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Football: Hamburg seek divine intervention in relegation battle

Hamburg playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu has said only divine intervention can help his side avoid an historic relegation from the Bundesliga after 50 years in Germany's top-flight. Hamburg suffered a club record eighth home defeat when they lost 3-1 against VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday to leave them 16th and they have just three games left to avoid their first relegation from the Bundesliga.

China's love of luxury cars undimmed by domestic troubles

China's desire for luxury cars remains undimmed by an economic slowdown and political austerity drive as the country's growing band of wealthy motorists set their sights on high-end wheels. In a lavish event off Tiananmen Square, ahead of the opening of the Beijing Auto Show on Sunday, bejewelled models dressed in haute-couture graced the unveiling of Rolls-Royce's Pinnacle Travel Phantom.

Premium car brands eye China's secondhand market

By Edward Taylor and Jan Schwartz BEIJING (Reuters) - Strong demand for new automobiles in China has laid the foundations for the next leg of business for carmakers BMW <BMWG.DE>, Audi and Mercedes-Benz: the second-hand premium car market. China's auto market is the world's biggest and is set to grow between 8 percent and 10 percent this year, fuelled by increasingly affluent buyers, who use them for the daily commute, with some opting for luxury brands as a status symbol.

Lackluster Bayern sneak Braunschweig win as Real await

BERLIN (Reuters) - Lacklustre Bayern Munich managed their first win in four league games, beating Eintracht Braunschweig 2-0 on Saturday, but coach Pep Guardiola sounded the alarm ahead of next week's Champions League semi-final at Real Madrid. Late goals from 35-year-old veteran Claudio Pizarro and substitute Mario Mandzukic saved Bayern's blushes against the last-placed hosts but their overall performance was again far from convincing.

Football: Below-par Bayern end league slump as Real loom

Bayern Munich ended a run of three Bundesliga games without a win with an unimpressive 2-0 win at bottom club Eintracht Braunschweig on Saturday, four days before their Champions League semi-final at Real Madrid. Peruvian veteran Claudio Pizzarro and Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic were on target in what was only Bayern's third win in their last seven games in all competitions.

VW aims for double-digit growth in China

German carmaker Volkswagen is targeting double digit sales growth in China this year and will launch two new hybrid cars in the world's leading auto market, the group's chief said on Saturday. "For 2014 we have once again set our sights on double-digit growth in China and are aiming to deliver more than 3.5 million vehicles to customers for the first time in a calendar year," Martin Winterkorn, said in a statement released in Beijing. Volkswagen sales already jumped 16.2 percent in China in 2013.

Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay

Italy's government on Friday said it had raised 371,400 euros ($513,200) so far in an eBay auction of luxury official cars in a symbolic effort to cut outrageous spending by ministries that has sparked public anger. The 52 cars sold were being used by the police, the fire brigade and the defence ministry and included five BMWs and two Audis, the government said in a statement. "The average final price was 7,142 euros," it said.

Chinese dream trumps environment as cars sales boom

When accountant Ariel Wang bought a new car a few weeks ago, environmental protection was far from her mind even though smog has reached crisis levels in China's commercial hub Shanghai. She settled on a sturdy sport utility vehicle, the Audi Q5, as the ideal family car for her husband's daily commute to work and transport for her young daughter at the weekends. "We didn't really think about environmental protection, as long as the car's emissions aren't too high," she said. "Look at it this way -- whether we use a car or a taxi, it's the same effect."

VW picks former Audi R&D boss to run Bentley, Bugatti brands

BERLIN (Reuters) - Volkswagen <VOWG_p.DE> has appointed Audi's former development chief to take the reins at Bentley and Bugatti, the third top management change at the two ultra-luxury auto brands in just over three years. Wolfgang Duerheimer, sacked as Audi's R&D boss last June over differences with staff, will become head of Bentley and Bugatti on June 1, replacing Wolfgang Schreiber who will assume "a leading role" within the VW group, the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer said on Tuesday.

Football: Dortmund down Real and Bayern inside four days

Four days after beating Real Madrid in the Champions League, Borussia Dortmund ran out convincing 3-0 winners against Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga on Saturday. Dortmund's 2-0 victory against Madrid couldn't prevent them from bowing out of the Champions League 3-2 on aggregate at the quarter-final stage, but they put that disappointment behind them to stun Bayern as Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marco Reus and rising star Jonas Hofmann got their goals at the Allianz Arena.
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