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Euro 2016: Germany and Poland play to scoreless draw

Call this one the match that refused to believe the hype. Germany and Poland cancel one another out in a less than scintillating 0-0 draw, where the two defenses came up trumps. The result was a yawner. Germany and Poland convened in Paris-St. Denis for the match everyone expected would determine the winner of Group C. The defending World Cup winners were the clear favorites, but they were mindful that Poland had beaten them during Euro 2016 qualifiers. Germany coach Jogi Löw made one change to the starting eleven that beat Ukraine, replacing Shkodran Mustafi with convalescent Mats Hummels at the back. The Poles were forced to go with back-up keeper Lukasz Fabianski after an injury to Wojciech Szczesny. As expected, the Germans took the attacking role. In minute three, Julian Draxler found Mario Götze in space with a cross, but the Bayern player couldn't keep his header down. What followed were 42 minutes of tedium. If Germany had ideas other than lobbing balls in Götze's general direction, they didn't show them. The Germans had almost 70 percent of possession but managed only eight shots on goal, none of them dangerous. For their part, the Poles seemed content with a draw, and the teams headed for the changing rooms with the score nil-nil. Poland almost ripped the games from the doldrums thirty seconds after the restart, but Arkadiusz Milik failed to get to a cross that had both Jerome Boateng and Manuel Neuer beaten. At the other end, Götze squandered a good look, firing the ball straight at Fabianski. In the quarter of an hour that followed, Poland had the better chances, but Hummels and Boateng were world class. Milik had another look in front of the German goal, but whiffed, while a short time later Mesut Özil couldn't get his equally open shot on target either. The introduction of Mario Gomez and André Schürrle for the final phase of the match did little to alter Germany's fortunes. Nor could Bayern's Robert Lewandowski make an impact for Poland despite playing all 90 minutes. As a result, Euro 2016 now has its first scoreless draw. "We didn't win a single one-on-one up front," a visibly disgruntled Boateng growled after the match. "We can be happy the match ended 0-0. We have to play better, or we're not going to win anything." Lewandowski was in a much better mood. "I think we had too much respect for Germany in the first half," the Polish captain said. "In the second half we pushed forward and started creating chances." Group C remains wide open, with Germany ahead of Poland on goal difference. The final matches next Tuesday (Ukraine-Poland, Northern Ireland-Germany) will determine who wins the group and who progresses. Ukraine will be going home after the group stage.

Call this one the match that refused to believe the hype. Germany and Poland cancel one another out in a less than scintillating 0-0 draw, where the two defenses came up trumps. The result was a yawner. Germany and Poland convened in Paris-St. Denis for the match everyone expected would determine the winner of Group C. The defending World Cup ... Read More »

Russia given suspended disqualification and hefty fine for fan violence at Euro 2016

Europe's governing football body has said Russia will be disqualified from Euro 2016 if there are further issues with crowd violence. The decision follows fan clashes at a match between Russia and England. UEFA announced the punishment in a statement on Tuesday, saying the charges were related to "crowd behavior, use of fireworks and racist behavior." The football body opened an investigation into Russian fan behavior following their clashes with England fans at Marseille's Stade Velodrome on Saturday. UEFA also fined the Russian Football Union (RFU) fined 150,000 euros (168,000 dollars) for the incident. The suspended disqualification will last the duration of the tournament, according to the football body. "Such suspension will be lifted if incidents of a similar nature (crowd disturbances) happen inside the stadium at any of the remaining matches of the Russian team during the tournament," UEFA added. Clashes in Marseille Three days of violence last week between England and Russia fans in downtown Marseille had overshadowed the build-up to the match. Following the game itself, Russian fans crossed a security barrier inside the stadium and attacked England fans, causing many supporters to flee. UEFA stressed that its ruling on Russia only applied for incidents that took place inside the stadium, where it is responsible for security. The football body had already warned Russia and England it could disqualify them if there was more trouble, but only Russia was penalized for fan behavior. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said earlier on Tuesday that some fans could be deported from the country due of the violence at the start of tournament. 'Excessive' punishment Russia's sports minister Vitaly Mutko told the R-Sports agency the country would not appeal the decision, but said UEFA had gone too far. "The punishment is excessive, but we cannot influence it," Mutko said, adding the team was not at fault for the behavior of its fans. Russia play Slovakia in Lille on Wednesday, while England play Wales in nearby Lens. The short distance between the two cities has sparked concern the two fan groups could meet again. It is the second straight European Championship Russia has been punished for fan conduct. The RFU was given a fine and suspended six-point Euro 2016 qualifying deduction after its supporters assaulted stadium security and displayed illicit banners at the Euro 2012 tournament in Ukraine and Poland.

