Bayern Munich

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Bundesliga: Bayern finally lose; Batshuayi scores a stunner (video)

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BERLIN (AP) Runaway Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich lost 2-1 at Leipzig on Sunday in a rare stumble ahead of the international break.

Sandro Wagner headed the visitors into an early lead but Naby Keita equalized before the break and Timo Werner claimed the winner 10 minutes after it.

“We didn’t play like we have in the last weeks,” Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said. “Leipzig is the deserved winner. You get such games.”

It was Bayern’s third defeat in 27 German league games and Leipzig’s first-ever win over the Bavarian powerhouse after three losses in the Bundesliga and a defeat on penalties in the German Cup last October.

Bayern leads Schalke by 17 points with seven games remaining. It can wrap up its record-extending sixth consecutive title with a win at home over third-place Borussia Dortmund on March 31 – if Schalke drops points to Freiburg on the same day.

Schalke and Dortmund had already postponed the celebrations by winning their 27th-round games, but Wagner got Bayern fans cheering when he scored in the 12th minute.

Wagner, selected to give Robert Lewandowski a rest, was one of several Bayern players waiting to head James Rodriguez’ brilliant cross inside the far post.

But Bayern failed to cope with Leipzig’s pressing game and Keita deservedly equalized on a rebound after Werner’s effort was blocked.

Keita then sent Werner through to score his first goal since Jan. 20 and end Leipzig’s four-game winless run.

Heynckes, who had called up Bayern under-19 midfielder Meritan Shabani to the senior squad for the first time, sent Lewandowski on for the last 20 minutes but the Poland striker was unable to add to his league-leading tally.

Cologne, which made the worst-ever league start by any team, rekindled its slim hopes of survival by beating Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 in the Rhine derby to leave the bottom of the table for the first time since the third round.

“The corpse is still alive,” said Leonardo Bittencourt, who was impressive for Cologne.

Yuya Osako fired the home side into an early lead after good work from Bittencourt, and Simon Zoller sealed the win with 20 minutes remaining when he lifted the ball over the outrushing goalkeeper.

Leverkusen’s hopes of claiming an equalizer were damaged after a half-hour when Lucas Alario swung his elbow back into Dominic Maroh in an off-the-ball incident, leaving the Cologne defender on the ground clutching his neck. Referee Harm Osmers sent the Argentine off after consulting video replays.

Cologne moved two points above Hamburger SV and five points behind Mainz in the relegation playoff place with seven games remaining. Relegation rivals Hamburg, Mainz, Wolfsburg and Freiburg all lost in the 27th round.

Leverkusen dropped to fifth, one point behind Eintracht Frankfurt in the last Champions League qualification place.

Michy Batshuayi‘s brilliant first-half strike was enough for Borussia Dortmund to beat visiting Hannover 1-0 and consolidate third place in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

The home side enjoyed the better start as it looked to make a statement following its disappointing Europa League exit to Salzburg on Thursday.

Batshuayi scored in the 24th minute, running toward Andre Schuerrle’s corner and flicking it on the volley with his heel to send the ball inside the far post.

Dortmund stayed a point behind Schalke with seven games remaining, while Hannover dropped to 13th after its fourth consecutive loss.

UEFA Champions League: Who’s the favorite?

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Keeping in mind that the draw means everything, who should be considered the front-runner to win the UEFA Champions League?

Most bookmakers have Pep Guardiola‘s Manchester City just ahead of Barcelona, with Real Madrid third, but something about that doesn’t feel right.

[ MORE: Barca-Chelsea recap | Chelsea reacts ]

It comes as little surprise that Sevilla and Roma are considered the longest shots, but that shows just how tricky these quarterfinals will be for favorites: There are no teams from leagues outside the Big Four, no club who beat up on their domestic opponents and slipped through due to simple draws.

The field fits fairly neatly into three groups: Longshots, hopefuls, and favorites. Do you agree with where we draw the lines?


8. Sevilla – It’s difficult to pore over their matches against Manchester United and not see how another team would’ve found a way past La Liga’s mainstays. Even given their European tournament acumen, it’d be stunning to see a “no name” crew keep running without a favorable draw.

7. Roma – Beat out Chelsea for the group stage crown by keeping a trio of clean sheets at home against the Blues, Atletico Madrid, and Qarabag. Their road form in the tournament has been poor, however, and perhaps this is Roma reaching its experience and talent level for this particular rodeo (It’s worth noting Roma’s been better on the road than at home in Serie A). I Lupi cannot afford another first leg like the 2-1 loss in Ukraine.


6. Liverpool –  Reds fans love an argument, especially when the quality of their side is questioned, but Jurgen Klopp‘s men have yet to be tested by a top side in this tournament. The closest they’ve come were 2-2 and 3-3 draws with Sevilla, and blowing out a Porto side which kept one clean sheet in a relatively weak Group G. That’s not to say the Reds don’t have the ammo — Naby Keita would be nice — to win the whole thing, but to place them any higher would be wishful thinking.

