AP Photo/Martin Meissner

VIDEO: Batshuayi brace on BVB debut; Pulisic assists 2nd

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Michy Batshuayi scored twice and had a third overruled by VAR in his debut for Borussia Dortmund, making a sensational first impression on loan from Chelsea.

[ MORE: West Ham fires director for Anti-African comments ]

Andre Schurrle also scored but, facing resurgent Koln, BVB’s defense also did what it does in a 3-2 victory reminiscent of old boss Jurgen Klopp‘s season at Liverpool.

Batshuayi was felled in stoppage time but limped through it to win a late 50/50 in a performance which will have BVB fans in his corner.

Dortmund leaps second from sixth with the win ahead of the weekend’s other matches. Koln remains four points back of the playoff spot and seven shy of automatic safety.

Here’s the first goal, with Batshuayi getting to the catbird seat to finish a cutback.

As for the disallowed goal, Christian Pulisic started the sequence that led to the second goal, but if the Belgian was offside it was by a very slim margin. Still, offside.

No doubt about the third, and Pulisic plays his part here to perfection after Roman Burki’s long range pass from the BVB 18.

Europa League preview: Field set for final trim

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The UEFA Europa League gained some big names this week with the third-place teams of the Champions League, but will it lose some others?

Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Atletico Madrid, and Sporting CP are among eight UCL drop-outs to join the UEL for the knockout rounds.

[ MORE: Liverpool crushes Spartak ]

Everton and Hoffenheim have already been eliminated, and Koln, Marseille, and Athletic Bilbao could bow out of the tournament without results on Thursday.

Only eight spots remain before Thursday’s action, with giants Arsenal and AC Milan already through before matches with BATE Borisov and Rijeka. The Gunners will be without Shkrodan Mustafi for the match, and will face a desperate BATE team which can still advance in a number of scenarios.

The other Premier League side in the tournament, Everton, is in Cyprus to face Apollon Limassol in a match thatb doesn’t matter for either side. Sam Allardyce will likely have little use for it ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside Derby.

Group F is the only bunch with two spots still open. Sheriff Tiraspol (Romania) leads the way, and needs just a point from Copenhagen. The hosts need to top Sheriff, while Lokomotiv Moscow advances with a win at Fastav Zlin or a Copenhagen draw or loss.

As for the three big names in question:

— Marseille advances with a win at home to Red Bull Salzburg, or a draw and help from Vitoria against Konyaspor.

— Koln goes through with a win at Red Star Belgrade.

— Athletic Bilbao simply needs to avoid a loss in Ukraine to Zorya Luhansk.

Transfer rumor roundup: Mahrez to Arsenal, Bakambu in demand

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As Alexandre Lacazette, Lyon, and Arsenal sort out their futures, plenty of other names are making their way through the gossip pages.

One of those is a former Premier League Player of the Year, and he’s being linked with the same destination as Lacazette.

CalcioMercato says Riyad Mahrez is close to a North London transfer, though it offers little in the way of concrete details. The report says Arsene Wenger is ready to make the move for one of Leicester City’s Algerian playmakers, and that it should be announced “soon.” Could the move be a domino that helps Alexis Sanchez in his decision to stay, or Arsenal’s readiness to let him go?

[ MORE: West Brom adds Saints striker ]

West Ham has reportedly seen a $29 million bids turned down by Villarreal and Koln as the Irons aim to pry strikers Cedric Bakambu and Anthony Modeste from their clubs. Modeste, 29, scored a brilliant 25 goals in Bundesliga play last season, improving on his 15-goal 2015-16 campaign.

Bakambu, 26, has five goals in 13 caps for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and has 34 goals in two seasons with the Yellow Submarines. The failed bid is rumored to trigger pursuit from Newcastle United, which is yet to add a new player this season.

Where could West Ham turn in their seemingly eternal search for a star striker? The Mirror claims the Irons could trigger a $17 million release clause in order to bring Mexican striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez to London from Bayer Leverkusen.

