Breno rejoins Sao Paulo after prison release

The 25-year-old has returned to Brazil after completing his jail sentence for arson and is desperate to put his troubled past behind him


Former Bayern Munich defender Breno says he is desperate to put the past behind him after ending a two-year prison sentence for arson and returning to Brazil to rejoin Sao Paulo.

The 25-year-old was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison by a German court in July 2012 for setting fire to his rented residence following reported bouts of depression as he struggled to adapt to life in Bavaria.

Last year he began working as a coach for Bayern as part of a day release programme and, after being granted parole on Thursday, immediately headed back to Brazil where he will now focus on resuming a once promising career.

“I am very happy to return home. Now I just want to think positively and look forward, because I want to help Sao Paulo win trophies,” said Breno, who left the club for the Bundesliga as a teenager in 2008.

“Even from afar, I always followed the club via the internet. I would log on to sites to see how the team was doing in the league or whether they had injuries or suspensions, because I never failed to follow Sao Paulo.

“Sao Paulo have always supported me. Even in the most difficult times, the people at the club were supporting me. And that continues today. The affection that the club has for me is the same that I have for them.”

The club are reported to have been lending the defender emotional and financial support during his period of incarceration.

Breno will join his team-mates for pre-season training on January 5 ahead of the local state championships and their Copa Libertadores campaign – for which they qualified thanks to a second-place finish in Brasileiro 2014.

Schweinsteiger thanks Ribery for set piece generosity

The Germany international was grateful to his colleague for allowing him to strike the free-kick and grab his first league goal since April as Bayern saw off Mainz 2-1 on Friday


Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has thanked team-mate Franck Ribery for allowing him to hit the free-kick to draw his side level in the 2-1 win over Mainz on Friday.

The German champions suffered a 21st minute shock when they went behind to Elkin Soto’s opener – just the fourth goal Bayern have conceded in 17 games, a Bundesliga record, and one which ended defender Rafinha’s record of 1,105 minutes on the field without conceding.

And Germany international Schweinsteiger was grateful to Ribery for stepping aside as the Germany international moved to the front of the queue and sent his shot curling into the net from 25 yards to claim his first league goal since April.

“I’ve not actually practiced set pieces since the World Cup, but Franck was a perfect gentleman, he left the free-kick to me and said ‘score’,” Schweinsteiger told

“It wasn’t easy but our determination was definitely there. It’s good we have a break now.”

Arjen Robben went on to hit a late winner mean Bayern head into the winter break with a considerable lead at the top of the Bundesliga, leaving them 14 points clear of second-placed Wolfsburg ahead of Saturday’s fixtures.

“All credit to the team,” added. Robben

“We came from behind and we’ve won again. We can go on holiday feeling proud and happy.”

Bayern’s 45 points from 17 games is the second-best in Bundesliga history, two short of the record Bayern themselves set last season.

Neuer hails Robben's 'heavenly' winner at Mainz

The Dutchman netted with just a minute of normal time remaining at the Coface Arena, as the Bavarians broke their own points record for the halfway point of the Bundesliga season


Manuel Neuer thanked Bayern Munich team-mate Arjen Robben for his “heavenly” winning goal in Friday’s dramatic 2-1 triumph at Mainz.

The unbeaten Bavarians had been expected to coast to victory at the Coface Arena but they fell behind after just 21 minutes of play, with Elkin Soto nutmegging Neuer to send the home crowd into raptures.

Bastian Schweinsteiger promptly levelled matters with a sublime free-kick but Bayern looked destined to drop points in the Bundesliga for just the fourth time this season.

However, with just a minute of normal time remaining, Juan Bernat squared the ball for Robben to steal a victory that saw Bayern break their own points record for the halfway point of the season (45).

“It was heavenly,” Neuer said of his Dutch colleague’s last-gasp winner in Mainz. “We are delighted with ourselves!”

It was Robben’s fourth goal in his last three Bundesliga outings but the Netherlands international was reluctant to accept any praise for his crucial contribution at the Coface Arena and instead expressed his sympathy to Mainz for having suffered such late heartbreak.

“Compliments must go to our team,” the former Real Madrid man added. “We bounced back well to falling behind and I’m happy with the win.

