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Arturo Vidal header guides Bayern Munich to nervy win over Frankfurt

A first half goal from Arturo Vidal was enough for Bayern Munich to sneak past Eintracht Frankfurt despite a host of changes. The champions weren't at their best but extend their lead at the top of the table. Eintracht Frankfurt 0 - 1 Bayern Munich (Vidal 20') FULL TIME: That's it. A fairly unconvincing win for Bayern but, once again they get the job done while their rivals falter. Arturo Vidal's first half header from Joshua Kimmich's fine cross was enough to get past a Frankfurt side who gave a good account of themselves and kept emergency goalkeeper Tom Starke busy, particularly in the first half. Vidal was perhaps lucky to avoid a red card after a borderline bookable foul after an early yellow while Marius Wolf saw red for Frankfurt before the decision was overturned by VAR. Jupp Heynckes presumably won't be delighted with what he saw but after resting several key players and still extending their lead at the top, he won't lose any sleep either. As it happened 90+3 -- A spot of handbags after a foul on James is broken up by the referee. It's been a feisty contest this one. 90' -- The board goes up to show 5 minutes of injury time but the big news comes from Leipzig, where the hosts have let the lead slip again. Bayern will have an 8 point lead if scores stay the same. 88' -- Lewandowski a little rusty there. The striker was played through but took too long to control a high ball, allowing the Frankfurt defense to recover. 87' -- The home fans express their displeasure after Rebic was adjudged to have shoved Kimmich to the floor. They feel they've had the worst of the decisions today, with some justification. 83' -- Bayern's concerns about the way this game has gone in the second half are made apparent by a substitution that sees Lewandowski replace Coman. The only surprise is that the Pole isn't on for Müller, who has been anonymous. 81' -- Crucial clearance from Süle. The center back slid to deal with a cross from the left that looked destined for Haller's feet. Kevin Prince Boateng whistles one over from the corner. 77' -- Barkok robs Rafinha, who has looked shaky today, and forces it across goal. Frankfurt have three or four bites of the cherry but each shot is blocked. The hosts throw on Tawatha for Willems, they're still in this. 74' -- OVERTURNED! Wolf is back on after the VAR deemed the challenge only worthy of a yellow. Which it probably was. A much-needed success for the system. 72' -- RED CARD! Wolf is sent off. He was late on James and swung his trailing leg through on the Colombian but it looked a little soft. They'll got to the VAR. 69' -- Oh Dortmund, what have you become.... 67' -- It's geting a bit tetchy now. First Bayern get aggravated about a Kevin Prince Boateng challenge on Coman, then Müller clips Willems. The Bayern man then stood over his opponent and shouted in a fairly aggressive fashion. He got a yellow card, probably more for the reaction than the tackle. 63' -- There's not a whole heap happening in Frankfurt but it's game on in Dortmund. 60' -- Wolf tricks his way in to the Bayern area but his low cross is cleared. Bayern don't have the same control they had for periods of the first half and Müller has barely had a kick. 55' -- Heynckes has seen enough from Vidal. He's replaced by Tolisso and exits to a chorus of boos. 53' -- The home fans are screaming for Vidal to be sent off but the referee resists. The Chilean clipped his man on the edge of the box and the free kick was given, but no second yellow. Willems wastes the free kick. 49' -- Frankfurt have had a decent amount of the ball since the restart but Bayern are looking compact. 46' -- It's stopped snowing and we're back underway in Frankfurt- HALF TIME: Bayern lead but it's been a largely even game so far- Tom Starke has been called in to action a few times while Rebic has caused Bayern a few problems. Still plenty of life in this one. Over in Leipzig, the hosts have re-taken the lead courtesy of a Timo Werner penalty. 