Bundesliga Report: Goals, goals and more goals

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Sick and tired of people talking about how soccer is such a dull sport, with games ending in goalless draws or, at best, with a single goal being the deciding factor? Point those doomsayers in the direction of German football. In the seven matches played thus far in the Bundesliga, there’ve already been 24 goals — that’s more than three per match, in case you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to do any maths.

Read on for a quick glance around the German top division.

Friday

Stuttgart 1-1 Nurnberg
The hosts took an early lead after Niklas Stark brought down Alexandru Maxim inside the area. It was Vedad Ibisevic that put in the resulting penalty, but the Bosnian’s goal was cancelled out three minutes later when Josip Drmic got on the end of a ball from Timothy Chandler to put in the equalizer. Stuttgart fall out of the European places after the draw, and could fall further should Gladbach get a result on Sunday.

Saturday

Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Augsburg
It looked as though this would be the week Leverkusen would slip up, allowing both Bayern and Dortmund to pull further ahead. Andre Hahn put the visitors ahead, but a goal from Simon Rolfes had Leverkusen even before the break. It was a nervy second half for the hosts, however — at least until Emre Can found the back of the net in the 83rd minute. Leverkusen remain one point behind leaders Bayern Munich, while Augsburg edge closer to the relegation zone.

Bayern Munich 3-2 Hertha Berlin
Newcomers Hertha Berlin got off to a great start at the Allianz Arena, with Adrián Ramos scoring before five minutes had passed. But, as we all know, Bayern Munich don’t much care for that sort of challenge. Mario Mandzukic equalized in the first half, then put the hosts ahead early in the second. Mario Götze added an insurance goal three minutes later — fortunately for Bayern, because Hertha had another in them as well, with Änis Ben-Hatira adding his team’s second.

Hannover 1-4 Hoffenheim 
This was an absolutely brutal match for the hosts, who ultimately finished the game with nine men. Mame Biram Diouf picked up two yellows inside two minutes, putting Hannover down to ten by the 12th minute. Sejad Salihovic had already converted a penalty prior to the sending off, and Kai Herdling added a second shortly after. Somewhat surprisingly, Salif Sané scored to put Hannover back into the match, but then Roberto Firmino put in Hoffenheim’s third, and then their fourth. Marcelo received a straight red with 25 minutes left to play, but by that time Hoffenheim were out of goals.

Mainz 2-0 Braunschweig
Definitely the Bundesliga’s most straightforward match of the weekend. Shinji Okazaki grabbed two, furthering Braunschweig’s misery as they continue to struggle to climb from the bottom of the table.

Schalke 04 1-3 Borussia Dortmund
The Revierderby should’ve been more exciting than this, no? Two Champions League sides going head-to-head? Except Schalke have failed to impress thus far, winning just four of their ten matches. In this one, Kevin-Prince Boateng missed a penalty that would’ve put the hosts on level terms after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the opener. Instead, Nuri Sahin grabbed Dortmund’s second before Max Mayer finally knocked one in for Schalke. But Jakub Blaszczykowski put in Dortmund’s third as the visitors claimed victory, both on the pitch and in number of letters used when writing match reports.

Wolfsburg 3-0 Werder Bremen
The two sides were on level terms before the start of the match, but now Wolfsburg sit in fifth, just out of the Champions League places, while Werder Bremen are down in 12th. Maximillian Arnold, Ivica Olic and Ivan Perisic put in the goals for Wolfsburg.

Still to come — Sunday

Freiburg vs. Hamburg
It’s a battle at the bottom, but even a win won’t lift Freiburg out of the drop zone. However, they may feel safer in 16th, as the Bundesliga features a playoff to determine who gets sent down.

Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
A home win will lift Gladbach into fourth place after Hertha fell against Bayern. That’ll make for good revenge after the Foals lost at Hertha just last week. But with Eintracht having drawn their last four, it won’t be easy for the hosts to grab all three points.

Report: Man United to target Rose, other full backs this summer

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Jose Mourinho has identified perhaps the most underrated position on the pitch as a place he needs to upgrade his squad this summer.

