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.


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.


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.

MLS Cup Playoffs: NY Red Bulls 1-0 (1-2 agg.) Columbus Crew SC

Tony Tchani, Michael Parkhurst

The game in 100 words (or less): Columbus Crew SC are headed to their second MLS Cup in club history (champions – 2008) after defeating the New York Red Bulls, 2-0 on aggregate, in the Western Conference finals (0-0 draw in an extremely chippy second leg on Sunday). Justin Meram and Kei Kamara scored the two-leg tie’s only goals — eight seconds and 85 minutes into the first leg, respectively — and Crew SC confidently managed the second leg by defending with numbers and wisely picking their spots to break out on the counter. RBNY held nearly 60 percent of possession in the second leg, but could muster just six shots on target over the 90 minutes. Crew SC will host the Portland Timbers in MLS Cup 2015 next Sunday (4 p.m. ET) at MAPFRE Stadium.

[ MORE: Previewing the MLS weekend ]

Three moments that mattered

38′ — Robles at full stretch to deny Kamara — What’s better: the first touch, second touch, turn and shot by Kei Kamara; or, the sprawled-out save by Luis Robles to swat away a ball clearly headed for the bottom corner? Quality on quality.

90+3′ — Abang heads home to make it nervy late — Anatole Abange rose above the crowd and headed home a recycled ball inside the penalty area after a Sal Zizzo cross was headed high into the air late into stoppage time.

90+5′ — Madness in the penalty area, RBNY hit the post — It was absolute scenes inside the Crew SC penalty area. Ball after ball pumped into the box, headed high into the air and briefly cleared. The final chance of the game fell to Bradley Wright-Phillips, who headed the ball toward the far post with Steve Clark rushing out quickly, only to see his slow dribbler bounce off the front side of the post and back into the field of play.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Wil Trapp

Goalscorers: Abang (90+3′)

MLS Cup Playoffs: FC Dallas 2-2 (3-5 agg.) Portland Timbers

Fanendo Adi, Portland Timbers FC
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The game in 100 words (or less): The Portland Timbers are headed to their first MLS Cup in club history after defeating FC Dallas, 5-3 on aggregate, in the Western Conference finals (2-2 draw in the second leg). Fanendo Adi scored in Sunday’s second leg, giving Caleb Porter’s side a 4-1 aggregate lead before Ryan Hollingshead and Blas Perez scored inside the last 25 minutes to give Oscar Pareja’s bunch a late lifeline, but Lucas Melano’s spectacular tap-in sealed the Timbers’ trip to MLS Cup. The third seed heading into the playoffs, Portland bounced Sporting Kansas City in an epic penalty shootout in the knockout round and outlasted the Vancouver Whitecaps in the conference semifinals before knocking off the West’s top seed over two legs to advance to MLS Cup 2015. No matter who advances from the East finals later on Sunday, Portland will play away in MLS Cup, to either the New York Red Bulls or Columbus Crew SC.

[ MORE: Previewing the MLS weekend ]

Three Four moments that mattered

54′ — Adi fires past Gonzalez to make if 4-1 — Oscar Pareja elected to go with Walker Zimmerman at center back on Sunday, dropping regular starter Zach Loyd to the bench. On the game’s opening goal, it was Zimmerman who wound up on the ground as Adi received the ball, turned and fired a massive away goal past Jesse Gonzalez.

68′ — Diaz’s magical ball curled home by Hollingshead — Mauro Diaz is a wonderful magician capable of playing the kill through ball from anywhere on the field — this we’ve known for quite some time. His chipped through ball to set up Hollingshead’s goal was extraordinarily brilliant, even for him.

73′ — Perez heads home the free kick to pull within one — Would you be surprised to hear that it was Diaz who set up FCD’s second goal? His free kick was Perez-finding missile and found the head of the Panamanian striker at the top of the six-yard box, where 34-year-old headed home with ease.

