Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 4th 2015 Contents A57
Friday, December 4, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
ROME---After a quarter century,
Napoli is back on top of Serie A.
For a club that is perhaps more
identified with its city than any other
in Italy, the difficult part now is stay-
"We've done an excellent job up
to this point and now we need to
do just as good a job of keeping our
feet on the ground," Napoli's first-
year coach Maurizio Sarri said fol-
lowing Monday's 2-1 win over 10-
man Inter Milan, the previous leader.
While Milan, Turin, Rome and
even Genoa and Verona each have
two Serie A clubs, Naples has just
Napoli. And ever since Diego
Maradona led the southern club to
Italian titles in 1987 and 1990, there
has been a yearning for more.
Napoli hadn't had sole possession
of the lead since the 1990 title.
Sarri's club is one point ahead of
Inter entering Sunday's match at
relegation-threatened Bologna. Inter
hosts Genoa on Saturday while
Fiorentina, which is two points
behind Napoli in third, faces Udinese
Fourth-place Roma, in crisis after
a run of poor results, visits aTori-
no.Four-time defending champion
Juventus, which is fifth, aims for its
fifth consecutive win at Lazio on
Also this weekend, it's: Atalanta
vs. Palermo; Frosinone vs. Chievo
Verona; Hellas Verona vs. Empoli;
Sampdoria vs. Sassuolo; and Carpi
vs. AC Milan.
RABBITS AND CARROTS
Seven crates of carrots were lined
up on the ground at the exit from
Roma's training ground this week.
An accompanying banner set up
by disgruntled fans read, "Buon
That was the response from Roma
supporters following three miserable
results --- a 2-2 draw at Bologna, an
embarrassing 6-1 rout by Barcelona
in the Champions League, and an
alarming 2-0 defeat at home to Ata-
Struggling due to defensive lapses,
Roma coach Rudi Garcia has been
widely criticized but Roma's Amer-
ican owners have expressed no inter-
est in making a managerial change,
especially since Garcia still has 2 1/2
years remaining on his contract at
2.5 million euros ($2.7 million) per
One possible successor could be
former Italy coach Cesare Prandelli,
who is currently out of a job.
Key winger Gervinho is expected
back from injury against Torino, with
Mohamed Salah possibly due back
in the Champions League against
BATE Borisov next week.
AC Milan's 20-year-old forward
M'Baye Niang is finally starting to
live up to his potential.
After going scoreless in his first
35 appearances for Milan, Niang
scored two goals and set up another
in a convincing 4-1 win over Sam-
pdoria last weekend. He then scored
the last goal in an extra-time 3-1
win over Crotone in the Italian Cup.
Niang's emergence comes with
Mario Balotelli having returned to
training this week following pelvis
surgery. He's been out since Sep-
Also, it seems Kevin-Prince
Boateng will be promoted from the
training squad to the first team in
Napoli seeks to keep grounded at top
Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain
celebrates after scoring a goal
during a Serie A soccer match
between Napoli and Inter Milan,
at the San Paolo stadium in
Naples, Italy, Monday. AP PHOTO
FRANKFURT---Andre Schubert took
over Borussia Moenchengladbach after
five defeats at the start of the season
had been enough for coach Lucien
Favre walked out of the club, disap-
pointed and demoralized after guiding
Moenchengladbach to the Champions
League the previous season. Schubert,
coach of the club's reserve side, was pro-
moted and since then the team has not
lost in nine Bundesliga matches, moving
to fourth in the standings.
Moenchengladbach is 17 points behind
Bayern heading into the game tomorrow
but it is on the same number of points
as it was after 14 matches last season
despite the poor start.
Under Schubert's nine-match reign,
Moenchengladbach has earned 23 points.
Only Pep Guardiola's Bayern has taken
more in the same period --- 25.
Last season, Moenchengladbach won
one and drew one with Bayern, and was
the only team not to concede a goal
against the Bundesliga champions.
Since 2011, Moenchengladbach has
an even win-loss record against Bayern.
Guardiola's team is shattering records
as it steamrolls through the season, with
only one draw and 13 wins and an eight-
point lead over Borussia Dortmund.
In another top match, Wolfsburg hosts
Dortmund hoping to cut the gap to sec-
ond place. Dortmund currently has seven
points more than Wolfsburg.
Here are some things to know about
the Bundesliga's 15th round.
With 13 goals, Thomas Mueller has
been in outstanding form and is close to
extending his contract with Bayer. "A lot
speaks for it and very little against it,"
Mueller said of the expected new deal
that is likely to keep him at Bayern
Mueller says Bayern's target is to win
an unprecedented four straight titles and
to remain unbeaten for the entire
"That would be real cool," Mueller told
Mueller expects another tough match
against Moenchengladbach. "Over the
past few years, 'Gladbach was always a
difficult rival. We kept losing points
against them," he said.
NOT ONLY DEFENSE
Moenchengladbach's forward Raffael
promises that his team will not be
"parking the bus" to stop the Bavarian
attack, which has scored 42 goals.
"We can't play that defensively, we
don't know how to do it. We are going to
play with courage and go forward,"
Raffael said. "You have to keep them
busy, otherwise you are going to go
under very quickly."
Last season, Raffael scored both goals
as Moenchengladbach beat Bayern 2-0
in Munich. The Brazilian said his team is
playing a little differently now than under
Dieter Hecking will be celebrating his
100th Bundesliga match in charge of
Wolfsburg when his team hosts
Dortmund. With 50 wins in the previous
99 matches since December 2012, he
already holds the best record for club
coaches since Wolfsburg's promotion in
1997. Wolfsburg won the German Cup
last season and finished second in the
Bundesliga, beating Bayern 4-1 in what
the coach says was the best match
under his guidance.
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