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FOX Sports to Broadcast First-Ever All-German UEFA Champions League Final Saturday

On Saturday, all eyes of the soccer world are on the one game and two remaining teams in the 2013 UEFA Champions League competition, the world’s most-watched elite club soccer competition. German powerhouses Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund square-off at London’s Wembley Stadium for the world’s most coveted club prize, broadcast live on FOX, Saturday, May 25, with broadcast coverage beginning at 2:00 PM ET. FOX Sports’ renowned play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson calls the action, alongside FOX Soccer analyst and former England international Warren Barton, live from London.

In addition, FOX Soccer’s Rob Stone hosts on-site pregame, halftime and post-game coverage with FOX Soccer analysts and former United States National Team players Eric Wynalda and Brian McBride. During his playing days, Wynalda became the first American-born player to compete and receive honors for a top level German club in the Bundesliga. The broadcast team is also joined by U.S. international and Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel. FOX Soccer’s coverage begins with a one-hour pre-game show at 1:00 PM ET followed by FOX Sports’ over-the-air programming. Coverage features comprehensive news, analysis and an exclusive interview with German legend Jurgen Klinsmann, former Bayern Munich manager and current head coach of the United States Men’s National Team.

The UEFA Champions League post-game show on FOX Soccer airs immediately following FOX’s coverage of the match at approximately 5:00 PM ET, followed by encore presentations of the final match at 8:00 PM ET Saturday night, and at 7:00 PM ET on Sunday, May 26 on FOX Soccer Plus.

“It’s going to be a very exciting game, a great atmosphere and two very offensive teams,” Barton said. “Bayern has the experience and Dortmund is the underdog, but it’s a final; a one-off. All in all, it will be one to remember.”

Completing two of the most stunning victories in UEFA Champions League history, both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are riding significant momentum into London, after knocking out heavily favored Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona in the semifinals.

The Bavarian giants appear in their third final in four years, after a resounding 7-0 aggregate thrashing of Lionel Messi and Barcelona. Dominant, but unable to seal the title since 2001, this German squad is hungry to capitalize on Saturday, following last year’s final defeat in devastating fashion in penalty kicks at their home stadium. Bolstered by midfielders Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller, one of Europe’s most potent attacks is on the cusp of glory yet again.

Local rivals, Dortmund, are considered newcomers to this stage of the tournament, with their last and only appearance in a European final back in 1997, when they walked away with the trophy, and are a force to be reckoned with now. Striker Robert Lewandowski leads his side with 10 goals in the UEFA Champions League, four of those goals coming against Real Madrid in their semifinal victory.

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund faced each other in the Bundesliga earlier this month and battled to a 1-1 draw. A dress rehearsal of sorts perhaps, but with Bayern already crowned the league champions prior to that match, this Saturday’s Champions League Final is set to be the ultimate showpiece.

FOX Scores a Hat Trick with BEING: LIVERPOOL

“Truly magnificent and one of a kind”

BEING: LIVERPOOL is a masterpiece. What’s not to love? This series takes you inside one of the world’s greatest football clubs.  Unprecedented access lets you see the real life of Liverpool’s best, including Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard.  You see their most private moments in their homes with their families and their most stressful moments on the pitch.

A common statement is that this has been done before, that we have been down the road before with Hard Knocks.  This is different; this is not staged or scripted.  Rather it is authentic and completely organic.  It’s not clear if it is Liverpool or the production team that makes it so natural, but it is.

Rodgers shines in the first episode entitled “The Silver Shovel”. You know right away why Liverpool hired him in the first place.  Rodgers is first-class in every regard; his passion and respect for the beautiful game are unreal.  He is a leader that cares about every player, saying that he thinks of them as his sons.  We have no doubt that he will be an immense success at Anfield and that the BEING series will be one of the most heralded sports franchises of all time.

Simply put, BEING: LIVERPOOL is a giant step in the right direction when it comes to sports television and football documentaries.  We are excited about what FOX has in mind for the BEING franchise; we imagine that other football clubs and other sports are on the horizon.

