Schalke's winless Bundesliga run was extended to 11 games as under-fire boss David Wagner saw his side beaten 1-0 by lowly Werder Bremen on Saturday.

The Gelsenkirchen outfit slipped to a fourth straight loss since the season's resumption, following up reverses at the hands of rivals Borussia Dortmund, Hertha Berlin and Fortuna Dusseldorf by going down to second-from-bottom Bremen.

Returning Bayern Munich-bound goalkeeper Alexander Nubel was helpless to prevent a stunning 25-yard strike from Leonardo Bittencourt settling matters after 32 minutes.

An improved second half brought Schalke no reward, and they have now gone 11 without a win in the league for the first time since the 1996-97 season.

Only once in their history, back in 1993, have the club endured a worse stretch in the top flight, then going 12 without a victory.

As Schalke fall into the bottom half of the table, leapfrogged by in-form Hertha Berlin, Bremen have meanwhile taken seven points from their past three matches to significantly boost hopes of survival.

Leo Duarte hopes Milan team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic can recover quickly from injury after having a major impact since returning to the club.

Ibrahimovic has scored four goals in all competitions after rejoining the Rossoneri, having previously spent two seasons with them before departing for Paris Saint-Germain in 2012.

While now 38, the Swede's competitive nature has helped inspire his team-mates in training, according to defender Duarte.

However, Milan may be without the talismanic striker when the Serie A season resumes next month, as he suffered a calf problem in training that requires further examination.

"Ibra is a great champion, very competitive," Duarte - who has had injury problems himself since arriving at San Siro last year - told Sky Sport Italia.

"He helps us a lot in training to stay focused and improve - it really makes a difference for our team.

"We hope he can recover soon because he is very important for us."

Brazilian Duarte was signed from Flamengo but made just five league appearances before undergoing ankle surgery.

The break in the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic has allowed him time to recover, though, and he is back training ahead of a resumption.

Serie A is scheduled to return on June 20 having been suspended since March, with Coppa Italia semi-final games to be held beforehand.

"Now I am fine, without pain and we hope to be stronger than before. I am ready, I am training with the group and I feel very good," Duarte said.

"I hope to play as many games as possible because I am physically well.

"We want to finish the championship in the best way, playing for Milan and getting as many points as possible to get to the Europa League or, better yet, in the Champions League."

Milan sit seventh in the table, 12 points behind fourth-placed Atalanta who also have a game in hand.

The Formula One season is set to begin with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5 after approval from the government, according to reports.

Austrian health minister Rudolf Anschober said the Red Bull Ring would host back-to-back races without fans present on consecutive weekends.

The decision follows discussions between the sport's governing body, bosses of the Spielberg circuit and local authorities.

"The two Formula One races on July 5 and 12 at Spielberg will be staged without spectators," said Anschober, per AFP.

This year's schedule has been severely disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and earlier this week the Dutch Grand Prix became the latest race to be cancelled.

F1 CEO Chase Carey recently spoke of his desire to kick off the season in Austria, insisting it would still be possible to stage 15-18 races.

The United Kingdom government has permitted the return of competitive sport behind closed doors from Monday, with Premier League chief executive Richard Masters welcoming the decision.

Strict guidelines set out by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on Saturday must be adhered to, but professional sports will again be able to take place from June 1.

The Premier League has been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic but is provisionally scheduled to restart on June 17.

Government minister Oliver Dowden said: "The wait is over. Live British sport will shortly be back on in safe and carefully controlled environments.

"This guidance provides the safe framework for sports to resume competitions behind closed doors.

"It is now up to individual sports to confirm they can meet these protocols and decide when it's right for them to restart.

"This is a significant moment for British sport. By working with clinicians every step of the way, we are creating the safest possible environments for everyone involved."

Premier League clubs were this week granted permission to return to contact training, and preparations are likely to continue gearing up towards a restart after a three-month hiatus.

All of the remaining 92 fixtures are due to be broadcast nationally, though police have requested at least six – including the game in which Liverpool can clinch the title – be played at neutral venues.

There have been three rounds of coronavirus testing at top-flight clubs in the past fortnight, with 12 of the 2,752 tests returning positive results.

Premier League chief Masters was encouraged by the decision.

He said: "The Premier League welcomes the government's announcement today [Saturday]. All major sports, including the Premier League, have been working together with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to produce this stage three protocol.

"We could not have reached this point without the full support of the government, especially DCMS, Public Health England and the chief medical officer's team.