44' -- Vidal controls a clearance on his chest before looping a volley towards goal. Hradecky does well to tip it over but the linesman ruled that the ball had gone out of play from the initial corner anyway. 43' -- Kimmich gets free down the right but it's a tight angle and he can only find the keeper with his cross. More good news for Bayern though, Mainz have equalized in Leipzig. 40' -- Close. A clever free kick from Frankfurt who went short before laying the ball of to Willems. His strike is decent enough but Starke gets down to it fairly comfortably, for a 36-year-old. 39' -- Jerome Boateng against Rebic once more and the Bayern man comes out on top again, comfortably ending a promising run. Rafinha doesn't do quite so well against the same man moments later, conceding a free kick in a decent position. 37' -- Bit of a strange one here. James started to tie his laces after a strong tackle then decided to go to ground. He's up now. Not quite sure what that was all about. 33' -- The Boateng brothers in the thick of it. Kevin Prince sets Rebic free but Jerome does well to stand him up and make the block. Frankfurt have shown enough to suggest Bayern can't get too comfortable. 31' -- Meanwhile in Dortmund and Leipzig... 28' -- Coman drives rapidly down the right flank and fires one in to the side netting. He's looked dangerous today. 25' -- Frankfurt aren't out of this yet. A twisting run from Rebic ends with a decent curling effort which is pushed behind by Starke. The corner comes to nothing. 24' -- That's now four Bundesliga games in a row in which Vidal has scored. And Kimmich marks his 100th Bayern appearance with yet another assist. 20' -- GOAL! Vidal nods in at the back post. The Chilean's initial shot was deflected behind for a corner. That was cleared straight back to Kimmich who swung in a great ball with his left and Vidal did the rest. 17' -- Fernandes goes in the book for tugging back James in midfield. 15' -- The champions starting to control possession now, and Müller can't quite get on the end of a through ball. Still no shots from Bayern though. 11' -- The visitors string a few passes together in the Frankfurt half for the first time. But there's no real penetration and Frankfurt eventually break upfield before Jerome Boateng clatters Haller to concede a freekick. 8' -- The snow looks to be getting a little stronger but no signs of it settling. The same could be said for BAyern who haven't found much fluency yet. 5' -- Vidal is dispossessed right on the edge of the box, hacks down Barkok and is booked. Rebic forces a decent save out of Stark from the freekick. 3' -- Kimmich is caught by a late tackle by Willems. He's down for a while but gets up in time to take the free kick. 1' -- And we're off in snowy Frankfurt! -- It seems that Bayern keeper Sven Ulreich has injured himself in the warmup. Tom Starke, a 36-year-old who mainly coaches in the club's academy and officially retired last season, will replace him. It'll be his 100th Bundesliga appearance. -- Afternoon all and welcome to the first of four Bundesliga matchdays in the next five days. With midweek matches looming, Jupp Heynckes has rung the changes for Bayern's trip to Frankfurt today, with Robert Lewandowski's omission the biggest talking point. The Polish striker has started every one of Bayern's Bundesliga games up to this point but will be replaced by Thomas Müller, with Sandro Wagner thought to be on the way in the winter break. Both Boatengs will start, with Frankfurt's Kevin-Prince looking to get one over Bayern's Jerome. Frankfurt will be hoping to improve one of the league's worst home records and solidify their position in the top half, while the Bavarians will expect to do what they do best and keeping racking up wins.

