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Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund throw three-goal lead

Borussia Dortmund were made to pay for their defense errors, and although it wasn't the first time that was the case this season it was an early wobble for a side hoping to claim the title come May. Lucien Favre will have watched from his sickbed in horror as his Dortmund side threw a three-goal lead in 20 second-half minutes to draw with Hoffenheim. Favre had a cold and couldn't be on the sidelines, but that didn't seem to be a problem for Dortmund in the first half. Jadon Sancho bamboozled Hoffenheim's defense to score a fantastic opener before Mario Götze tucked in a rebound from another effort from the English teenager to double Dortmund's lead. After a fruitless first half, Julian Nagelsmann made two key changes at the break and his side were inspired. At first though, that inspiration was denied by a handful of superb saves by Roman Bürki. When Raphael Guerreiro finished off another fine move by Sancho and Götze, it looked to be all over for the visitors. Then, Ishak Belfodil (one of the halftime subs) squeezed an effort past Bürki and Hoffenheim were in with a chance. When Achraf Hakimi failed to see Pavel Kaderabek sneak in for a header, suddenly that chance looked very real. With three minutes left, Sancho gave away a silly free kick and Belfodil's diving header made sure the comeback was complete. If Lucien Favre was looking for some respite, he probably didn't find any in Dortmund on Saturday afternoon. What might make matters worse for Dortmund is that Bayern can close the gap to five points with a win over Schalke later. FULL TIME! The corner comes to nothing and that is it. What a game! 90+3' Final minute. Free kick is cleared, but Dortmund have a corner... Last chance... 90+2' Sancho nearly gets into the box, but Posch makes a big tackle. Witsel keeps it alive and wins a free kick. Wolf is on for Guerreiro. 90' Belfodil fouls Sancho with a similarly needless foul. Free kick is swung in, Diallo gets to it but guides it past the far post. Close. Three minutes of added time. Surely this won't be Augsburg all over again? 87' GOAL! 3-3 Hoffenheim (Belfodil) Sancho gives away a needless free kick with a push. Geiger whips in the cross and Belfodil times his run and his diving header (don't see enough of those) perfectly. Goal! What a turnaround. Just 20 minutes ago, Dortmund were 3-0 up! Remarkable. 86' Dortmund have stirred from their 3-0 slumber and now look like scoring again. Just one goal in it - incredible! 83' GOAL! Hoffenheim (Kaderabek) There it is! Toprak has no chance to get into the game. A deep ball into the box is met by Kaderabek, who sneaks in behind the unaware Hakimi, to head it across goal into the far corner. Bürki no chance, Dortmund's defense asleep - game on! 82' That has changed things quite a bit. Hoffenheim pushing for a second and in all honestly, they look like they might. Dortmund get the call from Favre (we presume) and Götze is brought off for Toprak. Keen to sure things up at the back in the final 10 minutes or so. 76' GOAL! Hoffenheim (Belfodil) Moments after Bürki makes another great save to deny Kaderabek, he can't quite keep out Belfodil's effort at the back post and Hoffenheim have a goal. He was clawing at it and had a hold of it, but only behind the line and so there's the goal Hoffenheim deserve but probably needed 15 minutes ago. Bürki won't be happy about that. 70' It hasn't been easy for Maxi Philipp, and his face suggests as much when he comes off. Paco Alcacer comes on (Hoffenheim look away now). Reiss Nelson is on for Bittencourt, which means friends Nelson and Sancho are now playing against one another in the Bundesliga. Life eh? 67' GOAL! 3-0 Dortmund (Guerreiro) That is a sign of how confident this team is. Götze and Sancho combine superbly down the right, and after a flick through Posch's legs Götze gets to the byline and threads a perfect pass for Guerreiro to hit first time. He does and it's 3-0 and that is probably that. It could be a rout. 61' CHANCE! That's three chances and no goals for Hoffenheim now, who have clearly improved on their first-half performance. Belfodil turns and fires in the box but Bürki is there again with a smart save. It's only 2-0... 56' CHANCE! It is worth noting that Roman Bürki has been in the form of his life this season. Joelinton bursts through and smashes a bouncing ball towards the top corner, but Bürki saves superbly. Worth remembering, at the end of it all. 52' CHANCE! Nico Schulz drives a low shot towards the far corner but it nicks the post! It should have been a corner too as it clipped someone's heel along the way too. No corner, and no goal for Hoffenheim who just look out of luck - and not for the first time this season. 49' Hoffenheim start the second half the livelier of the two, but it's Dortmund who nearly score. Sancho (who else?) somehow finds his way into the box and tries to get the pass across but takes one little touch too many and Hoffenheim clear. 