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Leverkusen to part with Nowotny

Published: Thursday 6 April 2006, 21.55CET
News round-up: Germany will play pre-UEFA EURO 2008™ matches against Sweden and Georgia, while veteran Jens Nowotny is leaving Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

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Published: Thursday 6 April 2006, 21.55CET

Leverkusen to part with Nowotny

News round-up: Germany will play pre-UEFA EURO 2008™ matches against Sweden and Georgia, while veteran Jens Nowotny is leaving Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
Defender Jens Nowotny will leave Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the summer on a free transfer. The 32-year-old, who joined in 1996 from Karlsruher SC, has just returned to action after his fourth serious knee injury. Sporting director Rudi Völler said: "There will be no talks. Jens will definitely leave Leverkusen at the end of the season." One player staying at the BayArena is 18-year-old midfielder Pierre de Witt, who has signed a contract until summer 2010.

Germany have fixed two post-FIFA World Cup friendlies as part of their preparations for the UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying campaign. After a meeting today in Frankfurt, the German Football Association agreed to play Sweden in Gelsenkirchen on 16 August and a Klaus Toppmöller-led Georgia in Rostock on 7 October.

Manchester United FC have signed an €80m shirt sponsorship agreement with a US-based insurance company, the biggest deal of its kind in English football history. United are next in Premiership action on Sunday when they welcome Arsenal FC looking to close a seven-point gap on leaders Chelsea FC, with six games to play.

Olympique de Marseille's French international goalkeeper Fabien Barthez will return from a month-long lay-off with a calf injury for Saturday's Ligue 1 trip to AS Monaco FC. The 34-year-old's recovery will also boost OM's French Cup hopes, with Jean Fernandez's team due to travel to Olympique Lyonnais for a quarter-final tie next Tuesday.

John Hartson has hinted he may leave Celtic FC in the summer, despite the Welsh forward marking his 31st birthday last night with the only goal against Heart of Midlothian FC that clinched the Scottish title. "If I do go, it would be a massive wrench to leave this club," said Hartson, who has 12 months left on his contract after arriving in Glasgow five years ago.

FC Porto and Sporting Clube de Portugal will be able to count on Lucho González (twisted left knee) and Liedson (thigh) respectively when they meet in Saturday night's Portuguese Liga showdown at the Estádio José Alvalade. However, Porto full-back Marek Cěch faces a race against time to recover from his own thigh injury. Porto have a two-point lead with five games to play.

Charlton Athletic FC defender Talal El Karkouri is leaving the English club to join Qatar-based side Al Gharafa for the remainder of the season, with a view to a permanent deal. The 29-year-old Moroccan international has started only four league matches for Charlton this term following a fine debut campaign in 2004/05. He previously played for Paris Saint-Germain FC and Sunderland AFC.

FC Metz, second from bottom in Ligue 1, will forget their relegation worries for a moment on Saturday when they celebrate their 2,000th match in the French top flight. ES Troyes Aube Champagne visit Les Grenats for the occasion.

Dutch side RKC Waalwijk have signed 21-year-old Welsh youth international Dylan Hughes on an initial two-year contract. The Canadian-born player was previously with Newcastle United FC, 1. FC Kaiserslautern and German lower-league club SSV Jahn 2000 Regensburg.

Fenerbahçe SK and Beşiktaş JK took a step towards the Turkish Cup final with victories in their semi-final first legs. Deniz Barış, Márcio Nobre, Semih Şentürk and Marco Aurélio scored as Fenerbahçe won 4-0 at Denizlispor on Thursday, after Beşiktaş had triumphed 3-1 at Gaziantepspor 24 hours earlier.

In F.Y.R. Macedonia, the Macedonian Cup semi-finals remain in the balance after 1-1 draws in both first-leg matches. All the goals were scored in the first half as FK Shkendija 79 and FK Bregalnica Stip shared the spoils, and then parity reigned between FK Makedonija Skopje and FK Sileks.

Last updated: 07/04/06 18.36CET

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