Madrid, Aug 17 (AP/UNB) — Barcelona lost its opening Spanish league match for the first time in a decade on Friday, falling at Athletic Bilbao 1-0 as Antoine Griezmann couldn't make up for Lionel Messi's absence.
Veteran striker Aritz Aduriz scored from a spectacular overhead kick a minute after coming off the bench in the 88th minute, handing Barcelona the loss after 10 straight opening league wins.
Griezmann, Barcelona's biggest offseason signing, was held scoreless in his competitive debut after joining from rival Atlético Madrid for 120 million euros ($133 million). It was a lackluster performance for the France forward whose only significant scoring chance came with a header in the final minutes.
"The ball didn't go in, and in the end that's what matters the most," Griezmann said. "We have to keep working hard to improve and to rebound as soon as possible."
Griezmann didn't have Messi by his side because the Argentina star is nursing a right calf injury, and he couldn't count on Luis Suárez either after the Uruguay striker had to be replaced in the first half because of an apparent muscle injury at San Mamés Stadium.
Philippe Coutinho couldn't play because of a pending move to Bayern Munich on a loan, but youngster Frenkie de Jong made his competitive debut with the Catalan club after joining from Ajax.
Barcelona had most of the significant chances, being denied by the woodwork a few times, including with a shot by Suárez just before he had to be replaced.
"We weren't ourselves," Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said. "It happens. We are coming off a preseason, we have a lot of new players in the team. This will be good for us going forward, it's better to lose now than in the end of the season."
The match seemed headed to a draw when the 38-year-old Aduriz, in his final season before retiring, came off the bench and scored with his amazing overhead kick from a right-flank cross by Ander Capa. The cross went over the Barcelona defenders and Aduriz reached high with his right foot to send the ball into the far corner and ignite the crowd of more than 47,000 at San Mamés.
"Football is so beautiful sometimes because of things like this. It gives you chances like this," said Aduriz, a former Spain international. "It will be impossible not to miss this. I'm just incredibly happy to be able to choose how I'm ending my career, and to be able to do it at the place that I love the most."
Barcelona's last setback in a Spanish league opener was in 2008, a 1-0 defeat at Numancia in Pep Guardiola's coaching debut with the Catalan club.
Real Madrid, trying to rebound from one of its worst seasons in the last decade, opens at Celta Vigo on Saturday without new signing Eden Hazard because of a left thigh injury.
Atlético Madrid, runner-up the last two seasons, hosts Getafe on Sunday without Griezmann but with 19-year-old Portuguese sensation João Félix likely in the squad.
Berlin, Aug 17 (AP/UNB) — Berlin is divided again — by soccer — with two rival clubs in the Bundesliga.
Hertha Berlin's ambitious plans have almost gone unnoticed in the excitement over Union Berlin's promotion to Germany's top tier.
While Hertha wants to build a new stadium in the west of the city, Union has already outgrown its 22,102-capacity stadium in the east. The Stadion An der Alten Försterei (Stadium at the Old Forester's House) in the borough of Köpenick is sold out for Union's opener against Leipzig on Sunday, and the club is conducting a lottery for members hoping to catch Borussia Dortmund's visit in two weeks' time.
Union, which clinched promotion via a playoff in May, is the first Bundesliga team to have played in East Germany's Oberliga since Energie Cottbus was relegated in 2009. The Oberliga was disbanded in 1991 following German reunification the year before.
Hertha, starting its seventh season since returning as second-division champion in 2013, has a new coach, a new investor, and hopes of European qualification after years of steady but unspectacular progress.
Union's ascent has re-energized an old rivalry and led to an outbreak of sticker wars in the capital, with rival fans adorning lampposts and road signs in their respective club colors.
"On every rain-pipe there are at least five Union and five Hertha stickers on it, sometimes all over each other. It's about supremacy," Hertha fan Gerhard Jungfer told the local Der Tagesspiegel newspaper.
Berlin's interest in the Bundesliga, which began on Friday with Hertha drawing 2-2 at defending champion Bayern Munich, has never been greater.
"We're now the only German city with a derby in the Bundesliga. Munich can't do that," Jungfer said.
The first top-flight derby between the sides, slated for the weekend of Nov. 2 at Union's stadium, has already been marked as a highlight.
Hertha coach Ante Covic says he wants to "win both derbies. It's about showing that Hertha is the capital club, the No. 1 in Berlin."