A first half goal from Arturo Vidal was enough for Bayern Munich to sneak past Eintracht Frankfurt despite a host of changes. The champions weren’t at their best but extend their lead at the top of the table. Eintracht Frankfurt 0 – 1 Bayern Munich (Vidal 20′) FULL TIME: That’s it. A fairly unconvincing win for Bayern but, once again ... Read More »

Can Bayer Leverkusen progress after exodus of key players?

First Omer Toprak left Leverkusen, then Hakan Calhanoglu, now Chicharito. With other key men likely to follow them out, is there any hope that a club that's become a fixture in the top four can stop the rot next term? “It was not a difficult decision." Those were the words of Javier Hernandez (aka Chicharito) as he pulled on a West Ham shirt for the first time after completing his move back to England on Monday. He seemed to be referring mainly to the decision to join the London club rather than the one to leave the Werkself, but the sentiment seems applicable to both cases. The Mexican striker endured a difficult end to an otherwise prolific Bundesliga career, as the service dried up in a team desperately struggling to keep their heads above water. Leverkusen suffered through a desperate second half of the season, winning just four league games after the winter break until a cathartic 6-2 defeat of Hertha Berlin on the last day of the season, after safety was assured, gave them a measure of relief. That win also meant they finished 12th, a position that flattered a side that looked woeful under Roger Schmidt and even worse during the short-lived reign of Tayfun Korkut. It was all a far cry from Chicharito's debut campaign for the club, when he scored 17 times in 28 appearances and was the league's Player of the Month three times, as Leverkusen picked up the 'best of the rest' trophy behind Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund – about the best the other Bundesliga clubs can hope for these days. Where will the goals come from? But thoughts of challenging for even that dubious crown seem fanciful at this point. Chicharito may well have wanted out whatever happened but the departures of Calhanoglu, who provided a goal or assist every 110 minutes last term in an interrupted Bundesliga campaign, and Toprak – a defender good enough to step up a level to BVB - must have made him question the club's ambition. Of course, there's still plenty of time in the transfer window (though Leverkusen's first German Cup game is in a little over a fortnight) but Sven Bender and Dominik Kohr don't feel like upgrades. Bender may offer some defensive stability, which would be further enhanced if Jonathan Tah can regain fitness, but it's going forward that Leverkusen look set to struggle. No-one but Hernandez even reached double figures for goals in all competitions last term and removing Calhangolu from the equation as well means only Kevin Volland (9) and Joel Pohjanpalo (6) scored more than 4. It's no wonder new coach Heiko Herrlich, the club's eighth boss in nine years, has been preaching the virtues of teamwork over individuals. Teamwork the key for new boss "Hakan of course has huge quality, as do Kevin [Kampl, who has also asked to leave] and Chicharito," he told the Bundesliga website before the Chicharito deal went through. "But ultimately it’s important that the players that you have available identify 100 per cent with the club. Things will soon be clear - then we'll see more. "I think a club like Bayer Leverkusen will never find themselves depending on just one player. Chicharito has given great performances in his two years here, but so have many others. You can only achieve success as a team." Perhaps Herrlich will forge the collective identity that the side lacked last year, but even the hardest working sides need matchwinners. Leverkusen have become a fixture at the top end in recent years, never failing to finish outside the top 5 in the seven years before last. But with the emergence of Leipzig and Hoffenheim and even Hertha Berlin and Cologne starting to make small but significant strides, it's becoming more and more difficult to see a way back to the Champions League for a club who famously reached the final in 2002. Perhaps that's not the expectation anymore and perhaps they can hang on to a small but talented crop of youngsters – Tah, Julian Brandt and Kai Havertz chief among them – and make progress that way. But, as Dortmund found out last term, losing three key players in one stroke is a difficult trick to pull.

First Omer Toprak left Leverkusen, then Hakan Calhanoglu, now Chicharito. With other key men likely to follow them out, is there any hope that a club that’s become a fixture in the top four can stop the rot next term? “It was not a difficult decision.” Those were the words of Javier Hernandez (aka Chicharito) as he pulled on a ... Read More »

Xabi Alonso to retire at the end of the season

Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso has said that he will call it quits when the season comes to a close. It will bring an end to an 18-year career in which he collected 16 trophies. Xavi Alonso announced Bayern Munich's television channel that he will retire after the season. "It was not an easy decision, but I believe it is the right moment [to retire]. I always wanted to retire too early rather than too late. I still feel good, but I believe it is the right time," the 35-year-old Alonso told "fcbayern.tv." The Spanish midfielder is in his third season with Bayern Munich after joining from Real Madrid in August of 2014. He signed a one-year contract extension in December of 2015, which runs out at the end of this season. He is the second Bayern player to announce his retirement in 2017. Club captain Philipp Lahmalso said he would call it quits after Bayern's victory over Wolfsburg last month, which put them through to the quarterfinals of the German Cup Alonso may go down as one of the best Spanish midfielders ever after helping the country win two European championships and its first World Cup. He has also won two Champions League titles, three league titles and four cup titles with Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern.

Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso has said that he will call it quits when the season comes to a close. It will bring an end to an 18-year career in which he collected 16 trophies. Xavi Alonso announced Bayern Munich’s television channel that he will retire after the season. “It was not an easy decision, but I believe it is ... Read More »

