Arjen Robben

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Arjen Robben retires from international football

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The Netherlands couldn’t post the 7-goal win needed to overtake Sweden for a spot in the UEFA World Cup qualifying playoffs, and that unsurprising failure has signaled the end for Arjen Robben in a Dutch shirt.

Robben scored twice as Netherlands beat Sweden on Tuesday, but the Swedes still claimed second place behind France in Group A.

[ VIDEO: Is Harry Kane “world class?” ]

And, shy on goal difference of another World Cup appearance, the dribbling wizard is calling it a day.

The 33-year-old Bayern Munich man retired from international duty Tuesday, finishing his time in an orange shirt with 37 goals and 30 assists in 96 caps.

Those two goals pulled Robben into a tie with Dennis Bergkamp for fourth on the all-time Dutch list. The three ahead of him are Robin Van Persie, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and Patrick Kluivert.

Bundesliga wrap: Bayern rises; Schalke, Augsburg win on road (video)

Andreas Gebert/dpa via AP
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It remains tight atop the Bundesliga table, with six clubs within three points of leaders Hannover 96.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Borussia Dortmund can leapfrog HSV with a win over Koln on Sunday, while Bayern Munich used Saturday to show last week’s stumble at Hoffenheim was likely a fluke.

RB Leipzig 2-2 Borussia Monchengladbach

Timo Werner scored in the 17th minute and Jean-Kevin Augustin gave the hosts a second lead in the 31st minute as RB Leipzig returned to the Bundesliga after a 1-1 draw versus Monaco in the Champions League.

Thorgan Hazard converted a first half penalty for Gladbach to make it 1-1 and Lars Stindl was responsible for the side’s second equalizer. USMNT left mid Fabian Johnson was on the bench for Gladbach.

Future Liverpool mid Naby Keita made Sadio Mane‘s sending off look closer to like patty cake:

Werder Bremen 1-2 Schalke

Lamine Sane gave the hosts a 20th minute lead, one that would last just two minutes. An own goal made it level, and Leon Goretzka scored in the 83rd minute to give Schalke all the points. U.S. youth player Weston McKennie was an unused sub for the visitors.

Bayern Munich 4-0 Mainz

It was a night for the old boys, as Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller joined brace-bagging Robert Lewandowski in boosting Bayern back into a winning position.

 

Eintracht Frankfurt 1-2 Augsburg

Caiuby’s 76th minute insurance goal turned out to be needed, but the hosts only pulled one back the rest of the way. USMNT back Timmy Chandler went 90 minutes in the loss.

Stuttgart 1-0 Wolfsburg

Chadrac Akolo’s 42nd minute marker held up for Stuttgart.

Elsewhere
Hannover 96 2-0 Hamburg — Friday
Hoffenheim vs. Hertha Berlin — 7:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Freiburg — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Borussia Dortmund vs. Koln — Noon ET Sunday

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Hannover 96 4 3 1 0 5 1 4 2-0-0 1-1-0 10
 Bayern Munich 4 3 0 1 9 3 6 2-0-0 1-0-1 9
 FC Schalke 04 4 3 0 1 7 3 4 2-0-0 1-0-1 9
 Borussia Dortmund 3 2 1 0 5 0 5 1-0-0 1-1-0 7
 RB Leipzig 4 2 1 1 8 5 3 1-1-0 1-0-1 7
 FC Augsburg 4 2 1 1 7 4 3 1-1-0 1-0-1 7
 1899 Hoffenheim 3 2 1 0 5 2 3 2-0-0 0-1-0 7
 Hamburger SV 4 2 0 2 4 5 -1 1-0-1 1-0-1 6
 VfB Stuttgart 4 2 0 2 3 5 -2 2-0-0 0-0-2 6
 Mönchengladbach 4 1 2 1 5 5 0 1-0-1 0-2-0 5
 Hertha BSC Berlin 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 1-1-0 0-0-1 4
 Eintracht Frankfurt 4 1 1 2 2 3 -1 0-0-2 1-1-0 4
 VfL Wolfsburg 4 1 1 2 2 5 -3 0-1-1 1-0-1 4
 FSV Mainz 05 4 1 0 3 3 7 -4 1-0-1 0-0-2 3
 SC Freiburg 3 0 2 1 1 4 -3 0-2-0 0-0-1 2
 Bayer Leverkusen 3 0 1 2 4 8 -4 0-1-0 0-0-2 1
 Werder Bremen 4 0 1 3 2 6 -4 0-0-2 0-1-1 1
 1. FC Köln 3 0 0 3 1 7 -6 0-0-1 0-0-2 0

