News round-up: Ariel Ibagaza has agreed a new deal with Club Atlético de Madrid as VfL Wolsburg reward some of their young stars.
Club Atlético de Madrid
VfL Wolfsburg have agreed a new contract with Christopher Lamprecht until 30 June 2009. The 20-year-old defender has broken into the Bundesliga club's first team this season, playing eight league matches. "This is the right signal to give a player a chance for the future," said Wolfsburg manager Klaus Fuchs.
Malik Fathi and Christopher Samba have both signed two-year extensions to their contracts at Hertha BSC Berlin, tying them to the club until 2008. Defender Malik, 22, has become a regular in the Hertha defence since graduating from the youth teams while 21-year-old Samba has impressed since joining the club from French side CS Sedan-Ardennes in January 2005.
Birmingham City FC manager Steve Bruce has revealed that his side are likely to face their relegation battle without key midfielders David Dunn and Muzzy Izzet. "It's so frustrating," said Bruce, whose side lie three points adrift of safety in the Premiership. "I'm convinced we would stay up if players like those two were available but we have got to be realistic now. In my head I'm just dismissing them." Dunn has suffered a recurrence of a long-standing hamstring problem while Izzet has been beset by calf injuries.
Aleksandr Kerzhakov may miss the start of the Russian season after picking up an injury in the second leg of FC Zenit St. Petersburg's UEFA Cup last-16 tie against Olympique de Marseille. After scoring the goal that helped Zenit earn a 2-1 aggregate win, the striker was brought off in the final minutes. "The early reports from our doctors are worrying," said Zenit coach Vlastimil Petržela. "He will probably have to miss our first league fixture against [FC] Saturn [Moskovskaya Oblast]."