46' Dortmund gets us restarted. Nagelsmann makes two changes: Geiger has come on for Demirbay (sure up the midfield a bit), and Belfodil for Kramaric (change the attack). HALFTIME After a slow start, Dortmund grew into it but it's Jadon Sancho who is making the difference here. The teenager has scored one, assisted another and has shown so much quality in one-on-one situations it's almost not fair on the opposition. Game-changer - and all that at just 18. What fun he is to watch. Oh and he's now the youngest player in Bundesliga history to score eight goals. Talented eh? 43' GOAL! 2-0 Dortmund (Götze) A textbook counterattack. Hakimi pulls it down inside his own half perfectly, finds Witsel striding forward. He sends Sancho down the left (where there's lots of space). He cuts in and goes for the far corner, Baumann parries but only into the path of Götze who tucks it away. Lovely stuff, and Hoffenheim have no answer (who does to be fair?). 40' Sancho is having so much fun. Quick passing sends him down the right, he dances his way through and past defenders and just when it looks like he might lose the ball he finds space again. Already a very special talent. Pivotally, he passes at the right time too. Demirbay tackles him (gets booked for it later) but the corner comes to nothing. Dortmund dancing towards halftime. 36' Have Hoffenheim got a response? Joelinton heading over doesn't count, or at least isn't much of one. Bürki takes a few risks with his service though, and nearly invites the visitors back in but Dortmund deal with it. Not as much scrappy play as at the start, but some elements of such play lingers. 32' GOAL! 1-0 Dortmund (Sancho) Who needs Lucien when you have Jadon? Well, perhaps that's not all true but this goal from Jadon Sancho is very much about him. The teenager plays a tricky ball through traffic to Piszczek, he plays it straight back to him as he bursts into the box. His speed allows him to take a touch and then, just as it looks as though he's gone too wide, he drills a perfect shot into the far corner. Brilliant - and it all started from a throw in. Julian Nagelsmann is not happy. 31' Think it's time to give Lucien a call. Even through the sniffles and the sneezes, he must have a plan to decongest Dortmund. 28' Again, the game falls into a spell of back and forth. The game is drifting a bit, like the fourth and fifth songs on an album. Grillitsch gets booked for stopping Philipp from starting a counterattack. Dortmund can't use it, and the cycle continues. Patience is a virtue, remember. 22' CHANCE! There it is - a sign of life. Piszczek finds Philipp on the edge of the box, he whips an effort goalwards but it flies past the far post. If anyone could do with a goal in yellow and black... 20' This fixture has provided some real classics over the year. Remember that year Hoffenheim needed to win to stay up and scored two penalties against Kevin Großkreutz in Dortmund's goal? Those were the days. This one looked like it might be bubbling over, but now has returned to a simmer. The rain is back too. 15' Dortmund growing into this one now. A strong tackle by Piszczek keeps Dortmund on the edge of the box, Dahoud thinks about shooting but tees up Witsel instead. Sadly, his pass isn't perfect (too fast and ends up with the ball under Witsel's feet) which leaves Witsel firing over. 11' What a strange chance! Jadon Sancho plays a one-two, eventually the shot comes to Achraf Hakimi. It's blocked, but the rebound falls to Hakimi. He gets another effort in, which trickles towards Baumann. Götze, who is offside, doesn't touch it but sort of impedes Posch, whose clearance deflects off Sancho and in. Cue celebrations, but VAR comes a calling and Götze, despite his protests, was deemed to have been involved in the play. No goal. On we go. 9' Stop me if you've seen this one before. Dortmund are taking their time to get into this one, patiently waiting to strike. Hoffenheim have a couple of corners they waste. Chance coming? 5' All a bit sloppy so far. Both sides unable to keep the ball under control, and when they do the passing has been poor. Lots of exchange of possession. 1' Hoffenheim get us underway, just as the rain arrives to join the wind. - There's a minute's silence for Rudi Assauer, a Bundesliga legend who passed away on Wednesday. The silence turns into polite applause. - Before the game, Thomas Delaney was asked who Dortmund would miss the most today, Reus, Delaney or Favre? Probably Reus, the midfielder said with a smile. Hard to disagree. Can Dortmund win without him? - TEAMS! Nagelsman hopes to keep it tight in the middle and congest Dortmund's play, whereas Dortmund hope that Mahmoud Dahoud (replacing the suspended Delaney) and Maximilian Philipp (in for the injured Marco Reus) don't cause a drop. More surprisingly, Lucien Favre is ill (cold) and won't be on the sidelines today. He gave the pre-game talk in the hotel (but from a distance so as not to spread the germs) and will have communication with his assistants during the game. No Reus, no Favre, no problem? Dortmund XI: Bürki - Hakimi, Diallo, Weigl, Piszczek - Dahoud, Witsel - Guerreiro, Philipp, Sancho - Götze Hoffenheim XI: Baumann - Schulz, Hübner, Posch, Bicakcic - Kaderabek - Grillitsch - Bittencourt, Demirbay - Joelinton, Kramaric - Afternoon. Can Julian Nagelsmann get his team as dangerous as they were last season? They have conceded a number of sloppy goals this season, have thrown the most leads but also hit the woodwork the most. Some misfortune, but also some mistakes too. They are 8th at the moment, three points of Frankfurt (6th). The Champions League is all but gone (not for Nagelsmann though, if Leipzig make it)