Forgotten Freiburg the story of the Bundesliga season

Everyone is so busy talking about Leipzig, they have forgotten about Freiburg. Christian Streich and his team are doing incredible work and deserve recognition, writes DW's Jonathan Harding. "I'm delighted that we played the way we did against such a clever team," Freiburg head coach Christian Streich said after his team's victory against Hertha Berlin on Sunday. The truth is that Streich is the clever one. Freiburg, sitting pretty in eighth with a healthy 26 points, are the other, neglected newly promoted team this season. While Leipzig make headlines and chase Bayern, Freiburg quietly work miracles with few of the means most modern football clubs have at their disposal. In a somewhat drab match, Freiburg won their eighth game of the season. Streich's team have won six of their nine home games, using their home support to great effect. Janik Haberer continued his fine run of form, while Nils Petersen scored the 16th goal of his career off the bench. Last week against Bayern, were it not for one moment of individual brilliance from Robert Lewandowski they would have taken a point off the defending champions - and deservedly so. They finished 2016 in a very healthy state, not that many took notice. The team don't have a wealth of outstanding talent and are statistically unremarkable. They're just a solid team whose collective quality is their strength. After relegation from the Bundesliga in 2014-15, the team lost leading players Admir Mehmedi, Vladimir Darida, Roman Bürki and Jonathan Schmid. A season later, Freiburg returned to the top flight - beating Leipzig to the title - with Nils Petersen and Vincenzo Grifo the only notable additions. Petersen had already been with the team on loan from Bremen for the second half of 2014-15, but officially joined the club in the summer of 2015. Since then, Alexander Schwolow, Caglar Soyuncu and Maximilian Philipp have also improved, proving that if Freiburg can do one thing it is to cope with change. Everything about the club is remarkable. They have the third-least expensive squad in the league above only Ingolstadt (who also deserve recognition) and Darmstadt. The Schwarzwaldstadion holds just 24,000. Their players talk about politics and social issues - with Streich even publicly calling for social media to become a school subject. Their challenge will be to retain the same old-school football feeling when they make the necessary step towards a stronger future and move to their new stadium as soon as 2019. With Christian Streich there, Freiburg will never be anything but a place for the type of fan the game is quickly forgetting.

Everyone is so busy talking about Leipzig, they have forgotten about Freiburg. Christian Streich and his team are doing incredible work and deserve recognition, writes DW’s Jonathan Harding. “I’m delighted that we played the way we did against such a clever team,” Freiburg head coach Christian Streich said after his team’s victory against Hertha Berlin on Sunday. The truth is ... Read More »

Bundesliga: Bayern crush 10-man upstarts Leipzig to move clear at the top

In the final action before the winter break, dominant Bayern crushed 10-man Leipzig, Hertha beat Darmstadt and Hoffenheim were held by Bremen. Cologne and Leverkusen shared the spoils and Freiburg beat Ingolstadt. Bayern 3-0 Leipzig (Thiago 17’, Alonso 25’, Lewandowski pen 45’) Bayern sent a strong message that they are far from ready to surrender their German league title with a crushing victory over upstarts Leipzig. It was a clash of the team with the highest average age in the Bundesliga (Bayern 27.9) and the youngest (Leipzig 24.1) and the champions showed at a packed Allianz Arena that experience counts when the chips are down. After Douglas Costa had struck a post, there was a slice of luck about Thiago Alcantara’s opening goal for Bayern in the 17th minute. Precise shot Robert Lewandowski’s first-time shot from Philipp Lahm’s cross cannoned back off the goal frame and Thiago was on hand to bundle the ball over the line. Thiago then turned provider for Xabi Alonso, laying the ball into the path of his Spanish compatriot, who sent a precise shot past Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi. Leipzig’s hopes of an unlikely comeback were effectively snuffed out by a moment of madness from Emil Forsberg after half an hour. The Sweden winger slid in on Lahm from behind and caught the Bayern captain painfully on the heel, earning a straight red card. With a man extra, Bayern quickly pressed home their advantage and Lewandowski made it 3-0 from the penalty spot shortly before halftime. Gulacsi had come out to claim the ball from the onrushing Costa but only managed to bring the Brazilian down on the edge of the area. Bayern eased off in the second half and head off on holiday with a three-point advantage over second-placed Leipzig at the top. Hertha 2-0 Darmstadt (Plattenhardt 52’, Kalou 66‘) Hertha fans had to deal with heightened security at the Olympic Stadium following Monday’s deadly truck attack on a Christmas market. Their players earned a morale-boosting win after consecutive defeats and Pal Dardai’s side climb to third, six points behind Leipzig, while Darmstadt stay rooted to the bottom. Marvin Plattenhardt opened the scoring with a superbly struck left-foot free kick early in the second half. The defender has scored six goals in the Bundesliga, all from direct free kicks. He used his trusty left leg to great effect again just after the hour, swinging the ball across for Salomon Kalou to nod past Michael Esser in the Darmstadt goal. Hoffenheim 1-1 Bremen (Wagner 26’ - Gnabry 87') Sandro Wagner continued his fine run of form to fire outperforming Hoffenheim ahead midway through the first half. Kerem Demirbay sent across a low centre and Wagner poked the ball past Bremen keeper Jaroslav Drobny from close range. Serge Gnabry finished off a well-worked Bremen move to earn a point for the visitors. The only team still yet to lose a game this term, Hoffenheim are fifth on 28 points, one behind Frankfurt, while Bremen are one place above the relegation places on 16 points. Cologne 1-1 Leverkusen (Modeste 21’ – Wendell 44’) Cologne pulled ahead in the Rhine derby thanks to their prolific French striker Anthony Modeste and his 13th goal of the campaign was one of his best. Frederik Sörensen crossed from the right and Modeste beat his marker to the ball and hooked it high past Bernd Leno in the Leverkusen goal. The visitors were level a minute before the break when Wendell exchanged passes with Kai Havertz and beat Thomas Kessler with an angled shot. Cologne are seventh on 25 points, four ahead of ninth-placed Leverkusen, who are through to the last 16 of the Champions League to play Atletico Madrid. Ingolstadt 1-2 Freiburg (Niederlechner pen 34‘, 41‘ – Suttner 53’) Florian Niederlechner scored the first double of his Bundesliga career to secure three points for eighth-placed Freiburg at strugglers Ingolstadt. Marcel Tisserand tripped Vincenzo Grifo to concede a penalty and Niederlechner confidently put away the spot kick to open the scoring. His second came after a clever header from Janik Haberer and the 26-year-old striker picked his spot and cracked the ball low into the corner. Ingolstadt, who are second from bottom, pulled a goal back early in the second period when Markus Suttner curled in a free kick.