Bundesliga wrap: RB Leipzig falls, Koln’s Modeste on fire

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Anthony Modeste moved into second in the Bundesliga goal scoring table, adding his 20th, 21st, and 22nd goals of the season in moving Koln to within three points of fifth.

[ PL ROUNDUP: Chelsea delight, Arsenal woe ]

That’s the individual highlight of a a busy day in Germany.

Werder Bremen 3-0 RB Leipzig

Werder Bremen is closer to completing its great escape, and this step came at the expense of the visitors’ increasingly unlikely title hopes.

Zlatko Junuzovic, Florian Grillitsch, and Florian Kainz scored in the win, the first looking pretty impressive:

Leipzig spent the better part of its first Bundesliga season in a fight for the title with Bayern Munich, but now sits 10 points back of first and just three ahead of third place Borussia Dortmund.

Werder Bremen is now one of four sides with 29 points, three ahead of the promotion playoff spot occupied by Hamburg. Bremen is unbeaten in five with four wins as it aims for a 37th-straight season in the top flight.

Koln 4-2 Hertha Berlin

USMNT center back John Brooks scored for the visitors, but also was part of a side that allowed four goals to the hosts. Three of those went to star striker Modeste, who has 22 goals on the season. The Frenchman remains uncapped!

Hoffenheim 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen

Well-traveled big man Sandro Wagner scored his 11th goal of the Bundesliga campaign to move Hoffenheim five points clear of Hertha Berlin in the Top Four race.

Elsewhere
Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Ingolstadt — Friday
Wolfsburg 1-0 Darmstadt — Mario Gomez scores
Augsburg 1-1 Freiburg — Hosts three clear of danger zone
Eintracht Frankfurt 0-0 Hamburg — 89 mins for Bobby Wood
Mainz vs. Schalke — 10:30 a.m. EDT Sunday
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Bayern Munich — 12:30 p.m. EDT Sunday

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 24 18 5 1 60 13 47 9-3-0 9-2-1 59
 RB Leipzig 25 15 4 6 43 28 15 9-1-2 6-3-4 49
 Borussia Dortmund 25 13 7 5 54 27 27 9-3-0 4-4-5 46
 1899 Hoffenheim 25 11 12 2 46 25 21 8-5-0 3-7-2 45
 Hertha BSC Berlin 25 12 4 9 34 30 4 10-1-1 2-3-8 40
 1. FC Köln 25 9 10 6 37 29 8 6-5-1 3-5-5 37
 Eintracht Frankfurt 25 10 6 9 26 27 -1 6-4-2 4-2-7 36
 SC Freiburg 25 10 5 10 32 42 -10 7-1-4 3-4-6 35
 Mönchengladbach 24 9 5 10 30 33 -3 6-3-3 3-2-7 32
 Bayer Leverkusen 25 9 4 12 37 40 -3 5-3-5 4-1-7 31
 FC Schalke 04 24 8 6 10 31 27 4 7-2-4 1-4-6 30
 FSV Mainz 05 24 8 5 11 33 40 -7 5-4-3 3-1-8 29
 Werder Bremen 25 8 5 12 34 44 -10 5-1-7 3-4-5 29
 FC Augsburg 25 7 8 10 24 34 -10 3-5-5 4-3-5 29
 VfL Wolfsburg 25 8 5 12 23 34 -11 4-2-7 4-3-5 29
 Hamburger SV 25 7 6 12 24 46 -22 5-3-4 2-3-8 27
 FC Ingolstadt 04 25 5 4 16 23 42 -19 2-3-7 3-1-9 19
 Darmstadt 25 4 3 18 17 47 -30 4-3-6 0-0-12 15

USMNT’s Brooks hits international break with goal, loss (video)

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John Brooks is bringing his scoring boots noggin to the international break.

The USMNT center back rose high to power a header home in Hertha Berlin’s 4-2 loss at Koln on Saturday.

[ MORE: Toffees tatter Tigers ]

The four goals allowed will be a concern for U.S. fans ahead of critical World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama, but Brooks’ fifth Bundesliga goal sure is a powerful header.

Hertha drops five points back of fourth place Hoffenheim, and allows Koln to within three points.