Borussia Dortmund were made to pay for their defense errors, and although it wasn’t the first time that was the case this season it was an early wobble for a side hoping to claim the title come May. Lucien Favre will have watched from his sickbed in horror as his Dortmund side threw a three-goal lead in 20 second-half minutes ... Read More »

Bundesliga: Five major Rückrunde talking points

With the tides turning, the 2018/19 campaign is gearing up to be a defining one for the Bundesliga. At the halfway stage, DW looks at the big questions set to be answered in the second half of the season. With its reputation enhanced thanks to entertainment value alone, the tides are turning in the Bundesliga. No longer is Bayern Munich's dominance the only talking point on the front pages of newspapers and websites around the world. Read more: Bundesliga 2018/19 half-time review Ahead of the start of the second half of the season, DW takes a look at five major questions being asked heading into the Rückrunde of the most pulsating campaigns of the last decade.… Do we have ourselves a Bundesliga title race? Not to be too like the meme of Rose from Titanic, but it seems like an age since we last had a competitive Bundesliga title race. Bayern's title-winning exploits have been impressive, but have only stoked the fires of those hoping to see them fail in their bid for a seventh-straight Meisterschale Unlike the last six seasons, Niko Kovac's side aren't league leaders at the halfway stage of the campaign. Borussia Dortmund took that honor as their brand of football sent pulses racing, whilst thrusting them into the role of heroic protagonist against the Bavarians' tyrannous hegemony. While Gladbach and Leipzig are keeping things interesting, hopes are being pinned on BVB. Their six-point cushion needs to be protected ahead of Der Klassiker in Munich on matchday 28 - a crucial game for keeping their title hopes, and the title race, alive. Read more: Uli Hoeness is no longer fit for Bayern Munich Can the Bundesliga keep the floodgates open? From Luka Jovic's five-goal haul against Düsseldorf to Fortuna's Dodi Lukebakio becoming the first player to ever score a Bundesliga hat-trick against Manuel Neuer, the first half of the season was riddled with goals and their subsequent storylines. The last time six sides had 30 goals or more to their name after Matchday 17 was the 2013/14 campaign – eight sides achieved the feat that season – this season Dortmund lead the way with 44. With just eight of a possible 153 games ending goalless, Germany's top flight boasted no less than 3.04 goals per game in the Hinrunde, which puts it top in terms of goals-per-game amongst Europe's top five leagues. If that's not entertainment value, then what is? More of the same, please! Read more: 2018/19 January transfer window overview How big a role will rising stars play? Germany's top flight has always been a place where rising prospects have been able to realize their potential at an early age. Even by Bundesliga standards, this season has been rich in under-21s rising to the occasion. Luka Jovic's goalscoring exploits have been jaw-dropping, Kai Havertz is operating at "level 29” – significantly higher than most of his Leverkusen teammates – and Reiss Nelson and Jadon Sancho have captured the attention of the English press, which speaks volumes. With the likes of Alphosno Davies, Josh Sargent and maybe Callum Hudson-Odoi ready to burst onto the scene, the impact of youth is not likely to diminish and there are plenty of headlines left to be grabbed. Is Lewandowski's Torjägerkanone crown at risk? Absolutely. Robert Lewandowski is one of five players to have broken double digits in the first half of the season, but he trails the league leaders Paco Alcacer and the aforementioned Jovic by two. Competition has brought the best out of the Pole in the past – reference his reaction to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's efforts – and he's going to need to be on the top of his game given the rate at which some of his fiercest rivals are scoring at. It would be quite something if Alcacer (42 minutes per goal) and Jovic (84) went a whole season needing less than 90 minutes per goal. Whose head will be the next to roll? Tayfun Korkut and Heiko Herrlich were the only head coaches to be shown the door before the winter break, but more heads will undoubtedly roll before the campaign's conclusion. The relegation battle looks set to be fierce this season and, while Hannover and Nürnberg are at risk of falling adrift, plenty of coaches could find themselves in the hot seat. Domenico Tedesco is amongst the bookies favorites and you've got to think, if the Royal Blues form doesn't improve and quickly, he may not be able to hold onto the reigns much longer.

With the tides turning, the 2018/19 campaign is gearing up to be a defining one for the Bundesliga. At the halfway stage, DW looks at the big questions set to be answered in the second half of the season. With its reputation enhanced thanks to entertainment value alone, the tides are turning in the Bundesliga. No longer is Bayern Munich’s ... Read More »

Champions League: Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig in search of maiden wins

It has been a tough start to European football this season for the Bundesliga clubs. Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig know the time to get their first wins are running out as they face crucial tests on Tuesday. After all the excitement surrounding Peter Bosz's start at Borussia Dortmund, the club's head coach faces question marks whether his side can get it right against bigger teams. In Europe, Bosz and Dortmund have the chance to get their confidence back with a trip to Cyprus, but is pushing for a top-two spot in their group the best plan? "We want to win both games against APOEL," captain Marcel Schmelzer said, who flew with the squad and hopes to return to action after five weeks out. Clearly, Dortmund want to win all the games they play and six points from these two outings will put them back into a competitive spot in their group. But given Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid's strength, Dortmund face the dilemma of whether to push for progression or focus on the Bundesliga where they lead Bayern Munich by two points. "There is no reason to stick our heads in the sand," said Nuri Sahin. "We were defensively very poor. That was not Borussia Dortmund standard," said Bosz after the Leipzig game. Given how poorly German clubs have performed so far in Europe this season, the pressure will be on both Dortmund and RB Leipzig (who are also in action on Tuesday night) to pick up much-needed victories. "If we still want to have a chance of advancing, then we have to win in Nicosia," said BVB sporting director Michael Zorc. "We go there as favorites and must show why." If Dortmund fail to do so, then not only will their European dreams be in tatters but so will their confidence ahead of their trip to Frankfurt next Saturday. Leipzig looking for lift-off RB Leipzig are hoping to get their Champions League campaign off the ground when they host two-time winners Porto. Ralph Hasenhüttl's side has yet to light up the Champions League in the way they have the Bundesliga and are still looking for their first win following a home draw with last season's semi-finalists Monaco and a deflating defeat by Besiktas last time out. Leipzig are coming off the back of a morale-boosting 3-2 win at Bundesliga leaders Dortmundon Saturday - and managed to do it without star men Timo Werner and Emil Forsberg. Hasenhüttl is expected to call upon Forsberg and Naby Keita, but Werner could remain on the bench as he continues to recover from injury. However, the coach said in Monday's pre-match press conference that he believes Jeffrey Bruma can provide the attacking edge Leipzig otherwise lack in Werner's absence. "We're going to have to see how things go with Timo Werner before deciding whether he starts or comes from the bench. But the impetus Bruma provides up front is great and he brings important qualities to the table," Hasenhüttl said. The Leipzig coach has called on his team to maintain the level of performance they showed in Dortmund. "The key for us is ensuring that the team maintain optimum levels of performance. Our added depth has helped. This is a game that will be decided by the smallest of details, but we're confident we can get our first Champions League win," Hasenhüttl said. Now it's time for RB Leipzig's actions to speak louder than the words of their head coach.

