Bayern take fifth straight Bundesliga crown

first_imgBy Karolos GrohmannBERLIN,(Reuters)-Bayern Munich celebrated their record-extending fifth consecutive Bundesliga title on Saturday after crushing VfL Wolfsburg 6-0 to open up an unassailable 10-point lead over second-placed RB Leipzig with three matches remaining.The Bavarians, who have now won 27 German championships, are on 73 points with Leipzig on 63 after they were held to a goalless draw by Ingolstadt earlier in the day.“It is amazing what this team did again this season in the Bundesliga,” said retiring Bayern captain Philipp Lahm. “It is not a given that we will always march through the league like we did this season.”Bundesliga leading scorer Robert Lewandowski netted twice to take his league goal tally to 28 and David Alaba, Thomas Mueller, Arjen Robben and Joshua Kimmich were also on target as Bayern rode roughshod over the hosts.The Bavarians had promised to bounce back following their mid-week German Cup semi-final defeat to Borussia Dortmund and last week’s Champions League exit to Real Madrid.They had also failed to win either of their last two league matches, going five games without a win in all competitions as their potential treble-winning season turned into a one-title affair.“I am extremely happy and we deserved the victory,” said coach Carlo Ancelotti. “It was an amazing experience and I want to thank the fans and the club. Now is the time to celebrate.”There was no self-doubt within Ancelotti’s team on Saturday as they scored three times before halftime, knowing Leipzig had failed to win their match.Bayern finished off the relegation-threatened Wolves with three more goals in the second half, when the hosts were reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of former Bayern player Luiz Gustavo.“The league is the most honest of titles,” said Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “And now we have won it for the fifth straight time. That is something unusual and amazing.“We will have a good party tonight and then on the last matchday with the fans. I played 10 years at Bayern and won two league titles. Now we have done it five times in a row. Outstanding.”Borussia Dortmund remained in third place on 57 points following their goalless draw against Cologne. Hoffenheim, two points behind in fourth, can move back into the top three with victory over Eintracht Frankfurt today.Bottom club Darmstadt 98 beat Freiburg 3-0 to earn their third straight win and give themselves yet another lifeline as they are eight points below the relegation playoff spot.Werder Bremen made it nine wins in their last 11 games with a 2-0 win over European rivals Hertha Berlin to move into sixth place, a point behind their opponents.last_img read more

