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Werder Bremen midfielder Torsten Frings has breathed a sigh of relief after learning the ligament damage he sustained on Tuesday is not as bad as first feared.

Better news
Bremen announced the 30-year-old German international had torn cruciate ligaments in his right knee during a pre-season friendly against second division SC Paderborn, an injury that would have ruled him out for six months. An examination by knee specialist Dr. Heinz-J. Eichhorn has since revealed a more positive prognosis: Frings has only suffered slight ligament damage and is expected to be on the sidelines for about six weeks.

"I am totally relieved about these new results," Frings said. "It is still very sad I picked up an injury at this time of the season, but if nothing is torn I'll be back in the team soon." Coach Thomas Schaaf added: "That's some good news at least. We've not had much of that in recent weeks. I'm happy for Torsten and for all of us that his injury is not as bad as we thought." Frings will miss Bremen's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie in August, but could be back in time for Germany's UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifier against Wales on 8 September.

©uefa.com 1998-2007. All rights reserved.

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Chelsea FC have made their second high-profile signing of the summer capturing forward Claudio Pizarro on a free transfer from FC Bayern München.

Title ambition
Having already acquired out-of-contract midfielder Steve Sidwell from Reading FC last month, José Mourinho has added to his striking options with the Peruvian international completing a medical and agreeing personal terms at Stamford Bridge today. "I think it's very important for me to win some titles and I have the chance here to win them," Pizarro said. "The most important thing is the [UEFA] Champions League which I was looking to win with Bayern, but we didn't have the chance."

Pivotal part
The 28-year-old moved to Bayern before the 2001/02 season having impressed in two previous campaigns at Werder Bremen. He went on to play 174 Bundesliga games for the club, scoring 70 goals, and played a pivotal part in their successive league and cup doubles in 2004/05 and 2005/06. Capped 45 times by his country, Pizarro made ten appearances in this season's UEFA Champions League, scoring four goals. While English runners-up Chelsea will enter the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League group stage, Bayern will play in the UEFA Cup after finishing fourth in Germany.

©uefa.com 1998-2007. All rights reserved.

25th-Jul-2007 01:08 pm - Liverpool unveil new stadium plans
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By Phil Barnett Special to PA SportsTicker

LIVERPOOL, England (Ticker) - Liverpool unveiled plans for their new $600 million 60,000-seater stadium on Wednesday.

The Premier League powerhouse has submitted an official planning application to Liverpool City Council for the new ground - planned to open in 2010 - at Stanley Park. 

Central to the design is the potential to expand the stadium to more than 70,000 seats in the future dependent on improvements to the local transport infrastructure.

As expected the plans, include a new 18,000-capacity, single-tier Kop.

American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have, in conjunction with the architects, radically redesigned the original plans for the stadium.

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry said: It has always been the aim of the club, with the backing of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, to be world class both on and off the pitch.

When they took over, the first thing Tom and George wanted to do was review the stadium both in terms of the design and the capacity. This is the immensely impressive result of their deliberations. We're creating a stadium that not only the club and supporters can be proud of, but something the whole city can be proud of. Liverpool as a city is on the move and deserves world-class developments like this.

5th-Apr-2007 07:46 am - LIBERTADORES CUP
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RIO DE JANEIRO, April 6 (Reuters) - Caracas FC beat former Libertadores Cup champions River Plate 3-1 to dump the Argentines out of the competition despite having had four players suspended on the eve of the match.

The Venezuelans, forced to play away from their own stadium under a controversial ruling, qualified from Group Six at River's expense after beating them for the second time in Thursday's late game in the Colombian border town of Cucuta. 

Caracas's 1-0 win at River Plate last month was the first by a Venezuelan side in Argentina in the competition's 47-year history.

River's elimination is almost certain to lead to speculation about the future of coach Daniel Passarella, who captained Argentina's World Cup-winning team in 1978 and was their coach in France 20 years later.

Chilean champions Colo Colo, who also qualified thanks to Thursday's result, and Caracas have nine points from five games while River have five, alongside Ecuador's LDU.

Defender Jose Manuel Rey put Caracas FC ahead in the 16th minute when he snapped up a rebound after the River defence failed to clear a corner

Forward Ernesto Farias equalised in the 28th minute but Habinson Escobar scored twice in four minutes before halftime to put Caracas in control. Franklin Lucena of Caracas and River's Victor Zapata were sent off for fighting in the 42nd minute.

Caracas had four players suspended on the eve of the game for their part in the protests which followed a 2-1 defeat at Colo Colo last week, although the Venezuelans maintained their players had been manhandled by Chilean police.