It has been a tough start to European football this season for the Bundesliga clubs. Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig know the time to get their first wins are running out as they face crucial tests on Tuesday. After all the excitement surrounding Peter Bosz’s start at Borussia Dortmund, the club’s head coach faces question marks whether his side can ... Read More »

Champions League: Dortmund out to ‘score as many goals as possible’ against Monaco

Borussia Dortmund are set to host Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal tie. BVB's Marco Reus could be set to make his return against the high-scoring French side. Borussia Dortmund welcome French league leaders Monaco to the Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday night for the first leg of a hotly anticipated Champions League quarterfinal. After five weeks out with a muscle tear, BVB star Marco Reus could be set to make his return as the Black and Yellows look to bounce back from Saturday's chastening 4-1 defeat to Bayern Munich. "Sometimes it's best not to dwell too long on results like that," coach Thomas Tuchel told reporters at the prematch press conference on Monday. "Bayern were on another level to us and we don't need 20 replays to show us that." Dortmund were forced to travel to Munich with a severely depleted squad after midfielders Julian Weigl and Shinji Kagawa both picked up knocks last week, but both are back in training and should return to action against Monaco. Lukas Piszceck, who remained on the bench as a precaution against Bayern, is also set to start with Dortmund likely to revert to a back four. Longer-term absentees André Schürrle, Erik Durm and Mario Götze are still out. "We're confident that Weigl, Kagawa and Piszczek will be fit," said Tuchel. "Marco [Reus] trained yesterday and will again tomorrow. Then we'll decide if he's ready or not. Given our injury situation, it could be more likely he'll be involved, or at least in the dressing room." Attack, attack, attack In Dortmund and Monaco, the draw will see two of the most exciting young teams in Europe go head to head. Dortmund overcame a 0-1 deficit by hammering Benfica 4-0 in the last round. The Monegasques, three points clear of champions PSG at the top of Ligue 1, have already scored an incredible 130 goals in all competitions this season, including 88 in the league - more than any team in Europe's top four domestic leagues. "Monaco have many top players," Tuchel said. "They have outstanding talent both individually and as a team. It's difficult to pick out one single player." "We'll practise combatting Monaco's strengths but we want to concentrate on our own strengths and score as many goals as possible with our fans behind us." Dortmund are not short of firepower themselves. Only Bayern have scored more goals in the Bundesliga this season while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembelé, Christian Pulisic and co. found the net a record 21 times in this season's Champions League group stage. Nevertheless, captain Marcel Schmelzer (29) believes that defense is what will decide this tie. "It's a 50-50 battle," Schmelzer said in comments published in Monday's edition of German football magazine "Kicker." "Both teams like to attack but we have to make sure we defend better with more intelligence and more ruthlessness. We know Monaco score a lot of goals but big victories and titles are won based on a well-functioning defense. Our defenders have more international experience - we have to use this to our advantage." French national team coach Didier Deschamps agreed, writing in the same publication that he expected an "offensive spectacle." "Both teams rely on youth, pace and attacking football and make the most of their forwards' individual qualities," he said. "But the key will be elsewhere. The team who defend best will progress." Defense will be key Left back Schmelzer had a torrid time against Bayern winger Arjen Robben on Saturday and knows he will have to up his game against one of Europe's most formidable attacks. In striker Kylian Mbappé (18), winger Thomas Lemar (21) and full back Bemjamin Mendy (22), this Monaco side features some of French football's hottest young talents. Experienced Colombian striker Radamel Falcao also returned from a four-week layoff at the weekend, scoring the only goal as Monaco beat Angers 1-0. Fortunately for Dortmund, key midfield powerhouse Tiemoué Bakayoko will miss the first leg through suspension and could be replaced by Portuguese international Joao Moutinho. Marauding right back Djibril Sidibé is also set to miss out with an appendix problem. Monaco's three away goals in their 5-3 first-leg defeat at the hands of Manchester City in the previous round ultimately proved decisive in the second leg and Leonardo Jardim will be expecting his team to take at least one away goal back to the principality this time as well. Dortmund have been guilty of wasting chances this season but they cannot afford to do so if they are to progress in the Champions League.

Borussia Dortmund are set to host Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal tie. BVB’s Marco Reus could be set to make his return against the high-scoring French side. Borussia Dortmund welcome French league leaders Monaco to the Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday night for the first leg of a hotly anticipated Champions League quarterfinal. After five ... Read More »

Champions League: Marco Reus in line for Dortmund return, Leverkusen travel to Moscow

