Many apologies for the lateness of today's links post. We have football to watch this weekend. Saturday features the Champions League Final, the Hong Kong International Soccer Sevens Tournament, and plenty of MLS action. Sunday has the Championship Play-off Final, more HKFC Soccer Sevens, and Lille vs. St. Etienne if you're interested in tracking Newcastle (and everybody else) target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Speaking of him:
NUFC favour Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Carroll too costly | JournalLive
Newcastle's interest in Aubameyang hasn't been a secret, but for some reason a lot of people outside the fanbase didn't know about it until this article started making the rounds. It seems like there is far too much interest from bigger clubs for this to be a realistic possibility, but we said the same thing about Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa last summer.
Transfer news: St Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang linked with Anzhi | Sky Sports
See what I mean? ERRBODY is in on this guy.
Daniel Levy's Imaginary Shortlist: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang | Cartilage Free Captain
Nice profile of Aubameyang, who probably isn't going to Spurs.
Does Cheick Tiote Have A Future At Newcastle United? | Squawka News
Decent enough summary of Cheik Tiote's season.
Tiote is far from irredeemable, and he still brings plenty of tenacity to Newcastle’s midfield. However in his three seasons at St James’ Park, Tiote has made only 26, 24 and 24 league appearances, missing far too many games through suspension and injury than Newcastle would like.
This time, there are no excuses. The individuals are experienced, there is great depth in the squad and Schweinsteiger is and has been fully fit throughout the season. Add to that the fact that Bayern has actually beaten Dortmund twice and it is incredibly obvious that Bayern has nowhere to hide. They have won the battles and hence they are well prepared for the war. I am sure that I am not the only one who feels that the Bundesliga shield and possibly the cup with the green jewels will mean very little if Bayern does not win the cup with the big ears.
As this season’s Champions League campaign has shown, Dortmund’s uncanny ability to overcome lesser and greater opponents alike has been down to the squad’s ability to cohesively outperform the other team. If Bayern is to be defeated on Saturday it will be through a system of hard work and selfless football, not an outstanding individual performance.
All that stands in Bayern’s way then is a big black-and-yellow wall, but the momentum and history both appear to be on Bayern’s side. Thomas Müller summed it up best in the lead-up to the final, in words that echo both his and the team’s urgency and determination: "It’s about time I won the thing. If you’re beaten three times, you’re branded a loser."
While the Bundesliga might eventually emerge as the strongest in Europe - unlike a good number of English clubs, German clubs are profitable and financially stable - at this point in time, the numbers don't suggest that the Bundesliga will reign unchallenged in Europe for the next decade. The numbers tell us that the visit by Bayern Munich and Dortmund to Wembley is just that - a brief weekend in London - rather than an invasion the Premier League needs to fight on the beaches, on the landing grounds, in the fields, et cetera.
The secrets of Juergen Klopp’s success | Yahoo! Eurosport UK
A good read if you're at all interested in tactics or BVB.
Crosses key in Champions League final | ESPN FC
A brief statistical preview of Saturday's match.
The Joy of Six: Football League play-off finals | guardian.co.uk
I enjoyed this foray into the history of the play-off final.
The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Football Is Wrong | The Guardian
I'm really looking forward to this book. Having not read it yet, I can't speak to whether or not the review itself is fair, though it is fairly even-handed about the role of statistics in football, even if the author completely missed the point of Moneyball.
Begovic Claims Liverpool Deal Nearly Sorted | The Liverpool Offside
Whether this is true or not, Begovic seems intent on trying to make it happen.
Nationals made t-shirt of pitching coach's Playgirl photo | SBNation.com
Okay, this is funny. SFW
San Lorenzo Chief: "I have the intention of meeting with Fabricio" | Coming Home Newcastle
Leave us alone, Matias Lammens.
So here's your semi-annual lesson on the transfer window: If the person tweeting (or posting on a forum, or whatever) doesn't have any reason to be accountable for their words, you had better have a very good reason to believe them, and that reason should not be that you want whatever they've said to be true.
Newcastle United Set to Defend HKFC Soccer Sevens Title This Weekend | Coming Home Newcastle
All you need to know to get ready for this weekend's tournament.
Tweets of the Day
Interesting to read claims by San Lorenzo president that he's trying to broker a deal for Colo. He's had ZERO contact with #nufc— Mark Douglas (@MsiDouglas) May 23, 2013
News of Pardew staying largely going over like a fart in church... predictably. Also see some calls for patience: (c)— Jim McMeachin (@CHNOSotP) May 23, 2013