Bundesliga wrap: Bayern’s crazy comeback, Ingolstadt goes down (video)

AP Photo/Jens Meyer
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A draw sealed a second team’s trip to the second tier, and Hertha Berlin improved its odds of finishing fifth, but nothing compares to the drama at Red Bull Arena Leipzig where Bayern Munich put another feather in its championship season cap.

[ MORE: Bournemouth tops Burnley ]

Freiburg 1-1 Ingolstadt

When Dario Lezcano scored to level the score in the 43rd minute, Ingolstadt’s thin hopes to avoid the drop had new life. Unfortunately for the Paraguayan and his club, it was the only goal Ingolstadt could muster Saturday. USMNT midfielder Alfredo Morales and the visitors are heading to 2.Bundesliga.

Darmstadt 0-2 Hertha Berlin

Salomon Kalou nabbed his seventh goal of the season and 19-year-old Jordan Torunarigha his first as Hertha was the only team in the race for eighth to collect all three points.

RB Leipzig 4-5 Bayern Munich

The upstarts host led 4-2, led by Timo Werner’s brace, when the champions went and did this:

Elsewhere

Werder Bremen 3-5 Hoffenheim – Visitors score first five
Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Koln – Kiessling, Pohjanpalo lead home comeback
Wolfsburg 1-1 Borussia Monchengladbach – Gomez grabs equalizer
Mainz 4-2 Eintracht Frankfurt – Four different scorers for hosts
Augsburg 1-1 Borussia Dortmund – Aubameyang nets 29th
Schalke 1-1 Hamburg – Visitors need help on last day to avoid playoff

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 33 24 7 2 85 21 64 12-4-0 12-3-2 79
 RB Leipzig 33 20 6 7 64 37 27 12-2-3 8-4-4 66
 Borussia Dortmund 33 17 10 6 68 37 31 12-4-0 5-6-6 61
 1899 Hoffenheim 33 16 13 4 64 37 27 11-5-0 5-8-4 61
 Hertha BSC Berlin 33 15 4 14 41 41 0 12-1-3 3-3-11 49
 SC Freiburg 33 14 6 13 41 56 -15 10-2-5 4-4-8 48
 1. FC Köln 33 11 13 9 49 42 7 8-6-2 3-7-7 46
 Werder Bremen 33 13 6 14 58 60 -2 8-1-8 5-5-6 45
 Mönchengladbach 33 12 8 13 43 47 -4 7-4-5 5-4-8 44
 FC Schalke 04 33 11 9 13 44 39 5 8-5-4 3-4-9 42
 Eintracht Frankfurt 33 11 8 14 34 41 -7 7-6-3 4-2-11 41
 Bayer Leverkusen 33 10 8 15 47 53 -6 5-6-6 5-2-9 38
 FSV Mainz 05 33 10 7 16 44 53 -9 7-4-6 3-3-10 37
 FC Augsburg 33 9 10 14 35 51 -16 5-6-6 4-4-8 37
 VfL Wolfsburg 33 10 7 16 33 50 -17 5-3-9 5-4-7 37
 Hamburger SV 33 9 8 16 31 60 -29 7-4-5 2-4-11 35
 FC Ingolstadt 04 33 8 7 18 35 56 -21 4-4-8 4-3-10 31
 Darmstadt 33 7 3 23 26 61 -35 6-3-8 1-0-15 24

UCL: Arsenal embarrassed, loses 10-2 on aggregate

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  • Walcott gives early hope
  • Koscielny sent off, 54′
  • Lewandowski converts PK
  • Brace for Vidal
  • Robben, Costa also score

Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski eliminated all Arsenal hope when he won and converted a penalty kick in a 5-1 win in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match-up at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

Arsenal had gone ahead 1-0 through Theo Walcott, but still trailed 5-2 on aggregate, when Laurent Koscielny tripped up Lewandowski in the box. Koscielny was shown red.

The final score was 10-2 on aggregate, and the 5-1 home loss was the worst home blowout in Arsenal’s European history.