Marco Reus could return to action in Borussia Dortmund's group-stage match against Legia Warsaw. Bayer Leverkusen have injury concerns ahead of their match in Moscow, and unlike BVB, they really need the points. Borussia Dortmund vs. Legia Warsaw Marco Reus is in line to make his long-awaited return from injury as Borussia Dortmund host Legia Warsaw in the Champions League on Tuesday. Reus has been sidelined for six months and suffered a heel injury on Friday that kept him out of Der Klassiker, but the striker is fit again and available for selection. "If everything goes perfectly, I hope that I can be part of Tuesday's squad," Reus was quoted as saying on Dortmund's official website. "I had heel problems in training on Wednesday, and you need your heel to run," he said. "I will be delighted when I return to the pitch, and can perform again." Fresh off the back of their biggest win of the season, against Bayern Munich on Saturday, Dortmund will be hoping they can carry that momentum into their Group F clash at Signal Iduna Park. Thomas Tuchel's side thrashed Legia Warsaw 6-0 in the reverse fixture in September, which was the Polish club's heaviest European loss and Dortmund's biggest continental away win. At the top of the group with 10 points, Dortmund have already qualified for the knockout stage. However, the visitors, who are bottom of the group with just one point, come into the game with some form, having won their last four domestic matches. They also played Real Madrid to a 3-3 draw on the last Champions League matchday, after having been 2-0 down. But Dortmund will be confident that they can take all three points against a side that have so far failed to win a game, and the Bundesliga side will clinch first place in Group F if they win and Real Madrid fail to be Sporting Lisbon. Legia have never beaten German opposition in nine previous attempts, so the odds are most definitely stacked against them. CSKA Moscow vs. Bayer Leverkusen Bayer Leverkusen could seal their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with victory in Russia against CSKA Moscow - but the Bundesliga side will be without some key players. Stefan Kiessling has a thigh problem and has not traveled to Moscow and club captain Lars Bender, who is suffering from a heel problem, will also not feature. Roger Schmidt's side took a huge step towards the knockout stage when they beat Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on the last matchday, and the German side now have a big advantage over their English rivals. Leverkusen will go through if they get a better result than Tottenham, who have a difficult game at group leaders Monaco. Theoretically, CSKA could still finish in the top two, but must beat Leverkusen to keep their hopes alive. In the reverse fixture in September, the teams' first-ever competitive meeting, Leverkusen led 2-0 through Admir Mehmedi and Hakan Calhanoglu, but CSKA came back strongly when Alan Dzagoev scored and Roman Eremenko levelled two minutes later.

Marco Reus could return to action in Borussia Dortmund’s group-stage match against Legia Warsaw. Bayer Leverkusen have injury concerns ahead of their match in Moscow, and unlike BVB, they really need the points. Borussia Dortmund vs. Legia Warsaw Marco Reus is in line to make his long-awaited return from injury as Borussia Dortmund host Legia Warsaw in the Champions League ... Read More »

Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich: A global affair

Mia san mia in America, Echte Liebe in China. Saturday's Klassiker has taken on a global significance for Dortmund, Bayern and the league as a whole - but the clubs must be careful not to abandon their local support. When Borussia Dortmund faced Bayern Munich in April 2015, the travelling Bavarian supporters in the away section at the Signal Iduna Park held up a banner in German which translated to: "We're the beer capital of Germany, you Prussian pigs!" It was a response to a display by Dortmund supporters the previous week in which they had demanded: "Three points for Germany's beer capital!" as they like to think of themselves. Regional pride is important in German football and the light-hearted banter over whether Munich or Dortmund produces the best beer is a classic example. But when the two sides meet in this season's Bundesliga Klassiker on Saturday (kickoff 18:30 CET), the game will have an appeal way beyond the beer halls of Germany. Broadcast live in more than 200 countries around the world and potentially featuring up to 12 World Cup winners, the Klassiker is an integral part of the internationalization of the Bundesliga as clubs such as Bayern and Dortmund battle to gain new fans and monetize new markets. Bayern Munich opened an office in New York in 2014 and see the United States as their primary overseas market. They estimate that over 60 million Americans have heard of Bayern, whilst around 15 million maintain an active interest in the club. This summer, they played friendly matches against AC Milan, Inter Milan and Real Madrid in Chicago, Charlotte and New York as part of the International Champions Cup. "Two years ago we had nine fan clubs in the USA, now we have over 100 across 37 states,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told broadcaster Sport1 this summer. "The American flag has 50 stars on it so it would be nice if we could have at least one fan club for each.” While Bayern look west, Borussia Dortmund have focused their attention on the Far East, opening a club office in Singapore in 2014. According to international research institute Nielsen Sports, some 30 million people in China have heard of the club, and it is this passive interest that the club are aiming to convert into active, paying fans. It is no coincidence that Dortmund's Asian offensive has come at a moment when China itself is launching a state-backed campaign to boost the popularity of football. President Xi Jinping intends to build 50,000 football academies by 2025 and has made football obligatory in schools. The country's long-term goal is to host - and win - the 2030 World Cup. Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watze has already confirmed the team will return to Asia next summer and the club expects to soon be generating more than 10 percent of its total revenue in the region. Such financial reward is vital if Dortmund are to compete with Bayern Munich at home and the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona abroad. Yet not everyone in Dortmund sees the club's international ambitions in such a positive light and some sections of the club's local, match-going supporters feel increasingly forgotten as the focus of the club's gaze switches from Borsigplatz to Tiananmen Square. "In the past, Watzke would sit down with us and talk to us directly," one hardcore supporter outside of the Signal Iduna Park told DW. "The relationship was best before 2010, before all the success and the commercial expansion. Now there is a feeling that they're more interested in accommodating sponsors and tourists than helping us.” The feverish atmosphere generated by the 81,000 fans inside the ground on Saturday, particularly the 28,000 standing on its famous south stand, dubbed the "Gelbe Wand" (yellow wall), is one of the club's unique selling points, something that attracts viewers from all over the world. "Submerge yourself in the most intense football experience in Germany," the club boasts on its English language website, and Watzke recognizes the value of the club's fan culture. "The whole culture of standing terraces is extremely important," he said in an interview with the Bundesliga's official website earlier this year, stressing that the club is determined to strike a balance between the club's Ruhr district identity and the global expansion that is necessary if the club are to remain competitive. But many fans aren't convinced. At this season's opening game against Mainz in August, a banner on that famous south stand read: "Watzke: lots of talk but no action - a loss of identity in installments!" Saturday's Klassiker is a global affair which will be followed, scrutinized and analyzed by millions of fans across the world. It's a fine balance but both Dortmund and Bayern must also ensure that they don't forget the little things which make the rivalry what it is. Regional pride, a storied rivalry - and of course who makes the best beer.

