Bundesliga Wrap: Goals and comebacks galore

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It didn’t seem as though Bundesliga’s 12th round was going to be all that exciting. The weekend started off with a Friday night thriller between Hannover and Braunschweig. On Saturday, most of the top brass faced opponents that should’ve given them little trouble. Sure, some sides close to the top five may have had an opportunity to move a couple places, but overall, it looked as though it would be fairly standard weekend in Germany.

And then…


Hannover 0-0 Braunschweig
It may have been goalless, but it wasn’t a snooze. Both sides demonstrated some excellent defensive capabilities, but it was Braunschweig that impressed the most. Hannover had the majority of possession and sent a plethora of shots at the visitors’ goal, but, thanks to Deniz Dogan in particular, Braunschweig were able to keep a clean sheet. They’re still deep in the drop zone, but four points from two matches shows they might be pulling themselves out of the muck.


Bayer Leverkusen 5-3 Hamburg
Well, this one was a thriller. A brace from Son Heung-Min put Leverkusen ahead by the 16th minute, but Maximillian Beister pulled one back for Hamburg before the half ended. Pierre-Michel Lasogga equalized shortly after the restart, but Son didn’t much care for that, so he completed his hat-trick minutes later. Then Stefan Kießling put in another for Leverkusen in the 72nd, but Lasogga had Hamburg within reach again two minutes later. In the 89th minute, however, Gonzalo Castro put the game out of reach. Thanks to the three points, Leverkusen are once more even with Dortmund. How?

Wolfsburg 2-1 Borussia Dortmund
Because Dortmund lost, that’s how. Possibly still suffering from their Champions League loss to Arsenal midweek, Dortmund just couldn’t hang on to the lead they’d grabbed, courtesy of Marco Reus, moments before the halftime whistle. Ricardo Rodriguez scored from a direct free kick, then Ivica Olic put in Wolfsburg’s second. Despite having twenty minutes left to find an equalizer, or even a winner, BVB could do no more than hit the post. That’s four consecutive wins for Wolfsburg, who are now fifth in the table.

Bayern Munich 3-0 Augsburg
The Dortmund loss also means Bayern have pulled further ahead in the standings, now four points clear after their routine win over Augsburg. Jerome Boateng, Franck Ribéry, and Thomas Müller got the goals. Augsburg…didn’t even get a shot on target.

Hoffenheim 2-3 Hertha Berlin
Hertha Berlin almost let it all slip away. Änis Ben-Hatira gave the visitors the lead before 15 minutes were up, and a penalty from Adrián Ramos put them up 2-0 before the hour mark. But, with 20 minutes left to play, Hertha conceded a penalty of their own, duly converted by Sejad Salihovic. Ten minutes later, the Bosnian had a second, this time from a free kick. But Adrián Ramos had the last laugh, getting another just a few minutes later. Hertha, in seventh, are still trying to recover a European position, while Hoffenheim’s struggling home form sees them fall to 13th.

Schalke 3-1 Werder Bremen
Schalke likely would’ve appreciated it had Wolfsburg and Gladbach not pulled off their come from behind wins — then Schalke could’ve bounced up to a Champions League place. Not that they seem to be enjoying their Champions League experience, but still, it’s the principle of the thing. Werder Bremen actually had the lead early on, thanks to a goal from Felix Kroos, but a second half brace from Kevin-Prince Boateng and an insurance goal from Jefferson Farfán saw Schalke trot out the winners.

Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 Nurnberg
As was par for the course on this Bundesliga Saturday, the visiting side took an early lead with a goal from Josip Drmic. But Gladback staged a late comeback. Juan Arango got the first, and a few minutes later, Niklas Stark thought he’d help out, planting the ball in the back of his own net. The Foals finished it off with a sweet shot from Patrick Herrmann. Gladbach stay fourth, but Nurnberg drop to the bottom. It would probably help if, at some point soon, Nurnberg could find their first win of the season.

Sunday…still to come, of course

Mainz vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
Germany sure loves to put the most unappealing matchups on Sundays. Do no Germans pay attention to the football after Saturday afternoon? There’s little to recommend this lower mid-table clash, except the love of Fußball of course.