[ MORE: Champions League scores ]

A couple of chances went by the wayside before Arsenal went in front through Walcott. Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer was prepared for a low shot, and Walcott ripped a high attempt that Neuer could only parry into the goal.

Arturo Vidal fouled Hector Bellerin in nodding a cross at David Ospina, as Bayern looked for a quick answer.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

[ MORE: Europa League schedule ]

Walcott had a very similar chance from a tighter angle, and blasted the contested shot off the outside of the net.

Robert Lewandowski missed a 38th minute chance to put the tie to bed when he mishit Arjen Robben’s looped pass wide of Ospina’s goal.

For as lopsided a score line as it was, Arsenal had plenty of chances to narrow it. Olivier Giroud nearly headed an Aaron Ramsey cross past Neuer in the 48th minute, putting it just over the bar.

Bayern came close to leveling the leg when Mats Hummels raced onto a free kick to redirect the ball past Ospina, but replays showed he was correctly ruled offside.

Lewandowski then worked Nacho Monreal to get free on goal, and was taken down by Laurent Koscielny. It began as a yellow card but was upgraded to a red for denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity.

Arsenal would be down a man before it went down 6-2, which it did when Lewandowski bested Ospina.

Robben then looked to work a 1-2 with Lewandowski before beating Alexis Sanchez to the business end. Ospina couldn’t stop Robben’s shot, and it was 7-2.

It certainly could’ve gotten worse. Costa roasted Bellerin and squared the ball into the six where Lewandowski’s sliding effort spun off the far post.

Costa got his goal in the 78th minute when he cut around Montreal to beat a flying Ospina. And the goalkeeper was faced with a 2-on-0 when Lewandowski deferred to Vidal for a chipped finish. It wasn’t the last 2-on-0. Costa fed Vidal in the 85th minute to complete the bloodbath.

Agent says Mesut Ozil is an unfair scapegoat for Arsenal

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If your client is being criticized by an entire fanbase for being lazy, the logical thing to do is fight back. Right?

Well, that’s what Mesut Ozil’s agent has done. After Arsenal was thrashed by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday, Ozil’s laziness was highlighted further throughout the match, but Dr. Erkut Sogut believes he was let down by his teammates.

“Criticism is normal if a player plays badly,” Ozil’s agent told BBC Sport. “But Mesut feels people are not focusing on his performance; they are using him as a scapegoat for the team after bad results.”

Ozil’s poor form was not just limited to Wednesday’s collapse, but still Sogut claims the criticism was unfair due to the progression of the game, which forced the Gunners back into their own half for most of the game. “Bayern had 74% possession. How can someone in the No.10 position create chances if you don’t have the ball? In these games people usually target a player who cost a lot of money and earns a lot of money – that is Mesut. But he can’t be always be the scapegoat. That’s not fair.”

In many cases, this would be a fair argument, but Ozil had a poor match no matter how you slice it. He was most notoriously called out on social media for his utter lack of regard for Arjen Robben as the Dutchman scored his opener. Ozil was caught lounging without even an attempt to pick Robben’s pocket, and the Bayern winger rifled a stunning shot off his favorite left foot moments later.

His dashboard from the Bayern game tells a broader tale. Ozil created just one chance – delivering a corner – and was completely directionless with his positioning and passing.

screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-3-18-48-pm
Mesut Ozil’s statistical dashboard, via FourFourTwo’s StatsZone.

To be fair to Ozil and Sogut, his next quote is a fair assessment of the pre-match talk. “Football is a team sport and Arsenal are not performing well as a team. Eleven players were on the pitch but Mesut was singled out for criticism. Was he the reason that Arsenal conceded five goals? It started before the match, throughout the week leading up to the game. People started discussing: ‘Should he play? Should he be dropped?’. It was as if everyone knew Arsenal would not make it through and we needed a scapegoat. This is not right. You win as a team and you lose as a team.”

There was plenty written about Bayern’s poor league form coming into the game, but Ozil’s equally bad recent play had him singled out – fairly or not – before kickoff even started. The target on his back gave fans a reason to watch his effort with particular interest, and he failed to deliver.

With Ozil’s contract up in 2018, will Arsenal look to make a change this summer, and ship Ozil out for someone who consistently puts in a shift more like Alexis Sanchez?