Europe’s governing football body has said Russia will be disqualified from Euro 2016 if there are further issues with crowd violence. The decision follows fan clashes at a match between Russia and England. UEFA announced the punishment in a statement on Tuesday, saying the charges were related to “crowd behavior, use of fireworks and racist behavior.” The football body opened ... Read More »

Euro 2016: England impress, but are denied at the end by Russia equalizer

Football played second-fiddle for most of the day following violent clashes outside of the Veledrome. But despite their superiority on the park, England couldn't see out the win with Russia equalizing late on. England were denied three points on matchday one of the European Championships, after Russia captain Vasili Berezutski headed in a late equalizer in the third minute of stoppage time. Events were overshadowed by clashes between fans in the center of Marseille earlier in the day, leaving up to 20 hospitalized and several in a critical condition. But there was football to be played, and England, at times, lived up to the positive billing, which has followed the joint-youngest side in the tournament. But Roy Hodgson's side, the dominant team on the night, were punished for missing a number of chances with Berezutski powering his way to goal in the last minute. Lively Three Lions England started excellently, dominating the early exchanges and making in-roads to goal through the excellent combinations between Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Adam Lallana. Tottenham's Kyle Walker was equally as important in wide positions, overpowering left-back Georgi Schennikov. On seven minutes, Walker found Liverpool's Adam Lallana whose strike was tipped over by Igor Akinfeev, the Russian keeper. Two minutes later, Raheem Sterling's delivery was clipped on by the head of Dele Alli, but Harry Kane wasn't able to stretch far enough to convert. Kane's placement on corner kick duty caused a little confusion given his prowess in front of goal for Spurs this season. But one of his deliveries was pin-point in the direction of Chris Smalling, but the Manchester United defender failed to find the net. Russia's defense consisted of the vastly-experienced pair Sergei Ignashevich and Vasili Berezutski, sharing a combined 207 international appearances. Schalke's Roman Neustädter was granted Russian citizenship in May and made his competitive debut in midfield. Ignashevich's header was the most promising situation for Leonid Slutski's team who were on the back foot for long periods. Lallana, in particular, was teasing the Russian defense with his well-timed runs from deep. Walker's draw back on 21 minutes found the former Southampton ace, who controlled the ball sweetly, yet was unable to beat Akinfeev. As the pressure was ramped up by the English, Sterling was clean through on goal but was denied by a superb tackle from Igor Smolnikov. Punished at the death The obvious threat for Hodgson's side was a lapse in concentration in defense. Russia tightened in central positions after the interval with Rooney's influence limited in comparison with the first half. Just after the hour mark, Fedor Smolov passed up his side's best chance, curling a shot wide of Joe Hart's left-hand post. In the final-third, England lost the verve and intensity of the first period, with Rooney bringing out a huge intervention from Akinfeev on 70 minutes. Danny Rose's cutback trickled through to the Manchester United star, with 52 international goals to his name, but he was denied by a fantastic save. England fans were able to take a sigh of relief less than five minutes later when former Sporting Lisbon academy graduate Dier brilliantly finished from a free-kick, around 20 yards from goal. Hodgson's men appeared set to clinch England's first-ever win in their first game at the Euros, before Russia landed a sucker punch in stoppage time. Berezutski leaped above Rose in the box, heading over Hart with the ball crossing the line despite the best efforts of substitute Denis Glushakov to get a decisive touch.

