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Bayern, Klose top weekly AP soccer poll
Question of the Day
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND (AP) - Fresh off a second straight drubbing of the once-mighty Barcelona, Bayern Munich was voted the top team in the Associated Press global soccer poll for the sixth straight week.
And keeping up the poll’s distinctly German flavor over the past month, Miroslav Klose _ Germany’s second-highest scorer _ was selected player of the week after scoring five goals in just 40 minutes for Lazio in its 6-0 rout of Bologna in Serie A.
“After the `quad-trick’ from Robert Lewandowski (the previous week) came Klose’s quintuplet,” said Will Tidey, of the Bleacher Report. “He would have scored more but for the curious decision to take him off with 20 minutes or so still left to play.”
Lionel Messi was next in the player vote after his double for Barcelona in the 4-2 win over Real Betis in the Spanish league on Sunday. The Argentina star’s return to fitness came too late for Barca in the Champions League, with Bayern following up its 4-0 home win over the Spanish giants with a 3-0 victory in the Camp Nou.
“If he played against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Barca may have had a chance of winning,” said Mike McGrath, of The Sun and the Wardles news agency in England. “But his absence meant the German champions could put in a performance to confirm them as the best team in the world at the moment.”
Even Juventus’ title-clinching win over Palermo couldn’t topple Bayern from the summit, where it has been since the start of April. The Bavarian giants are still going strong in the Bundesliga, which they wrapped up last month, and a feisty 1-1 draw at Borussia Dortmund was perhaps a sign of things to come when the they meet in the Champions League final on May 25.
Juve placed second, just 10 points behind Bayern after voting by the AP’s panel of 17 journalists.
“Deservedly champions of Italy, Juventus will be one of the biggest rivals for Bayern for the title of best team in Europe next season,” said Cedric Rouquette, of Eurosport in France.
Chelsea climbed to third after a week in which it reached the final of the Europa League and then beat Manchester United away to inch closer to a return to the Champions League. Juan Mata, whose shot was deflected in for the late winner at Old Trafford, was the only Chelsea player to make the top 10, placing ninth.
Dortmund was fourth despite its late implosion in the 2-0 loss to Real Madrid that failed to stop the German team reaching the final of the Champions League. And Ajax made a rare appearance in the top 10 _ placing fifth _ after winning the Dutch league.
The players’ top 10 reads like a Who’s Who of the world’s best attackers. Behind Klose and Messi was Edinson Cavani, who scored a hat trick for Napoli against Inter Milan, while Arjen Robben, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale were fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.
The only midfielder on the list was Arturo Vidal, Juventus’ match-winner and title-clincher at the weekend.
“Arturo Vidal was one of the main reasons why Juventus won their second successive Serie A title,” said Aurelio Capaldi, of Rai Sport in Italy.
“As well as scoring the winner from the spot against Palermo, he had a fantastic season and gave a huge contribution to the team. He was a key man of the Juventus midfield but became also vital as goal-scorer.”
By Mark Davis
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