British Actor Clive Owen Narrates BEING: LIVERPOOL

Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Clive Owen has been selected to narrate the groundbreaking new television series from FOX Sports Media Group, BEING: LIVERPOOL. The six-episode series by Emmy Award-winning producer Scott Boggins is set to debut on Sunday, Sept. 16 on FOX and is available to a worldwide audience of well over 300 million homes.

BEING: LIVERPOOL profiles one of soccer’s most iconic and influential sporting institutions in Liverpool Football Club. The documentary marks the first time that cameras have been allowed inside a Barclays Premier League locker room, with FOX Sports onsite during the club’s formative transition under new manager Brendan Rodgers. Never before has this type of access been seen inside a global football power.

Owen’s inclusion adds another layer of authenticity to BEING: LIVERPOOL, as the renowned English actor, who has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, is a lifelong fan of the Anfield club. The London native broke onto the scene starring in Mike Hodges’ sleeper hit Croupier and later went on to earn a Golden Globe Award and pick-up an Academy Award nomination for his work in Mike Nichols’ Closer alongside Julia Roberts, Jude Law and Natalie Portman. His credits also include a starring role opposite Angelina Jolie in the romantic war drama Beyond Borders; the Mike Hodges thriller I’ll Sleep When I Am DeadSin City, which co-starred Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro, Rosario Dawson and Jessica Alba; Spike Lee’s thriller Inside Man opposite Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster; Alfonso Cuaron’s critically acclaimed action-packed film Children of Men opposite Julianne Moore and Michael Caine and most recently was seen in the HBO film Hemingway and Gellhorn for which he received a Best Actor Emmy nomination.

FSMG’s BEING franchise gives fans a deep, thoughtful look at the superstars and teams of today from their point-of-view at critical junctures and telling moments that show the viewer who and what they really are. It is intended to be an all-access invitation into the personal and professional lives of some of the iconic people and institutions in today’s sporting landscape, beginning with England’s legendary Liverpool Football Club.

BEING: LIVERPOOL premieres Sunday, Sept. 16 on FOX, either preceding (3:00 PM ET) or following (4:30 PM ET) local NFL on FOX singleheader coverage, with two repeats that night on FOX Soccer.  The program repeats throughout the week on National Geographic Channel, FOX Sports Networks and FUEL TV. MundoFOX, America’s newest over-the-air Spanish-language broadcast network, debuts the series on Sept. 22 (2:00 PM ET).  Given the broad U.S. reach of FOX and extensive international distribution of the series, the first episode of BEING: LIVERPOOL is available to more than 300 million homes worldwide. Such wide distribution is fitting in that Liverpool is one of the most decorated soccer clubs in the world, with 18 topflight English titles, seven FA Cups and a record eight League Cups to its name.  Future episodes of BEING: LIVERPOOL debut in prime time on FOX Soccer and MundoFOX beginning Sunday, Sept. 23 (9:00 PM ET/PT), with repeats on National Geographic Channel, FSN and FUEL TV (check local listings).

FOX and the Champions League

Only two teams and one game remain in the 2012 UEFA Champions League, the world’s most-watched elite club soccer tournament. On the grandest stage of European soccer, German club Bayern Munich and England’s Chelsea FC face off inside UEFA Fußball Arena Munchen on Saturday, May 19 in Munich, Germany. Bayern has the advantage of being the first team to play a UEFA Champions League Final in its home stadium, while Chelsea is on a quest to capture its first European Cup. For the third consecutive year, FOX Sports is broadcasting this showcase event live, with coverage beginning at 2:00 PM ET.

Live from Munich, FOX Sports’ Curt Menefee serves as event host, with FOX Soccer’s Rob Stone hosting on-site studio coverage. FOX Soccer analyst and American National Soccer Hall of Famer Eric Wynalda joins Tottenham goalkeeper and former United States National Team player Brad Friedel for pre-game, halftime and post-match analysis. Legendary Sky Sports play-by-play announcer Martin Tyler calls the match with analysis from former Manchester United defender Gary Neville.