In the final action before the winter break, dominant Bayern crushed 10-man Leipzig, Hertha beat Darmstadt and Hoffenheim were held by Bremen. Cologne and Leverkusen shared the spoils and Freiburg beat Ingolstadt. Bayern 3-0 Leipzig (Thiago 17’, Alonso 25’, Lewandowski pen 45’) Bayern sent a strong message that they are far from ready to surrender their German league title with ... Read More »

Bundesliga: Nabil Bentaleb guides Schalke to win, Naby Keita delivers for Leipzig

After RB Leipzig continued their fine start to the season with a 3-1 win over Werder Bremen, Schalke's revival also showed no sign of stopping thanks to one man in particular. Schalke 3-0 Mainz (Bentaleb 23', 62' Meyer 48') Schalke used the momentum of a strong Europa League campaign to continue their domestic recovery as they dispatched a tired Mainz side at the end of matchday 8. Markus Weinzierl's side showed no sign of fatigue early on, and eventually converted their pressure when Nabil Bentaleb scored his second goal in as many games. The man on loan from Tottenham Hotspur drilled home inside the box after a neat lay-off from Franco di Santo. Mainz's players had heavy legs after their midweek game as their normal pressing strategy was noticeably absent. Jhon Cordoba broke through, but only tested Ralf Fährmann's patience not his palms. Good refereeing ended any hopes Mainz might have had of getting something from their visit to Gelsenkirchen. Max Meyer fired home inside the box for his first goal of the season after Daniel Siebert played advantage, allowing Schalke's attack to continue. Bentaleb's second was the pick of the bunch as a wonderful flowing move down the left ended with the Algerian calmly stroking home inside the box. Schalke move up to 14th place in the table and return to form just in time ahead of the Ruhr derby against Borussia Dortmund next weekend. Leipzig 3-1 Werder Bremen (Keita 42', 74', Selke 90'+1 - Gnabry 76') A goal in each half from Naby Keita saw Leipzig end Werder Bremen's mini-revival and move up to second in the Bundesliga. The game burst into life three minutes before the break when Keita scored a fine opener. The Guinean got a lucky richochet before poking the ball away from Ludovic Sane and showing great composure to round Felix Wiedwald and finish into the bottom corner. Werder threatened to level and their best chance was denied by a fine last-ditch challenge by Bernardo on Serge Gnabry. Leipzig opened a two-goal lead through Keita again, who nodded in after a superb cross by substitute Davie Selke. Gnabry pulled one back two minutes later, sliding in a Fin Bartels cross at the far post. Selke wrapped up the win though, rolling the ball into the empty net, after Wiedwald had vacated the goal in the hope of helping Werder find an equalizer.