"We have provisionally planned to restart the Premier League on June 17, but there is still much work to be done to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

"This includes consulting with our clubs, players and managers - along with all our other stakeholders - as the health and welfare of our participants and supporters is our priority.

"If all goes well, we will be thrilled to resume the 2019-20 season in just over two weeks' time."

Former Arsenal midfielder Denilson is hoping to put significant injury problems behind him and continue his career for another five years.

Denilson joined Arsenal from Sao Paulo in 2006 and was on their books for seven years, though he spent the last two back on loan at the Tricolor Paulista.

However, the 32-year-old has made just six appearances in professional football since August 2016, undergoing three knee operations in that time.

Five of his outings came in 2016 while on loan from Al Wahda at Cruzeiro, who, after being relegated from Brazil's top flight for the first time in their history last year, will start the 2020 Serie B season with a six-point deduction after failing to clear a debt relating to the deal to sign Denilson.

After two years off the pitch he joined Botafogo-SP for their 2019 campaign but was released in April of that year due to fitness issues, his sole appearance consisting of 15 minutes in a 3-1 loss to Red Bull Brasil in the Campeonato Paulista.

Denilson has been without a club since and is desperate to return to the professional arena.

He told EPTV: "I went through sad moments, I kept it to myself and that is bad, but I never gave up. I want to have another five years [in my career] and that's what I intend to do.

"I want to continue playing professionally and really only after that look for something else to do.

"I want to work, to do what I love, because that's what I know how to do. For me, playing at Emirates Stadium is the same as playing at Botafogo-SP's stadium.

"I want to be playing regardless of whether it's on a good or bad pitch. The important thing is to be on the field, doing my job."

SA Rugby and Cricket South Africa have welcomed the decision for players to be able to return to training as part of revised lockdown regulations in the country. 

Nathi Mthethwa, minister for sports, arts and culture, announced the changes at a media briefing on Saturday, with non-contact sports cleared to resume both training and playing.  

As for contact sports, Mthethwa revealed while reporting on the department’s COVID-19 sector relief fund that they will be able to go back in a staggered, controlled manner. 

All professional teams now have 14 days to submit proposals to explain how they will ensure the safety of players and officials. 

"This is the news sport has been waiting to hear as it allows us to begin to ramp up preparations for an eventual return to play," said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby. 

"We submitted a comprehensive, staged return-to-play protocols document to the department five weeks ago and we are ready to begin medical screening of players immediately. 

"We will seek further clarity from the department on the application of the guidelines as they apply to contact training. 

"But this is an opportunity for our players to enhance their lockdown training regimes by increasing their fitness work for an eventual return to play."

South Africa’s cricketers can also now prepare to resume training again, though no individual will be forced to do so if they are not comfortable with the current situation.

The updated conditions only apply to the professional game, too.

"This is a big boost for the operational side of our cricket," commented Cricket South Africa's acting chief executive Jacques Faul.  

He added: “I have already had discussions with the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) and I would like to stress that no player, coach, support staff or administrator will be forced to return to training if they are uncomfortable with it at this stage.”

Steven Gerrard turned 40 on Saturday and there was never any prospect of his landmark birthday passing quietly at Liverpool.

The Reds great remains inextricably linked to the Merseyside club, despite leaving his coaching job at Liverpool's Kirkby academy two years ago to become manager of Rangers.

Liverpool's players have a tradition of regaling each other with a Happy Birthday singalong whenever first-team stars are celebrating, and the gesture was extended this week to include former captain Gerrard.

The group singing session began in German, the native language of manager Jurgen Klopp, who led a chant of 'Zum Geburtstag viel Gluck' (all the best on your birthday), before the squad sang 'Happy Birthday, dear Stevie' in English.

Clapping along on the Melwood training pitch, Klopp's players and coaching staff ran through the familiar song in a mesmerising range of languages, including Portuguese, Dutch, Welsh, French, Egyptian and Croatian.

Gerrard played 710 games for Liverpool, scoring 186 goals and winning a host of trophies including the 2005 Champions League, two FA Cups, three EFL Cups and a UEFA Cup.

He ended his playing spell at the club in 2015 with the Premier League having proven agonisingly elusive.

Klopp's Liverpool are poised to end the club's 30-year wait for the English championship this season, having built a 25-point lead over second-placed Manchester City.

The suspended 2019-20 campaign, which has been on hold since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, is set to resume in June, with Liverpool needing a maximum of two wins from their remaining nine games to make certain of the title.

Valtteri Bottas is looking better than ever and intends to launch a serious bid for the Formula One world title in 2020, says his adviser Mika Hakkinen.