The South American Football Confederation ruled that their Brigido Iriarte stadium was too small for the competition but made the decision only after Caracas had already played one game at the arena.

Uruguay's Defensor Sporting, needing only one point to qualify from Group Eight alongside Santos, instead lost 2-0 at home to the Brazilian team, who won their fifth straight game.

Second-half goals from Marcos Aurelio and Rodrigo Tabata at Montevideo's Centenario stadium left Vanderlei Luxemburgo's side top with 15 points.

Defensor remained on nine points, three ahead of Argentina's Gimnasia-La Plata who took full advantage of their rivals' slip-up by winning 2-0 away to Colombia's Deportivo Pasto.

Rene Rosero scored an own goal in the 15th minute and Uruguayan Sergio Leal wrapped up the game, heading in from a free kick in the 75th minute of the match played in front of a sparse crowd.

Pasto, who remain pointless, completed an unhappy evening when Jamell Ramos came on as a substitute in the 58th minute and was sent off one minute later for a bad tackle.

5th-Apr-2007 07:38 am - German Bundesliga
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 2006-07 Table
 Schalke 0427165653422616
 Werder Bremen27156651613328
 VfB Stuttgart27147649453114
 Bayern Munich2714584740319
 Bayer Leverkusen2712694243367
 Hannover 96279810353437-3
 Hertha Berlin279711343344-11
 Alemania Aachen279612333843-5
 Hamburg SV2761473226233
 Energie Cottbus278811322935-6
 VfL Wolfsburg267109312528-3
 Eintracht Frankfurt276138313446-12
 VfL Bochum288713313246-14
 FSV Mainz277911302440-16
 Arminia Bielefeld277812293236-4
 Borussia Dortmund277812292938-9
 Borussia M'gladbach276714252130-9
5th-Apr-2007 07:36 am - Kroenke "thrilled" by Arsenal move
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LONDON (TICKER) -- Stan Kroenke is "excited" about joining the Arsenal family and was impressed with the leadership of the Barclays Premiership club when setting up a marketing partnership, according to a spokesman for the American's company.

Kroenke purchased slightly less than a 10 percent shareholding interest in Arsenal on Thursday.

Kroenke Sports Enterprises owns the Denver Nuggets of the NBA, Colorado Avalanche of the NHL, Colorado Rapids of the MLS and Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League. He is also part-owner of the St. Louis Rams of the NFL.

The Rapids and Arsenal announced in February that it had reached a working agreement with the primary aim of building the Arsenal brand and helping to improve the Rapids and support grassroots soccer in the United States.

The 58-year-old Kroenke is estimated to be worth around $2 billion, having made his substantial fortune mainly through real estate and constructing shopping centers, retail, business and residential developments. His wife Anne Walton is part of the family which owns the Wal-Mart stores.

"Mr Kroenke is a 9.9 percent owner and is very excited about that," Kroenke chief marketing officer Paul Andrews told PA Sport. "He is also very excited about the marketing alliance that we have. We are excited to be part of the Arsenal family. Arsenal is a great brand and we are excited to be part of that."

A delegation from Arsenal is currently in the U.S. as part of the marketing relationship, and the trip was scheduled before the unrelated announcement of KSE's significant financial investment. 

The MLS season is set to kick off this weekend, when the Rapids host DC United in the opening game at the new state-of-the-art Dick's Sporting Goods Park at Commerce City.

Andrews revealed it had been during the negotiations over establishing a marketing link that Kroenke had been impressed by the Gunners.

"It is fair to say that because we spent some time with the management and leadership of Arsenal over the course of the last year in getting our marketing partnership together, we became very fond of the brand and of the leadership," Andrews said. "It is fair to say that made the investment decision even easier. We have a great relationship with them."

Despite the inevitable links with moves at Manchester United, Liverpool and Aston Villa from American investors, talk of a full-blown takeover at Emirates Stadium seems somewhat premature.

Major shareholders - which include vice chairman David Dein and director Danny Fiszman - have no intention of selling up to any interested parties. KSE would not be drawn into the rumor mill.

"We do not ever speculate in relation to our investments, or future intentions," Andrews said. "We do not do that across our business in the United States and we will not do that in the UK."

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger believes no soccer club should be totally dependent on wealthy backers.

The French coach believes just throwing money at the squad is not necessarily the answer as Arsenal look to make the most of the transition to their 60,000 Emirates Stadium.

"In the longer term, it is always better that you produce your own resources and, for us with a new stadium, I feel in the near future - four, five or six years - the club will be capable to compete on its own resources," Wenger said.

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