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Bobadilla gets Augsburg winner; Frankfurt 3rd in Bundesliga

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BERLIN (AP) Raul Bobadilla struck in the last second of injury time to give Augsburg a 3-2 win on Sunday and deny Werder Bremen an important point in its Bundesliga relegation fight.

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Max Kruse hoped he’d won the game for Bremen when he tucked away a penalty in the 65th minute – after Martin Hinteregger’s clumsy challenge on Serge Gnabry – but Koo Ja-cheol equalized with around 10 minutes remaining and then crossed for Bobadilla to claim the winner.

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“It feels really hard and bitter after the way the game went,” Bremen coach Alexander Nouri said. “Even with a 2-2 draw I wouldn’t have been satisfied. We controlled the game up to 2-1.”

Bremen had gone ahead against the run of play in the 26th when Theodor Gebre Selassie scored from close range, only for Jonathan Schmid to equalize for midtable Augsburg shortly after.

“(Bremen) played a super game and when you win a game like that, it’s a dream,” Augsburg general manager Stefan Reuter said.

Only goal difference kept Bremen out of the relegation zone after starting the year with three straight defeats.

“We could also read the table beforehand,” Nouri said. “It’s going to be a tight race to the end.”

EINTRACHT FRANKFURT 2, DARMSTADT 0

Late goals from Makoto Hasebe and Ante Rebic sent Eintracht Frankfurt back into third place with a 2-0 win at home over Hessen rival Darmstadt.

Darmstadt, which fought hard throughout the game, remained stranded at the bottom of the Bundesliga, seven points from safety after 19 games.

Peter Niemeyer went closest for the visitors in the first half when his effort skimmed the top of the crossbar.

Alexander Milosevic’s tug on Jesus Vallejo’s jersey gave Hasebe the chance to break the deadlock from the penalty spot in the 74th and the Japan midfielder duly converted.

Alexander Meier took his time before picking out Rebic to seal the win with his first Bundesliga goal less than 10 minutes later.

Bundesliga wrap: Bayern wins it late, Leverkusen goes second

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It looked like Bayern Munich was on pace to drop points for just the fifth time this season, but then the club’s star striker stepped up in the biggest of moments.

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The German leaders came back to pick up a 2-1 victory on the road at Wolfsburg after Robert Lewandowski converted a penalty kick in stoppage time.

Sandro Wagner’s second-half header had pulled the match level off of an Arjen Robben cross in the 64th minute. Robben atoned for an earlier penalty-kick miss, which would have tied the match ten minutes prior.

Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke were each big winners on the day, with the two clubs moving into the top four.

Leverkusen’s 2-1 win on the road against Hertha Berlin saw Heiko Herrlich and his side move up to second place in the Bundesliga, albeit a lengthy distance behind leaders Bayern.

Schalke took care of business at home against Hoffenheim, bringing the Miners one step closer to the top four. The side is now level on 37 points with Borussia Dortmund for fourth, but the Christian Pulisic and Co. currently boast a superior goal differential.

Below are all of Saturday’s scores from around Germany’s top flight.

Cologne 1-1 Hannover 96
Hertha Berlin 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Freiburg 1-0 Werder Bremen
Wolfsburg 1-1 Bayern Munich
Schalke 2-0 Hoffenheim

Rodchenkov to AP: Russian footballers immune from drug bans

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Russian doping whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov claims he helped soccer players in the country to avoid being caught doping after he followed government orders to ensure cheating was covered up.

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The former Russian anti-doping laboratory director told The Associated Press in response to questions through his lawyer that an instruction to avoid scandal came from Vitaly Mutko. Mutko is the former Russian sports minister who serves as deputy prime minster despite being at the center of the doping deception controversy exposed by Rodchenkov.

The focus is sharpening on doping practices in Russian soccer with the World Cup kicking off in Moscow in four months.

Rodchenkov says “Russian footballers were immune from doping-control actions or sanctions.”

Rodchenkov claimed Mutko said “avoid any scandal by hiding positive results” and that “doping would be handled internally”.

Video: Rondon’s exquisite volley not enough to save West Brom

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Salomon Rondon’s second-half volley was not only a beauty, but one of tremendous difficulty.

Unfortunately for he and his West Bromwich Albion side, though, it wasn’t enough for the Baggies to survive in this season’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Southampton.

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The Saints progressed to the quarterfinals on Saturday behind goals from Wesley Hoedt and Dusan Tadic, and join fellow Premier League sides Chelsea, Brighton & Hove and Leicester City in the final eight.

Tadic’s goal came in the 56th minute, doubling the Southampton lead, but Rondon’s quality volley two minutes later provided West Brom with a temporary moment of relief (below).

Video: Brilliant Messi through ball sends Suarez in on goal

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With a blockbuster UEFA Champions League clash against Chelsea right around the corner for Barcelona, the Spanish league leaders look on pace to extend their perfect La Liga record.

[ MORE: Willian dazzles for Chelsea in FA Cup win over Hull ]

Despite rumors that Lionel Messi and some of Barcelona’s biggest stars would be rested ahead of Tuesday’s match against the London side, the Argentine superstar not only started at Eibar on Saturday, but made a brilliant impact in the 17th minute.

Messi linked up with Luis Suarez after playing the Uruguayan through towards goal from a tremendous defense-splitting pass that sent the striker in for the 1-0 lead.

Barcelona has yet to lose in domestic competition this season, boasting an 18-5-0 record heading into Saturday’s meeting with Eibar. Additionally, Messi and Co. currently hold a plus-49 goal differential, which was lifted to plus-50 with Suarez’s finish.

The Blaugrana are the last team in Europe’s five major leagues to remain unbeaten in league play.