“But I feel sorry for Mainz, who gave everything. They deserved a point, but that’s football.”

Bayern Munich now have just over five weeks off before resuming their bid for a third consecutive Bundesliga title with a trip to Wolfsburg on January 30.

Pep praises Bayern's Bundesliga record

The Catalanc coached paid tribute to his players for reaching the midway point of the 2014-15 campaign unbeaten – and with a historic tally of 45 points


Pep Guardiola was a proud man after Bayern Munich broke their own points record for the first half of the Bundesliga season by winning at Mainz on Friday night.

The reigning champions fell behind at the Coface Arena, with Elkin Soto breaking the deadlock midway through the first half, but Bastian Schweinsteiger posted an almost immediate reply before Arjen Robben nicked all three points with a last-minute winner.

Guardiola freely admitted that Bayern had struggled during the opening 45 minutes but he was enthused by the way in which his players had upped the intensity after the break in what was their final outing of a hectic 2014.

“We had a few problems in the first half but controlled the second,” the Catalan coach told reporters after the game at Mainz. “We’re happy with the victory.

“But I’m really happy about how we’ve started the season after a World Cup, and having won a lot in the past few years.”

Bayern’s triumph at Mainz leaves them with a record haul of 45 points after 17 rounds of action, with the Bavarians now 14 points clear of second-placed Wolfsburg, who face Koln on Saturday.

Mainz 1-2 Bayern Munich: Robben nets last-gasp winner for record-breaking Bavarians

Elkin Soto opened the scoring at the Coface Arena but Bastian Schweinsteiger levelled matters with a fine free-kick before the visitors’ Dutch winger struck in the dying seconds


Arjen Robben scored a late winner as Bayern Munich beat Mainz 2-1 to break their own Bundesliga points record heading into the winter break.

Pep Guardiola’s side have totally dominated the German top flight this term and passed the previous best of 44 points by the Christmas interval with victory at the Coface Arena on Friday.

Elkin Soto broke the deadlock for the hosts in the 21st minute after both sides had seen goals disallowed for offside.

But that lead lasted just three minutes, as Bastian Schweinsteiger grabbed his first goal of an injury-ravaged campaign with an expertly executed free-kick.

There was little to choose between the sides for much of the encounter, but Robben popped up in the 90th minute to snatch victory.

The result extends Mainz’s winless run to nine matches, while Bayern have now won their last eight Bundesliga matches on the bounce and go into Christmas unbeaten for the second straight season.

With Robert Lewandowski, Xabi Alonso and Mehdi Benatia all missing, Pep Guardiola brought Jerome Boateng, Schweinsteiger and Pierre Hojbjerg into his starting XI, and Bayern looked to make a quick start – Franck Ribery sending an effort just wide inside the opening two minutes.

Mainz looked to have taken a shock lead in the fourth minute when Pablo De Blasis stooped to head in a Daniel Brosinski cross from the right, but the linesman correctly raised his flag for offside.

Gonzalo Jara made a superb recovery challenge having headed the ball to an unmarked Thomas Muller in the penalty area after 12 minutes, and Bayern saw a goal of their own ruled out for offside seven minutes later, with replays showing Robben’s effort to be a much tighter call than the home side’s.

With two goals already chalked off, Bayern could have been forgiven for sending a hopeful glance in the direction of the linesman when Soto sent the ball between goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s legs from a Shinji Okazaki cross – no such luck this time around.

Bayern were back on terms within three minutes, though, with Schweinsteiger curling in a 25-yard free-kick off the left-hand upright for his first league goal since April.

Guardiola may have been taken aback by Mainz’s sustained threat after conceding the equaliser, but Robben should have done better when his marauding run down the right wing at the beginning of the second half fizzled out.

Yunus Malli showed glimpses of his ability during the opening period, and forced Neuer into an impressive save after the interval.

The 22-year-old was sent one-on-one with the Ballon d’Or nominee, who dived to his right to make a superb one-handed stop.

Boateng pulled the trigger when the ball fell to him some eight yards from goal after 68 minutes, but the defender’s effort was poor and collected comfortably by goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Bayern piled late pressure on the home side and got their reward as Juan Bernat’s left-wing cross was missed by Muller, but not Robben, who took a touch before drilling home from close range to rewrite more history for the Bavarian giants.