Football played second-fiddle for most of the day following violent clashes outside of the Veledrome. But despite their superiority on the park, England couldn’t see out the win with Russia equalizing late on. England were denied three points on matchday one of the European Championships, after Russia captain Vasili Berezutski headed in a late equalizer in the third minute of ... Read More »

Champions League: Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid on penalties to claim title

Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty kick brings another European Cup for Real Madrid who defeated Atletico for the second time in three seasons. Zinedine Zidane joins an elite band to win the trophy as a player and as a manager. Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid (5-3 on penalties) (Ramos 15' - Carrasco 79') Real Madrid have been crowned European champions for the 11th time, beating city rivals Atletico after a 5-3 penalty shootout win at the San Siro in Milan. Sergio Ramos' early goal was canceled out by substitute Yannick Carrasco as the match finished 1-1 after 120 minutes. Despite a disappointing performance, Ronaldo stepped up to clinch another Champions League win for Real. It's the club's fourth European Cup win since the turn of the millennium, and Zidane joins Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer as winners of Europe's top tournament as a player and in the dugout. The sides met in the 2014 Champions League final, with Atletico surrendering a lead in stoppage time. Coached by Bayern's new boss Carlo Ancelotti, Real went on to win 4-1 in Lisbon. Diego Simeone has seen the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Diego Costa and David Villa head elsewhere as a result of the club's success - his starting line-up in Milan featured six changes from the previous final. Dominant Real start With speed and purpose, Real Madrid sprung out of the traps, and controlled the early exchanges. Since replacing Rafael Benitez, Zidane's side have won 22 of 27 matches, competing for the league title until the final day of the campaign and going on to secure European success. The start was a sign of things to come, the lead arriving after 14 minutes. Toni Kroos' free-kick was nudged towards goal by Gareth Bale, whose knock-on was bundled home by Ramos. By scoring in his second final, the Real captain joins an elite club of six players from his side to do so, including Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas and Raul Gonzalez, who holds the highest number of appearances in their history. Losing just 18 goals all season in Spain's La Liga has earned Simeone's men the moniker of being the best defensive side in European football. But the Argentine's dissatisfaction was clear as the two-time Champions League finalists afforded Real acres of space in front of the Atletico back four. Real were also able to snuff out the counterattacking threat. French star Antoine Griezmann resorted to unleashing a handful of speculative efforts from distance which didn't threaten Real keeper Keylor Navas. Atletico fightback Atletico began the second period at a furious pace, buoyed perhaps by the half-time team talk from head coach Simeone. Within a minute of the restart, Pepe clattered into Fernando Torres and English referee Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot. But Griezmann, who missed earlier in the season against Real, rattled the crossbar from 12 yards. It seemed, for a while, like Atletico were closing in on an equalizer. Real survived a scare on 53 minutes when a set-piece turned into pinball and Stefan Savic poked narrowly wide of the target. Five minutes later, Saul Niguez, the match winner in the first leg against Bayern Munich, volleyed wide from the edge of the box. Despite taking off Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema, Real carried a continued threat in forward areas. In the space of a few minutes, Zidane's men should have killed off the contest. On 77 minutes, Ronaldo's disappointing game was compounded with a poor finish, while a minute later, Bale's finish was heroically cleared off the line. These were missed chances that Real would regret in normal time. Juanfran gambled with a forward run from right back, clipping the ball across goal for substitute Yannick Carrasco who leveled the scores. Real stomach penalties Atletico carried momentum and confidence into extra time as Real's key players slowly began to tire, with Zidane making all three of his changes after 77 minutes. Bale, one of Real's most impressive performers, suffered cramp quickly after his shot was superbly deflected by Diego Godin. His fitness up for debate before the game, Ronaldo struggled to make an impact. Meanwhile, at the other end, Real backed off against the quick-footed Carrasco who was doing serious damage in one-versus-one situations. This tie went all the way to penalties, though, and it was Real Madrid who held their nerve. Lucas Vazquez, Marcelo, Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos and Ronaldo all converted, while Juanfran missed a decisive kick for Atletico Madrid, who lose in the final for the third time.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty kick brings another European Cup for Real Madrid who defeated Atletico for the second time in three seasons. Zinedine Zidane joins an elite band to win the trophy as a player and as a manager. Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid (5-3 on penalties) (Ramos 15′ – Carrasco 79′) Real Madrid have been crowned European champions for the ... Read More »

