Bayern Munich

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Bundesliga: Bayern running away (again) after slow start

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BERLIN (AP) Robert Lewandowski scored twice to help Bayern Munich stretch its lead in the Bundesliga to six points with a 3-0 defeat of Bavarian rival Augsburg on Saturday.

It was the 500th league win for Jupp Heynckes as a player or coach and extends the 72-year-old’s winning start to eight games across all competitions since he returned for his fourth stint.

“That’s a surprise for me. I don’t bother with statistics and numbers,” Heynckes said on being told about his winning landmark. “But it’s an impressive number (500). I had a long career as a player, and now as a coach. It wasn’t planned.”

Heynckes was coaxed out of retirement to take over from the fired Carlo Ancelotti on Oct. 5. Bayern was trailing then-leader Borussia Dortmund by five points at the time. Now the side is nine points ahead of Dortmund, which hasn’t won in the league since Sept. 30, and six ahead of Leipzig, held to a draw at Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern midfielder Arturo Vidal broke the deadlock after half an hour, swiveling to fire home the rebound from a difficult angle after Mats Hummels’s effort was blocked and the ball ricocheted off Niklas Suele.

Vidal turned provider seven minutes later, playing Lewandowski through on a counterattack to shoot past Marwin Hitz.

The Poland striker claimed his league-leading 13th goal of the season early in the second half with a perfectly struck volley to Joshua Kimmich’s precise long cross from the right.

Vidal headed against the crossbar just afterward before Bayern conserved energy for Wednesday’s Champions League game at Anderlecht.

The win stretched the side’s unbeaten record to 28 games at home.

Winless Cologne’s terrible start to the league continued with its 10th defeat in 12 games, while the discussion over video assistance in the league will continue after two mistakes by referee Felix Brych.

Daniel Brosinski’s penalty before the break was enough for a 1-0 win for Mainz against Cologne, but how it came about will ensure the controversy over video assistance goes on.

Brych pointed to the spot when Pablo De Blasis fell under Frederik Sorensen’s challenge. He then consulted the video assistant, who had the benefit of studying replays in Cologne, and stood by the decision – despite television showing that Sorensen made hardly any contact with the Mainz player.

Brych later sent off Mainz’s Giulio Donati for what he perceived as striking Leon Bittencourt after a tussle between the two. However, Bittencourt’s foot struck Donati in the face beforehand. Donati, who was lying on the pitch clutching his face, brushed the Cologne player away when he went to lift him up.

Following controversial decisions in previous games, the German soccer federation said video assistants were only to step in when there was “a clear wrong decision.”

Ten-man Leverkusen came from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw at home against second-place Leipzig.

Timo Werner’s early penalty put the visitors in front before Leon Bailey equalized before the break.

The home side’s hopes took a blow when Benjamin Henrichs was sent off for handball on the line and Emil Forsberg scored the resulting penalty, but Kevin Volland equalized again with a quarter-hour remaining.

Wolfsburg defeated Freiburg 3-1 at home to give coach Martin Schmidt his first win after he started with seven draws.

On loan from Bayern, Serge Gnabry did brilliantly to set up Mark Uth for Hoffenheim’s injury-time equalizer in a 1-1 draw with visiting Eintracht Frankfurt.

No timeline, but Fire “optimistic” Schweinsteiger will return

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Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s first season in MLS was a success, propelling the Chicago Fire back into the playoffs and possibly earning Best XI status.

[ MORE: Pulisic “depressed” after World Cup failure ]

It’s no surprise that Chicago general manager Nelson Rodriguez would be thrilled to have the ex-Bayern Munich metronome back in the fold for next season, and Rodriguez was asked about the prospects of such a move.

From MLSSoccer.com:

“We remain optimistic that Basti and we will reach a mutually satisfactory agreement and that he will return,” said the Fire’s GM. “I won’t put a timeline on it. I think Basti has proven his importance to our club and to our team and that remains a priority to bring him back.”

Schweinsteiger, 33, scored three times and added two assists in 24 MLS matches this season. Here’s hoping he does indeed return for a return engagement. His 8.3 long balls per game led the Fire, and only a pair of goalkeepers and stellar Atlanta center back Leandro Gonzalez Pirez averaged more than “Schweiny.”

Chelsea, Arsenal target Icardi linked with Bayern move

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Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi is said to be interesting two Premier League giants and Bayern Munich.

[ MORE: Messi makes World Cup promise ]  

Both Chelsea and Arsenal are said to be tracking the Argentine international as Icardi, 24, is in red-hot form in Serie A with 11 goals in 12 games so far this season.

The predatory forward has scored 89 goals in 156 appearances for Inter since 2013 and according to Spanish outlet Don Balon, Bayern are said be lining Icardi up to replace Robert Lewandowski who has been vocal about the German giants’ lack of summer spending. Real Madrid are reportedly interested in signing Poland international Lewandowski.

What about Chelsea and Arsenal chasing Icardi?

Icardi has a release clause of $130 million and Inter have stated that they are trying to increase the release clause for their captain by offering him a new and improved deal to remain at the San Siro.

However, Icardi has clashed with Inter’s fans on many occasions over the years and the versatile forward could well see the next 12 months as pivotal in his career as he tries to become a regular for Argentina.

Chelsea certainly need another option up top with Alvaro Morata the main man but the Spaniard can play on the left, as he did for Antonio Conte at Juventus, and perhaps the clinical Icardi would be better suited through the center.

As for Arsenal, any move for Icardi would surely only come if they can offer him Champions League action (even though Inter cannot) and if both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez did not remain at the Emirates Stadium.

