Germany

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Bayern beats Bremen 4-2 to go 16 points clear in Bundesliga

1 Comment

BERLIN (AP) Robert Lewandowski scored twice as Bayern Munich stretched its considerable Bundesliga lead even further Sunday with a 4-2 win over visiting Werder Bremen.

It’s the sixth consecutive round in which Bayern has extended its lead since a defeat at Borussia Moenchengladbach in the 13th round – Jupp Heynckes’ only blot in 17 games across all competitions since he returned as coach.

[ MORE: Javi Gracia named new Watford manager ]

Bayern moved 16 points clear after 19 games.

Despite facing a relegation fight and aware of the side’s terrible record in Munich – Bayern scored at least five goals in each of Bremen’s last five visits – the visiting players showed they weren’t overawed and started brightly.

Max Kruse struck the post early on, and the visitors duly went ahead in the 25th minute when Kruse timed his pass perfectly for Jerome Gondorf to squeeze the ball past Sven Ulreich, through the goalkeeper’s legs.

But Bayern struck back with its first real chance minutes before the break. Thomas Mueller controlled Jerome Boateng’s cross on his chest with his first touch and profited from defender Milos Veljkovic‘s loss of balance as he scored with his next.

Lewandowski, who skipped Bayern’s previous game with a knee problem, put the home side in front with a powerful header from James Rodriguez’ corner with a half-hour remaining.

An own-goal from Niklas Suele gave Bremen renewed hope, but Lewandowski grabbed his league-leading 17th goal of the season minutes later with another header, this time Mueller providing the cross.

Mueller then sealed it late with his second of the game off a ball over the top from James. It was the 28-year-old’s 100th Bundesliga goal.

Mueller suggested Bayern’s nine-day break between games had a negative impact as the team had an even tougher week than usual in training.

“Perhaps that’s a small reason (for Bayern’s lackluster start),” Mueller said. “We certainly have to work on a few things, like we do after every game. We’re not yet where we want to be. But the team’s attitude and condition are excellent.”

SCHALKE DISAPPOINTS

Niclas Fuellkrug scored late for Hannover to grab a 1-1 draw at Schalke, denying the home side the opportunity to go second.

Much of the Schalke supporters’ attention was focused on Leon Goretzka, the Germany midfielder who agreed to join Bayern on a free transfer at the end of the season.

There were whistles for Goretzka as his name was called out before kickoff, and there were more any time he touched the ball before he was eventually taken off for Weston McKennie.

Some fans held a large banner declaring: “Neither money nor titles are worth more than our club.”

Marko Pjaca scored early on his first Bundesliga start after joining Schalke from Juventus, but the home side did not press its advantage and Fuellkrug earned the visitors a deserved share of the points. Hannover’s Felix Klaus hit the post in the first half.

USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie injured in Schalke draw

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
Leave a comment

Look away, U.S. Men’s National Team fans.

American and Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie was forced out of Sunday’s 1-1 Bundesliga draw against Hanover 96 after the 19-year-old collided with Felix Kraus.

McKennie, who entered the match in the 62nd minute for Leon Goretzka, managed to stay on the field for nearly 20 minutes before being substituted out.

To this point there has been no indication that the young USMNT player’s injury is serious.

More to follow…

Bayern signs Germany midfielder Goretzka from rival Schalke

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich signed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka on Friday on a free transfer from Bundesliga rival Schalke effective from next season.

Bayern said the 22-year-old Goretzka signed a four-year deal from July 1 through June 2022.

Schalke, which Goretzka joined in 2013 from hometown club Bochum, said the player informed the club this week of his wish to join Bayern when his contract expired.

[ MORE: Bundesliga scores ]

“We think we did everything in the last months to convince Leon to stay with us,” Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel said. “In the end, it wasn’t enough.”

Schalke had long been engaged in trying to get Goretzka to extend his contract, but was aware of reported interest from Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.

“We’re very happy that Leon Goretzka, a German international with big potential, has decided in favor of Bayern despite big-name international competitors. This way it’s ensured that Leon Goretzka remains in the Bundesliga,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

Goretzka scored 19 goals and set up 13 more in 130 appearances for Schalke.

The club had previously expressed its displeasure with Bayern making public statements about its player after Goretzka was praised by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and coach Jupp Heynckes.

Heidel said “we don’t need to hear every day from the Munich people how good our player is.”

Goretzka has six goals in 12 games for Germany.

Bayern draws 3rd-tier Paderborn for away game in German Cup

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
Leave a comment

BERLIN (AP) Bayern Munich has been drawn against third-division Paderborn in the quarterfinals of the German Cup.

The 18-time champion Bayern, which knocked defending champion Borussia Dortmund out in the previous round, will play the game in Paderborn on Feb. 6 or 7. Paderborn is the lowest-ranked side remaining in the tournament.

[ MORE: Forest stuns Arsenal in FA Cup third round ]

Only Bundesliga sides remain for the other games, with Eintracht Frankfurt drawn against Mainz for a derby at home, Schalke given a home tie against Wolfsburg, and Werder Bremen visiting Bayer Leverksuen.

Bayern is seeking a record-extending 19th German Cup title.

Report: Leon Goretzka to join Bayern on free transfer

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Leon Goretzka looks set to join Bayern Munich.

A report from Sport Bild in Germany, including info from Spanish outlet Marca, says that Goretzka will arrive at the Allianz Arena on July 1 when his contract at Schalke expires.

It is believed the deal will be announced in January with Bayern and the player striking a deal, with Goretzka, 22, playing for second-place Schalke for the rest of the 2017-18 season.

Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Barcelona and Real Madrid were all said to be in for the German international midfielder but it appears he has chosen Bayern as information from Marca claims that Barcelona were told the industrious midfielder had agreed to join Barcelona.

Goretzka burst onto the scenes last summer in the Confederations Cup as he was the star  of a young German side who won the competition. He’s taken that form into the 2017-18 season and has Schalke in second in the Bundesliga with his creativity in central midfield, coupled with his elegance on the ball, impressing.

Many compare Goretzka to German legend Michael Ballack.

His future at Schalke has been the subject of constant speculation, with Liverpool heavily linked with a move for him on a free transfer in the summer, but the reigning German champions have, once again, pounced to sign a star player from a rival club.

See: Gotze, Mario. Lewandowski, Robert. Hummels, Mats.

Goretzka’s arrival probably sparks the end for Arturo Vidal at Bayern and it will be intriguing to see if the Chilean midfielder moves on in January or next summer.