After RB Leipzig continued their fine start to the season with a 3-1 win over Werder Bremen, Schalke’s revival also showed no sign of stopping thanks to one man in particular. Schalke 3-0 Mainz (Bentaleb 23′, 62′ Meyer 48′) Schalke used the momentum of a strong Europa League campaign to continue their domestic recovery as they dispatched a tired Mainz ... Read More »

Bundesliga: Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen snatch wins on day of late drama

A day of late drama in the Bundesliga saw Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen snatch late wins and Frankfurt rescue a point in the dying minutes. Borussia Mönchengladbach warmed up for a date with Barcelona with a win. Hamburg 0-1 Bayern Munich (Kimmich 89') Bruno Labbadia's future at Hamburg remains uncertain after Joshua Kimmich scored with a minute left to leave the northern Germans without a win this season. An encouraging first period from the hosts, who had just one point from their previous four games, ended without a goal for either side. Champions Bayern turned up the heat after half-time but an inspirational performance from Hamburg keeper Rene Adler frustrated Carlo Ancelotti's team. With the clock ticking down and the Hamburg coach, taking charge of the club for the 100th time, looking set to earn some respite from the pressure, Bayern managed to grind out the winning goal with a minute to spare. Franck Ribery's cross from the left set up Joshua Kimmich and the young German's tap in maintained Bayern's 100% record under Ancelotti. Mainz 2-3 Bayer Leverkusen (Malli 31', Bell 35' - Hernandez 32', 66', 90+1) Javier Hernandez scored a hat-trick as Bayer Leverkusen came from behind twice to seal three points at Mainz. The Mexican international bagged the winner in stoppage time to secure Leverkusen's second win of the season. Yunus Malli's cute opener for Mainz on 31 minutes was cancelled out by a fine finish from Hernandez inside the box just a minute later. Leverkusen have won just one of five league games this term and when Stefan Bell added a scrappy second on 35 minutes they looked in big trouble. But Chicharito was, once again, the savior for Leverkusen. The Mexican striker scored just after the hour mark before sealing the win in the final minute with a header to ease the early season pressure that was starting to build on his boss Roger Schmidt. Eintracht Frankfurt 3-3 Hertha BSC (Fabian 39', Meier 45', Hector 90+2' - Ibisevic 19' pen, 58', Esswein 64') Chelsea loanee Michael Hector scored in the second minute of added time to snatch a point for Eintracht Frankfurt after a scintillating encounter with Hertha Berlin. Pal Dardai's side led through Vedad Ibisevic's penalty on 19 minutes, but it was Niko Kovac's men who finished the half strongest, scoring two goals in six minutes. First Marco Fabian swept home from close range then Alex Meier finished instinctively after Hertha failed to clear a corner. But the team from the German capital showed grit and determination to level through Ibisevic and then looked to have won following Alexander Esswein's superbly curled 64th minute strike. But it was Hector and his coach Niko Kovac celebrating at the end as the Jamaican defender's bundled stoppage time winner maintained Frankfurt's unbeaten home record this season . Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-0 Ingolstadt (Stindl 27', Wendt 77') Borussia Mönchengladbach prepared for a midweek Champions League tussle against Barcelona with a comfortable 2-0 win over Ingolstadt at Borussia-Park. Andre Schubert made four changes to his side ahead of the big game in midweek with Mo Dahoud starting for just the second time this season. Captain Lars Stindl broke the deadlock on 27 minutes, before Julian Korb struck the post in the second half. Oscar Wendt secured the points late on - Gladbach's 10th home league win in a row. Augsburg 1-0 Darmstadt (Finnbogason 47') Dirk Schuster's Augsburg claimed a win against his former club thanks to a second half goal from Alfred Finnbogason. At the end of a tepid first period that saw Raul Bobadilla limp off with a shoulder injury, Darmstadt went down to 10 men after Leon Gurawa was shown his second yellow card. A bright restart from the Southern Germans led to the clinching goal, Koo's precise cross headed home by the Icelandic international. Werder Bremen 2-1 Wolfsburg (Thy 85', Gebre Selassie 90+1' - Bauer o.g. 69') Caretaker-coach Alexander Nouri masterminded a sensational 2-1 win over Wolfsburg. The Green and Whites went behind on 69 minutes to an own goal from Robert Bauer, having dominated and created the better chances. But Bremen responded to the support of the home crowd with Lennart Thy thumping home a stunning strike to spark the comeback. Wolfsburg couldn't handle the onslaught and Gebre Selassie headed in a corner kick in the first minute of stoppage time to earn Bremen's first win of the season.