Barcelona, Real Madrid to battle for La Liga

The race for the Spanish championship will go right to the last weekend with Barcelona and Real Madrid duking it out. Atletico Madrid won't be in contention after going down 2-1 at relegated Levante. Just a single point separates Barcelona and Real Madrid ahead of the last weekend in La Liga. Spain's dominant duo will go head-to-head for the Spanish championship next weekend with the Catalans in the driving seat. That was after a 5-0 win over city rivals Espanyol. Lionel Messi opened the scoring, before Luis Suarez bagged a brace, taking his league tally for the season to 37. Rafinha and Neymar added shine to the win as Barca seek to capture their second successive title. Real Madrid were in a much-publicized crisis just a few months ago when Zinedine Zidane took over from Rafael Benitez. But Los Blancos can still win their first championship since 2012 after holding firm against Valencia 3-2. Karim Benzema scored for Real, while Cristiano Ronaldo popped in two goals to run his league tally to 33. Zidane's men reached the Champions League final this week, beating Manchester City and booking a date with hated city rivals Atletico on May 28 in Milan. The league title comes down to next weekend. Barcelona will face Granada. Real Madrid are at Deportivo La Coruna and need to win and hope Barca don't, if they are to claim their record 33rd league championship. European hangover Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid have no realistic chance at the title after losing 2-1 at relegated Levante. Diego Simeone's side were level on points with Barca before kickoff and led when Fernando Torres scored an opener after two minutes. But despite having nothing to play for, Levante leveled after half an hour. They then punished Atletico's commitment to attack with Giuseppe Rossi scoring on the break in the 89th minute. Atletico could still finish second in the league if Real lose at Granada and Atletico defeat Celta Vigo at home.

The race for the Spanish championship will go right to the last weekend with Barcelona and Real Madrid duking it out. Atletico Madrid won’t be in contention after going down 2-1 at relegated Levante. Just a single point separates Barcelona and Real Madrid ahead of the last weekend in La Liga. Spain’s dominant duo will go head-to-head for the Spanish ... Read More »

Leicester City clinch Premier League title following Tottenham’s draw

Leicester City have clinched their first-ever Premier League title in one of the biggest surprises in the sport. They were crowned champions thanks to Tottenham's draw with Chelsea on Monday evening. After a season of unprecedented success, Leicester City have finally wrapped up the Premier League title. After their 1-1 draw away to Manchester United on Sunday, the Foxes' fate rested in the hands of Chelsea and Tottenham. Spurs had to beat Chelsea to keep their slim title hopes alive, but were unable to get a win at Stamford Bridge. Tottenham took a 2-0 lead in the first half through goals from Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min. But goals from Gary Cahill in the 58th minute and Eden Hazard in the 83rd minute pulled Chelsea level. The result gives Leicester an unassailable seven-point lead atop the table with just two games to play for Spurs. Against all odds Leicester narrowly avoided relegation last season, and were rank outsiders to win the league. Bookmakers put their odds of lifting the title at 5000/1 ahead of the season. The club's previous best finish in the top flight was second in 1929. Many of Leicester's players had reportedly gathered at the home of star striker Jamie Vardy to watch the match. Manager Claudio Ranieri was returning from Italy, where he had been visiting his 96-year-old mother. Ranieri, who was sacked by Chelsea in 2004, had never won a league title. But during the match against Tottenham Monday, many Chelsea fans could be heard singing "There's only one Ranieri!" as the final whistle blew. The 64-year-old will return to Chelsea's ground with Leicester to round out their final game of the season.

