Stuttgart seal Bundesliga return as Hamburg miss playoffs | SPORTS
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Stuttgart clinched promotion back to the German Bundesliga at the first attempt on Sunday despite losing 3-1 to Darmstadt while Hamburg blew their chance at pipping Heidenheim to the playoff spot.

Former Germany striker Mario Gomez scored in his final game for Stuttgart, whose vastly superior goal difference made promotion all but guaranteed heading into the final weekend of the season.

Stuttgart secured second place behind champions Arminia Bielefeld, 3-0 winners over Heidenheim who will contest the promotion/relegation playoff against Werder Bremen after Hamburg failed to capitalise on their rivals’ defeat.

Hamburg, an ever-present in the Bundesliga before their relegation in 2018, ultimately needed just a point at home to mid-table Sandhausen to climb above Heidenheim but crashed to a humiliating 5-1 loss.

Heidenheim, who scored two late goals in last weekend’s 2-1 win over Hamburg, will travel to Bremen for the first leg of their playoff tie on Thursday, with the return fixture set for 6 July.

Heidenheim have never played in the Bundesliga and were in the fifth tier as recently as 2008, while Bremen are the longest-serving club in the top flight having spent all but one season there since its inception in 1963.

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PSG to prepare for UCL, cup finals with Le Havre friendly

Shechin Dashe

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Paris Saint-Germain announced on Wednesday they will play a friendly against second-tier Le Havre in front of up to 5 000 fans to prepare for the Champions League last eight tournament and two domestic cup finals.

PSG returned to training last month ahead of a French Cup final against Saint-Etienne on 24 July, a League Cup decider with Lyon a week later and the European competition in Lisbon beginning on 12 August.

The Le Havre fixture on 12 July will be PSG’s first match since the Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund in mid-March, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ligue 2 side’s Stade Oceane will be able to hold 5 000 spectators with the French government set to ease restrictions on sporting and cultural events from 11 July.

The French title-holders are set to start the defence of their Ligue 1 crown on the weekend of 22 August and are expected to play two further pre-season friendlies.

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Marseille sign Pape Gueye

Shechin Dashe

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Marseille announced the signing of defensive midfielder Pape Gueye on a free transfer from Le Havre on Wednesday after he backed out of a move to Premier League side Watford.

The former France under-19 international had been set to join the Hornets on a five-year deal, but Gueye said last month he would not move to England due to alleged irregularities in the agreement.

Watford announced in April Gueye had signed a pre-contract agreement with the club.

Gueye, 21, instead penned a four-year contract with Marseille before joining his new teammates at a training camp in Portugal.

He made 25 appearances for Le Havre in Ligue 2 this season before the campaign was declared over in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gueye is Marseille’s first new arrival of the summer. The club has also tied down defender Alvaro Gonzalez to a three-year deal following a successful spell on loan from Villarreal.

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Gomes leaves Man United after rejecting new contract

Shechin Dashe

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Highly-rated young attacking midfielder Angel Gomes has left Manchester United after rejecting a new contract offer, the Premier League club said on Wednesday.

Gomes worked his way through the ranks to become the first player born in the 2000s to represent United, making his debut against Crystal Palace at the end of 2016-17 season.

But the 19-year-old struggled for regular first-team opportunities under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, featuring in six matches across all competitions this season.

Chelsea have been linked with Gomes in British media reports but their manager Frank Lampard has dismissed suggestions his club made a lucrative offer for the player.

“I can elaborate to the point that it’s never been mentioned on my end. That’s it,” Lampard said.

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