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Hoffenheim gives up hilarious unwalled free kick goal (video)

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Judging by this play alone, you’d wager Hoffenheim was a relegation candidate and not a European tournament participant.

Hamburg’s second goal in its 3-0 win over Hoffenheim on Sunday came in hilarious fashion, a comedy of errors by field players and goalkeeper Oliver Baumann which lifted the hosts out of relegation danger for the week.

[ MORE: Late win for Arsenal ]

Filip Kostic earned his second goal in three matches with this strike, which had to feel a bit like target practice.

Quickly taken? Sure. But for Hoffenheim’s players to be nowhere near a wall and Baumann’s fault is multi-faceted.

USMNT forward Bobby Wood played most of the win for Hamburg.

Bundesliga: Leverkusen throttle HSV; Hannover remain unbeaten

Marius Becker/dpa via AP
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BERLIN (AP) Three days after being cleared to play by FIFA, Argentine striker Lucas Alario scored one goal and set up another on his debut for Bayer Leverkusen to beat Hamburger SV 3-0 in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Alario struck midway through the first half, converting a cross from Leon Bailey, who also set up Kevin Volland’s opening goal just three minutes before.

A moment of class from Julian Brandt sent Alario through with less than 10 minutes remaining, and the Argentine had the awareness to spot the better-positioned Volland to seal the win.

Alario went off moments later to warm applause from fans.

“The goal is the cream on top. He played very well, scored the goal and combined with others. He worked well coming back and his first goal wasn’t so easy to score,” Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich said.

Alario’s first appearance for Leverkusen was held up when previous club River Plate objected to his transfer through the Argentine soccer association (AFA), which denied his playing rights.

The Buenos Aires-based club contended that Alario’s transfer was invalid as Leverkusen paid his release clause of $28.6 million on Aug. 31, after the Argentine season began, which it said was against FIFA rules.

Leverkusen then took the case to FIFA, which ruled in its favor on Thursday.

Leverkusen’s second win in six games eased the pressure on new coach Herrlich after a difficult start.

Counterpart Markus Gisdol remains in need of a change in fortune, however, after four straight defeats. Hamburg next faces Werder Bremen, Mainz and Bayern Munich.

Cologne fought its way to its first point in a 0-0 draw at promoted Hannover after starting the Bundesliga with five straight defeats.

Now the last-place side hopes it can build on the point.

“The luck will come back and the chances we had today will go in,” Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn said. “We’ll start winning the games again. But the precondition was this performance that we delivered today.”

Peter Stoeger’s side, which has scored only one goal all season, hasn’t netted in its last four league games. That highlighted the extent to which Cologne relied on French striker Anthony Modeste, sold in the offseason in a big-money move to Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian.

Modeste scored 25 Bundesliga goals for Cologne last season. His replacement, former Mainz striker Jhon Cordoba, is yet to score in six games.

“We all have to be satisfied with the draw,” said Hannover general manager Horst Heldt, whose fourth-place side remains one of three unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season.

Hannover coach Andre Breitenreiter remained unbeaten in 15 games across two divisions.

Bobby Wood misses Hamburg match with knee injury

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Hannover defeated Hamburg 2-0 to move three points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table, a wonderful start to the season for the newly promoted club. The table-toppers have conceded just one goal over their first four games, picking up three wins and a draw thus far.

On the other side, Hamburg still remains in the top half of the table, but they sorely missed their starting striker.

American international Bobby Wood was sidelined for the match, reportedly due to a knee injury he suffered on international duty with the USMNT. The 24-year-old scored a critical goal for the U.S. off the bench to earn a point against Honduras, but according to German publication Kicker, he has been struggling with a nagging knee problem suffered with the national team. The report says knee problems are something Wood has been dealing with since preseason.

He played for Hamburg two days after the Honduras match against RB Leipzig, but has not trained since then. It’s unclear how long or serious the injury is.

Wood is a key part of the U.S. attack, with the United States set to take on Panama and Trinidad & Tobago in a pair of critical qualifiers that will decide the country’s World Cup fate. The USMNT has already been forced to deal with a hamstring injury to striker Jordan Morris, and missing Wood as well would further thin the striker ranks.

For Hamburg, Wood is one of four injured strikers, completely exhausting the club’s attacking depth and forcing them to sign free agent Sejad Salihovic.

Healthy again, Bobby Wood figures to play key role for USMNT

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WHIPPANY, N.J. (AP) Bobby Wood still refuses to say whether he was playing with an injured knee last spring.

Enjoying a breakout first season in the Bundesliga, the 24-year-old American forward missed a pair of World Cup qualifiers in March because of a back injury, then didn’t score in Hamburg’s final nine games. German media reported he had hurt a knee, and Hamburg coach Markus Gisdol said in May: “He’s trained for weeks on painkillers. He plays on painkillers.”