Leicester City have clinched their first-ever Premier League title in one of the biggest surprises in the sport. They were crowned champions thanks to Tottenham’s draw with Chelsea on Monday evening. After a season of unprecedented success, Leicester City have finally wrapped up the Premier League title. After their 1-1 draw away to Manchester United on Sunday, the Foxes’ fate ... Read More »

Bundesliga: Late winner boosts Eintracht Frankfurt’s survival hopes

Eintracht Frankfurt collected a dramatic win over Mainz to keep their hopes of staying in the Bundesliga alive and consign Hannover to relegation. Consecutive defeats for Mainz is a setback to European ambitions. Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Mainz (Russ 27', Bell o.g. 84' - Brosinski 17') Eintracht Frankfurt picked up a vital win against local rivals Mainz to open up the relegation battle with three games left. Stefan Bell's own goal in the 84th minute ends a run of three straight defeats and moves the Eagles within one point of Werder Bremen who occupy the relegation playoff spot. A tetchy affair was ushered into life after 17 minutes when right-back Daniel Brosinski conjured up a moment of brilliance to score his first Bundesliga goal, curling a free-kick into the top corner. Mainz, with two changes to their side from the 3-2 defeat to Cologne, handed a first senior start to 19-year-old midfielder Suat Serdar and were looking to move within one point of fourth-placed Hertha Berlin. Eintracht Frankfurt, meanwhile, had lost one of their last five at home, but were looking to end a terrible run of having scored only two goals in nine matches. Shortly before the half-hour mark, the home side ended that run and restored parity when Ben-Hatira squared the ball back to Marco Russ who bundled the ball past Loris Karius from close range. Fighting spirit Kovac's men had the better of Mainz throughout and carved out the better chances. Haris Seferovic was tasked with standing in for the injured Alex Meier, last season's top goalscorer in the Bundesliga. The Swiss striker - who scored his last league goal in November against Mainz - found life difficult on his own and saw a string of efforts saved by Mainz keeper Karius. Ben-Hatira threatened again, but he saw his shot land off target. Seferovic was denied once more by Karius who produced an outstanding one-handed save to keep the sides level. Neither team were particularly impressive in possession and it seemed like Frankfurt's luck had run out despite pounding the Mainz goal. But, along with the sun, lady luck was shining at the Commerzbank Arena as the hosts snatched the points with six minutes left to prompt scenes of jubilation among their supporters. Ben-Hatira's cross from the wing took a wild deflection off Mainz center-back Stefan Bell and the ball looped over the helpless Karius. The goal keeps Frankfurt in the hunt for survival and has officially relegated Hannover who leave the Bundesliga for the first time in 14 years. Mainz, however, suffer a setback in their battle for the Champions League, but remain in the hunt for a Europa League berth.

Eintracht Frankfurt collected a dramatic win over Mainz to keep their hopes of staying in the Bundesliga alive and consign Hannover to relegation. Consecutive defeats for Mainz is a setback to European ambitions. Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Mainz (Russ 27′, Bell o.g. 84′ – Brosinski 17′) Eintracht Frankfurt picked up a vital win against local rivals Mainz to open up the ... Read More »

