Just a few weeks ago, Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies was named Canada’s Athlete of the Year. Over the weekend, however, another athlete was named Germany’s Athlete of the Year — and it was not one of Hansi Flick’s treble-winning charges.
Oddly, it was a German playing his trade in Canada — Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, who snared the honor of being named Germany’s top sportsman:
Draisaitl attended his country’s annual Sportler des Jahres ceremony virtually from Oilers Entertainment Group headquarters on Sunday and joined basketball legend Dirk Nowitzki as the only team-sport athletes to win the prestigious honour in the 73-year history of the award.
“What a great honour for me to be voted by so many journalists,” Draisaitl said of his latest accolade. “Thank you for your votes and support. It’s been an incredible year and I am very proud to finish 2020 as Germany’s athlete of the year.”
Draisaitl led the NHL in points with 110, assists with 67, game-winning goals with 10, points per game with 1.55, power-play points with 44 and average ice time among forwards at 22:37, in addition to finishing third in goals with 43.
He won the Art Ross Trophy for leading the NHL in points and was selected as the winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association as well as the Ted Lindsay Award by the National Hockey League Players’ Association.
A Canadian winning an award while playing in Germany and a German winning his country’s honor while playing in Canada?
Finkle is Einhorn? Einhorn is Finkle?
Anyway, congrats to both Davies and Draisaitl. That is quite a talented tandem.
Bayern Munich did win Germany’s Team of the Year award, so at least Germany won’t go down with FIFA on Hansi Flick’s hit list:
FC Bayern have been voted sports team of the year in Germany [zdf] pic.twitter.com/nZPdKHNtjB— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) December 20, 2020
Which do you despise more: The rampant Christian Eriksen-to-Bayern Munich rumors or Christian Falk’s act?
As Powerman 5000 once belted out, “This is what it’s like when worlds collide!”
To respect the Flexxx...I will hereby put a moratorium on Eriksen rumors in the Schmankerl — unless there is an overly juicy angle for you to absorb.
Moving on from Eriksen to Julian Draxler...I promise I am not trying to incite a riot!
Anyway, here is the latest on Draxler:
As the French “L’Equipe” reports, the club bosses estimate the losses due to the Corona crisis at 200 million euros — which is too much!
Draxler’s financially-adjusted pandemic price is expected to be 20 million, but his contract expires in June. Unless a club really wants him now, it will likely wait and get him for free.
Bayer Leverkusen was said to be interested last summer, but will be take a chance at disrupting the good momentum they are building to integrate a player who will need immediate field time?
With Douglas Costa expected to be returned to Juventus next summer, I would not be totally opposed to having Draxler as a jack-of-all trades central midfielder/winger on the Bayern Munich roster. I love bench players with versatility and he would be free...but I have a feeling his next move will be to a club where he is an unquestioned starter.
At 27, this is likely Draxler’s last chance at a big contract. He would be wise to chase the money while he can — and also find a consistent starting role in the process.
Things do not seem all that rosy for Mo Salah at Liverpool if one of his ex-teammates on Egypt’s national team.
“We talked about his situation in Liverpool and he is not happy,” Mohamed Aboutrika told beIN Sports. “That would never affect his performance on the pitch.”
So why is Salah unhappy? Get your salt shakers ready.
“He gave me the reasons. However, they are not intended for the public,” said Aboutrika, who then went on to mention one manor reason. “The fact that he was not captain in the Champions League against Midtjylland was one of the reasons that made him angry.”
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp opted to give Trent Alexander-Arnold the captain’s armband in that contest and apparently that was enough to make Salah a little bitter.
At just 32-years-old, Bayer Leverkusen Sven and Lars Bender will retired. In a joint statement released by the duo has decided to look at life after football:
After a long period of consideration and countless thoughts regarding our future, we ultimately came to the decision that we will not continue our journey with Bayer 04. To the club, we felt it was our responsibility to communicate this decision early on.
Ultimately, it was not a decision against the club, but for health and family. We realized that it will be difficult to play soccer at this high level beyond the summer. Everyone who knows us knows that we give 100 percent every day. That this has always been the basic requirement for us in training and in the game. Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for us to continuously deliver that with all the pain and physical problems we’re suffering more and more.
I generally don’t feel bad for anyone who was able to live out a dream — and get wealthy in the process, but it is always a little sad when the reality of “the end” hits an athlete. Unlike actors, musicians, or politicians, they just can’t ride out their career collecting paychecks to perform their craft in a half-assed manner.
ℹ️ Lars and Sven Bender will not renew their expiring contracts at Bayer 04 and will end their professional playing careers at the end of the current season. pic.twitter.com/0JIfo9VltC— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04_en) December 21, 2020
Good luck to the Bender boys and congrats on your respective careers.
RB Leipzig forward Dani Olmo is one of a core group of exciting young players that Julian Nagelsmann has to work with in East Germany. His agent — seemingly out of nowhere — decided now was a good time to let everyone know that FC Barcelona was once interested in his client:
Addressed with rumours linking Spanish international attacking midfielder/winger Dani Olmo (22) to Barcelona FC, Andy Bara, RB Leipzig powerhouse’s agent, told Sky Sports: “Of course Dani is aiming to play for the best clubs worldwide. He’s a very flexible player, who knows how to score and help his teammates scoring. A move to Barça? They tracked him the past, indeed. Now, however, he’s focused only on his efforts for Leipzig”.
Former Dinamo Zagreb player joined German giants in late January 2020, and is currently worth around 35 million euros, almost twice the sum he was traded for.
Per a press release from the Bundesliga, Germany’s top flight will team up with United Media in the Balkans, Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus for broadcasting in the region.
The new deals begin in August 2021, covering Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 until the end of the 2024-25 season. United Media’s Sport Klub channel will broadcast all games in the Balkans
Bundesliga International, a subsidiary of DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga, has agreed on three new deals with United Media to show Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 action in the Balkans, Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus for the next four years.
The partnership starts from August 2021, and will run until the conclusion of the 2024-25 Bundesliga season. United Media will have the broadcast rights to show Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2, as well as action from the German Supercup and the all-important promotion/relegation play-off matches at the end of each season.
The Balkan region includes six territories (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia), with the Bundesliga being featured on United Media’s flagship sports channel, Sport Klub. Bundesliga International also concluded deals with United Media to show German football in Bulgaria, as well as Greece and Cyprus. Further details regarding the broadcast strategy will be announced at a later stage.
“The Bundesliga has been a key platform in the development of talent from South-East Europe for decades,” said Bundesliga International CEO Robert Klein said. “United Media’s expansion into new territories will help to deliver the highest quality Bundesliga coverage to more fans and we are excited to work together in the coming years.”
Corporate Affairs Director of United Media Ralf Mathney said: “The Bundesliga is not only one of the strongest football leagues in the world, it also has a large number of players from the region, which makes it very popular in countries where United Media channels are broadcast. “This agreement is special for our sports channel, Sport Klub. The Bundesliga was one of the first competitions we broadcast more than 15 years ago. Having the opportunity now to offer our viewers broadcasts of Bundesliga matches means we can say with certainty that we have top sports content. It also confirms Sport Klub’s position as the market’s leading sports channel.”