Freiburg vs. Stuttgart
A win on Sunday could pull Freiburg out of the danger zone, albiet barely. At least matches between these two sides tend to see a few balls land in the back of the net.

Premier League Preview: Everton v. Chelsea

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  • Chelsea sit 4th, with 29 points
  • Everton sit 18th, with 11 points
  • Last meeting: Everton 2-0 Chelsea

Everton’s start to the 2019-20 Premier League season has been beyond woeful (4W-2D-9L in 15 games) for any club, let alone one that had dreams of breaking into the top-six this season, resulting in manager Marco Silva losing his job on Thursday. Now, fewer than 48 hours later, the Toffees have to pick themselves back up and face a top-four side for the third straight game when Chelsea visit Goodison Park on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Having lost three straight PL games, including defeats to second-place Leicester City and leaders Liverpool this week alone, the next few weeks will go a long way toward seeing Everton leave the relegation zone in the rearview mirror or sink deeper and deeper into the muck of a season-long relegation battle. A piece of potentially positive news for Everton ahead of Saturday’s game: they are currently three games unbeaten against Chelsea (1W-2D-0L).

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

As for the Blues, this could turn out to be a decisive week in their season. After losing to West Ham United last weekend, Frank Lampard‘s side bounced back with a win over Aston Villa on Wednesday. Then came the best news of all on Friday: Chelsea’s transfer ban has been cut in half and they will be able to sign players in January, meaning their young, thin squad can be bolstered as the look to solidify their Champions League place for next season.

With a floundering side like Everton next up on the fixtures list, the chance to move further clear of the Champions League chasing pack is perfectly ripe. Tammy Abraham (hip) returned for the game against Villa and scored the opening goal to take is season’s tally to 11 (second, behind Jamie Vardy). The 22-year-old has benefited more than anyone from what turned out to be Chelsea’s one-window transfer ban, doing more than enough to secure his place for the second half of the season, no matter what business they do in January.


Everton: OUT – Andre Gomes (ankle), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh), Fabian Delph (hamstring), Cuco Martina (knee)

Chelsea: OUT – Ruben Loftus-Cheek (achilles), Antonio Rudiger (groin)

Projected lineups

Everton: Pickford — Sidibe, Keane, Mina, Digne — Schneiderlin, Davies, Sigurdsson — Iwobi, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison

Chelsea: Kepa — James, Christensen, Zouma, Azpilicueta — Kante, Kovacic, Willian, Mount, Pulisic — Abraham

What they’re saying

Interim Everton boss Duncan Ferguson: “I’m a coach at the moment so I don’t think that is something I am considering at this time. It is my dream to be Everton manager but I am also realistic. Who wouldn’t want to be manager of Everton? There will be many top managers who want this job.”

Frank Lampard, on the new-manager bounce: “[Marco] Silva tried everything for the club and I’m sure that he will go on to manage well elsewhere. They might have an extra energy tomorrow as they rally.”


Chelsea have far too much balance between defense and attack to hand Everton the glaring opportunities they will need to beat a genuine top-four side. That said, there’s far too much talent in that squad to continue to get beaten every time out, and perhaps seeing someone else take the blame will lift the burden off them and allow them to perform. Everton 2-2 Chelsea.

Serie A: Leaders Inter Milan open door for Juve by drawing Roma

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MILAN (AP) Italian league leader Inter Milan was held by Roma to 0-0 on Friday, giving second-placed Juventus a chance to return to the top.

[ MORE: Chelsea transfer ban reduced; can sign players in January ]

The home draw left Inter only two points ahead of Juventus, which can regain the lead when it visits third-placed Lazio on Saturday.The result also wasn’t good for Roma, which moved from fifth to fourth place in the standings but remained nine points off the lead after 15 matches.

Inter forward Lautaro Martinez had one of the game’s best chances when he got past a defender and entered the area in the 68th minute, but his shot was blocked at the last minute. He called for a handball by the defender but the referee let play continue.

[ MORE: Brendan Rodgers signs new contract at Leicester ]

Inter was coming off five straight wins in the league, with its last setback in all competitions last month against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. Its last league loss was against Juventus in October, nine matches ago.

Roma was seeking its third straight league win. It had won five of its last six matches since last month.