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According to a report from The Guardian, the Manchester United manager is looking to sign Tottenham wing back Danny Rose and potentially another full back in the summer transfer window. With Luke Shaw likely to leave the club, Mourinho is left with incumbents left back Ashley Young and right back Antonio Valencia, both on the wrong side of 30-years old and both converted wingers playing out-of-position.

Mourinho last December decried crosstown rivals Man City for spending more than $140 million to sign wing backs Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker last summer. Though Mendy missed most of the season with a torn ACL, Walker and fellow outside back Danilo helped give Man City’s attack another dimension out wide, as the wing backs in the 3-4-3 or Man City’s 4-1-4-1 with Fernandinho dropping back into the centerback pairing become ever more important.

Rose has had a contentious last 18-months or so at Tottenham and could be looking to leave this summer. But it will likely take a bid north of $75 million, around what it cost Man City to sign Walker last summer, to buy Rose out of his Tottenham contract.

Matteo Darmian meanwhile, another potential outside back for Man United, could also be departing the club this summer, as Man United looks to replenish its side.

Errors down, penalty kicks up after introduction of VAR in Italy

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The implementation of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Italy has been controversial, but according to a look at the statistics, it has for the most part done its job to fix clear and obvious errors.

Italian sports paper Gazzetta Dello Sport compiled all the times VAR has been used through 346 matches, 330 in Serie A and 16 in the Coppa Italia. There were 1,736 checks (916 goals, 464 penalties and 356 red cards) with 105 corrections and just 17 errors where the referee and assistant made the wrong decision. Eight of those errors did affect the result, which is an issue that will surely be addressed by the Italian officiating organization.

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But overall, Gazzetta found that in the VAR era, referee errors only amounted to 0.98 percent during a match, as opposed to 6.03 percent in the past. In addition, fouls are down 8.8 percent, red cards are down 6.4 percent, and yellow cards are down 14.7 percent. On the flip side, penalty kicks are called 4.3 more percent of the time.

The Premier League voted recently not to add VAR to its league matches next season, while top leagues in Germany, Italy and in Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League continue to use it.

Report: New Arsenal manager will have small budget to re-shape squad

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Whoever takes the helm as Arsenal’s next manager will have to do some math gymnastics this summer to stretch every penny available.

According to a report from The Telegraph, Arsenal is giving Arsene Wenger‘s successor a little less than $70 million to work with in this summer’s transfer market, citing back-to-back transfer windows with club-record signings (Alexandre Lacazette last summer and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January) and three raises given to players. Arsenal paid around $78 million alone to sign Aubameyang and around $65 million for Lacazette.

[READ: UCL Preview: Liverpool vs. Roma]

That means whoever comes in next to lead Arsenal will likely have to sell one or two players this summer to raise additional money for world-class signings.

For the last decade, Arsenal has been crying out for a new pair of centerbacks and a holding midfielder in the mould of Patrick Vieira. In addition, with Petr Cech getting older, the prospect of needing a new goalkeeper is also on the horizon.

Luckily for Arsenal, they seem to be just fine up front. From Aubameyang and Lacazette to Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey, the club has the talent to challenge for a title next season in that department.

A dozen different names have been bandied about as to who will be Arsenal’s next manager, with out-of-contract and former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique reportedly on the shortlist. Vieira, former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta, Germany National Team coach Joachim Low, Juventus boss Max Allegri and Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsman have all also been linked with the job.

Tunisian player who collapsed in Spain regains consciousness

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MADRID (AP) Spanish third-division club Toledo says a Tunisian player who collapsed from heart failure during practice 10 days ago has regained consciousness.

The club says doctors removed sedative medication and Lassad Nouioui was responding well to treatment on Monday.

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They will consider removing the 32-year-old Nouioui from the intensive care unit if his condition keeps improving. Nouioui has played for a number of clubs during his 14-year professional career, notably a four-year stay at Deportivo La Coruna and a one-year spell with Celtic.

Nouioui collapsed on April 14.

The game against Real Madrid B the following day was postponed because of the problem with Nouioui.