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Bundesliga wrap: Bayern stumbles, Top Four looks set

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Bayern Munich had a rare stumble, and its three nearest competitors scooped three points each. Fifth place Hertha Berlin lost its match to leave the Bundesliga with its likely top four sides.

[ PL ROUNDUP: Spurs, Man City, Everton roll ]


Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

Marco Reus feasted on a Christian Pulisic assists just two minutes into the game, but Mexico’s Marco Fabian scored to make sure Pulisic wasn’t the only CONCACAF star on the sheet. Sokratis Papastathopolous buried a beauty before Pierre-Emerick again found the scoreboard in an easy-enough win.

RB Leipzig 4-0 Freiburg

Naby Keita, Timo Werner… the usual suspects were on the score sheet for the top flight’s new power as Leipzig climbed to within eight points of leaders Bayern Munich.

Hoffenheim 5-3 Borussia Monchengladbach

Turkey’s Kerem Demirbay and Hungary’s Adam Szalai each recorded braces as Hoffenheim has a double-digit advantage in its race for a Top Four spot. ‘Gladbach didn’t make it easy, coming back from 2-0 to make it 2-2 and 4-2 to make it 4-3 before Demirbay scored his second.

Mainz 1-0 Hertha Berlin

This one stings: Hertha is now 10 points off the Top Four after an own goal from U.S. international John Anthony Brooks.

Elsewhere

Bayer Leverkusen 0-0 Bayern Munich
Augsburg 2-1 Koln
Wolfsburg 3-0 Ingolstadt
Werder Bremen vs. Hamburg — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Darmstadt vs. Schalke — 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 29 21 6 2 71 15 56 11-3-0 10-3-2 69
 RB Leipzig 29 19 4 6 55 30 25 12-1-2 7-3-4 61
 1899 Hoffenheim 29 14 12 3 56 31 25 10-5-0 4-7-3 54
 Borussia Dortmund 29 15 8 6 62 33 29 11-3-0 4-5-6 53
 Hertha BSC Berlin 29 13 4 12 37 35 2 11-1-2 2-3-10 43
 SC Freiburg 29 12 5 12 36 51 -15 8-1-5 4-4-7 41
 1. FC Köln 29 10 10 9 42 36 6 7-5-2 3-5-7 40
 Mönchengladbach 29 11 6 12 37 41 -4 7-3-4 4-3-8 39
 Eintracht Frankfurt 29 10 8 11 29 33 -4 6-6-2 4-2-9 38
 FC Schalke 04 28 10 7 11 37 32 5 8-3-4 2-4-7 37
 Bayer Leverkusen 29 10 6 13 42 44 -2 5-5-5 5-1-8 36
 Werder Bremen 28 10 6 12 44 48 -4 6-1-7 4-5-5 36
 VfL Wolfsburg 29 9 6 14 30 42 -12 5-2-8 4-4-6 33
 Hamburger SV 28 9 6 13 28 51 -23 7-3-4 2-3-9 33
 FSV Mainz 05 29 9 5 15 37 47 -10 6-4-5 3-1-10 32
 FC Augsburg 29 8 8 13 28 46 -18 4-5-6 4-3-7 32
 FC Ingolstadt 04 29 8 4 17 31 50 -19 4-3-7 4-1-10 28
 Darmstadt 28 4 3 21 19 56 -37 4-3-7 0-0-14 15

Premier League Preview: West Ham vs. Tottenham

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  • West Ham have 14 PL wins vs. Spurs, more than against any other opponent
  • Spurs have lost 3 of their last 4 trips to West Ham
  • Since the start of 2015-16 Spurs have won the most points (164) and matches (47) in the PL
  • Harry Kane has five goals in his last five PL games vs. West Ham

West Ham United host Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday at the London Stadium (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) in a big London derby.

The Hammers have won both of their last two home games against Spurs 1-0 to scupper Tottenham’s title bids which has added extra spice to this rivalry in recent months.

[ LIVE: Stream Premier League games

With West Ham winning their first home game this season against Huddersfield Town, Slaven Bilic is looking to make the London Stadium a fortress. Spurs will be eager to play another game away from their temporary home for the season, Wembley, after Mauricio Pochettino‘s men have failed to win any of their opening three home PL games at Wembley.

If Tottenham prevail in east London it will mean they have won their opening three away games in the league for the first time since 1991-92.

In team news West Ham will be without injured duo Pedro Obiang and Manuel Lanzini but skipper Mark Noble is available. Ben Davies could return for Spurs, while Victor Wanyama, Erik Lamela and Danny Rose remain out.

What they’re saying

Slaven Bilic praises Christian Eriksen in The London Evening Standard: “They have many excellent players but the one who is maybe the unsung hero is Christian Eriksen. I don’t want to say he is under-rated because everyone in Europe is aware of the talent that he possesses. Apart from being a vital link in their team, he is also making clever little moves into pockets of space or into the box.”

Mauricio Pochettino on taking his players out for dinner: “We need time for the players that we signed to engage with everyone, know everything. It’s only a few weeks that they are involved in the dynamic of the team, the club. You need time to create a good dynamic. Not only tactics but outside too. We had a dinner in a restaurant in London with all the staff and players that I invite, of course. I paid the bill at the end! That is important because you can say: ‘Tactics here in the morning’ or you prefer to go last night and put all the staff, the players and the chairman too in a restaurant. That is tactics too. It is so important, just as it is important to work on the pitch. To get to know each other better, to speak in a different way. That creates links between them, emotion.”