Thomas Müller ensures German Cup final for Bayern Munich after Werder Bremen win

Bayern are still on course for the treble after two goals from Thomas Müller saw them through to the German Cup final. Yet Tuesday's win over Werder Bremen wasn't without its controversy. Bayern Munich 2-0 Werder Bremen (Müller 30', 71' pen) Bayern Munich made hard work of their 2-0 win over Werder Bremen in the semifinals of the German Cup to keep their treble hopes alive. On paper, it was another comfortable win for Pep Guardiola's side, but in truth it was a match which saw the current German champions overcome their Bundesliga compatriots with a fair dose of controversy. The Bavarian giants were clear favorites to win the tie given the positions of both clubs in the Bundesliga, yet in the opening 45 minutes there was little to separate the teams apart from a Thomas Müller goal that saw the Bayern forward take advantage of a slip from his marker, Clemens Fritz, and fire home a free header from the corner. Despite the hosts starting the game with an attacking lineup – which included Robert Lewandowski, Mario Götze, Franck Ribery, Kingsley Coman and Müller – chances for Bayern were few and far between. Coman volleyed wide just before the half hour mark, before Müller bent one off target, which was as close as it got for Guardiola's side after the goal. Indeed it was this lack of cohesion and a clear gulf in quality between the two teams which gave Werder Bremen the incentive to attack Bayern in the second half. Bayern may have had a one-goal advantage, but they were by no means pulling away from their guests on the night. Bremen hard done by Where Bayern should have pushed on for a second goal and a conclusive breakthrough in the match, it was Bremen who continued to venture forward and ask questions of the Bayern defense. The best chance of the game for Bremen came in the 70th minute when a through ball, over the top of the Bayern defense, caught David Alaba off guard and had the defender running back towards his own goal. With Fin Bartels breathing down his neck, the Austrian international then swiped at the bouncing ball and sliced the clearance over his own goalkeeper and into the Bayern net. Yet the euphoria was short lived as the referee Tobias Stieler pulled proceedings back for what he deemed to be a foul on the Bayern defender. Replays showed that Bartels had placed his arm on Alaba as the defender tried to clear the ball. Unfortunately for Viktor Skripnik's side the misfortune wouldn't end there. Ten minutes after the controversial call, late substitute Arturo Vidal broke in to the Bremen box and took advantage of a sloppy slide tackle from Janek Sternberg to hit the floor. The referee then gave a penalty despite replays showing the Bremen defender hadn't made contact with the Chilean international. Despite protestations from the Bremen team and bench, Müller eventually stepped up to the spot and casually dispatched the penalty to double Bayern's lead and confirm their spot in the German Cup final. The applause from the home support was quickly replaced by continuous boos from the 8000 travelling Bremen fans, yet Bayern couldn't have cared less when the whistle went for full time. It wasn't the prettiest of victories, but by hook or by crook the German champions had overcome a spirited Bremen side to reach their first final of the season.

Bayern are still on course for the treble after two goals from Thomas Müller saw them through to the German Cup final. Yet Tuesday’s win over Werder Bremen wasn’t without its controversy. Bayern Munich 2-0 Werder Bremen (Müller 30′, 71′ pen) Bayern Munich made hard work of their 2-0 win over Werder Bremen in the semifinals of the German Cup ... Read More »

Bundesliga: Robert Lewandowski returns to scoring form as Bayern Munich beat Schalke

Bayern Munich moved within touching distance of their fourth consecutive championship with a routine win over Schalke. Lewandowski added another two to his impressive scoring record, whilst Vidal secured the third. Bayern Munich 3-0 Schalke (Lewandowski 53', 64', Vidal 73') After sitting out of Bayern Munich's Champions League win at Benfica, Robert Lewandowski returned to the side to score a double to extend their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to 10 points. The Polish center-forward - without a goal in his last three matches - decided the outcome with two simple finishes in the second half, before Arturo Vidal continued his excellent streak with a third. Given Bayern Munich's season has still to reach its crescendo as a semifinal meeting with Atletico Madrid looms large, it was little surprise that Guardiola made six changes from Wednesday's win over Benfica - Rafinha, Juan Bernat, Medhi Benatia, Kingsley Coman, Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski all returned to the starting line-up. Javi Martinez was left out of the matchday squad, but will be available for the German Cup semifinal against Werder Bremen on Tuesday. Bernat and Costa looked menacing on the left in the opening stages, with the Brazilian winger firing a half-volley over the crossbar in the first minute. But Schalke's compact 5-4-1 formation was impenetrable for the entirety of the first half - as alarming as it got for the Royal Blues was a glancing header from Lewandowski that was matched by Schalke keeper Ralf Fährmann. Schalke were clearly tetchy in possession and squandered a number of decent counterattacking situations. Junior Caicara, advanced on the right-flank, forayed into positions behind Bernat, but his passing lacked precision. Manuel Neuer's only real task against his former club was to pluck a header out of the air from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Sharp-shooter Lewandowski scores Bayern upped the tempo of their play after the break and peppered Fährmann's goal with a handful of efforts. On 51 minutes, Arturo Vidal, who has become one of the team's most important players in recent weeks, spun past his marker and dragged his shot inches past the target. Two minutes later, Vidal's header set up Lewandowski whose control and finish broke the deadlock. The 27-year-old striker took his tally to 27 for the season, finishing off an incisive move that emanated from Rafinha's work rate on the right-hand side. Lewandowski has been peerless in his consistency over the season, however the form of Chilean midfielder Vidal has been pivotal in the last few weeks. Vidal's form has been impressive since a man-of-the-match performance in the 4-2 win over Juventus in the last 16 of the Champions League. He scored a double on international duty with Chile before gaining Bayern a first leg lead over Benfica. His thumping finish on Wednesday gave Bayern the important cushion to book a spot in the semifinals - his third goal in his last four matches. With 17 minutes left, Vidal finished off Franck Ribery's cross to wrap up the points and move Bayern closer to the championship. Schalke, tied on 45 points with Mainz and Borussia Mönchengladbach, are four points off fourth-placed Hertha with four games remaining.