Bayern may well be the favorite to sign Icardi but there is a problem for all three teams: his release clause.

He is predatory goalscorer but Icardi comes with plenty of baggage. In the current transfer market, is he worth $130 million? Quite possibly.

It’s still quite difficult to see either Chelsea or Arsenal stumping up that kind of cash after their recent signings of Morata and Alexandre Lacazette respectively.

Matthaus: Pulisic could replace Robben, Ribery; Reports say no USMNT duty

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Not a post goes by in which a cynic or general naysayer says American media is guilty of overhyping 19-year-old USMNT phenom Christian Pulisic.

To which we say: Lothar Matthaus.

And to which we also say, statistics and advanced metrics which put him at a near elite level, and not “U.S. near elite level” but “worldwide near elite level.”

[ MORE: Cherries out of drop zone ]

Pulisic put one of the only star turns for Borussia Dortmund in a 3-1 Der Klassiker home loss to Bayern Munich, gaining oohs and ahs when he nutmegged Arjen Robben en route to what his hometown Hershey Bears would count as an assist but stays off the scoresheet in Europe.

The performance had BVB manager Peter Bosz lavishing praise on Pulisic, and had Germany and Bayern legend Matthaus calling the youngster a potential replacement for a pair of legends.

From Goal.com:

“If Bayern Munich someday looks for a replacement for Robben and [Franck] Ribery, then they have to put out their feelers for Pulisic.He is 19 years old and has high quality.” Matthaus continued. “With his confidence and his speed, he is called to higher [things].”

Meanwhile, reports out of Germany say the United States men’s national team will not have its best player for the Nov. 14 friendly versus Portugal.

Christian Pulisic is set to stay behind at Borussia Dortmund, so says Borussia Dortmund blogger Lars Pollman, citing “local journos.”

It’s been a busy year for Pulisic, who deserves a break. With Portugal keeping a wealth of big names home and interim USMNT boss Dave Sarachan just minding the store, it doesn’t hurt to see the other fellas perform without their talisman.

Bundesliga wrap: Bayern claims Der Klassiker; RBL goes second

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The Bavarians’ return to ascendancy under Jupp Heynckes is complete after Bayern Munich went into the Westfalenstadion and captured a 3-1 Der Klassiker win on Saturday.

[ MORE: Cherries out of drop zone ]

Dortmund had more shot attempts than its visitors, but shot attempts don’t accumulate points on the table, and BVB finds itself third in the Bundesliga. (video)

Borussia Dortmund 1-3 Bayern Munich

Arjen Robben and Robert Lewandowski scored first half goals to put Peter Bosz under plenty of pressure in front of that great Yellow Wall.

David Alaba made it 3-0 67th minute, and the idea of a title race in Germany is already feeling a bit like a dream.

There’s silver lining for American fans, as Christian Pulisic nutmegged Robben en route to Bayern’s lone goal, an 88th minute wonder from ex-Barcelona center back Marc Bartra.

Also… thanks to Paul Carr of ESPN for these nuggets:

RB Leipzig 2-1 Hannover 96

Test passed for RBL, who moved four points clear of Hannover and into second place with a comeback win. Jonathas put the visitors ahead, but Yannick Poulsen and Timo Werner scored in 15 second half minutes for all three points.

Freiburg 0-1 Schalke

Daniel Caligiuri scored a Bundesliga goal for the seventh-straight season, and it’s a big one. Schalke has moved level with BVB on 20 points, and five back of leaders Bayern.

Elsewhere
Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Werder Bremen — Friday
Hamburg 3-1 Stuttgart
Augsburg 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Borussia Monchengladbach 1-1 Mainz
Koln vs. Hoffenheim — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Wolfsburg vs. Hertha Berlin — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 11 8 2 1 27 8 19 4-1-0 4-1-1 26
 RB Leipzig 11 7 1 3 18 13 5 4-1-0 3-0-3 22
 Borussia Dortmund 11 6 2 3 28 14 14 3-0-2 3-2-1 20
 FC Schalke 04 11 6 2 3 14 10 4 3-2-1 3-0-2 20
 Hannover 96 11 5 3 3 15 11 4 3-1-1 2-2-2 18
 Eintracht Frankfurt 11 5 3 3 13 11 2 2-1-2 3-2-1 18
 Mönchengladbach 11 5 3 3 17 19 -2 3-1-2 2-2-1 18
 Bayer Leverkusen 11 4 4 3 23 16 7 3-2-0 1-2-3 16
 FC Augsburg 11 4 4 3 16 11 5 2-2-2 2-2-1 16
 1899 Hoffenheim 10 4 4 2 17 14 3 3-2-1 1-2-1 16
 Hertha BSC Berlin 10 3 4 3 11 12 -1 3-2-1 0-2-2 13
 VfB Stuttgart 11 4 1 6 10 14 -4 4-1-0 0-0-6 13
 FSV Mainz 05 11 3 3 5 12 17 -5 3-1-2 0-2-3 12
 VfL Wolfsburg 10 1 7 2 10 13 -3 0-4-1 1-3-1 10
 Hamburger SV 11 3 1 7 10 18 -8 2-1-3 1-0-4 10
 SC Freiburg 11 1 5 5 6 21 -15 1-4-1 0-1-4 8
 Werder Bremen 11 0 5 6 4 14 -10 0-1-4 0-4-2 5
 1. FC Köln 10 0 2 8 4 19 -15 0-1-3 0-1-5 2