FOX Soccer’s pre-game coverage begins at 1:00 PM ET preceding FOX Sports’ over-the-air programming. FOX Deportes is carrying the match live in Spanish, and FOX Soccer re-airs the match at 8:00 PM ET on Saturday night with FOX Soccer Plus doing the same at 5:00 PM ET on Sunday, May 20.

After a week of lead-up programming, FOX Deportes, the nation’s leading Spanish-language sports cable network, begins its coverage on May 19 at 1 PM ET with UCL Final Preview, live from Munich.  Match coverage begins at 2:30 PM ET, followed by the post-match celebration at 5:00 PM ET on Lo Mejor de la UCL.  At 5:30 PM ET, FOX Deportes airs La Ultima Palabra, a special one-hour postgame show live followed later on by an encore match presentation at 10:30 PM ET.  Manning FOX Deportes’ Los Angeles studio are Mauricio Cardenas and Bruno Vain.  John Laguna, Christian Bozzo and Daniel Brailovsky are on-site in Munich with reporters Nelson Vignolles and Alejandro Blanco.

U.S. viewership of the UEFA Champions League Final has exploded in recent years. 2011 was the seventh straight year that English-language viewing increased in the U.S.  Over the last 10 years, the audience has increased almost 10-fold, from 264,000 viewers on ESPN in 2002 to 2.6 million on FOX in 2011.

The 2011 Champions League Final is the highest-rated and most watched in U.S. history.  FSMG’s coverage on FOX (1.4 HH rating, 2.6 million viewers) and FOX Deportes (0.7 HH rating, 1.6 million viewers) combined to generate a 2.1 household rating and 6 share, drawing an audience of 4.2 million viewers nationally, dwarfing the ratings and audience of 2010 by +75% (1.2) and +91% (2.2 million), respectively.  Significantly, the 2011 match on FOX and FOX Deportes also bettered the 2009 match, which featured the same Barcelona and Manchester United clubs, by +62% on rating (2.1 vs. 1.3) and +24% on viewership (4.2 million vs. 2.1 million).

Completing one of the most stunning comebacks in UEFA Champions League history, Chelsea is riding significant momentum into Munich after knocking out reigning champion FC Barcelona. After falling behind 2-0 on the road in its second-leg clash with the Catalans, Chelsea stormed back to secure a 2-2 draw, allowing the Blues to advance to the Final 3-2 on aggregate. Remarkably, Chelsea pulled off this feat down a man, after captain John Terry was red carded in the first half. In order to hoist the famed Champions League trophy, Chelsea will have to defeat Bayern without Terry and suspended teammates Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles. This is Chelsea’s first Final since 2008, when the Blues lost to Manchester United.

Bayern Munich returns home to Bavaria and has the support of is home fans in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final. The club already has four European Cups/Champions League titles to its name, having last won the competition in 2001. Managed by Jupp Heynckes, Bayern advances to the tournament’s final stage after defeating Real Madrid on penalties in the second-leg of the semifinals. Bolstered by wingers Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery, the German side has one of the most potent attacks in Europe. Bayern forward Mario Gomez is the second leading scorer in this year’s Champions League (12).

Wynalda Interviews Blatter

On November 17th, FOX Soccer analyst Eric Wynalda, a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame and the second-leading goal scorer in U.S. history, had an opportunity to sit with FIFA President Sepp Blatter for an exclusive, wide-ranging television interview at FIFA headquarters in Zurich.

President Blatter was questioned on a number of relevant topics including racism, corruption and the sport’s growth in the US. Excerpts from this exclusive interview air Sunday (Nov. 20) at half time of the Chelsea vs. Liverpool encore on FOX (either 2:00 or 4:30 PM ET; check your local listings); during FOX Soccer’s GOALS ON SUNDAY program (1:00 PM ET) and all next week during FOX Soccer’s FOX SOCCER REPORT (weeknights at 10:00 PM ET/PT).

The interview airs in its entirety in a FOX Soccer special on a date to be determined. Wynalda retired in 2001 following a lengthy professional career that included time with clubs in Germany, Mexico and the U.S., and currently works as the host of the UEFA Champions League broadcasts on FOX Soccer.