Winners and Losers from the weekend: A maiden PGA major win, an F1 challenger and more
Our round-up of the highs and lows from another weekend of sporting action
After the Champions League resumed on Friday, we saw another two ties at the weekend, as Chelsea were well beaten by German champions Bayern Munich, while Barcelona made easy work of Napoli to progress.
The US PGA Championship concluded on Sunday with a first-time Major winner, while it looks like Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton might actually be challenged this year, with Max Verstappen’s one-man mission to make F1 competitive paying dividends.
We take a look at all this and more in today’s winners and losers…
Bayern Munich & Robert Lewandowski
While their round-of-sixteen tie against Chelsea already looked over before a ball had been kicked, there were understandably some questions over the German team’s fitness.
Bayern had not played a competitive fixture since their 4-2 DFB-Pokal Final win over Bayer Leverkusen on 4th July and could have been forgiven a little rustiness or even complacency – with a 3-0 aggregate score already in their favour.
Instead, they came out of the traps quickly, with Robert Lewandowski breaking behind the Chelsea defence and committing Willy Caballero to a clumsy challenge after just 10 minutes. Lewandowski converted the resulting penalty, before scoring his second of the night on 83 minutes.
Bayern are Evens to beat Barcelona on Friday and with 53 goals so far this season Lewandowski is perhaps the deadliest striker in the world right now – he may even end up rueing France Football’s decision to cancel this year’s Ballon d’Or.
Max Verstappen & Red Bull
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have frankly looked unbeatable in the early weeks of the F1 season, with technical failure the only obstacle between them and total domination.
But step up Max Verstappen and the Red Bull team, whose decisions throughout the 70th Anniversary GP at Silverstone gave them the edge, with a car that no longer looked completely outclassed.
Combine that with a driver heard over comms informing his team that “I’m not driving like a grandma… even though my grandma is pretty quick in a road car!” and you have a recipe for unlikely success.
After winning in the previous Grand Prix, Hamilton suggested he’d rather be challenged than simply stroll to success. And although he still has a 30-point lead over Verstappen, perhaps his wish will come true, though he’s still 1/16 favourite to win the Drivers title.
While Brooks Koepka’s hopes of retaining the US PGA Championship for a third successive year dwindled, Morikawa was making waves on Sunday – with a stunning drive on the par four 16th, that left him just 2.5 meters from the hole among the highlights.
With a final round score of 64, the American claimed his first major win by two strokes at 13 under par, just over a year after graduating from college.
Maurizio Sarri & Juventus
Juventus slipped to an away goals defeat against Lyon on Friday, and despite the best efforts of Cristiano Ronaldo to keep them in the competition, their Champions League hopes were crushed for another season.
It’s well known that Juventus expect to win Serie A by this point, with the Champions League now their preferred barometer for success. And by that measurement, head coach Sarri failed, falling to French opposition not considered among the favourites for the tournament. It was no surprise that confirmation of his sacking followed shortly afterwards, though more eyebrows were raised at the name of his unproven replacement.
While ‘Sarri-ball’ has its share of critics, incoming coach Andrea Pirlo is not among them, with an admiration for how much the deeper playmakers see of the ball in a Sarri side. That said, he’d do well not to emulate his predecessor too much – it seems unlikely that he’ll receive the same level of patience as Frank Lampard or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer do in the Premier League.
Let’s not dwell on this one too much, with a 3-0 aggregate score that was always going to be incredibly difficult to overcome, Chelsea found their squad racked with injuries prior to their tie with Bayern Munich.
The likes of Christian Pulisic, Cesar Azpilicueta, Pedro and more were ruled out, while Antonio Rudiger was dropped to the bench following his poor display in the FA Cup final.
As such, it was no surprise that their lightweight defence were unable to cope with Robert Lewandowski and Bayern Munich’s attack – very few teams are.
Lampard will be well aware his team needs defensive reinforcements before the new season. But will the heavily linked Nick Pope and Declan Rice be enough?
After dropping only 10 points in 30 games in the shortened 2019-20 season, it was a surprise to see Celtic unable to overcome a Kilmarnock side who fell to Hibs in last weekend’s opener.
After the two teams traded blows over the opening 30 minutes with a goal apiece, Celtic found Kilmarnock’s well-drilled defence difficult to break down, lacking the penetration you’d expect from a side who normally notch almost three goals per game.
While it’s early days in the Scottish Premiership, Rangers fans will be delighted to see a chink in the armour of their rivals already. Celtic are 4/9 to seal a historic 10th title, while Rangers are 7/4 to end their dominance.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication