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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 »

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 »

DFB part ways with VAR project manager Hellmut Krug

The German football association (DFB) have announced that Hellmut Krug will no longer act as VAR project manager and cease his supervisory role at the league's Control Centre in Cologne. The decision comes as a result of a DFB meeting on Monday which involved, amongst others, DFB President Reinhard Grindel, vice-president Ronny Zimmermann and Head of Referees Lutz Michael Fröhlich, who will assume Krug's role in the interim. Read: Grindel did not approve "secret" VAR changes The DFB are allegedly reacting to a report in BILD am Sonntag which accused Krug, who will also cease working as a supervisor in the German Football League's (DFL) Control Center in Cologne with immediate effect, of influencing the decision of the VAR in a manner not befitting his role. Krug has denied the claims. "As a supervisor, we are not authorized to influence or overrule the decisions of video assistants," said the 61-year-old. Marco Fritz, the acting VAR for the match in question, Matchday 10's 1-1 draw between Schalke and Wolfsburg, also came out in support of his boss: "In all situations that are checked at the review centre in Cologne, the decision to intervene is made by the video assistant. That was the case for Schalke against Wolfsburg." The VAR experiment has sparked controversy and debateamongst fans, players and officials, becoming a bigger source of irritation than justice. "The whole communication from the DFB is currently catastrophic," fumed Borussia Mönchengladbach's Sporting Director Max Eberl. "If you have a test phase and you want to adapt the entire system, that's justified, but then everyone should know it. We should only need the video assistant in a situation which is really crucial to the game." Nevertheless, even in the face of intense scrutiny and criticism, DFB President Grindel remains in staunch support of VAR: "I still believe in the project, once everyone clearly defines their roles and then sticks to them, I'm pretty sure that this can be something very good for football".

The German football association (DFB) have announced that Hellmut Krug will no longer act as VAR project manager and cease his supervisory role at the league’s Control Centre in Cologne. The decision comes as a result of a DFB meeting on Monday which involved, amongst others, DFB President Reinhard Grindel, vice-president Ronny Zimmermann and Head of Referees Lutz Michael Fröhlich, ... Read More »

Oliver Kahn: ‘Nobody embodies Bayern Munich more than Uli Hoeness’

During the filiming of the documentary The Mia San Mia Phenomenon, Oliver Kahn told DW what makes Bayern Munich such a unique club. He says that the perceived 'arrogance' of Bayern doesn't always win friends. DW: Oliver Kahn, what names do you associate with Bayern Munich's "Mia san Mia" phenomenon? Oliver Kahn: I came in contact with a number of them during the 14 years that I played there. Of course there is the then-manager and current president, Uli Hoeness. I believe nobody embodies this phenomenon more than he does. I played with Lothar Matthäus, Jens Jeremies and Stefan Effenberg, and there are certainly many, many other players who I could name. And eventually, I too was part of this, although in my case, it took a while. Can you remember when you first became aware of Bayern Munich? Let me explain this with an anecdote: I moved up the ranks of the youth teams at the Karlsruhe SC and at some point, I think I was seven or eight years old, Bayern Munich played in Karlsruhe. I was among 40,000 spectators in the Karlsruhe end. I was the only one with a Bayern flag (laugh). This raised some eyebrows, but I was too young for anybody to actually do anything about it. This goes to show that I was already fascinated by this club in my very early years. What was so fascinating about it? Success. Bayern made things possible that only Bayern could. What other team could come back from a 2-1 home defeat to Real Madrid to win the tie in the second leg in Madrid? What other German team could still be hopeful of victory following a weak performance in a first-leg match against Inter Milan or AC Milan? That was the was things were in the 1970s, even when they fell behind in a European Cup or Bundesliga match, they were always capable of coming back. Then there was the 2000-01 Bundesliga season, when Patrick Anderson scored to win the title in the dying seconds of the final game. This is part of the special aura that surrounds this club. Everyone who comes to Bayern Munich knows this. Is it possible to escape the reputation of Bayern Munich? When you sign for Bayern Munich, you do so primarily because you know you will have the opportunity to win the biggest titles in club football there. And you will be almost guaranteed to win the Bundesliga title. But what are you really after, as a footballer? You want to experience moments of greatness, you want to get to the Champions League final, you want to play in the final of the German Cup and perhaps win it in dramatic fashion. When you play for Bayern Munich you are surrounded by the best. This means that you too will become better. These are the reasons, apart from the financial aspect, why players go to Bayern Munich. What's your view on Uli Hoeness? I think no one has understood better than he has how to combine the requirements of the business side of professional football, the commercialization of Bayern Munich the company, with Bayern Munich the sports club. The word "company" may come across as too cold, as being about maximizing profit. But at the same time, Uli Hoeness has never lost sight of the fact that Bayern is an institution that people identify with, which is a matter of the heart for many fans. There is a certain art to this, especially in the present day, and I believe this is why he is so popular. Of course, he is also a sly dog, and – to exaggerate – someone who would kill for this club if anyone set out to harm it. On the other hand, Hoeness has always maintained a certain humanity. That is why he is someone that people like to deal with. He is a certain kind of entrepreneur, he is a people person. Why is it that when it comes to Bayern Munich you either love them or hate them, but that there is no in-between? [Bayern CEO] Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently lamented that "the club isn't polarizing enough anymore." (laugh) In other words, Bayern's biggest problem is that the club is loved by everybody. This, of course, is nonsense. But the way things are in Germany, when any successful person or football club expresses this success outwardly, in the sense of "Mia san Mia," for example, many will perceive this as a sign of arrogance – and this doesn't always make you friends. That has been the experience of many who have represented Bayern, particularly the club's captains, such as Lothar Matthäus, Stefan Effenberg or me. As the captain you are the leader of this polarizing club, so you have to endure this or that. Former goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, 48, played 429 Bundesliga matches for Bayern Munich between 1994 and 2008. He also made 86 appearances for Germany. Kahn won the Bundesliga eight times, the German Cup six times, and was part of the Bayern team that won the Champions League in 2001. He was named the world's best goalkeeper three times. The interview was conducted by Niels Eixler

During the filiming of the documentary The Mia San Mia Phenomenon, Oliver Kahn told DW what makes Bayern Munich such a unique club. He says that the perceived ‘arrogance’ of Bayern doesn’t always win friends. DW: Oliver Kahn, what names do you associate with Bayern Munich’s “Mia san Mia” phenomenon? Oliver Kahn: I came in contact with a number of ... Read More »

Jupp Heynckes insists ‘age is just a number’ as he begins fourth Bayern Munich spell

Jupp Heynckes has begun his fourth spell in charge of Bayern Munich by insisting that "age is just a number." Meanwhile, Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge have pledged to work more harmoniously together. Bayern Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes says he is confident of turning the club's season around, insisting at his unveiling on Monday morning that "age is just a number." Heynckes, 72, was presented as the German champions' new head coach at a press conference in Munich after agreeing to come out of retirement to take over from Carlo Ancelotti until the end of the season. The Italian had been relieved of his duties following a 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and with Bayern sitting five points behind Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund. "After leaving Bayern in 2013, I didn't think I would coach a club again. I thought that was it," Heynckes revealed. "Critics say I've been out the game for four years but football's not been re-invented. I've followed very closely." 'Age is just a number' Bayern had faced criticism for appointing a coach who has been in retirement for four years since ending his third spell in charge of the Bavarian club after winning the treble in 2013. Heynckes will be joined in Munich by his former assistants Hermann Gerland, 63, and Peter Hermann, 65 - giving Bayern's new coaching staff a combined age of over 200. "Age is a number and nothing more," insisted Heynckes. "Some feel old at 45 but I've not changed. I still love music and sport. I feel young." Heynckes' first challenge will be to repair a series of rifts which have emerged in the Bayern Munich dressing room – ostensibly between the northern European contingent around Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Thomas Müller and a Hispanic fraction centered on Thiago Alcantara and Arturo Vidal. Heynckes, who speaks fluent Spanish following spells at Teneriffe, Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid, believes he has the experience to deal with that but insisted that there is a need to "restore a hierarchy." "I will not shy away from conflict," he said. "I want to form a team where everyone works for the other, with respect and togetherness in the forefront. Our team has class and potential. It's my job to entice that class out again. I know exactly where I need to start." On the pitch, Heynckes' Bayern find themselves playing catch-up in a Bundesliga which is increasingly dominated by a new generation of coaches who play, in Heynckes' words, "a very systematic style of football" – and the veteran coach admitted that "it will be difficult to catch Borussia Dortmund – I'm realistic." Power struggle Heynckes' appointment - strictly until the end of the season – has been interpreted as a victory for club president Uli Hoeness in his power struggle with chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. While the latter is said to have preferred former Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel, Hoeness favored a temporary solution before making a move for Hoffenheim's Julian Nagelsmann in the summer. Both men refused to comment on Heynckes' eventual successor, Rummenigge stating that "we won't say in 2017 what will happen in 2018" while Hoeness said Bayern "have bought ourselves time." The pair also admitted that they have had disagreements over the direction of the club in recent years which have been played out too publically and pledged to work together more harmoniously in future – beginning by unanimously welcoming Heynckes. I'm personally very happy that my best friend is back at the club," said Hoeness while Rummenigge added: "Jupp is an absolute champion. He knows Bayern inside out and I'm convinced that he's the ideal man for the job." Talisman Thomas Müller, who had been critical of the intensity of training sessions under Ancelotti, also welcomed the appointment. "We'll have proper coaching again," he said after Germany's 5-1 win over Azerbaijan in Kaiserslautern. "Heynckes will give the team a new impulse to work hard and suffer for the team." Is experience enough? Others are less convinced. Speaking to tabloid BILD, former Germany coach Berti Vogts highlighted Bayern's reliance on veteran wingers Robben and Ribery, saying: "Experience is important and Jupp and his coaches did everything right back in 2013, but unfortunately on the playing side, experience isn't everything, especially in attack. The likes of Robben and Ribery don't go into the challenges like they used to, especially away from home." German national team coach Joachim Löw also urged caution. "On most levels, experience is worth it's weight in gold in football, but not on all counts," he said after guiding Germany to ten wins from ten to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. "But you also need to keep things fresh and dynamic to be competitive at the top." Löw's name has also been tentatively connected with Bayern Munich but national team manager Oliver Bierhoff appeared to dismiss such rumours. "Firstly, Jogi has a contract until 2020," he said. "Secondly, if Bayern came poking their head around the corner, I would put a stop to it."

Jupp Heynckes has begun his fourth spell in charge of Bayern Munich by insisting that “age is just a number.” Meanwhile, Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge have pledged to work more harmoniously together. Bayern Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes says he is confident of turning the club’s season around, insisting at his unveiling on Monday morning that “age is just ... 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 »

Report: Suspicious betting activity on certain Bundesliga matches

A new study has uncovered what it described as unusual betting activity surrounding the Bundesliga games of three referees over a five-year period. However, it notes that this does not amount to proof of match fixing. The study, which was first reported on by German public broadcaster WDR on Friday, was jointly conducted by the universities of Bielefeld, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The study looked at the bets placed with the British bookmaker Betfair on a total of 1,251 Bundesliga matches played between the 2010-11 and 2014-15 seasons. It found that significantly more money was bet on the games of three referees than the 23 others involved in Germany's top flight during this period. An unusually high amount of money was bet on whether more or fewer than 2.5 goals would be scored in a given match. The study did not name the three referees in question. "What we have here is a clear connection between the amount of money bet and who the referee is. So you can hardly but this down to chance," Dr Markus Knasmüller, who has been called as an expert witness to testify on sports betting at a number of betting fraud cases in Austria told WDR. Knasmüller noted that the so-called "over or under" wagers were "the easiest to manipulate in football." However, one of the authors of the study, Christian Deutscher of the University of Bielefeld stressed that while the betting activity was suspicious, it wasn't proof of match fixing. "It is not possible to draw the definitive conclusion from this that betting fraud did or did not occur," Deutscher said. "However, one does see statistical characteristics that would exist if betting fraud were to have occurred." In response to the report, the German football association (DFB) released a statement in which it noted that it had been successfully working with the sports betting watchdog Sportradar since 2005 in an effort to uncover any possible wrongdoing related to betting on Bundesliga matches. It also pointed to the fact that the authors of the study had conceded that the suspicious activity in question was not proof of betting fraud. The DFB began working with Sportradar after it emerged in early 2005 that Robert Hoyzer had fixed and bet on a number of games he had refereed Germany's second division, the German Cup and the third division. The DFB subsequently handed Hoyzer a lifetime ban from refereeing.

A new study has uncovered what it described as unusual betting activity surrounding the Bundesliga games of three referees over a five-year period. However, it notes that this does not amount to proof of match fixing. The study, which was first reported on by German public broadcaster WDR on Friday, was jointly conducted by the universities of Bielefeld, Pennsylvania and ... 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 Munich agree deals for Hoffenheim pair Süle and Rudy

Bayern Munich have moved early to strengthen their squad for next season. The Bundesliga champions announced on Sunday that they've tied up July deals for Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Süle, both from Hoffenheim. The German international duo will join Bayern in July, with Süle in particular a statement of intent. The 21-year-old center back is considered one of Europe's brightest defensive prospects and had reportedly attracted the interest of Premier League leaders Chelsea among others. Süle has signed a five-year contract until 2022, for a fee believed to be in the region of 20 million euros, while Rudy inked a three-year deal and joins on a free transfer, with his Hoffenheim contract to expire in July. "We're very satisfied and delighted Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy are joining us," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told the club homepage. "Signing two Germany internationals is an investment in Bayern's future. "Sebastian Rudy joins us on a free transfer. In the case of Niklas Süle we have reached a fair and serious agreement with Hoffenheim." The signings are sure to please club president Uli Hoeness, who called for more German voices in the dressing room earlier in the week. Versatile Rudy joined Hoffenheim, unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season, in 2010 having come through the youth system at Stuttgart and has played 12 times for Germany. "It's an absolute dream for me to go to Munich. Bayern are one of the greatest clubs in the world," he said. Süle came through the ranks at Hoffenheim and won his first cap for Germany last year. He didn't make the Euro 2016 squad but did win silver with the German Olympic squad. He's been one of Hoffenheim's best performers this year but said his focus won't stray. "In terms of it being a farewell I feel a little wistful too," Süle said. But he insisted both he and Rudy "were not having any thoughts on Bayern yet, rather concentrating solely on a successful second half of the season with Hoffenheim." The transfers are a blow for Hoffenheim head coach Julian Nagelsmann but not an unexpected one. "Of course I would have liked to keep Sebastian and Niklas, but we are in professional football and you often have to deal with these circumstances," he said. While Rudy is expected to be a fringe player for the champions, Süle will have to get past Germany and Bayern's first-choice center back pairing Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng to become a regular.

Bayern Munich have moved early to strengthen their squad for next season. The Bundesliga champions announced on Sunday that they’ve tied up July deals for Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Süle, both from Hoffenheim. The German international duo will join Bayern in July, with Süle in particular a statement of intent. The 21-year-old center back is considered one of Europe’s brightest ... Read More »

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