Mia san mia in America, Echte Liebe in China. Saturday’s Klassiker has taken on a global significance for Dortmund, Bayern and the league as a whole – but the clubs must be careful not to abandon their local support. When Borussia Dortmund faced Bayern Munich in April 2015, the travelling Bavarian supporters in the away section at the Signal Iduna ... Read More »

Bundesliga: Aubameyang humbles Hamburg, Bayern held again

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned with a bang to destroy basement side Hamburg and ruin Uwe Seeler's birthday. Leaders Bayern drew 1-1 with Hoffenheim while Mario Gomez inspired Wolfsburg's win. Hamburg 2-5 Borussia Dortmund (Aubameyang 4', 23', 27', 48', Dembele 76' - Müller 55', 81') Aubameyang came back from an internal suspension to spectacular effect with four goals as rock bottom side Hamburg completely fell apart at home. Hamburg hero Uwe Seeler was celebrating his 80th birthday but Dortmund received an early present of their own with dreadful goalkeeping from Rene Adler allowing Aubameyang to tap in. Adler made a complete hash of saving Eme Mor’s scuffed effort, pushing the ball right into the Gabon striker’s path. It was a microcosm of Hamburg’s sorry season and was a quick response for Aubameyang after he was dropped for the Champions League win over Sporting in midweek, reportedly for flying to a party in Milan without permission. He was partying for the right reasons midway through the first half after more kamikaze Hamburg defending. Usual suspect Johan Djourou lost the ball to Mor as the last man and the Turkey winger ran in before squaring for arguably Aubameyang’s easiest ever goal. The striker then proved any rumored rift with Thomas Tuchel was over by running to embrace the coach on the sideline. Aubameyang's third before halftime was also simple. A kick up field was flicked on without any Hamburg pressure and Aubameyang did the rest, with Adler possibly at fault again. In contrast, the forward’s fourth was a special effort from the edge of the box as he rocketed to joint-top of the scoring chart with 11 goals alongside Cologne’s Anthony Modeste. Hamburg, who have only two points from 10 games, pulled one back through Nicolai Müller before Ousmane Dembele made it 5-1 and Müller scored only Hamburg's fourth goal this term. Dortmund are up to fifth while it was another terrible display from Markus Gisdol’s side with his appointment in September already coming under increasing scrutiny. Bayern Munich 1-1 Hoffenheim (Zuber o.g. 34' - Demirbay 16') Bayern’s patchy season continued with the league leaders’ third draw of the campaign against high-flying Hoffenheim, who remain unbeaten. The hosts were wearing one-off kits made out of waste plastic for the ocean and their early first-half play was also rubbish with Hoffenheim taking the lead through Kerem Demirbay’s thunderous effort right into the top corner. The champions only leveled thanks to Steven Zuber’s own goal, when he slid in and deflected Douglas Costa’s cross into the net. Mats Hummels hit the post and Thomas Müller missed a glorious chance for Bayern in stoppage time, but the away side had opportunities too. It was young Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann’s first game against Bayern and he proved himself once more with his surprise packages staying in third spot. Frankfurt 1-0 Cologne (Gacinovic 5´) Cologne lost ground on the top teams for the second time in three weeks after Mijat Gacinovic headed in early. Timothy Chandler's cross was deflected and Serbian Gacinovic nodded home before Timo Horn could get there. Cologne had half a shout for a penalty and top scorer Modeste headed wide before Yuya Osako failed to connect properly with a header when well positioned. The visitors pushed extremely hard in the second half but to no avail. Nico Kovac seems to have transformed Frankfurt into a hard-to-beat outfit and they remain seventh, now level on points with the sixth-placed Billy Goats. Freiburg 0-3 Wolfsburg (Gomez 41', 53', Rodriguez 86' pen.) Wolfsburg put their recent woes behind them and boosted interim coach Valerien Ismael with a comprehensive win in Freiburg. Freiburg goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow made a big save to deny Mario Gomez after 30 minutes, but the Germany striker eventually got on the scoresheet with a powerful header in the Freiburg rain. Maximilian Arnold almost made it 2-0 soon after but he blasted over. Gomez put his early season scoring problems behind him with a second following a very quick break after the ball got stuck on the wet pitch during a Freiburg attack. The home side’s Christian Günter then saw red for bringing down Daniel Didavi in the box and Ricardo Rodriguez converted the penalty. It was Freiburg’s first home defeat of the season. Leverkusen 3-2 Darmstadt (Calhanoglu 32', Brandt 56', Aranguiz 69' – Colak 47', Vrancic 85') Following the midweek Champions League win at Tottenham Hotspur, Leverkusen ended a good week on a high. Hakan Calhanoglu rifled in beautifully after a well-worked move, but the visitors came out undeterred in the second half and a delightful cross from Marcel Heller was turned in at the far post by Antonio-Mirko Colak. A superb header from Julian Brandt following a pinpoint ball from Julian Baumgartlinger gave the hosts the lead again, with Charles Aranguiz adding a third. Mario Vrancic scored late on for dogged Darmstadt but Leverkusen clung on to move up to seventh. Ingolstadt 0 -2 Augsburg (Bobadilla 85', Altintop 90') A dour encounter between two struggling sides was settled late on when the visitors burst into life. Raul Bobadilla scored a brilliant free kick and Halil Altintop added a second either side of Tobias Levels’ red card for second bottom Ingolstadt.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned with a bang to destroy basement side Hamburg and ruin Uwe Seeler’s birthday. Leaders Bayern drew 1-1 with Hoffenheim while Mario Gomez inspired Wolfsburg’s win. Hamburg 2-5 Borussia Dortmund (Aubameyang 4′, 23′, 27′, 48′, Dembele 76′ – Müller 55′, 81′) Aubameyang came back from an internal suspension to spectacular effect with four goals as rock bottom side ... Read More »