The coronavirus pandemic saw the season-opening Australian Grand Prix cancelled at short notice in March, and the campaign is now set to get under way in Austria on July 5.

Bottas will be out to quickly prove his worth to Mercedes, with his contract set to expire at the end of the season and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel without a seat for 2021 after agreeing to leave Ferrari.

Meanwhile, team-mate Lewis Hamilton will be hoping to win the championship for a fourth straight year and take his overall haul to seven titles, equalling the record set by Michael Schumacher.

However, two-time champion Hakkinen believes Bottas is primed to challenge for glory in 2020.

"Valtteri has a great position in Mercedes. He's a mega great driver, and I am confident that he's better than ever," Hakkinen told the F1 Nation podcast.

"I have an extremely high expectation for him to be world champion this year – and that's what we've been working very hard on for years, [giving him] all the qualities, all the tools for him to get there. He's been working hard."

On Vettel's future and his departure from Ferrari, Hakkinen added: "His age is not a problem, he's still a young guy.

"He had a big disappointment with Ferrari, the enjoyment of the teamwork disappeared for Vettel, I think. He didn't enjoy it so much anymore inside the team because he was criticised all the time and when you're in the team it has to be shared.

"If he wants to win, it's pretty tough out there."

Roberto Mancini acknowledges Juventus have an advantage in Serie A's title run-in, but he expects the Scudetto race to go to the wire and believes Inter still have a chance.

Juve lead Lazio by a point ahead of the planned June 20 resumption of the top-flight season in Italy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bianconeri beat Inter in their most recent match on March 8, leaving the Nerazzurri - contenders for much of the campaign - nine points adrift with a game in hand.

But Italy coach Mancini has noted the unpredictable results since Germany's Bundesliga returned, with a series of shock away wins in recent weeks.

The former Inter boss believes similar surprises could follow in Serie A, potentially bringing the San Siro side back into the mix, although he thinks Juve's strength in depth makes them favourites.

"Lazio and Juve will play until the end," Mancini told Rai Sport.

"But since they started playing in the Bundesliga, the home field factor has actually been wiped out. I think that Inter can still have possibilities. In my opinion, there may be some surprises.

"But then it is clear that Juve have an advantage because they have a very large squad."

Mancini is anticipating some struggles as football returns, adding: "All the coaches will have a bit of a problem. The players have come from two months of home training.

"Returning to work on the pitch and resuming playing immediately with competitive games will not be easy.

"The tempo of the matches is much slower. German football does not have the tempo that we are seeing and, in the first games, I think that even in Italy we will not have an extraordinary tempo."

Tottenham striker Harry Kane has enjoyed being able to take his time with his return from injury due to the coronavirus-enforced suspension of the Premier League season.

Kane injured his hamstring in January and was facing a race to be fit for the end of the season and then Euro 2020 with England.

But with the club campaign paused since March and this year's major international tournament pushed back into 2021, the Three Lions captain has not been forced to rush back.

Kane now hopes the extended lay-off has instead given him time to improve his game.

"From my hamstring point of view, it's been great to just give it a little bit more rest," he told Spurs' official YouTube channel.

"I've not played a game for nearly six months now. It's been a long, long time. So, from an injury point of view, I'm back to normal, I'm fully fit.

"It will take a while to get back to the team training and feeling that again, because I haven't done that for similar, six months or so.

"But I'm feeling good, I'm feeling sharp. It's been good to be able to do some individual training, a lot of finishing, a lot of individual drills to work on my game and improve.

"I feel like I'm at a stage now where I'm just looking forward to getting some games with the team and hopefully be back playing in not too long.

"I think [the length of the break] has been a good shock to the system. It's been very intense. I've picked up injuries here and there.

"Sometimes, people see injuries as a time to rest, but it's almost that when you're injured, you work even harder than before you were injured.

"It's the first time I've been able to take my time, refocus and work on some individual stuff. I've really enjoyed it.

"Hopefully, I'll be back in a better place than I was before I was injured. I'm just looking forward to the next busy year."

Kane got injured in a defeat to Southampton, and Tottenham won just three of their subsequent eight league matches without their talisman.

Spurs now sit eighth, seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with nine games remaining, but Kane insists Champions League qualification remains the aim.

"We've got to try to finish in the top four. There's no doubt about that," he said. "We've got a massive game against Man United the first game.

"Realistically, we're going to have to win probably around seven or eight to have a good chance to get into the Champions League. That's got to be our aim."

