with an opportunity to complete a regular-season sweep over the Pittsburgh Steelers for the second straight year and third time in team history, the Ravens return to M&T Bank Stadium trying to clinch their fifth straight trip to the playoffs with a win.In contrast, the Steelers would be eliminated from AFC North contention and would see their playoff hopes take another major blow with a loss on Sunday. The Ravens will have their second straight division title and fourth in 10 years with a victory and a Bengals loss in San Diego on Sunday afternoon.Here’s what to expect as the Ravens try to win their fourth straight game over the Steelers for the first time in franchise history and improve to 16-18 all-time against their most bitter rival …1. With Ben Roethlisberger sidelined again and Charlie Batch under center, the Steelers will make a stronger commitment to the running game with less success than they enjoyed two weeks ago. One of Pittsburgh’s biggest downfalls in the teams’ first meeting was allowing backup Byron Leftwich to throw 39 times while the Steelers averaged 5.0 yards per ground attempt. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley won’t make the mistake again as Jonathan Dwyer will receive a bigger workload with Isaac Redman also in the mix. However, the Steelers have a patchwork offensive line with right tackle Mike Adams out — and replaced by seventh-round rookie Kelvin Beachum — and left guard Willie Colon questionable. The latter’s absence could lead to even more shuffling with starting center Maurkice Pouncey possibly shifting to guard and backup Doug Legursky handling center duties. It all adds up to a less-effective running game and a very nervous Batch in the pocket.2. The Ravens will match their season low for points scored at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Baltimore has averaged an incredible 36.8 points per game, but the Steelers bring the top-ranked defense in yards allow to town and held the Ravens without an offensive touchdown at Heinz Field in Week 11. Quarterback Joe Flacco will throw the ball often as he typically does at home, but a strong Pittsburgh secondary will also include a returning Troy Polamalu. The Ravens will use short and intermediate passing to counter the Pittburgh pass rush working against a shaky offensive line that will be without tight end Ed Dickson’s pass-blocking abilities, and Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce will grind away tough yards to keep the Steelers’ front seven honest. The Ravens’ low for points scored at home this season was 23 against Cleveland in Week 4, and that sounds like a respectable day against one of the best defenses in the league that will be without outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley.3. Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown will be a factor in a limited passing attack to have 75 receiving yards in his return to action. Batch doesn’t have the arm to repeatedly test the Ravens deep, so the speedy Brown will be used underneath as the Ravens try to keep him and fellow speed receiver Mike Wallace in check. Cornerbacks Cary Williams and Corey Graham will play with cushion to respect speed on both sides of the field while safety Ed Reed won’t be able to shade to one side. Brown had 499 receiving yards in his first eight games this year before suffering a high ankle sprain last month but surprisingly doesn’t have a catch longer than 27 yards this season. He’ll eclipse that with a big gain after a short reception at some point on Sunday to put his team in position for a score.4. Anquan Boldin will catch a touchdown pass as he continues a trend of strong games against the Steelers defense. The 32-year-old receiver is quietly on pace to finish with the best totals in receptions and yards he’s had in his three seasons with the Ravens. However, Boldin hasn’t found the end zone since catching a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals in the season-opening 44-13 win. Predicting that the Ravens will use shorter passing as the Steelers protect against deep shots to Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones, I expect Flacco to find Boldin often as the possession receiver puts together another strong performance against Pittsburgh. Boldin was one of the few offensive standouts against Pittsburgh at Heinz Field two weeks ago, finishing with eight catches for 79 yards. He’ll have a similar day on Sunday but will add a long-awaited touchdown catch to his total.5. Baltimore will win its 16th straight regular-season contest at M&T Bank Stadium with a 23-13 victory to clinch a playoff spot. These teams are going in opposite directions as the Ravens jockey for one of the top spots in the AFC while the Steelers face the prospects of their third straight loss as Roethlisberger continues to be sidelined with shoulder and rib injuries. Pittsburgh’s stout defense will keep this one from getting out of hand, but there’s just no way Batch will do enough against an improving Ravens defense to give the Steelers the type of offensive output they need to do what no one has done in Baltimore in 727 days. The Steelers were the last team to beat the Ravens in their home stadium on Dec. 5, 2010, but Baltimore will pass the two-year mark of that most recent home defeat with another win to eliminate their biggest rival from division contention and punch its own ticket to the postseason for an NFL-best fifth straight season.
SALT LAKE CITY — Ask anyone about the Utah-BYU football series and they can come up with several classic games, whether it’s the 34-31 games, Collie’s magic, Beck-to-Harline, Burton’s block, Kaneshiro’s doink or Yergensen’s 55-yarder. Those games all came during the last 25 years when nearly every year has produced a classic moment.Today we’re going to tell you about five of the most underrated Utah-BYU games that were significant for various reasons, one from each decade from the 1940s to the 1980s.BYU BreakthroughOct. 10, 1942 — BYU 12, Utah 7If you don’t count those three victories in the 1890s when BYU was known as B.Y. Academy — which BYU doesn’t — the Cougars had never beaten Utah in 20 tries, losing 17 games and tying three others going into this game. It didn’t look to be any different when the two teams met on a fall afternoon at Ute Stadium.The catalyst for the win was a blocked punt in the fourth quarter when, according to the newspaper account, “the center of the blue forward wall converged on young Wally Kelly” as he punted deep in Utah territory and the Cougars recovered on the 10-yard line. Three plays later, Herman Longhurst ran around the right end and soon after the Cougars were “able to ring the victory bell that BYU backers have been waiting for years to hear.”Thanksgiving ClassicNov. 26, 1953 — Utah 33, BYU 32It was a nationally televised game just a few years after TV became a staple in American homes and played on Thanksgiving Day. Utah came into the game as a heavy favorite with a 7-2 record and a first-place standing in the Skyline Conference compared to BYU’s 2-6-1 mark and last-place standing in the conference.Behind fullback Don Peterson, the “Redskins” dominated early and led 26-13 in the third quarter before the Cougars mounted a comeback to tie the score at 26 on a run by Don James. The Utes came right back with a touchdown drive as Peterson went over from the 2-yard line and thought they had the game. Then the Cougars put together an 80-yard touchdown drive to pull within one point in the waning minutes. However, the extra point try was muffed when the holder couldn’t handle the snap and was swarmed under by the Utes. After the win, the Utah seniors voted not to accept an invitation to play in the Sun Bowl on New Year’s Day. According to the newspaper account, the reason was because “the married men on the squad needed the vacation employment to augment their incomes.”Carter’s Coming-Out PartyNov. 6, 1965 — BYU 25, Utah 20This was a year after Utah’s big season (9-2, Liberty Bowl win) when the Utes had won 47-13 and the Utes came in having lost just two of the previous 41 meetings between the two schools.This was seven years before the start of the LaVell Edwards’ passing era, but you could say this season was the start of the Cougars’ quarterback tradition. Virgil Carter was in his second year as BYU’s QB and by passing for four touchdowns against Utah, he not only set a BYU record, but a WAC record as well in leading the victory.Most of the scoring came in the first half. Carter hit Tim Russell for the first score and after Utah came back to take a 14-6 lead in the second quarter, Carter responded with three more TD passes, another to Russell, one to Dennis Palmer for a 36-yard score and then Phil Odle from 22 yards out. That made it 25-14 at the half and the Utes added a score early in the third quarter and from there it was up to the Cougar defense to keep the Utes out of the end zone and preserve the victory as Bobby Ashdown intercepted a last-gasp pass by the Utes in the final minute.Not only did Carter complete 16 of 29 passes for 253 yards, he was BYU’s best runner with 83 yards on 19 carries. By the time he left BYU after the 1966 season, he had set six national, 19 conference and 24 school records and went on to play in the NFL for several years.Marv’s bootNov. 20, 1971 — Utah 17, BYU 15Neither team was having a very good season as the Utes came into the late November game 2-7, while the Cougars were 5-5 and looking to end with a winning season. Two local players who played high school ball in Salt Lake and went on to be teammates in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys played key roles in the contest. Golden Richards, who prepped at Granite High School, got the scoring started with a 73-yard punt return, one of an NCAA-record four punt return touchdowns that season off a punt by Utah’s all-American punter Marv Bateman, who played for Highland High. The Utes came back with a pair of touchdowns, runs by quarterback Don Van Galder and halfback Cal Poulson, to go ahead 14-6 at the end of the first quarter. BYU came back with a field goal and a touchdown after an 86-yard drive to go ahead 15-14, but they missed a two-point conversion that proved costly later. The Utes drove to the 15-yard line and Bateman, who had missed a 38-yarder earlier in the quarter, booted a 32-yard field goal with 1:05 left to give Utah the victory.Utes’ giveawayNov. 20, 1982 — BYU 17, Utah 12After losing 56-6 and 56-28 the previous two seasons, the Utes dominated the statistics in this game, but couldn’t get the win against Steve Young & Co. Despite getting 24 first downs compared to 11 for BYU and rolling up 468 yards to 300 for the Cougars, BYU came away with the narrow victory to clinch another WAC title and a fifth consecutive trip to the Holiday Bowl.Under first-year coach Chuck Stobart, the Utes used a ball-control offense led by Carl Monroe and Hilria Johnson, who rushed for 147 and 145 yards respectively. However, four turnovers, three fumbles and an interception, compared to zero for the Cougars, proved to be the difference.The Utes fumbled at the 1-yard line, threw an interception into the end zone and stalled at the 7-yard line after an 83-yard drive, or they might have won going away.“We gave that game away,” Utah quarterback Kenny Vierra said afterward. “The fumble and the interception killed us and that was my fault.”
