Bundesliga Report: Goals, goals and more goals

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Sick and tired of people talking about how soccer is such a dull sport, with games ending in goalless draws or, at best, with a single goal being the deciding factor? Point those doomsayers in the direction of German football. In the seven matches played thus far in the Bundesliga, there’ve already been 24 goals — that’s more than three per match, in case you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to do any maths.

Read on for a quick glance around the German top division.

Friday

Stuttgart 1-1 Nurnberg
The hosts took an early lead after Niklas Stark brought down Alexandru Maxim inside the area. It was Vedad Ibisevic that put in the resulting penalty, but the Bosnian’s goal was cancelled out three minutes later when Josip Drmic got on the end of a ball from Timothy Chandler to put in the equalizer. Stuttgart fall out of the European places after the draw, and could fall further should Gladbach get a result on Sunday.

Saturday

Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Augsburg
It looked as though this would be the week Leverkusen would slip up, allowing both Bayern and Dortmund to pull further ahead. Andre Hahn put the visitors ahead, but a goal from Simon Rolfes had Leverkusen even before the break. It was a nervy second half for the hosts, however — at least until Emre Can found the back of the net in the 83rd minute. Leverkusen remain one point behind leaders Bayern Munich, while Augsburg edge closer to the relegation zone.

Bayern Munich 3-2 Hertha Berlin
Newcomers Hertha Berlin got off to a great start at the Allianz Arena, with Adrián Ramos scoring before five minutes had passed. But, as we all know, Bayern Munich don’t much care for that sort of challenge. Mario Mandzukic equalized in the first half, then put the hosts ahead early in the second. Mario Götze added an insurance goal three minutes later — fortunately for Bayern, because Hertha had another in them as well, with Änis Ben-Hatira adding his team’s second.

Hannover 1-4 Hoffenheim 
This was an absolutely brutal match for the hosts, who ultimately finished the game with nine men. Mame Biram Diouf picked up two yellows inside two minutes, putting Hannover down to ten by the 12th minute. Sejad Salihovic had already converted a penalty prior to the sending off, and Kai Herdling added a second shortly after. Somewhat surprisingly, Salif Sané scored to put Hannover back into the match, but then Roberto Firmino put in Hoffenheim’s third, and then their fourth. Marcelo received a straight red with 25 minutes left to play, but by that time Hoffenheim were out of goals.

Mainz 2-0 Braunschweig
Definitely the Bundesliga’s most straightforward match of the weekend. Shinji Okazaki grabbed two, furthering Braunschweig’s misery as they continue to struggle to climb from the bottom of the table.

Schalke 04 1-3 Borussia Dortmund
The Revierderby should’ve been more exciting than this, no? Two Champions League sides going head-to-head? Except Schalke have failed to impress thus far, winning just four of their ten matches. In this one, Kevin-Prince Boateng missed a penalty that would’ve put the hosts on level terms after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the opener. Instead, Nuri Sahin grabbed Dortmund’s second before Max Mayer finally knocked one in for Schalke. But Jakub Blaszczykowski put in Dortmund’s third as the visitors claimed victory, both on the pitch and in number of letters used when writing match reports.

Wolfsburg 3-0 Werder Bremen
The two sides were on level terms before the start of the match, but now Wolfsburg sit in fifth, just out of the Champions League places, while Werder Bremen are down in 12th. Maximillian Arnold, Ivica Olic and Ivan Perisic put in the goals for Wolfsburg.

Still to come — Sunday

Freiburg vs. Hamburg
It’s a battle at the bottom, but even a win won’t lift Freiburg out of the drop zone. However, they may feel safer in 16th, as the Bundesliga features a playoff to determine who gets sent down.

Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
A home win will lift Gladbach into fourth place after Hertha fell against Bayern. That’ll make for good revenge after the Foals lost at Hertha just last week. But with Eintracht having drawn their last four, it won’t be easy for the hosts to grab all three points.

Report: Minnesota United chasing Ecuadorian national teamer

Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images
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Minnesota United may be hoping another Ibarra can cure what ails its attack.

Romario Ibarra, 23, is on the Loons’ radar according to The Athletic‘s Kristian Dyer and Jeff Rueter, who say Minnesota would like to land the Ecuadorian when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

[ MORE: Modric urges humility ]

Ibarra was limited to eight matches for Universidad Católica this season as he battled through a lingering metatarsal fracture. But he’s scored against Argentina and Chile in each of his appearances for the national team, both World Cup qualifiers.