5. Bayern Munich – Can score on you from any numbers weapons and in every sort of way, but there’s something about the first go-round without Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso which gives us pause when it comes to rating Bayern higher than Juve. That’s not to say Manuel Neuer, Robert Lewandowski, Mats Hummels, and Javi Martinez cannot pull their weight in leadership, but Bayern just sits behind the Top Four.

4. Juventus – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Ruled out as over the hill, Juventus finds its league and tournament form as the season grows and meets its reputation with form down the stretch. Are you betting against The Old Lady?


3. Manchester City – With loads of respect to Barca and Bayern, Man City is the deepest team in the tournament and their system is such a challenge for teams that don’t see it often. I can’t quite label them the favorites, even if I feel City is the strongest team in the tournament. Honestly: I love watching this team operate, but I’ve gotta see them do it here.

2. Barcelona – Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez up front, Andres Iniesta turning back the hands of time in the middle of the park while Samuel Umtiti rises to meet the levels of defensive stalwarts Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets. Canny and creative, will Barca seal La Liga too soon to keep its edge in the UCL?

  1. Real Madrid — No, they aren’t in fine form, nor is there real reason to believe they’d handle their business against City or Barcelona more than twice out of 10 outings. Well, no real reason besides experience. But this club has won the last two, and three of the last four. Even if you dropped their first six titles from the less challenging European Cup era, Real would still be second all-time in titles (to AC Milan’s seven). Team-wise, they might be fifth in the field for me, but I’ve learned that Real rarely disappears in this tournament.

UEFA Champions League quarterfinal field set; Draw Friday

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The UEFA Champions League is down to eight now that Bayern Munich and Barcelona sealed their customary places amongst the final octet.

There are three outfits from La Liga, two from the Premier League, two more from Serie A, and one from the Bundesliga.

[ WATCH: Messi megs Courtois for the first time ]

While UEFA would surely like to save as much drama as possible for the final — Manchester City vs. Barcelona comes to mind — there’s a chance for four dream ties in the next two rounds, which will be drawn Friday morning.

The field
Bayern Munich
Manchester City
Real Madrid

What would be the dream draw? Well, the following would sure be fun…

— Barcelona vs. Real Madrid — No explanation needed

— Roma vs. Juventus — All Italian tie

— Manchester City vs. Bayern Munich — Pep, meet Jupp.

— Sevilla vs. Liverpool — 2016 Europa League final rematch

UCL live: Besiktas v. Bayern Munich in last 16

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Can Besiktas do something that no team has ever done before in the history of the UEFA Champions League?

Probably not. But still, the Turkish giants and their fans will have a good go.

 [ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Bayern Munich lead from the first leg 5-0 and the German giants look set to coast into the last eight of the UCL as they’ll reach the quarterfinals of the competition for the seventh-straight year barring an unbelievable collapse.

Besiktas went down to 10-men early in the first leg which hampered their chances of advancing after they topped their group but were rewarded with facing German juggernaut Bayern in their first ever appearance in the last 16.

Whatever happens on the pitch in Istanbul, you can expect a lively atmosphere off it.

Click on the link above to follow all the action as the game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET.

UCL Weds: Barca hosts Chelsea; Bayern carries huge lead

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Call it a UEFA Champions League doubleheader, with a Turkish kickoff at 1 p.m. ET and a battle in Spain at 3:45 p.m.

[ MORE: Mourinho reacts to UCL exit ]

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is demanding his side “stay in every moment of the game” as it attempts to score at the Camp Nou against Barcelona. Chelsea opens the leg with a 1-1 score line, and knows it needs a 1-0, 2-1, 2-2, or better.

And you’re not going to have a ton of the ball. Here’s Conte and one of his buzz words, suffer:

“Barcelona try to dominate the game, have a lot of possession and try to get players between the lines and go straight towards the goal. We must pay great attention, be compact and suffer. Without the ball, you suffer. You have to defend well. When you have the ball, I repeat, we must know very well which is the way to go, to try to score and create chances, in the same way we did at Stamford Bridge.”

As for Barcelona, the Blaugranas have not forgotten how Chelsea knocked them out of the UCL in 2011-12.

“You can draw conclusions from every game. In 2012,     we started out really well, we went ahead on the scoreboard, we went for it in the second leg, we missed a penalty kick — that’s all part of football. It was a sad game, because we could have gone through to the final. We played great in those games, and it seems inconceivable that we didn’t go through, but that’s the way football is.”

As for the other tie, Bayern Munich visits Besiktas for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff.

Besiktas is a fine team, but posting 5-0 or better over Bayern Munich in Turkey is a bit too far-fetched to consider more than a paragraph on this second leg. Expect Besiktas to show well, but keeping Bayern off the board is quite a challenge. Bayern boss Jupp Heycknes may rest a fella or two:

“We have 20 absolutely top players, and I trust all of them. There’s no preferred line-up. It varies. But of course I won’t act against my conviction that we need a good balance between defence and attack in the team. That’ll be the case tomorrow too.”