Wood didn’t look sharp when he returned to the U.S. national team for qualifiers in June, but scored twice in Hamburg’s opening three games of the new season.

[ MORE: Four keys for the USMNT ]

“He’s back at full speed and ready to go,” American coach Bruce Arena said Wednesday, two days before World Cup qualifying resumes with a match against Costa Rica at nearby Red Bull Arena.

Wood is among five forwards in camp, joined by Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris and Chris Wondolowski.

“He has more pace than me, probably covers more distance in the game,” Dempsey said. “A physical player – challenges everything. Runs down lost causes and is good in front of goal. So he’s a player that I see continue to do well for many years.”

Born in Hawaii, Wood joined 1860 Munich’s youth academy in 2007 and made his professional debut with the club in a second-division match four years later. He was loaned to second-division Erzgebirge Aue for the second half of the 2014-15 season, then signed with another second-division team, Union Berlin, in July 2015.

He scored 17 goals in 31 league games in 2015-16, earning a contract with Hamburg. He had five goals and set up two more in 28 games in his first Bundesliga season.

But he didn’t score after March 12 and was given poor ratings by German media. Asked about the knee Wednesday, Wood said: “Yeah, I guess it was a little bit of a problem” and then chuckled.

“It certainly slowed him down a little bit,” Arena said.

Wood made his national team debut in August 2013 and scored his first goal two years later, a 90th-minute strike that gave the U.S. a 2-1 exhibition win at the Netherlands. He has eight goals in 32 international appearances, starting alongside Altidore for the first two games of the hexagonal last November, a 2-1 home loss to Mexico in which he scored the American goal, and a 4-0 debacle at Costa Rica that caused the U.S. Soccer Federation to fire Jurgen Klinsmann and bring back Arena, the U.S. coach from 1998-2006.

“We’ve got to take that loss as a learning session and kind of know you can’t just go out there and play,” Wood said. “You’ve got to mentally be ready for a very tough Costa Rican team.”

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When qualifying resumed in June, Arena used Wood as an 83rd-minute substitute for a 2-0 home win over Trinidad and Tobago and started him as the lone forward three days later in a 1-1 draw at Mexico.

Arena compliments “his pace, his quick, sharp little running behind back lines, his aggressiveness.”

“He’s a guy that you need to focus on for 90 minutes,” Arena said. “He’s very active in his movement. He’s goal dangerous.”

The U.S. has moved up in the standings since Arena took over, winning two home games and drawing twice on the road. If the Americans win at home this week and get at least a tie on Tuesday at Honduras, they would head into the round’s final games in October on track for an eighth straight World Cup appearance.

Wood and Hamburg played under pressure last May. The club has never been relegated but was in danger of the drop until a 2-1 win over Wolfsburg on the season’s final day.

After the season, Hamburg gave Wood a new contract until 2021. He scored against third-tier Osnabrueck in the German Cup, then got his team’s second goal in a 3-1 win at Cologne on Friday that gave Hamburg a 2-0 Bundesliga start. Wood isn’t looking ahead just yet to a stress-free club season.

“Doesn’t keep you in the league winning two times,” he said. “It’s only six points.”

Bundesliga wrap: BVB wins again; Clever Lewandowski nabs beaut (video)

Carmen Jaspersen/dpa via AP) via AP
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Three Bundesliga sides are a perfect 2-for-2 to start the season, and Borussia Dortmund has a slight edge of Bayern Munich after another strong performance from 18-year-old American attacker Christian Pulisic.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 2-0 LCFC | Mourinho reacts ]

The weekend started well for America, with Bobby Wood scoring Friday for the third perfect side: Hamburger SV.

Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Hertha Berlin

No Ousmane Dembele, no problem for Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund. The American phenom had another outstanding day as BVB won via Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nuri Sahin goals.

Pulisic led the match in attempts on goal with five, sprints with 41 — only Aubameyang joined him as players with more than 26 — and covered 6.7 miles as BVB improved to 2-0 on the young season.

Werder Bremen 0-2 Bayern Munich

The hosts stymied Bayern for 72 minutes. Three minutes later, Robert Lewandowski had a brace and the champs were on their way to the points.

Both goals were nice, but the first was casually brilliant. Little back foot trickery.

Koln 1-3 Hamburg (Friday)

Andre Hahn and Lewis Holtby joined USMNT striker Bobby Wood on the winners’ side of the ledger.

Here’s the Hawaii-born striker’s marker:

Eintracht Frankfurt 0-1 Wolfsburg — Didavi with lone goal
Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Hoffenheim — Kramaric, Uth with equalizers
Stuttgart 1-0 Mainz — Badstuber scores rare goal
Augsburg 2-2 ‘Gladbach — Hosts score in 1st, 89th minutes
RB Leipzig vs. Freiburg — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Hannover 96 vs. Schalke — Noon ET Sunday


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