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

Pep: “Celebrations weren’t too much”

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Pep Guardiola is staying as close-lipped as possible when it comes to the post-match derby dust-up between his Manchester City and Manchester United on Sunday.

Reports say United boss Mourinho charged into the visitors locker room to protest loud celebrations following City’s 2-1 win at Old Trafford. For his troubles, he allegedly got milk thrown at him and City assistant Mikel Arteta ended up with a cut face.

[ MORE: Klopp responds to interview hubbub ]

Guardiola said the celebrations were his idea, and he doesn’t want to say much more about United’s reactions.

“I am the guy who encouraged each other to celebrate. What happened, happened. We will make statement to the FA. I am not going to comment about that. Celebrations were’t too much.”

“Everybody fought hard to win. We could have scored more goals. After the game we celebrated with the fans and went to the changing room and celebrated the win.”

 

He’d only elaborate by saying, in essence, you celebrate when you win and don’t when you lose, and that other teams celebrate winning in similar rivalries in similar fashion.

Now we await Mourinho. He’s a wild card, but with legal entities involved we wouldn’t be surprised to get little to nothing.

Klopp says post-match interview not a big deal

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It wouldn’t be too wild to call Jurgen Klopp’s Sunday post-match interview the most circulated exchange in the soccer world, at least in recent memory.

Klopp was back behind a microphone on Tuesday as Liverpool prepares for West Bromwich Albion, and was asked about his testy exchange with a reporter following the Reds’ 1-1 draw with Everton in the Merseyside Derby.

[ RECAP: Liverpool 1-1 Everton ]

He says it’s in the past for him and pretty much everyone. From The Liverpool Echo:

“Now I’m completely relaxed, I wasn’t five minutes after the game. Sometimes you look into the eyes of journalists and you feel they aren’t too interested in what you have to say. I’m not an actor.”

“It was nothing, I didn’t use any words I have to take back. I don’t like it but I cannot change it because I felt like this at that moment. I cannot act differently, but I can keep myself calm. It’s just an interview. I don’t think anybody remembers it. It was just an interview, nothing else.”

We’ll say this about the 1-1 draw: it still feels hollow, as Everton executed one of the greatest thefts in the Premier League this season. Even the awarded PK — Dejan Lovren‘s two-handed shove to Dominic Calvert-Lewin was a silly play in a non-threatening spot — was one of those, “Well, sure, but…” calls.

Liverpool dominated the game, and didn’t get three points. Everton got a point, but will want most of its day back. Thank goodness we get another chance at an enjoyable Merseyside Derby in the FA Cup next month.

Wenger: Man City, United should look to sumo wrestlers

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Arsenal is readying for a visit to West Ham United, but Arsene Wenger‘s mind took a detour to Japan.

In a wide-ranging pre-match interview touching on Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, and the Manchester Tunnel Fracas (TM), it was the last topic that had Wenger musing on the post-match actions of sumo wrestlers.

[ MORE: Premier League Tues. preview ]

For those who missed it, there was an alleged dust-up between Manchester City and Manchester United after Jose Mourinho and his men objected to boisterous City celebrations in the away locker room on Sunday.

Ever the politician, the rail thin manager called upon rather large athletes to make the point of what he’d like to see. From Sky Sports:

“It happened to us, it’s happened to them. It’s unfortunate. Ideally you would commit 100% on the pitch and be an angel after. It’s not always the case. You want to keep that passion on the pitch.

“It is difficult to take when you lose a game, to see the celebration. When I was in Japan, I liked sumo wrestling because you could never tell who had won. The winner never showed his happiness as there’s a deep respect for the opponent.”

Wenger’s last managerial stop came in 1996 with Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan.

There was plenty more from Wenger, who was asked about the statuses of Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil.

For the latter, it’s relatively straight-forward: There’s still no new contract between the playmaker and Arsenal, though no final offer has been made and Wenger remains optimistic about the hiring.

As for Giroud, who’s been tipped for a move away from Arsenal for some time, Wenger admits it’s tricky. The super sub would start on most teams but is quite valuable to Arsenal as the usual backup to Alexandre Lacazette.

And it’s not like Arsenal has hurt the Frenchman’s stock with one of the best international sides in the world.

“He’s a very important player and I have big respect for him. Look how many French caps he has got since he came here. He’s not wasted his time. I can understand his frustrations. He’s played many games, much more than many speak about. He’s played more than Lacazette for example. When you are at a big club with many strikers, you can’t guarantee.

“Personally I want him to stay at the club until the end of the season. Then we will see.”

If Wenger can massage the full season out of Giroud and then sell him, Arsenal will have to call it a win. But how different might the Gunners look next August, with Giroud, Ozil, and Alexis Sanchez all expected to be out the door?

Mexico captain Guardado suffers hamstring injury

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With the World Cup still half a year away, there’s plenty of time to heal from injuries and get the body right after tweaking things during the club season.

And yet, there will still be some concern among Mexico fans.

Team captain Andres Guardado suffered a hamstring tear, his club Real Betis confirmed on Monday, and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks. That’s nothing to write home about when it comes to preparing for the big tournament, but with Guardado 31 years old and struggling with injuries in recent years, Mexico fans will be keenly aware that hamstring injuries can return with a vengeance if not given the right time to heal.

Guardado has shown his age in recent times, not necessarily with his play on the field, which has been critical to his country, but with his fitness. Guardado has just four full 90 minute performances for Mexico dating back to October of 2016, missing time with ankle, leg, and now hamstring injuries in that span.

The 31-year-old has had a fine season so far for Real Betis, scoring one goal and assisting six while appearing in all 15 La Liga matches for the club thus far. The club sits 12th in the La Liga table with 18 points.

Guardado will be fine with plenty of time to spare, but if not fully healed properly, there’s always the risk that muscle injuries can flare back up, and Mexico fans will hope that their captain’s club gives him plenty of rest to recover.