Los Angeles Waiting for Petraeus Re “Iraq troop cuts: Slow, measured” (Sept. 11): Gen. Petraeus reminds me of “Waiting for Godot” – although, unlike Godot, who never shows up, Petraeus showed up with a report on the “surge” in Iraq. However, as in Godot, the sense of futility goes on and on. The problem is not with Petraeus or with the armed forces in general. The problem is with the policy of unilateral action against a foreign nation, as in Iraq. As long as the U.S. clings to the fiction that this can turn to our advantage by democratizing Iraq and turning it from an adversary to an ally the guagmire will deepen. Re “Iraq troop cuts: Slow, measured” (Sept. 11): I am old enough to remember back in the 1960s when Gen. William Westmoreland told us to stay the course in Vietnam because we were starting to win. So deeper and deeper we sank. And Richard Nixon said that if we left Vietnam all of Southeast Asia would become communist. Now we have Gen. David Petraeus doing the same shtick in Iraq, and Bush saying the “evil-doers” will be at our door if we pull out now. As Santayana (no, not Carlos Santana) once said: “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” – Joe Gallagher – Robert Matano Cayucos All prudence Re “$1.1 million needed to vet melee claims” (Sept. 8): I have no respect for the palpitating LAPD and the L.A. City Council caving in to political pressure, and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has long ago sunk below the importance of a used doormat to me. He is simply a frenzied, ambitious political career animal, consumed by self-concern. I have seen nothing in any of the coverage of this event that did not show prudence on the part of the officers involved. To handle a volatile crowd in the throes of an explosive issue with Milk Duds would have been reprehensible, not any of the reasonable actions demonstrated by the preventers of what could have, easily, turned into another riot. – Michael E. White Burbank A little class Re “Debate over public breast-feeding” (Sept. 8): As a mother of two children I believe Applebee’s response was correct. If I choose to nurse my child in public (and it is a choice), then I should do it as subtly as possible, without making those around me uncomfortable. Applebee’s offered the woman a blanket, not to put over the baby’s head but to cover the mother’s breast. Nursing moms can show a little class by doing it discreetly. – Sharon Hess Sherman Oaks All the other breasts Re “Debate over public breast-feeding” (Sept. 8): Let me get this straight, no one is complaining about the women who walk around in public with half of their unnaturally huge breasts popping out of their shirts, but when a woman exposes part of her breast to feed her child, which is exactly what breasts were intended to be used for, people complain. Does anyone else see something wrong with that? And to the woman who compared public breast-feeding with public urination (“Natural as the toilet” Sept. 13 Your Opinions), that’s just wrong! – Stacy Dobbs Castaic Bush’s service Readers are still writing in to your Letters section to back up George W. Bush doing his patriotic duty during the Vietnam War as the National Guard unit he served in in Texas “could have” been called into active duty and served in Vietnam. That’s absolute baloney! Bush used his father’s influence to get into a guard unit that definitely would not be pressed into active duty. Then, after two years in the Texas National Guard, Bush transferred to the Alabama National Guard where he was a no-show. He was finally released from his commitment to attend Harvard Business School. Bush, like Bill Clinton, was a draft dodger. Only the method was different. – Stan Gordon Encino One last question When the last stupid fish is gone, the last stupid deer is shot and the last stupid tree is cut down, will the last stupid guy look at all the concrete and wonder what happened? – Roger Walton North Hills160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!