LaLiga clubs will be able to undertake full training sessions and use their dressing rooms from Monday, Barcelona have confirmed.

An update from leaders Barca revealed the league had enacted phase four of the return to training protocol amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With teams working towards a June 11 resumption, preparations will ramp up from June 1.

Coaches had previously been limited to working with only 14 players at a time.

Barcelona said: "Following the publication of the BOE [official state bulletin] this Saturday, the league has reported that, from this Monday, June 1, the teams will return to training in phase four."

Dressing rooms will also be available again, but the statement added: "The corresponding prevention, protection and hygiene measures established by the health authorities must continue to be complied with, as well as the disinfection and periodic cleaning of the facilities."

Barca hold a two-point lead over rivals Real Madrid at the top of the table with 11 matches to play.

Canberra Raiders returned to NRL action with a commanding 22-6 win over Melbourne Storm to maintain their 100 per cent record.

Last year's Grand Final losers got the better of the 2019 minor premiers, earning a third straight victory at the Storm's home ground.

George Williams pulled the strings in assisting tries for Nick Cotric and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, with the Raiders at full throttle following the two-month coronavirus-enforced hiatus. 

Jordan Rapana also got in on the act, with Joseph Tapine's last-gasp try the only score of the second half in Melbourne.

New Zealand Warriors set the bar high in an 18-0 defeat of St George-Illawarra Dragons.

The Warriors completed their first 44 sets in a stunning display, with Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, Eliesa Katoa and Kodi Nikorima touching down at Central Coast Stadium.

It is now three defeats from three for the Dragons, while this was a first win for the Warriors.

Cronulla Sharks are also winless from their opening three games, with Wests Tigers condemning them to a 28-16 loss.

Despite trailing 16-10 at the break, the Tigers ran in 18 unanswered points after the interval.

Jon Jones has called for Dana White to release him from his UFC contract after insisting he never asked for "Deontay Wilder's numbers" for his next fight.

White claimed light-heavyweight champion Jones had asked for $30million in order to step up to heavyweight and face contender Francis Ngannou, a figure similar to that made by boxer Wilder for his second heavyweight title bout against Tyson Fury.

UFC president White added to reporters: "We have text messages from Jon Jones. It's not like I can't prove what I'm saying is true.

"But I'm not going to put his text messages out in the press. I could."

Jones was not impressed, however, and insisted he never made such demands as he responded to White on Twitter.

"If you're going to stick to these lies, I'm going to stick to defending myself," he wrote. "Please have your lawyer Hunter Campbell release those text messages.

"Don't be a f***ing liar, my reputation has already taking enough hits. I don't need this bulls*** Dana.

"I never asked for Diante [sic] Wilder's numbers. And how about since Diante is making 30 million, we settle for half of that. Since you said I'm the goat and everything.

"I don't even make half of half of what Diante Wilder makes.

"If my reputation causes you to undervalue me this much. Just go ahead and release me from my @Ufc contract altogether.

"I'm sure some promoter somewhere will be more than happy to pick me up.

"And if I wanted to compare money to someone else, I would compare money to my brothers [former NFL defensive lineman Arthur and Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler].

"I see first hand the way the NFL treats their champion athletes, there's a huge difference. I've kept my mouth shut my entire career."

Fabio Fognini is using the ATP Tour's suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic to undergo surgery on both ankles, the world number 11 revealed on Saturday.

The Italian won the Monte-Carlo Masters last season but has been dealing with long-standing ankle issues.

The 2020 campaign has been paused since March amid the COVID-19 crisis, but Fognini saw no improvement in his injury problems when he returned to training recently.

Fognini, who broke into the top 10 of the ATP rankings for the first time in 2019, sought medical advice and was set for arthroscopic surgery in Italy on Saturday.

"I've been having a problem with my left ankle for three and a half years now," he wrote to fans on his Twitter page. "It's an issue I've learnt to cope with.

"Then my right ankle started playing up in the past two years as well.

"I had hoped the various issues would go away during the two-month break from the game because of the lockdown, but when I resumed training, they were still there.

"After medical examination and a long discussion with my time, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery on both ankles. I believe it's the right thing to do while the tour is on this enforced break.

"I will undergo surgery in Italy today. I can't wait to be back playing again! I know you will support me. A big hug to all of you!"

The suspension of the Tour has been extended until at least August, with Wimbledon cancelled and the French Open moved to September.

Fognini reached the last 16 of the Australian Open in January but has otherwise struggled for form in 2020, falling at the first hurdle at the ASB Classic, Rotterdam Open and Dubai Tennis Championships.

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