Champions League: Leverkusen, Dortmund look to Europe to restore winning ways

Bayer Leverkusen will be playing their 100th Champions League game on Tuesday, a match they will need to win if they hope to survive a competitive group. Meanwhile, Dortmund take an injury-plagued squad to Portugal. As the Champions League reaches the midway point of the group stage, one cannot ask for a better set of matches than Leverkusen's two-game series against Tottenham Hotspur. The Bundesliga club sit just a point behind their English opponents in a very tight Group E, and their clashes could determine who moves on to the knockout stage. Leverkusen do not boast an impressive league form this season either. Their loss to Werder Bremen over the weekend dropped them to 10th in the table. The struggle for consistency will be even tougher against Tottenham, who are still unbeaten in the English top flight this season. "We tend to do well against teams like that," said Rudi Völler, the club's sporting director. "We will put in a good fight and the fans will see a great game, hopefully a win for us." Leverkusen have not closed out matches effectively in the Champions League this season. They drew their first two fixtures with CSKA Moscow and Monaco after letting leads slip away. Fortunately for them, the group remains wide open with just three points separating first and last place. "Not much has happened yet in the group, so you get the feeling that it'll really kick off against Tottenham," Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt said in a press conference Monday. Dinged-up Dortmund head to Lisbon Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, sit atop their Champions League group, but an injury crisis may prevent them from staying there. Thomas Tuchel's side traveled with a banged up squad to Lisbon as they begin their two-game set against Sporting CP. Their back line has the worst case of the injury bug. With Marcel Schmelzer and Raphael Guerreiro both unfit and Park Joo-Ho left off the Champions League squad, coach Tuchel has to get extremely creative with the left side of his defense. It does not help either that Sokratis and Lukasz Piszczek are doubtful to play, although both were able to make the trip to Lisbon. "We have to try to manage the task as such," said sporting director Michael Zorc said Monday. Dortmund's last road trip was extremely successful, battering Legia Warsaw 6-0 in September. This one will be a little tougher as Sporting nearly shocked Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on matchday one. Dortmund are also winless in their last three games, most recently dropping points to Hertha Berlin. "We are first in the group," said Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Bürki. "We want to remain so and get back to our winning ways."

Bayer Leverkusen will be playing their 100th Champions League game on Tuesday, a match they will need to win if they hope to survive a competitive group. Meanwhile, Dortmund take an injury-plagued squad to Portugal. As the Champions League reaches the midway point of the group stage, one cannot ask for a better set of matches than Leverkusen’s two-game series ... Read More »

Champions League: Dortmund earn deserved point at home to holders Real Madrid

Borussia Dortmund twice came from behind to earn a deserved 2-2 Group F draw at home to European champions Real Madrid. Substitute Andre Schürrle smashed in the equalizer three minutes from time at Signal Iduna Park. After spending heavily over the summer, Dortmund had high hopes of continuing their winning run at home to Real, who they had beaten in their previous three meetings in Germany. Early free kicks from Ronaldo and Gonzalo Castro forced good saves from Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Bürki and his Real counterpart Keylor Navas respectively before Real snatched the lead in the 17th minute. Gareth Bale’s clever back heel squirmed through to Ronaldo and he stabbed a shot across Bürki and into the far corner, the Portugal captain’s record extending 95th Champions League goal. Dortmund pressed immediately for an equalizer and Ousmane Dembele’s effort was deflected over the crossbar by Sergio Ramos in the 25th minute before Sokratis Papastathopoulos tested Navas with a header. Blasted over Dortmund were level two minutes before halftime. Navas attempted to clear Raphael Guerreiro’s free kick but punched the ball against team mate Raphael Varane and Aubameyang stabbed the ball over the line. It was the Gabon forward’s seventh goal in nine appearances for Dortmund this season. The pacy and skillful Dembele was causing problems for Real fullback Danilo and the French teenager blasted over when well placed six minutes into the second half. Navas parried a curling Aubameyang effort moments later before the ever-dangerous Ronaldo failed to capitalize on an inviting Ramos centre, sending a glancing header wide. Real were back in front in the 68th minute when Karim Benzema volleyed a Ronaldo centre onto the frame of the goal and Varane was on hand to put the loose ball over the line. Guerreiro forced a good save from Navas with a powerful drive two minutes later and the Costa Rican was by far the busier of the two keepers in the closing stages. Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic had given the home side some real zip after coming on in the 73rd minute and it was his cross that eventually fell to fellow substitute Schürrle three minutes from time. The German international steadied himself before crashing a left-foot shot into the roof of the net. Both sides went in search of a late winner but the final action of the game was a brief melee in the Real area which resulted in a yellow card for Aubameyang. Unsavory conclusion It was a slightly unsavory conclusion to what had been an entertaining spectacle. "It looked for a long time as if we weren't going to be able to turn the game around so we're pleased that we showed courage and believed in the draw," Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel said. "We are not completely happy with the 2-2 but we are a long way from not being able to value the result for what it is," he added. "It feels good not to lose having twice been behind. But we have the feeling we could have done better." Tuchel's Real counterpart Zinedine Zidane was annoyed his team had twice let the lead slip in what was their third draw in a row after two stalemates in La Liga. "I am angry because we played a great match, with a lot of effort," the former France and Real great told reporters. "In defense and attack we did what we set out to do but at the end it was the same result for the third game in a row." In the other match in Group F, Sporting Lisbon beat Legia Warsaw 2-0. Sporting have three points from two games, with Dortmund and Real both on four. Dortmund vs Real Madrid: As it happened Other Champions League results: Monaco 1-1 Leverkusen CSKA 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur Sporting 2-0 Legia Warsaw Copenhagen 4-0 Club Brugge Leicester 1-0 Porto Dinamo 0-4 Juventus Sevilla 1-0 Lyon

