Dortmund 0-3 Bayern Munich: Bayern stay top, pull seven points clear of BVB

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Saturday’s match between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, the top two sides in the Bundesliga, was billed as the German clasico. But ultimately, the match failed to impress, as Bayern trotted out the easy winners. The loss pushes Dortmund down to third, seven points behind the league leaders.

The first half gave the hosts a bit of hope. Dortmund, struggling with a makeshift back line that missed Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer and Neven Subotic , still managed to engage their potent attack. However, they just couldn’t seem to threaten Manuel Neuer. Robert Lewandowski, apparently trying not to anger his future team, sent his attempt in the third minute too high. Jakub Blaszczykowski forced a vital block by David Alaba, and followed it up with another attempt. Neuer’s only real work came in stopping a shot from Marco Reus, who was, curiously, allowed to wander freely.

Bayern had the best chance of the half in the 37th minute. Arjen Robben played a lovely ball across the six-yard box for Mario Mandzukic, who’d already forced Roman Weidenfeller into a save earlier in the match. But this time, the Croatian just couldn’t get a good shot in, and the visitors’ chance went begging.

Early in the second half, Pep Guardiola chose to bring off Mandzukic and introduce Mario Götze. This, you might imagine, caused quite a stir at the Westfalenstadion. Götze certainly didn’t endear himself to the Dortmund supporters when, after coming up through the youth system and spending four seasons on the senior BVB side, he made the move to Bayern Munich — for a whole lotta Euros, of course.

And no, the fact that he did not celebrate when scoring for the visitors didn’t make the infamous Dortmund support love him again. For the neutrals, though, it was a fine goal: a little poke on from a ball from Thomas Müller. You might wonder why Götze was left with so much space to make that finish, but then you’ll remember the shambles that is the Dortmund defense.

Jurgen Klopp made a couple of changes shortly after the goal, hoping to introduce a bit more oomph in the attack. Jonas Hofmann came on for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang replaced Blaszczykowski. Moments later, Marco Reus got on the end of a Lewandowski flick, firing his shot low. But Neuer managed a fantastic save to keep Bayern in the lead.

And ultimately it was Bayern who scored the second. And the third. With just five minutes to go, a chipped shot from Arjen Robben, possibly intended for Götze, found its way into the back of Weidenfeller’s net. But that wasn’t enough for Guardiola’s men. Müller put in a third just two minutes later, getting on the end of a ball from Philipp Lahm to finish off Dortmund.

Bundesliga Results — through Saturday evening

Eintracht Frankfurt 3-3 Schalke 04

Hertha Berlin 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen

Nurnberg 1-1 Wolfsburg

Braunschweig 0-1 Freiburg

Augsburg 2-0 Hoffenheim

Stuttgart 0-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach

Mourinho slams critics, reveals team news; Fellaini update

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Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United are almost back to full strength but he has a few concerns.

The Red Devils host Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with Mourinho now having just a handful of injury concerns.

Long-term absentees Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo have all returned to action over the past week, while Mourinho has a small defensive problem with Eric Bailly and Phil Jones out for the visit of the newly-promoted Seagulls.

“They are out. But we are okay because we have [Chris] Smalling, [Marcos] Rojo and [Victor] Lindelof,” Mourinho said.

He also said that Pogba isn’t yet able to play a full 90 minutes as he continue his recovery from a hamstring injury, while Zlatan is improving all the time after jumping off the bench in the victory over Newcastle United last weekend and the midweek defeat at Basel in the UEFA Champions League.

“I prefer him [Ibrahimovic] on the pitch than off the pitch,” Mourinho said. “On the pitch, he’s another option for us and he’s an option of quality. His physicality and his intelligence, the way he moves, the way he plays. But he needs time. We managed to give him 15/20 minutes in both matches, he needs more of that, so hopefully, tomorrow, we play him again.”

Mourinho also took exception to a question about the criticism his team receives about their defensive style of play, with the Portuguese coach pointing towards United’s superb home record this season.

“I don’t know who is more ambitious than us,” Mourinho said. “We played against Newcastle with Pogba, Rashford, Martial, Mata, Lukaku, the full backs are not full backs, everybody knows they are wingers, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young. So, I don’t know what you want.”

United have won all six PL home games this season and have scored 19 goals, conceding just once. So, yeah, he has a point but they only real test they’ve had so far at home was against Tottenham Hotspur.

