Although the German resurgence has been gradual, it is not altogether surprising. Remember, Germany hosted the 2006 World Cup, and in preparation for that Cup, the German youth soccer system got a big upgrading in the early 2000s. In turn, the league got better, and attracted better foreign players.
All seven Bundesliga clubs advanced out of their Champions League and Europa League group stages, which had never happened before. After years of domination by the English, Spanish and Italian leagues, the German league has caught up — and then some.
• Suarez contrite: Liverpool forward Luis Suarez will serve a 10-match ban for biting an opponent and will not appeal the sanctions. He also was fined for biting Branislav Ivanovic’s arm during a 2-2 tie with Chelsea last Sunday. The Uruguayan apologized on his website.
“I would like to explain to everybody that I decided to accept the ban because while 10 games is clearly greater than those bans given in past cases where players have actually been seriously injured, I acknowledge that my actions were not acceptable on the football pitch so I do not want to give the wrong impression to people by making an appeal.
“I hope that all the people who I have offended at Anfield last Sunday will grant me forgiveness and I again repeat my personal apology to Branislav.”
Liverpool management and many fans thought Suarez was punished too harshly because of his history. He was suspended seven matches for biting an opponent in a Dutch league game in 2010 and eight games for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra in 2011.
• Box office: Spain plays Haiti on June 8 at Sun Life Stadium in a friendly that will serve as the Spanish national team’s preparation for the Confederations Cup in Brazil later that month. The full Spain roster is expected, including many stars from Barcelona and Real Madrid. Tickets start at $29 and VIP seats will be made available on the sidelines. All ticketholders will be invited to watch practice at the stadium the day before the match. Fans can purchase tickets at www.sunlifestadium.com and www.ticketmaster.com or by calling the stadium box office at (305) 943-8000.