A day of late drama in the Bundesliga saw Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen snatch late wins and Frankfurt rescue a point in the dying minutes. Borussia Mönchengladbach warmed up for a date with Barcelona with a win. Hamburg 0-1 Bayern Munich (Kimmich 89′) Bruno Labbadia’s future at Hamburg remains uncertain after Joshua Kimmich scored with a minute left to ... Read More »

Bundesliga: Weiser downs Schalke in Berlin, Mainz win first of the season

In an unspectacular game, Mitchell Weiser made sure Hertha got the three points while incisive late goals from Yunus Malli and Yoshinori Muto confirmed all three points for Mainz earlier in the day. Hertha 2-0 Schalke (Weiser 64', Stocker 74') Schalke's rebirth was put on hold for another week as Markus Weinzierl's team returned to underwhelming football. In a game largely lacking in chances or inspiration, Mitchell Weiser delivered a brilliant individual performance to leave Hertha level on points with their next opponents - Bayern Munich. The opening half an hour was littered with poor passes, rushed clearances and a distinct lack of creativity from both sides. In his first ever start for Schalke, Breel Embolo still looked like a player getting used to Bundesliga football and was replaced by Yevhen Konoplyanka in the second half. Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting and Leon Goreztka tried desperately to offer something in attack, but it was all too hopeful from Weinzierl's men. Previously a star performer for Schalke, Benjamin Stambouli endured a miserable afternoon in the capital and when his attempted dribble went wrong, Peter Pekarik pounced. The defender passed to Mitchell Weiser, who curled a gorgeous effort into the far corner to give Hertha the lead. Ten minutes later, the game was over when Weiser delivered a lovely chip behind Schalke's backline and Valentin Stocker applied the necessary finish into the far corner. While it is still early in the season and redevelopment takes time, Schalke still have zero points after three games, a price that former Werder Bremen head coach Viktor Skripnik paid for with his job. Augsburg 1-3 Mainz (Stafylidis 73'- Cordoba 6', Malli 75', Muto 81') Mainz picked up their first win of the Bundesliga season on Sunday with a hard-fought 3-1 victory away to Augsburg. The visitors took an early lead through the dependable Jhon Cordoba, when the striker found space and time to head home a corner after losing his marker on the edge of the Augsburg six-yard box. Yet by halftime Mainz began to look as though they were taking their lead for granted, with the home side peppering their goalmouth with half chances. Although Dirk Schuster's limited side lacked the quality to break through Mainz's defence, they certainly had the incentive to give it a go. Martin Schmidt would have undoubtedly been hoping for a return to form after a bizarre 4-4 draw with Hoffenheim in the previous matchday, which had seen his side concede three goals in the last 20 minutes of the game. Mainz also conceded a last-minute equalizer in their 1-1 draw with St Etienne in the Europa League during the week and both of those results looked to be hanging over them. With the lackadaisical nature of Mainz's performance continuing to cling to them like the heavy rain, Augsburg finally found an equalizer through a wonderful long-range shot from left-back Konstantinos Stafylidis. Instantly, it seemed as though the poor luck that had dogged Schmidt's side for much of this young season was set to continue. Yet this time fortune favored the carnival club when Yunus Malli leaped on to the end of a smart counterattack to head home a second for the traveling side. Six minutes later Yoshinori Muto tapped home a third after a mix-up in the box to confirm all three points for Mainz. Aside from a late red card for substitute Jose Rodriguez after a nasty tackle on Dominik Kohr, Schmidt would have not only been happy with the win but also the manner in which his side finally figured out how to deal with the late goals they continue to concede.

In an unspectacular game, Mitchell Weiser made sure Hertha got the three points while incisive late goals from Yunus Malli and Yoshinori Muto confirmed all three points for Mainz earlier in the day. Hertha 2-0 Schalke (Weiser 64′, Stocker 74′) Schalke’s rebirth was put on hold for another week as Markus Weinzierl’s team returned to underwhelming football. In a game ... Read More »