Valentine Holmes misses Australia, but his ‘best is yet to come’ in the NFL

first_img (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/40/d3/valentine-holmes-081619-getty-ftrjpg_pkn3jis2vu6v1touu0pakep8f.jpg?t=-1703654396&w=500&quality=80 But there’s something that has been on the superstar rugby player’s mind since he jumped across the pond and joined the New York Jets this offseason.”Probably coffee, is the main thing,” Holmes told Sporting News, with nostalgic eyes. “The one thing I always think about is coffee. They don’t really do nice coffee here — sorry.”2019 NFL PREDICTIONS:How Jets will fare in AFC East, conferenceIn a nutshell, that’s Holmes: calm, collected, unconcerned. He welcomes the stage of the big city and the big moment. While coffee is a good wake-up call, the 24-year-old rolling the dice on an NFL career probably comes on like a brick to the face.Going from being a record-breaking superstar in the National Rugby League to trying to break in with an NFL team is no easy task, but Holmes has made his presence felt with the Jets. As part of the NFL’s International Pathway program, Holmes has found himself in the mix returning punts and getting a few snaps out of the backfield as a running back.A gridiron is just a bit different from the rugby pitch, on which Holmes set records and won championships. He was a member of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, making his pro debut at age 19, and was a winger on for the championship squad in 2016. Holmes also helped secure a World Cup for Australia as a member of the the Australian rugby national team in 2017.”Helped” might be an understatement: Holmes was the tournament’s top try scorer with 12, a record. He also set the record for trys, with six, in the semifinal matchup vs. Fiji.Those records, respectfully, mean nothing in Florham Park.MORE: NFL QBs with most to prove in 2019Holmes is starting from Square 1 in a brand new sport and is competing in a loaded running back room — led by superstar free-agent signee Le’Veon Bell and veteran Ty Montgomery — and finding a niche as a punt returner. While he’s competing, Holmes is finding a lot of value in learning, as well — and his teammates are a big part of that, including fellow Aussie and Jets punter Lachlan Edwards.”(Lachlan) helped me out when I first came in April for preseason,” Holmes said. “He just let me know what it’s like, what to get used to. ‘It’ll get easy as you stay longer, you get to know the boys.'”I don’t really see too much of him, because he’s a punter. He goes to different classrooms and trains at different times. But I catch up with him every now and then at lunch.”The learning didn’t stop with Edwards, though.”It’s awesome — just coming to training everyday, hanging out with the running back class, even these other boys, all the offensive players,” Holmes told SN. “It’s awesome just to rub shoulders and communicate with them, learn off each other.”Just today, I was learning off of Le’Veon Bell, Ty Montgomery, Eli (McGuire) and (Trenton) Cannon, what they were doing. It’s been great since being here, they’ve been helping me out a lot.” FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Valentine Holmes misses home.Now on the opposite end of the globe from where he was born and raised, there’s a lot about Australia for which he yearns: his wife and puppy dog, the weather, the beaches — even if it’s winter there currently — chief among them. With the preseason yet to unfold — while the same can be said of Holmes’ NFL career — there are many questions left unanswered. Playing time and position are the most obvious. Holmes is unsure how it’ll shake out. He is adamant he’ll do whatever the coaches ask of him as he continues to learn and grow.But there’s a simple message he’d like to deliver to as it all happens.”The best is yet to come. Just hold on.” The education seems to be paying off and turning some heads. Montgomery believes Holmes is the “LeBron James of rugby.” Coaches and teammates have been impressed with his toughness. But more than his reputation or his aura, Holmes has sure hands and seems to find himself in the right part of the field at the right time — two key aspects to becoming an NFL player — while demonstrating a dose of signature rugby toughness. It has caught the eyes of some coaches, including the man in charge.”He’s picking up the offense, that hasn’t really been his issue,” Gase told media after practice earlier in August. “It’s just when everything starts moving super fast, he’s trying to get used to that, and I think it’s starting to work for him. It’s slowing down for him and I think it just keeps slowing down.”Gase praised Holmes’ ability to pick up on the playbook — a daunting task for anyone, let alone someone learning a brand-new sport — which is an impressive feat in itself. Given Gase’s reputation for being an offensive guru whose scheme features intricacies and high-level concepts, Holmes’ grasp of the playbook is more impressive.That doesn’t mean Holmes is guaranteed a spot on the roster come September; Gase stressed that there’s still room for growth.NFL UNIFORM RANKINGS:Jets surge upward with new look for 2019While Holmes is learning what to do on the field, learning to play it in the biggest sports market in the world just adds to the equation. He’s not totally foreign to the area, after all — he’s actually pretty familiar with New York; he has been to the Big Apple more than a handful of times and got his first taste of appreciation for American football some years ago.”I was a fan of the Giants,” Holmes said with a guilty smile. “That was the first real, live NFL game I went to — Giants vs. Colts. Since then, obviously they’ve had some real classy players, classy years. That’s the team I’ve mostly supported.”Holmes’ fandom for football goes beyond just the Giants, though. While he made a name for himself playing rugby, Holmes has wanted to compete in the NFL for a long time, with interest coming to a head back to the international pro day in Los Angeles in 2016. Holmes said roughly 15 teams were interested in him following that workout.”What it came down to, I just wanted to test myself as a player, a person, an athlete and see if I can come over here and test myself among these guys. So far, I’m here now, just finishing up training camp, I’m just having fun at the same time, enjoying it. It is a lifelong dream.”Holmes understands that all of Australia has its eyes on him as he trains and tries to steal a roster spot, but he isn’t losing sight of the true reason he made this move to the NFL.”I’m just doing this for myself, my family,” Holmes said. “I’m not really thinking about anyone else. Some people are supporting me and following me, some people aren’t. Obviously, I would like to do everyone proud who has supported me, I don’t want to look like a bust out here.”last_img read more