Covic has been charged with building on the work by Pál Dárdai, who established Hertha as a first-division team free of relegation worries. Hertha would have done much better last season if it wasn't for a bad patch of six defeats in seven games. The side finished 11th in the end when Dárdai's departure after 4 1/2 years was already set.
Hertha announced in June that investor Lars Windhorst bought a 37.5% stake in the club for 125 million euros ($140 million), with possibly more to come.
NEW (AND OLD) FACES
While many Hertha fans might have expected a subsequent assault on the transfer market, the club has been relatively frugal. It paid a club-record 20 million euros ($22.2 million) to Watford for Belgian forward Dodi Lukebakio, who impressed on loan at Fortuna Düsseldorf last season, while Marko Grujic is back on loan from Liverpool, and Belgian defender Dedryck Boyata a free transfer from Celtic.
Union has made a host of signings, including experienced defenders Neven Subotic, Marvin Friedrich, and Christian Gentner, while midfielder Julius Kade's decision to join on a free transfer from Hertha has further stoked the rivalry between the sides.
"I'm very proud to put on the red and white jersey," Kade said.
Union coach Urs Fischer has built his success on a stubborn defense. Union drew 14 times on its way to third place in the second division last season.
The Bundesliga is a huge step up but Union is more than used to adversity. The club prided itself on its resistance to the East German regime - in contrast to hated rival Dynamo Berlin, Stasi chief Erich Mielke's club. Dynamo won 10 successive East German titles from 1979-88 amid allegations of match-fixing and politically influenced favors.
Union weathered financial difficulties and a spell at fourth-tier level to become Berlin's fifth team to play in the Bundesliga after Hertha, Tasmania Berlin, Tennis Borussia Berlin, and Blau-Weiß 90 Berlin - all based in what was West Berlin and so part of the West German league system.
On Sunday, some 450 Union fans will hold pictures of deceased supporters - friends and relatives - so they can be there too.
"Union is everything," Norbert Schwarz told Der Tagesspiegel.
Lyon, Aug 17 (AP/UNB) — Memphis Depay and Moussa Dembelé both scored twice as Lyon won again in the French league under new coach Sylvinho by routing Angers 6-0 on Friday.
Houssem Aouar opened the scoring from outside the penalty area in the 11th minute, Dembelé scored in the 37th after cutting inside a defender, and Depay grabbed his first before the break.
The Dutch forward scored his second after beating the offside trap, Dembelé made it 5-0 in the 65th, and Brazilian midfielder Jean Lucas came on as a substitute to complete the scoring in the 72nd.
Lyon, which lost several top players in the offseason including World Cup winner Nabil Fekir, Tanguy Ndombele, and Ferland Mendy, has a new coaching setup in Sylvinho and sporting director Juninho.
The side opened its league account with a 3-0 win over Monaco last week.
Bilbao, Aug 17 (AP/UNB) — Barcelona striker Luiz Suárez had to be substituted because of an injury in the first half of the team's opening Spanish league game on Friday.
Suárez was replaced in the 37th minute after an apparent right leg muscle injury in the match at Athletic Bilbao.
The Uruguayan striker had just hit the post in what was one of Barcelona's best chances in the first half at San Mamés Stadium. The match was scoreless at halftime.
Suárez missed the final part of last season because of a knee injury.
Rio De Janeiro, Aug 17 (AP/UNB) — After missing the Copa América because of injury, Neymar will play with the Brazilian squad in September's friendlies against Colombia and Peru.
The Brazilian star, whose future with Paris Saint-Germain is not clear, was included Friday on the roster announced by Brazil's coach Tite.
Neymar is recovering from an ankle injury that has sidelined the forward since June 6, preventing him from participating in the Copa América that Brazil won as a host.
"I talked with him (Neymar). He said he was happy and has been working for a long time," said Tite. "The Brazilian team and I will never do without a player of Neymar's level and quality."
The team said Neymar is in "perfect condition."
Tite included four players who will debut with the national team, including Vinicius Junior. The 19-year-old forward was called for friendlies against Panama and the Czech Republic last March, but was ruled out because of injury.
The other three players new to the team are: Iván, a 22-year-old goalkeeper who plays for Ponte Preta; Bruno Henrique, a 28-year-old with Flamengo; and Samir, a 24-year-old defender with Udinese of Italy.
"It's time to take advantage of the friendlies to give opportunities to new players and to look at those who came to the national team recently," Tite said at a press conference at the headquarters of the Brazilian Football Confederation.
Brazil will meet Colombia on Sept. 6 in Miami and on Sept. 10 against Peru.
Neymar has been linked with a move to Barcelona and Real Madrid.