Ilkay Gündogan to move to Manchester City

Ilkay Gündogan has agreed to a transfer to Manchester City, ending his five-year stint at Borussia Dortmund. The German international is currently recovering from a knee operation that has ruled him out of Euro 2016. Borussia Dortmund have announced that they have sold Gündogan to English Premier League club Manchester City. The 25-year-old midfielder has signed a four-year contract until June 2020 with the "Citizens." "I'm thrilled to have signed for Manchester City," Gündogan said in a statement released on Manchester City's website. “When I learned of City's interest my heart was set on coming here, and things have moved very quickly." British broadcaster Sky Sports has reported that Dortmund would receive a transfer fee of £21 million (27 million euros, $30 million), but this has not been confirmed by either club. The German international becomes the first signing for Pep Guardiola as Manchester City's new manager. "The opportunity to work with a coach like Pep Guardiola is something I am really looking forward to, and I am flattered to be the first signing the Club has made this summer," Gündogan said. Gündogan will end a five-year stint with Dortmund after joining from Nuremberg in 2011. He has scored 15 goals and recorded 21 assists in 157 appearances with BVB. He helped the club win the domestic double in 2012 and reach the Champions League Final in 2013. Damaged goods Gündogan is still on the mend after undergoing an operation to repair a dislocated knee. The injury will cause him to miss the European championship, which begins on June 10. When Gündogan will be able to make his Manchester City debut is still unclear. The midfielder has missed 23 games for Dortmund over the past two seasons after returning from a back injury that kept him out of action for the majority of the 2013-14 season. Gündogan is the second player that will leave Dortmund in the summer transfer window after Mats Hummels agreed last month to move back to Bayern Munich.

Ilkay Gündogan has agreed to a transfer to Manchester City, ending his five-year stint at Borussia Dortmund. The German international is currently recovering from a knee operation that has ruled him out of Euro 2016. Borussia Dortmund have announced that they have sold Gündogan to English Premier League club Manchester City. The 25-year-old midfielder has signed a four-year contract until ... Read More »

The top 10 of football’s 95 new rules of the game

Soccer's world governing body has introduced the biggest package of rule changes in its history. In many cases they may seem like minor details, but in others, they are actually meant to simplify things. With just 10 days to go until Euro 2016 kicks off, FIFA has introduced changes designed to improve the beautiful game. The eight members of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) got out their erasers and eliminated around 10,000 words from the rulebook. Here are the 10 most important changes: 1 Penalty: If a player (such as Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi) stops and starts in his run-up to the ball - in an effort to try to make the goalkeeper move first, he (or she) is to be given the yellow card. The opponents will also be awarded a free kick. A short hesitation is allowed, but not a complete stop. 2. Triple jeopardy: Until now, hand-balls and fouls in the penalty area have often resulted in a defender being given a red card, a penalty and a suspension. In future, the referee will have the discretion to hand out a red card only when he deems that there was intent. If he determines that the offender tried to play the ball but still fouled, he is only to be handed a yellow card. Until now, if the referee deemed that a cast-iron scoring chance was prevented by the offender, the rules obliged him to show red, whatever a defender's intent. 3. Sending off: The referee will no longer only have the power to hand out red cards during the actual match, but also before the opening kick off, if a player conducts himself in an unsportsmanlike manner. In this case, the offender's team would still be allowed to start the match with 11 players. 4. Breaks for the treatment of injuries: In future, if the physio's magic sponge can get the player back onto his feet within 20 seconds, the player won't have to leave the pitch. Until now, any player who required treatment has had to leave the pitch and could only return after getting permission from the referee. 5. Kick off: Until now, the ball has had to be played forward. Now the player performing the kick off also has the options of playing it backwards or sideways. 6. Attacking wall: For a time there was a trend towards attacking teams positioning players in amongst a defense's wall with the purpose of screening the goalkeeper's view. This is no longer permitted. 7. Drink breaks: Since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil the referee has had the option, particularly on a hot day or evening, to order a break so that the players can have a drink. Now, though, he also has to include the playing time lost in this way to time added on at the end of the match. 8. Throw in: This must now be conducted with both hands pushing the ball forward with equal force from both sides. A throw in with one hand pushing more from behind and the other just acting as a support are no longer allowed. 9. Shoeless player: If a player loses his shoe during a match, play will no longer be immediately interrupted, but the player in question can continue to play without it until the next stoppage in play. Not only that, but halleluiah! The shackles are finally off, as the same also applies to a lost shinguard! 10. Underwear: Wait a minute... No choice here anymore! If a player chooses to wear undershorts that are longer than his shorts, these must now match the color of his team's kit.

Soccer’s world governing body has introduced the biggest package of rule changes in its history. In many cases they may seem like minor details, but in others, they are actually meant to simplify things. With just 10 days to go until Euro 2016 kicks off, FIFA has introduced changes designed to improve the beautiful game. The eight members of the ... Read More »

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