Borussia Dortmund twice came from behind to earn a deserved 2-2 Group F draw at home to European champions Real Madrid. Substitute Andre Schürrle smashed in the equalizer three minutes from time at Signal Iduna Park. After spending heavily over the summer, Dortmund had high hopes of continuing their winning run at home to Real, who they had beaten in ... Read More »

Julian Weigl: ‘Last year I played a bit too safe’

After a rapid rise in his first Bundesliga season, Julian Weigl is expected to deliver again in his second. DW spoke to the BVB star about that pressure and what he plans to change this time around. Second albums are hard to get right, especially if the first was a hit. Julian Weigl's first season on the big stage certainly was one. Out of nowhere, a player seemingly signed as a prospective talent became the central pivot of Thomas Tuchel's midfield. Now, ahead of his second, Weigl has the pressure of delivering again, and delivering again is just what the Bavaria native has in mind. "I think it's important not to let up or give that little bit less because you think you've alleady proved yourself," Weigl told DW. "Many athletes can have a good year, but the important thing is to perform consistently on the pitch. Now it is time to do more to prove my performance." Dressed for a training session that doesn't start for a while, it's easy to see Weigl's hard-working mindset is more than just an attitude. His father got him into football and while Julian always went to his father's games, he didn't watch because he was too busy playing himself. While he's still got his flashes of youth - the handshake is more friendly than formal and Drake is his one of his favorite artists - he's just as calm in person as he appears when three players are trying to close him down in midfield. At the start of September Weigl will turn 21 years old. For a man of his age, he's proved so much that his final year as a teenager must feel like a lifetime ago. Since then, he has left his old life in Bavaria for a new one as a Borussia player, after the club bought him from second-divison side 1860 Munich for an understated 2.5 million euros ($2.8 million). Weigl made over 50 club appearances, and even made his Germany debut before joining the Euro 2016 squad. Weigl has eased into top-level football with remarkable composure. The youngster admitted that this year had gone went quickly for him, though, and that a recent holiday in the United States with his girlfriend was a welcome chance to get away and take stock. "I arrived [at Dortmund] knowing no one and it changed drastically from one week to the next and of course, you want to have moments when you can eat alone and be a nobody." In a Dortmund team that lost its spine this summer, Weigl has become more than just another member of the team. His role this season will be huge, as BVB welcome a host of new faces and the return of the Champions League. "The Champions League is the most awesome competition out there," Weigl said, clearly excited at the prospect of playing at the top level of club football. "We lost three important players, so it was obvious we would need to dip into the market. But I trusted the club because they've always signed good players. When Robert Lewandowski left, we got Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang,' Henrikh Mkhitaryan came in for link:19416307:Mario Götze."# The temptation the second time around for both Tuchel and Weigl will be to offer something new, but the midfielder isn't tempted to stray too far from what has made him so successful. "My strength is how I played last year and I'm hoping to prove that and take it to the next level by making fewer mistakes and improving my weaknesses. There were perhaps a few games last year when I played a bit too safe. I want to operate a little more offensively, so I can deliver an assist from time to time." As Weigl grows as a footballer, it's exciting to think what kind of player he's developing into. "Last year was my first year so you don't always trust yourself to make the killer pass. I think taking last year's form, perhaps I can take the next step, to take more players out of the play with my passes and be more attacking." Weigl is a model professional. He genuinely trains hard and when the name Dirk Nowitzki came up, it became abundantly clear that this is no ordinary 20-year-old. "Dirk Nowitzki talked about Kobe Bryant being a workaholic. It's those things make you think: 'I won't just spend today on the sofa. I won't do it tomorrow, I'll do it now.'" And it's hard not to believe Weigl is becoming a better play today. He's also working with the physio team to keep in shape and he even said that he tries "to live professionally." His focus on diet is also impressive. He's been working on a plan to put on some bulk and it seems to be going well. "It's clear that I'm not going to be a Mats Hummels or a Sokratis, and I might lose a bit of my style of play if I did, but one, two, three kilograms (6.6 pounds) would help." Time with the Germany squad this summer has helped Weigl. He said Toni Kroos' passing quality and Bastian Schweinsteiger's work ethic left an impression on him. At Dortmund, he goes to Sokratis for tackling help and Aubameyang for finishing, something that he's keen to improve. Dortmund fans will be hoping that he will stay with the club for a long time. His current contract ends in 2019, but Weigl was non-committal when asked about his future. "I don't make five-year plans. I just want to keep building on last year's performances," he said. Weigl's affection for 1860 means there's no chance of him following the recent trend of swapping yellow and black for the red of Bayern. The rest of Europe will be on guard, but for now Dortmund fans can look forward to another successful album from their midfield maestro.

After a rapid rise in his first Bundesliga season, Julian Weigl is expected to deliver again in his second. DW spoke to the BVB star about that pressure and what he plans to change this time around. Second albums are hard to get right, especially if the first was a hit. Julian Weigl’s first season on the big stage certainly ... Read More »

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