Monday’s soccer news starts with Swansea City confirming that USMNT player Jordan Morris injured his ACL and will miss the rest of the Championship season. Morris subbed on for the second-half in the 4-1 loss to Huddersfield Town and had to be stretchered off in the 59th minute. Swansea City coach Steve Cooper updated Morris’s situation in a Monday press conference.
“He’s had a bad injury unfortunately for him. It’s significant ligament damage, ACL,” Cooper said. Everything we hoped it wasn’t, unfortunately it is. It’s the end of his season for us and a long road back to recovery, it’s very cruel. “It’s a cruel injury anyway, but in the circumstances of him fulfilling an ambition and coming to Europe and being a part of what we’re trying to do here. It’s a really tough one for him and us to take.”
Also in the soccer news, somehow Bayern Munich has joined the defending champions in trouble across Europe. With the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus, Liverpool, and PSG struggling to get to the top of their league tables, Bayern Munich was the exception. The Bundesliga, Champions League, and, as of a couple of weeks ago, Club World Cup holders seemed to be as close to cruising as the 2020-21 season would allow.
Now, Bayern enters a Champions League coming off of a 2-1 loss at Eintracht and taking one point from six over their last two games. The talk of pandemic parity hasn’t been as loud in the Bundesliga precisely because of Bayern keeping its form. Their round of 16 series with Lazio, 5th-place in Serie A, didn’t seem like a huge hurdle. Neither did Bundesliga games against Arminia Bielefeld and Eintracht Frankfurt.
“We started the game badly,” Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick said following the loss to Eintracht. “Frankfurt did very well in the first-half, had a lot of speed and put us under a lot of pressure. In the second-half, we wanted to do things better, and we succeeded. If we’d played from the start like we did in the second-half, Bayern Munich would have won…. We’ve had some tough days recently, you can’t forget that. After the break, the team woke up. Unfortunately, we didn’t convert our chances into a point. We would have deserved one. It’s a long season. We’ll build on the second-half performance.”
Maybe Bayern will prove Flick right at the next opportunity, Tuesday at Lazio, but there’s still the feeling that this is a season about parity. What that means during pandemic restrictions was always going to be the story of this season. It can justify as much as any team allows, something we’re seeing play out across the biggest leagues in Europe.
Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga lead now stands at two points after 22 rounds, something that would trigger panic in a normal situation. This is a club that always expects more. Right now, they’re not getting it. Whether or not their response is any different than the other major clubs is a question that will wait for this round of the Champions League.
Moving to the Championship, Cameron Carter-Vickers officially has a new coach at Bournemouth, with Jonathan Woodgate taking over for the rest of the season after serving as caretaker for the last five games. Rumors linked Montreal coach Thierry Henry with the job.
“As we head into a crucial part of the season, stability and clarity is of paramount importance for everyone at the club,” Bournemouth CEO Neill Blake said in a press statement. “With that in mind, and having concluded an extensive search for a new manager, we believe Jonathan is the best candidate to lead the team for the final 15 games of the season.”
The NY Times’ Rory Smith with the latest setback for Liverpool’s season. The Independent’s Miguel Delaney points to an ownership advantage for Manchester City. Marca on Barcelona’s slide in what could be Lionel Messi’s final season with the club. Football365’s Eoin Mac Raghnaill asks about the state of goalkeeping.
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