90+5′ — Melano rounds Gonzalez, seals MLS Cup berth — Poor Jesse Gonzalez. Absolutely schooled and posterized by Lucas Melano. What a way to sew up a place in the championship final.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Mauro Diaz

Goalscorers: Adi (54′), Hollingshead (68′), Perez (73′), Melano (90+5′)

La Liga & Serie A: Real Madrid bounce back; Juventus on the charge

Gareth Bale, Real Madrid CF
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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights:

Eibar 0-2 Real Madrid

Real Madrid bounced back from back-to-back La Liga defeats with a 2-0 victory away to Eibar on Sunday. Gareth Bale (below video) and Cristiano Ronaldo (penalty kick) provided the goals to keep Rafa Benitez‘s bunch (27 points) third in the league, two points behind Atletico Madrid and six behind leaders Barcelona.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Getafe 2-0 Villarreal
Rayo Vallecano 0-3 Athletic Bilbao
Sevilla 1-0 Valencia

[ MORE: Saturday’s La Liga roundup ]

Roma 0-2 Atalanta

Losing at home to sides currently in a relegation battle — rarely a good idea, especially if you fancy yourselves title challengers, but that didn’t stop Roma from doing just that on Sunday. Alejandro Gomez and German Denis scored the goals to knock off a 10-man Roma side (Maicon – 81st minute) and keep Rudi Garcia’s bunch (27 points) from gaining ground on any of the three teams currently ahead of them — Inter Milan, Napoli and Fiorentina — all of whom play on Monday.

AC Milan 4-1 Sampdoria

M’Baye Niang scored twice, while Giacomo Bonaventura and Luiz Adriano (below video) added single tallies for AC Milan (23 points) to keep pace with the top-five pack in Serie A. After 14 rounds of games, the Rossoneri sit sixth, a point outside fifth (UEFA Europa League) and five points out of third (UEFA Champions League).

Palermo 0-3 Juventus

Don’t look now, but here come Juventus. Sunday’s 3-0 triumph over Palermo makes it four straight wins in the league for Massimiliano Allegri’s side — a run that pushes them all the way up to fifth in the league (24 points), just six points off the pace of leaders Inter, who play on Monday. Mario Mandzukic (below video), Stefano Sturaro and Simone Zaza scored the goals for the world’s most frightening fifth-place team.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Torino 2-0 Bologna
Chievo 2-3 Udinese
Frosinone 3-2 Hellas Verona
Genoa 1-2 Carpi
Empoli 1-0 Lazio

Monday’s Serie A schedule

Sassuolo vs. Fiorentina (1 p.m. ET)
Napoli vs. Inter Milan (3 p.m. ET)

Arsenal’s injury crisis — add Sanchez, Cazorla, Koscielny to the list

Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal FC
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From title challengers to just hoping to hold on to a top-four place while Arsene Wenger is forced to play reserves and academy players because half of his star players are currently out injured — the annual story of Arsenal.

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Oct. 27, when Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both went down with injuries in the same game, marked the unofficial start of Arsenal’s 2015-16 injury crisis, but things didn’t really get going full bore until the last seven days, when five more players — four of them full-time starters — picked up injuries that will keep them out of action for anywhere between three weeks and three months.

Added to the list last weekend: Francis Coquelin (knee – three months minimum), Mikel Arteta (calf – three weeks)

Added to the list on Sunday: Alexis Sanchez (hamstring – MORE DETAILS), Santi Cazorla (knee), Laurent Koscielny (hip)

Following Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Norwich City, Wenger said Koscielny “could not walk” due to the hip spasm that forced him out of the game after just 11 minutes. He also divulged that Cazorla, who could not be subbed off because Wenger had already used all three subs late on, played the second half “on one leg.” Sanchez came into Sunday injured after picking up a hamstring injury in Arsenal’s UEFA Champions League victory over Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Sunday’s PL roundup — Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs all draw ]

Arsenal fans were up in arms during the summer transfer window — let’s be honest, the following is true of every transfer window the last five years — crying out, “We must buy, we must buy.” Have a look at Arsenal’s complete injury list at the moment, and try to say, “They didn’t need to buy in the summer.”

In chronological order: Danny Welbeck (knee – early 2016 return), Tomas Rosicky (knee – Christmas time return), Jack Wilshere (leg – Christmas time return), Theo Walcott (calf – December return), Mikel Arteta (calf – three weeks), Francis Coquelin (knee – three months minimum), Laurent Koscielny (hip – to be assessed), Alexis Sanchez (hamstring – to be assessed), Santi Cazorla (knee – to be assessed)