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UEFA WCQ: Late drama for Germany; Kane scores on Sept. 1

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A roundup of all of Friday’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers in Europe…

Czech Republic 1-2 Germany

Germany gave the Czech Republic every chance they could have done to steal a point (all three, even), but the World Cup holders eked out a victory in Prague. Timo Werner put Germany ahead after just four minutes, but the following 74 minutes consisted of the Czechs asking questions Joachim Loew’s side couldn’t really answer. In the 78th minute, Vladimir Darida unleashed a laser from 25 yards out, hitting the underside of the crossbar and drawing the home side level.

1-1 seemed destined to wind up the (fair) final score, but Mats Hummels had other ideas two minutes from full-time, when he headed home his fifth international goal. The result sends Germany onto 21 (out of a possible 21) points, still five points clear of second-place Northern Ireland, and now just a single point from guarantee a top-two finish (qualification playoffs).

Malta 0-4 England

21 hours prior to kickoff of England’s away clash with Malta, the clock struck midnight on August and gave way to September. Harry Kane, the England and Tottenham Hotspur striker infamously without a single goal in the month of August during his first-team career (this is his fourth season), was more aware of this fact than anyone.

How did Kane celebrate the arrival of September? With a goal, of course — and, not just any goal, but the winning goal in the 53rd minute, set up by his Tottenham teammate Dele Alli. Kane would score again, in the 91st minute, to make the final score 4-0 and notch his 10th England goal in 20 appearances.

Ryan Bertrand bagged his first international goal five minutes from full-time — a well-struck ball from 25 yards out — and Danny Welbeck took his tally to 15 seconds before Kane’s second goal.

England (17 points) remain atop Group F, their two point-lead on Slovakia still intact. Six points separate the Three Lions from third place, a playoff spot (at minimum) so nearly clinched already.

Denmark 4-0 Poland

The shocking result of the day came in Group E, where third-place Denmark put four unanswered goals past first-place Poland. Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen was, predictably, the star man for Denmark, playing a pivotal role in all four goals — scoring one himself and assisting on the other three.

Denmark (13 points) move to within three points of the top spot in the group and remain level with Montenegro for second place, though still behind on goal differential (+10 to +8).

Elsewhere

Group C

Norway 2-0 Azerbaijan
San Marino 0-3 Northern Ireland

Group E

Romania 1-0 Armenia
Kazakhstan 0-3 Montenegro

Group F

Lithuania 0-3 Scotland
Slovakia 1-0 Slovenia

Hummels makes a splash with balcony stunt

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STUTTGART, Germany (AP) Mats Hummels is being reminded of his responsibilities as a Germany international after leaping from a balcony into a swimming pool.

The Bayern Munich defender posted a video on Instagram earlier this week of him jumping from the edge of the balcony ledge alongside a hashtag which, when split, read “Do not try this at home.”

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Germany general manager Oliver Bierhoff says “it would have been even worse if he’d jumped in head first.”

Hummels is on Germany duty for two World Cup qualifiers.

Bierhoff says “naturally we aren’t the social media police for the players outside of the matches and we simply have to remind them that everything they say and do can be an example.”

Bayern banged up ahead of meeting with Real Madrid

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Bayern Munich will kick-off its highly anticipated Champions League matchup with Real Madrid on Wednesday, but they could be without two important parts of their defense.

Manuel Neuer, who is out after minor foot surgery, has yet to train according to reports across Europe. That doesn’t mean he is entirely ruled out yet, but it does shed serious doubt over his availability. Neuer is already behind schedule, as it was originally announced he would miss just two Bundesliga games against Augsburg and Hoffenheim, but he couldn’t prove fit for the win over Borussia Dortmund this weekend and still has been unable to return to first-team action.

Former Stuttgart youth product Sven Ulreich has deputized in goal during Neuer’s absence, and the 28-year-old would be the man between the sticks at Allianz Arena on Wednesday should Neuer miss out. Ulreich has backed up Neuer since arriving at Bayern during the summer of 2015, but he has just seven Bundesliga appearances due to the fantastic bill of health that Neuer has benefitted from.

The other bit of injury news from Bayern could see Mats Hummels miss out in front of Neuer, with the defender pulling up lame in training on Sunday, reportedly needing a stretcher to leave the field. Hummels has been first-choice for manager Carlo Ancelotti for much of the season, but he was rested this weekend against Dortmund, coming off the bench to play the final 11 minutes. However, he’s appeared in every Champions League match for Bayern so far this season, starting in six of the eight appearances. His miss would mean Javi Martinez and Jerome Boateng would likely start, as they did against Dortmund. Versatile youngster Josh Kimmich could also start in central defense.