Inter visits Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Premier League Preview: Man City v. Man United

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  • Man City (3rd) trail Liverpool by 11 points
  • Man United (6th) eight points out of 4th
  • Last meeting: Man United 0-2 Man City

For the first time in recent memory, Manchester City and Manchester United each find themselves failing to meet expectations — by their own respective standards, at least — as they prepare to meet at the Etihad Stadium in the 179th Manchester derby on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Man City, the two-time defending Premier League champions, are looking increasingly unlikely to retain their crown for a third straight season but look a surefire bet to finish in the top-four, which is a place for which Man United would bite your hand off as they currently trail leaders Liverpool by more points (22) than they have points of their own (21).

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

The struggles for United have been all about consistency as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side hasn’t won back-to-back games all season. The Red Devils haven’t won two in a row in the PL since March. On the bright side, United turned in one of their complete performances of the season on Wednesday, spoiling Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford and beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1. Marcus Rashford scored both goals and Solskjaer couldn’t rave enough about his 22-year-old forward after the game. From start to finish, United were the better team and looked in majority control, which isn’t something they’ve been able to say often in 2019.

As for City, they’ve simply been “not good enough” without ever actually being “bad” this season, given Liverpool’s scintillating form (14W-1D-0L thus far). Realistically, City likely need to pick up all 69 remaining points this season, and even then they might still come up short.


Man City: OUT – Sergio Aguero (thigh), Aymeric Laporte (knee), Leroy Sane (knee), Oleksandr Zinchenko (knee)

Man United: OUT – Anthony Martial (hamstring), Eric Bailly (knee), Marcos Rojo (undisclosed); QUESTIONABLE: Paul Pogba (ankle), Nemanja Matic (groin), Diogo Dalot (groin)

Projected lineups

Man City: Ederson — Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Angeliño — Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva — Bernardo, Jesus, Sterling

Man United: De Gea — Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young — Fred, McTominay, James, Mata, Lingard — Rashford

What they’re saying

Pep Guardiola, on the derby: “It’s Man United. I respect what they’ve done for English football, European, and world football. United have huge history and their quality is always there but we must try to beat them. We play against a good team, try to follow the performances we’ve put in and try to win the game. You know my opinion on the title race.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, on his derby memories: “It took many years before I played a Manchester derby myself. Of course, Man City are a better team now than when I was playing. … Confidence is a strange thing in football; you can get performances and results like Wednesday night and it boosts it so much. And I know our boys will be up for it. 24 hours less recovery time [than City] shouldn’t matter, you go on adrenaline.”


The win over Tottenham was impressive, no doubt about it, but City remain a challenge of an entirely different class, no matter what their points total says. If the title is well and truly gone for Guardiola’s side, then retaining superiority in Manchester will have to suffice. City 3-1 United.

Klinsmann gets first point as Hertha Berlin manager

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Jurgen Klinsmann claimed his first point since returning to coaching as his Hertha Berlin team let slip a two-goal lead to draw with Frankfurt 2-2 in the Bundesliga on Friday.

[ MORE: Chelsea transfer ban reduced; can sign players in January ]

Hertha was clinging to a 2-1 lead in the 86th minute when Sebastian Rode hammered the ball in from a corner for Frankfurt to deny the Berlin team the win.

Hertha is in the relegation playoff spot in 16th and winless in its last six league games, while Frankfurt is 10th.

Dodi Lukebakio gave Hertha the lead with a shot through Frederik Ronnow’s legs. That goal was assisted by Marko Grujic, who later made it 2-0 with a header from a free kick.

However, Frankfurt almost immediately replied with a header of its own from Martin Hinteregger, the Austrian defender with five Bundesliga goals.

[ MORE: Brendan Rodgers signs new contract at Leicester ]

Frankfurt’s fans expressed their disapproval of the video assistant referee after it ruled out two goals for the hosts. There was a rare disallowed own goal when Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft palmed a cross into his own net but was found to have been pushed while jumping.

Klinsmann took over Hertha last week on a temporary deal until the end of the season, after Ante Covic was fired with the team under threat of relegation. Klinsmann hadn’t coached since being fired in 2016 by the United States, and last worked at a club in 2009 at Bayern Munich.