Bayern Munich moved within touching distance of their fourth consecutive championship with a routine win over Schalke. Lewandowski added another two to his impressive scoring record, whilst Vidal secured the third. Bayern Munich 3-0 Schalke (Lewandowski 53′, 64′, Vidal 73′) After sitting out of Bayern Munich’s Champions League win at Benfica, Robert Lewandowski returned to the side to score a ... Read More »

German Cup: Bayern Munich reach semifinals with win over Bochum

A brace from Robert Lewandowski and one from Thiago gave Bayern Munich the win on a patchy pitch. Bochum played much of the game with 10 men after a professional foul in the first half. Bochum 0-3 Bayern Munich (Lewandowski 39', 90', Thiago 61') Bayern Munich may not have been at their very best at the Ruhrstadion on Wednesday night in a 3-0 win over Bochum in the German Cup quarterfinals, but Pep Guardiola's side did just enough to overcome their stubborn hosts. Following a lacklustre 0-0 draw against Bayer Leverkusen a few days before in the Bundesliga, Guardiola's side once again didn't look up to the task of dominating a match when Bochum took the game to them in the opening 30 minutes. Bochum midfielder Thomas Eisfeld enjoyed plenty of time and space in the opening exchanges between the two sides as the game went from box to box, and found his striker Simon Terodde on three separate occasions behind the Bayern defence. The striker – who has scored 10 league goals this season – failed to convert any of his chances but proved that the German champions could be exposed. Yet when Bayern look most vulnerable, they often tend to take the lead and that is exactly what happened when Thomas Müller found an unmarked Robert Lewandowski. The Polish striker, often so composed in front of goal but strangely quiet before his goal, kindly took the ball and fired the opener in off the back post of Manuel Riemann's goal. Five minutes later the Munich side had a golden opportunity to double their lead when Arjen Robben hit the ground from the faintest of touches from Jan Simunek. The defender was harshly sent off but the home side were afforded some justice when Müller saw his shot pushed on to the cross bar by Riemann. Bayern went in to the break with a slight lead and one-man advantage to boot. Unfortunately for Gertjan Verbeek's side things didn't get any easier in the second half. With a man missing, Bayern's dominance began to take its toll on the home side and just after the hour mark Bochum's defense was once again carved open. Robben's chipped pass found Muller out right and the Germany international ran to the line before pulling the ball back for the on-running Thiago to finish the move. A second assist for Muller on a night in which Bayern rarely stepped out of first gear and a timely reminder to his manager that he may well have been what was missing in the previous fixture. The match then descended into no more than a training excercise, despite the best efforts of the home support. Xabi Alonso was pulled off three minutes after the second goal for Rafinha, with Juan Bernat and Arturo Vidal later joining the clash for Philipp Lahm and Holger Badstuber respectively. Lewandowski concluded the evening's competition when Vidal's interception allowed Robben to turn and play through the striker to calmly slot home for his second on the night - and his 29th in all competitions this season. A professional job from the Bavarian giants saw them progress to their seventh consecutive semifinal in the German Cup.

A brace from Robert Lewandowski and one from Thiago gave Bayern Munich the win on a patchy pitch. Bochum played much of the game with 10 men after a professional foul in the first half. Bochum 0-3 Bayern Munich (Lewandowski 39′, 90′, Thiago 61′) Bayern Munich may not have been at their very best at the Ruhrstadion on Wednesday night ... Read More »

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