Despite these absences, Bayern will be considered a worthy opponent for the high-flying Real Madrid, with the German side running away with the Bundesliga title currently with a 10-point lead. The Spaniards are with both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, with both missing out against Leganes on Wednesday due to injury, but both were able to return on the weekend in the draw with Atletico Madrid.

Mats Hummels bleached his hair after losing an Oktoberfest bet

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Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels says he was forced to bleach his hair after losing a bet over Oktoberfest.

The 28-year-old, who usually has jet black hair, showed up to Bayern’s 3-0 win over Leipzig with bleached blond hair, which sparked a few opp-topic questions following the match.

[ MORE: Bayern topples RB Leipzig to go three clear in table ]

Apparently, Hummels was trounced in a game of Skittles, a sport that’s essentially like mini-bowling, thus he had to pay up, but he’s not too bummed about it all. “I was afraid it would look worse,” Hummels admitted. “It will grow out so in a few weeks it will all be over.”

Hummels wouldn’t say who he lost the game and bet to, but told us he was obliterated. “After one throw, my opponent had already knocked over more than I had in my three attempts.” Bummer.

Bundesliga wrap: Bayern, Eintracht keep pace with Leipzig

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RB Leipzig’s big Friday win meant the field was left chasing the leaders when Saturday action began in the Bundesliga.

Bayern Munich and Eintracht Frankfurt managed to keep pace with the promotion upstarts, while Borussia Dortmund, Koln, and Hoffenheim dropped points.

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Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 77th minute equalizer was only a brief relief for Dortmund, as Haris Seferovic scored two minutes later to give the hosts all three points.

USMNT back Timmy Chandler went 90 minutes at left wingback for Eintracht, while Christian Pulisic got a breather after playing midweek in the UEFA Champions League.

Bayern Munich 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen

The reigning champs kept pace with first place RB Leipzig, opening the scoring through Thiago Alcantara in the 30th minute before conceding an equalizer to Hakan Calhanoglu.

But Mats Hummels powered a header home in the 56th minute to put Bayern back ahead.

Elsewhere

Freiburg 1-4 RB Leipzig — Friday
Hamburg 2-2 Werder Bremen — Gnabry nabs equalizer
Koln 0-0 Augsburg — Five saves for Koln’s Kessler
Monchengladbach 1-1 Hoffenheim — Dahoud scores again
Ingolstadt 1-1 Wolfsburg — Daniel Caligiuri equalizes late
Schalke vs. Darmstadt — 9:30 a.m. EDT Sunday
Hertha Berlin vs. Mainz — 11:30 a.m. EDT Sunday

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 RB Leipzig 12 9 3 0 27 10 17 4-1-0 5-2-0 30
 Bayern Munich 12 8 3 1 26 8 18 5-2-0 3-1-1 27
 Eintracht Frankfurt 12 7 3 2 18 10 8 4-2-0 3-1-2 24
 1. FC Köln 12 6 4 2 18 8 10 4-2-0 2-2-2 22
 1899 Hoffenheim 12 5 7 0 21 14 7 3-3-0 2-4-0 22
 Borussia Dortmund 12 6 3 3 27 14 13 4-2-0 2-1-3 21
 Hertha BSC Berlin 11 6 3 2 17 10 7 5-0-0 1-3-2 21
 FSV Mainz 05 11 5 2 4 21 20 1 3-1-1 2-1-3 17
 Bayer Leverkusen 12 5 1 6 19 20 -1 3-1-2 2-0-4 16
 SC Freiburg 12 5 0 7 16 24 -8 4-0-2 1-0-5 15
 FC Schalke 04 11 4 2 5 14 12 2 3-0-2 1-2-3 14
 FC Augsburg 12 3 4 5 10 14 -4 1-2-3 2-2-2 13
 Mönchengladbach 12 3 4 5 12 18 -6 3-3-1 0-1-4 13
 VfL Wolfsburg 12 2 4 6 10 15 -5 0-2-4 2-2-2 10
 Darmstadt 11 2 2 7 10 21 -11 2-2-2 0-0-5 8
 Werder Bremen 12 2 2 8 15 31 -16 2-0-4 0-2-4 8
 FC Ingolstadt 04 12 1 3 8 9 22 -13 0-2-4 1-1-4 6
 Hamburger SV 12 0 4 8 8 27 -19 0-2-4 0-2-4 4

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