Prediction

Spurs will have too much going forward for West Ham’s shaky defense and they will relish not only an away day but also putting their poor recent record against West Ham to bed. Tottenham to win 3-1.

USMNT’s Danny Williams out injured for Huddersfield

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Potentially bad news has arrived  for Danny Williams as the U.S. national team midfielder has suffered an injury at the worst possible time.

[ MORE: JPW sits down with Williams ]

Williams, 28, has suffered a “small fracture” to a bone in his foot and will not play for Huddersfield at Burnley on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET online via NBCSports.com).

UPDATE: Pro Soccer Talk understands Williams’ injury will keep him out of action for about 2-3 weeks.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the trip to Turf Moor, Wagner gave some more information on Williams’ injury.

“Danny Williams has a small fracture in a bone in his foot. We have specialists appointment tomorrow[Friday] where we will get some information on how long he will be out,” Wagner said. “At the moment it is totally open because it is a very, very small fracture. So we will see. For sure he is out for Saturday.”

So, it doesn’t seem like a long-term injury but after Williams battled to start his first-ever start in the Premier League against Leicester City last week in a 1-1 draw, this knock has come at a very frustrating time for the German-American midfielder as he established himself at his new club.

Williams has battled hard to get into Huddersfield’s starting lineup after his free transfer from Reading over the summer.

Some USMNT fans were also calling for Williams to get a recall from Bruce Arena ahead of the U.S. national teams crucial 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Trinidad & Tobago next month.

The combative midfielder now faces an anxious wait about the severity of his injury.

Antonio Conte thanks Diego Costa after Chelsea departure

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These will likely be the final questions Antonio Conte faces about Diego Costa.

[ MORE: Liverpool’s Matip talks to JPW ]

On Thursday it was announced that Chelsea has sold their leading scorer in each of the past two seasons back to Atletico Madrid with a protracted fallout between Conte and Costa finally coming to a logical conclusion.

After Conte reportedly sent Costa a text message stating he was no longer needed at Chelsea, just days after they lifted the Premier League title together, the Brazilian born striker refused to return to preseason training and remained in Brazil with family as he demanded to be sold back to Atletic Madrid.

He was fined by the club but has finally got his wish with a $77 million move back to Atleti sealed for the 28-year-old who won two Premier League titles in three season at Chelsea but also brought controversy with him on many occasions as the bullish striker upset opponents and teammates alike.

Speaking at Stamford Bridge on Friday ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Stoke City on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET online via NBCSports.com) Conte thanked Costa for his efforts.

“About this issue, we want to thank him for what he did with this club. We wish him all the best for the future,” Conte said.

Asked about the deterioration of his own relationship with Costa and if his team will miss the goals of the Spanish international, Conte was less open.

“Now it is not important, I am not interested to continue talking about this issue,” Conte said. “I am working with my players and am happy to work them them. We must work and fight to win every competition. We are Chelsea and we need to try to do this in this season. We have to try to do our best in every competition. Our target is to do our best every day, every week, every month in this season.”

Stating multiple times that he was “not interested in talking about the past” and that only the current and building for the future was important, Conte did thank Costa once again and said he will remember the success they achieved together last season.

“I do not forget we won together last season,” Conte said. “For sure we want to thank him for his effort last season with us but not only last season, the period he played for Chelsea.”

With this saga now over, Chelsea will turn to Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi to score the goals they need to be successful on all four fronts this season.

After recovering well from a sluggish start to the season it appears Conte’s decision to oust Costa will, long-term, be the correct one. Even though Morata has taken a little time to settle and Batshuayi blows hot and cold, the Blues have goals everywhere you look with Eden Hazard, Pedro, Willian and others able to chip in.

There’s only one Diego Costa and Conte must be somewhat relieved to see the back of him.

West Ham, Chicharito raise funds for Mexico earthquake victims

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Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and West Ham United are doing all they can to help the victims of Tuesday’s devastating earthquake in Mexico which killed over 270 people.

Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer posted the following message on Instagram to help raise funds as he has set up the #YoXMexico initiative with fellow Mexican international Miguel Layun.

Hernandez, 29, detailed exactly why he wants to get involved in helping any way he can.

“Being so far from Mexico and seeing the suffering of our compatriots in the distance has been very painful,” Hernandez said. “So, after discussing it, we decided to take the initiative for Mexico and give our people a helping hand. We know that many see us as a source of inspiration, but in this case, what has inspired us is to see millions of Mexicans take to the streets and to lend a hand without asking for anything in return.

“We hope, with this initiative, to help those who need it and motivate more people to do it with us. Miguel and I are very grateful to have the backing of everyone at West Ham United and all of its supporters at this difficult time for our country.  It is a fantastic gesture and we hope it can help us raise funds that will make a difference in Mexico.”

The Hammers have announced they will hold a shirt auction for jerseys worn in their match against Tottenham on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with all of the proceeds going directly to the victims of the tragedy.

West Ham United will auction all match-worn shirts from this weekend’s London derby against Tottenham Hotspur, with all proceeds going to the victims’ families and survivors of this week’s devastating Mexican earthquake.

The Club will then double the figure raised by the auction, before donating the total amount to an appeal organised by Hammers striker Javier Hernandez and his fellow Mexico international Miguel Layun to aid the relief effort in Mexico City and the surrounding area.

To donate directly to #YoXMexico please visit youcaring.com/yoxmex or follow #YoXMexico on Twitter at @YoXMexico.