Mainz 1-2 Bayern Munich: Robben at the death for record-breaking Bavarians

Elkin Soto opened the scoring at the Coface Arena but Bastian Schweinsteiger levelled matters with a fine free-kick before the visitors’ Dutch winger struck in the dying seconds


Arjen Robben scored a late winner as Bayern Munich beat Mainz 2-1 to break their own Bundesliga points record heading into the winter break.

Pep Guardiola’s side have totally dominated the German top flight this term and passed the previous best of 44 points by the Christmas interval with victory at the Coface Arena on Friday.

Elkin Soto broke the deadlock for the hosts in the 21st minute after both sides had seen goals disallowed for offside.

But that lead lasted just three minutes, as Bastian Schweinsteiger grabbed his first goal of an injury-ravaged campaign with an expertly executed free-kick.

There was little to choose between the sides for much of the encounter, but Robben popped up in the 90th minute to snatch victory.

The result extends Mainz’s winless run to nine matches, while Bayern have now won their last eight Bundesliga matches on the bounce and go into Christmas unbeaten for the second straight season.

With Robert Lewandowski, Xabi Alonso and Mehdi Benatia all missing, Pep Guardiola brought Jerome Boateng, Schweinsteiger and Pierre Hojbjerg into his starting XI, and Bayern looked to make a quick start – Franck Ribery sending an effort just wide inside the opening two minutes.

Mainz looked to have taken a shock lead in the fourth minute when Pablo De Blasis stooped to head in a Daniel Brosinski cross from the right, but the linesman correctly raised his flag for offside.

Gonzalo Jara made a superb recovery challenge having headed the ball to an unmarked Thomas Muller in the penalty area after 12 minutes, and Bayern saw a goal of their own ruled out for offside seven minutes later, with replays showing Robben’s effort to be a much tighter call than the home side’s.

With two goals already chalked off, Bayern could have been forgiven for sending a hopeful glance in the direction of the linesman when Soto sent the ball between goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s legs from a Shinji Okazaki cross – no such luck this time around.

Bayern were back on terms within three minutes, though, with Schweinsteiger curling in a 25-yard free-kick off the left-hand upright for his first league goal since April.

Guardiola may have been taken aback by Mainz’s sustained threat after conceding the equaliser, but Robben should have done better when his marauding run down the right wing at the beginning of the second half fizzled out.

Yunus Malli showed glimpses of his ability during the opening period, and forced Neuer into an impressive save after the interval.

The 22-year-old was sent one-on-one with the Ballon d’Or nominee, who dived to his right to make a superb one-handed stop.

Boateng pulled the trigger when the ball fell to him some eight yards from goal after 68 minutes, but the defender’s effort was poor and collected comfortably by goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Bayern piled late pressure on the home side and got their reward as Juan Bernat’s left-wing cross was missed by Muller, but not Robben, who took a touch before drilling home from close range to rewrite more history for the Bavarian giants.

Dortmund still Bayern's biggest rivals – Hitzfeld

The retired coach, who had spells in charge of Germany’s two biggest clubs during his career, does not think BVB will remain stuck in a relegation fight for long


Borussia Dortmund remain the biggest rivals to Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga crown, according to former coach of both clubs Ottmar Hitzfeld.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have acquired just 15 points from 16 games and are placed third-from-bottom in Germany’s top flight.

A long injury list and a continued run of poor form have been pointed to as the reasons behind their current plight, but mysteriously the club have fared much better in the Champions League and qualified for the last-16.

Hitzfeld, who coached Dortmund for six years in the 1990s before spending two stints in charge at Bayern, is convinced that BVB’s struggles are only temporary and backed them to bounce back.

“Klopp’s still young, he will get through this current low,” the retired coach told Kolner Express.

“They’ll recover by staying calm and taking responsibility. The most important thing is the players are true to Klopp. Starring for them is a ticket to the international teams. Dortmund remain the most threatening opponent to Bayern in coming years.”

Dortmund face bottom-of-the-Bundesliga Werder Bremen on Saturday in their final game of 2014, with domestic action resuming after the winter break on January 31.

