Donovan to wrap up Munich tenure and rejoin Galaxy in MLS.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Friday, March 6, 2009) -- United States striker Landon Donovan's loan to Bayern Munich of the German Bundesliga is coming to an end. He is scheduled to return to Major League Soccer when he starts training with the Los Angeles Galaxy Tuesday, less than two weeks before the club's opening game March 22 at home against D.C. United.
"We are looking forward to Landon rejoining the club next week as we continue our final preparations for the 2009 MLS season, including our final preseason match against the Chicago Fire in Tempe, Ariz." Galaxy general manager and coach Bruce Arena said in a team press release. "He is a very important part of our club and will be coming back to us very motivated and fit for the upcoming season."
Since joining Bayern during the team's winter break in January, Donovan made five Bundesliga appearances and one DFB Pokal (German Cup) appearance, which marked his competitive debut with the club in a 5-1 victory January 27 against Stuttgart. Three days later, he played his first Bundesliga match for Munich, a 1-0 loss at Hamburg.
During five winter friendly matches, Donovan scored four goals for Bayern, including a pair January 22 against FC Mainz 05, a 2.Bundesliga side. In his first friendly game against Al-Jazira of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, January 10, Donovan registered an assist.
"I am very excited to be returning home to my teammates and the L.A. Galaxy," Donovan said in the release. "Although the results were not what we had hoped for, the time in Germany still was very positive for me. I am fit, motivated and excited to be coming back as a better, more experienced player."
Donovan watched from the bench yesterday when Munich was dumped 4-2 by Bayer Leverkusen in the DFB Pokal.
Donovan signed with Leverkusen as a 16-year-old and was part of the youth academy there between 1999 and 2001. After signing with MLS and the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001, Donovan returned to Leverkusen's senior team in November 2004, but played in only seven matches before going back to MLS and the Galaxy.
On Sunday, Donovan came on in the 77th minute of Munich's 0-0 draw at Werder Bremen, disappointing for Bayern because it had a man advantage for more than 75 minutes.
On February 21, Donovan replaced a struggling Lukas Podolski at halftime, but could not deliver a goal in a 2-1 home setback to Cologne.
Also on February 21 came a Bundesliga match featuring three Americans. U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley went the distance for last-place Borussia Mönchengladbach, which handed Hannover 96 a 3-2 setback.
U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo entered for Hannover in the final four minutes to test a sore knee, while rarely-seen American attacker Sal Zizzo came on in the 72nd minute.
Hannover is in 12th place at 6-10-6 with 24 points, while relegation-challenged Mönchengladbach is 18th and last at 4-14-4 with 16 points Picking up three points against Hannover, Gladbach was left three positions and four points from safety.
Bradley converted a penalty kick in the 69th minute, but it wasn't enough as Gladbach failed to follow up on its prosperity and dropped a 2-1 decision Saturday at league-leading Hertha Berlin (13-5-4, 43 points).
Meanwhile, Cherundolo played 90 minutes for Leverkusen in a 1-0 victory Saturday over Hannover.
In the 2.Bundesliga, American defender Gregg Berhalter played the closing 71 minutes in TSV 1860 Munich's 4-1 loss February 22 at MSV Duisburg. On Sunday, he did not dress for 1860's easy 5-1 decision over FC St. Pauli.
U.S. defender Heath Pearce watched from the Hansa Rostock bench a 0-0 draw Friday with visiting Rot-Weiss Ahlen as he did a week earlier in a 3-1 loss at Mainz.
Things are going pretty well for U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra and his French club Stade Rennes.
Yesterday, Rennes easily defeated Lorient 3-0 in the Coupe de France. This followed a 1-1 draw with Ligue 1-leading Lyon when Rennes pulled even when Jimmy Briand converted a long cross for the equalizer in stoppage time. Lyon, coming off a 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the European Champions League Round of 16, scored in the 68th minute.
On February 21, Bocanegra went the distance in a 1-0 road win at Nice.
Lyon is 15-3-8 with 53 points, while Rennes is tied for sixth at 10-3-13 with 43 points and Nice is eighth at 11-9-6 with 39 points.
U.S. midfielder Freddy Adu was on the bench, but did not play for AS Monaco, which defeated AC Ajaccio 2-0 Wednesday night in a Coupe de France Round of 16 match. It was the first time Adu had even dressed for a first-team match in quite some time.
He was not in evidence in Monaco's 2-2 home draw with St Etienne Sunday for a 2-1 loss at Lille a week earlier. Monaco stands in a four-way tie for 12th place at 7-11-8 with 29 points.
Onyewu, Standard bounced from UEFA Cup
On February 26 in Belgium, Standard de Liège was dismissed from the UEFA Cup third round with a 1-1 draw at home, sealing a 4-1 series aggregate loss to Portugal's Braga.
U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu was solid in back, but Standard had too much to make up after losing in Portugal 3-0 two weeks earlier.
In the Jupiler League, Standard bounced back from its worst showing of the season with an easy 4-0 decision Sunday over Cercle Brugge KSV. Onyewu went 80 minutes before coming out to give a sub some playing time.
On February 22, Standard used the occasion of a battle for first place to play probably its poorest game of the season in a 4-2 setback at league-leading Anderlecht with Onyewu going the distance.
Second-place Standard (16-4-4, 52) still trails Anderlecht (17-4-3) by only two points
In Spain, U.S. striker Jozy Altidore still cannot break into the starting side of second-division Xerez and was not dressed for a 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano this week or a 2-1 win a week earlier at Cordoba.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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