Aside from an injury update and hitting back at critics, Mourinho also gave an update on Fellaini’s contract situation and revealed he is concerned the Belgian midfielder may leave.

Fellaini, 30, is out of contract at the end of the season and Mourinho has praised the lanky midfielder on numerous occasions over the past few months. Is he worried Fellaini will leave for nothing?

“Yeah,” Mourinho said. “This is a discussion between the player and the board. I’m not involved in contracts, in deals, and I respect both – I respect the player because he has the right to decide his future. So I just wait wishing they will have an understanding, but it’s out of my control.”

Bayern fans unhappy with Champions League ticket prices

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich fans were unhappy with the price of tickets for their team’s match at Anderlecht in the Champions League.

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The fans held banners during Wednesday’s game saying, “Are your necks not full? Is your greed now finally satisfied?”

A Bayern fan group, Club Nr. 12, issued a statement saying Anderlecht had made 85 percent of the tickets available to the German club’s fans priced at 100 euros ($118).

“Even by the standards of the generally high-priced Champions League, this represents a new dimension for a first-round game,” said the statement, which thanked Bayern for supplementing the tickets so fans had could pay 70 euros ($82.50).

Many Bayern fans avoided the trip to Brussels altogether, while 91 percent of more than 2,500 Club Nr. 12 members said in a survey that ticket prices were “completely unacceptable.”

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Anderlecht spokesman David Steegen told The Associated Press that Bayern fans were charged “exactly the same price” as home fans who bought single tickets to the game. He said fans who bought a three-game Champions League bundle were offered a reduction.

UEL roundup: AC Milan advances after big win; Arsenal, Everton fall

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Both Premier League sides fell in Thursday’s UEFA Europa League play, but for one side the result didn’t effect their progression into the next round.

[ MORE: Ex-Brazil forward Robinho handed nine-year prison sentence ]

Arsenal dropped a 1-0 result to Cologne, however, the Gunners still moved into the Round of 32 after their Group H counterparts, Red Star Belgrade and BATE Borisov settled for a scoreless draw.

Meanwhile, Everton’s 2017/18 woes continued on the day as the Toffees suffered a brutal 5-1 defeat at home against Serie A side Atalanta. The win secures Atalanta’s place in the knockout phase, along with fellow Group E club Lyon — who also won on Thursday.

AC Milan put up five goals of its own in a convincing win against Austria Wien, while Lazio, Nice and Red Bull Salzburg were among the other sides to move into the next round after picking up the necessary results.

Below are all of the scores from Thursday’s Europa League action.

Astana 2-3 Villareal
Konyaspor 1-1 Marseille
Rosenborg 0-1 Real Sociedad
Lazio 1-1 Vitesse
Viktoria Plzen 2-0 Steaua Bucuresti
Lokomotiv 2-1 Copenhagen
Zenit 2-1 Vardar
Red Bull Salzburg 3-0 Vitoria
Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Hertha Berlin
BATE 0-0 Red Star Belgrade
Ostersunds 2-0 Zorya
Koln 1-0 Arsenal
Nice 3-1 Zulte Waregem
Lugano 1-0 Beer-Sheva
Ludogorets 1-2 Istanbul
Braga 3-1 Hoffenheim
AEK 2-2 Rijeka
AC Milan 5-1 Austria Vienna
Lyon 4-0 Apollon
Maccabi Tel Aviv 0-2 Slavia Praha
Sheriff 1-0 Zlin
Partizan 2-1 Young Boys
Skenderbeu 3-2 Dynamo Kyiv
Everton 1-5 Atalanta

Ex-Brazil forward Robinho sentenced to nine years in prison

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Former Brazil international Robinho has been sentenced to nine years in prison after being convicted of rape on an Albanian woman back in 2013.

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At the time, Robinho was playing for Serie A side AC Milan.

The court decision came down on Thursday after the 33-year-old forward had failed to attend any court hearings in Italy, where the crime reportedly took place.

Robinho is believed to have acted in the crime with five other Brazilians, to which their whereabouts are unknown to this point.

Reuters has reported that Robinho is entitled to up to two appeals and “Italy would only launch extradition proceedings once this legal process is exhausted.”

The Brazilian is known for his club playing days at AC Milan and Manchester City, among other clubs in addition to his time with the Selecao. Robinho took part in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups with Brazil.