Bayern in no rush to extend Guardiola deal – Rummenigge

The Allianz Arena chief believes the former Barcelona boss is happy with his current terms and talks over a new contract are not imminent


Bayern Munich are in no rush to extend Pep Guardiola’s contract despite their excellent performance, according to CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

The Spaniard spent four years as Barcelona boss until voluntarily stepping down at the end of the 2011-12 season.

He then took six months out of football before being confirmed as the future Allianz Arena coach in January 2013, replacing treble-winning Jupp Heynckes in the summer.

Guardiola promptly won the Bundesliga in record time in his first season, as well as the DFB Pokal, and has guided the Bavarians to an 11-point lead with 16 games played just before the winter break this term.

Despite there being just 18 months left on the coach’s contract, Rummenigge claims that Bayern are not chasing Guardiola down to extend his current deal beyond June 2016.

“We expected there to be some hiccups before Christmas but the leadership under Pep Guardiola has been brilliant,” he told Bild. “We will do everything we can to keep him here.

“He has massive value for us. But his current contract runs for over one and a half years. These are light-years for him. He is not a person who needs a long-term guarantee, or needs to improve his contract.

“It’s not the right moment yet to speak about extending it. When this is the case, we will see what happens.”

Bayern could 'do a Dortmund', claims Guardiola

The Allianz Arena coach says the champions must strive to improve all the time if they are to avoid falling into the same trap as Jurgen Klopp’s struggling side


Bayern Munich could easily stumble into difficulty in the same way as Borussia Dortmund, Pep Guardiola has claimed.

The Bavarians are 11 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga this season, with the winter break imminent, having begun the 2014-15 campaign in sensational style.

Dortmund, however, have been unable to handle a growing injury list and are one point off the bottom of the Bundesliga with 16 games played – a full  27 points behind the reigning German champions at the top of the league.

“When I see Dortmund, I always think: Okay, Pep, this can happen to us. This is a lesson for me. Bayern can also lose,” Guardiola coach told reporters.

“To prevent this situation, we must always try to improve.”

Despite Dortmund’s woes in the Bundesliga, they and Bayern eased into the last 16 of the Champions League and will face Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk respectively in the next round.

Bayern are in action on Friday against mid-table side Mainz, while Jurgen Klopp’s men are facing bottom-of-the-league Werder Bremen on Saturday.

Milan must copy Bayern – Inzaghi

The Italian says his club must model the approach of the Bundesliga champions if they wish to become one of the best sides in Europe again


AC Milan boss Filippo Inzaghi has highlighted Bayern Munich as the perfect model to emulate as the club bid to compete with Europe’s elite once again.

The Rossoneri are seven-time winners of the Champions League but failed to qualify for the competition this season after finishing a lowly eighth in Serie in 2013-14.

That finish saw Inzaghi replace Clarence Seedorf in the Milan dug-out, with the former striker tasked with guiding the club to a top three finish and a place in Europe’s elite competition.

After 15 games, the San Siro club sit in sixth place, two points behind third-placed Lazio, and the Italian has pointed to Bayern as an example to follow in their quest for a return to the continent’s top table.

“Bayern Munich should be our reference point if we want to return to being successful,” he said at Thursday’s press conference.

“I read the other day that [Franck] Ribery said Guardiola changes tactics 10 times in a game – they’re a great example of flexibility and we need to follow that if we want to be the best again.”

Milan face Roma in Serie A on Saturday, knowing that victory and results elsewhere ending in their favour could see them move into third spot in the table.

Inzaghi says his players have nothing to lose going into the game and is convinced they will enjoy a successful 2015.

He added: “After the Genoa game I was angry because it was a game we shouldn’t have lost. I knew that we needed a great performance against Napoli.

“We don’t have much to lose on Saturday. If we get a good result that will be important for our growth, as it will come from playing well.

“I have to look at performances, and I hope that against Roma the team plays another good game.”

The former Juventus striker also spoke of his relationship with Italy boss Antonio Conte, who he played alongside for the Bianconeri, and met earlier this week along with several other Serie A coaches to establish the availability of certain players for upcoming internationals.

I have a great relationship with Conte.

“I’m available, and so are Milan, and whenever it’s possible we’ll always give him a hand.

“It makes me proud if my players are called up the national team.”

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