From The Athletic:

Sources say that Ibarra’s contract is unlikely to make him a designated player, leaving Quintero as the club’s sole DP. (It could depend, in part, on the size of the transfer fee.) Based on league standards, his salary will likely be drawn from Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) contract seems likely.

Ibarra’s older brother Renato plays for Club America, and has 36 caps.

Minnesota is six points outside the West’s final playoff spot, and has scored just 17 goals in 14 matches.

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal field set

Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP
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The 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is down to one non-MLS entrant after LAFC fought past Sacramento Republic’s dogged effort to make it two, twice equalizing en route to a 3-2 win.

[ MORE: TFC extends Bono ]

Louisville City won a battle of USL sides in Wednesday’s final day of fifth round action, knocking off Nashville SC by a 2-1 score.

Now attention turns to the quarterfinals, where USL champions Louisville City will face the Chicago Fire on July 18.

All four quarterfinals will be staged on that day, and the winner of Louisville-Chicago will face the winner of the duel between Philadelphia Union and Orlando City.

The other side of the bracket shows Houston Dynamo against Sporting KC, and LAFC against the Portland Timbers.

Chicago and KC have won the cup an MLS-best four times each, while Philadelphia has finished second twice.

The remaining quarterfinalists have not advanced to a USOC final.

Sprawling translated Emery interview talks PSG, Guardiola, more

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Arsenal manager Unai Emery has given a sprawling interview, translated by France Football News, in which he discusses his history and his philosophies.

The interview was conducted after Emery was dismissed by Paris Saint-Germain but before he was hired by the Gunners.

[ MORE: Sampaoli defends Messi ]

It’s a fascinating read, with Emery going deep into his relationship with Neymar, the need for PSG to get an “A-ha” goal for its history books, and much, much more.

The interview is with Marti Perarnau, the author of “Pep Confidential,” and there are plenty of good nuggets regarding the Manchester City boss, as well as Rafa Benitez, Zinedine Zidane, PSG, Real Madrid, and Barcelona.

It’s fairly clear that Emery figured he’d be going to a new league, and he certainly seems like a guy fit for a project like succeeding Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. For one thing, he’s proud of his team’s style.

That’s something valued by the North London set, and Emery pointed out that Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid and Pep Guardiola at Man City had to fail before they succeeded.

Let me say this: PSG played well and won. Many people don’t value that enough and believe that it is easy. But what happened to us? We lacked competitiveness in important moments. Why? Because this team is not confronted with enough moments of adversity in the league. Being competitive also means being faced with adversity. One has to suffer like Simeone’s team to win. One has to suffer like Pep’s team to win in England.

My team had two basic principles: having possession and pressing. That was the basis. Having the ball, and winning it back as fast as possible. I should add a little nuance. I’m talking about having possession and not positioning because there are moments where you can win the ball through positioning, and others where moving out of position can surprise the opponent. And like Guardiola says, if you have to win with a long ball from the goalkeeper towards the striker and that the forward scores with his ass, then so be it! We work like that as well.

And here’s just a quick nugget on the importance of playmaking, and how good players make a coach look better.

During his first match against Toulouse at the Parc des Princes, we get corner. Neymar takes it quickly and Kurzawa scores. We hadn’t worked that at all with him. Afterwards, I told Neymar, “My work is limited to your strokes of genius.”

Love it. Arsenal seems like it’s in good hands. Read the full interview here.

Khedira laughs off Swedish reporter’s offer of tickets home

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Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira brushed off a gesture from a Swedish reporter, trading a bit of banter ahead of Germany’s big World Cup match against Sweden on Saturday.

Germany fell 1-0 to Mexico in its opener while Sweden beat South Korea, leading a playful Swede to hand Khedira boarding passes for a flight home to Germany.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Khedira’s reply? He joked that Sweden won’t be a problem and he’ll use the tickets after the World Cup Final.

From Goal.com:

“After this bad start, we know that it’s super difficult, but we know that we are a strong team. We analysed the game, we saw Sweden play and we are sure that we are winning this game.

“I think we’ll need them [plane tickets] on the 16th of July.”