Bundesliga Wrap: Goals galore!

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No game in the Bundesliga featured less than two goals so far this weekend, and an astonishing four matches saw the winners scoring four goals. That’s the sort of fun you get when you tune into German football – the title may be all but decided, but there’s still going to be plenty of excitement elsewhere. The sort of excitement you get when the last-placed side sinks four.

Friday Results

Mainz 2-0 Hannover
A very happy Valentine’s Day result for Mainz, who move one step closer to the European positions with their fourth win in five games. Yunus Malli scored their first off a counter-attack in the 51st minute, while substitute Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting grabbed the second deep into extra time.

Saturday Results

Bayern Munich 4-0 Freiburg
A routine win over one of the Bundesliga’s struggling sides ensures that Bayern Munich keep their hold on the top of the table, sitting an astonishing 16 points above Bayer Leverkusen. Dante scored the first, with Xherdan Shaqiri bagging a brace before the interval. Claudio Pizarro scored right at the end, completing Bayern’s rout over Freiburg.

Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Eintracht Frankfurt
They might be 17 points behind Bayern, but Dortmund weren’t about to be undone by the league’s top side. No, they had to go and score four as well, just to make a point against a poor Frankfurt side, who they’d already beaten earlier in the week in the domestic cup. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a brace inside 20 minutes, and Robert Lewandowski added a third with a penalty conversion to start the second half. The real talking point, though, was Miloš Jojić, who scored with his first touch for Dortmund, a mere 12 seconds into his debut with the club.

Braunschweig 4-2 Hamburg
So Bayern got four, and Dortmund got four. No big deal, right? But bottom side Braunschweig, who’d had just 11 goals prior to this weekend, scoring four – that’s a big deal. And that’s just a sign of how poor Hamburg, who are now just a point off the bottom, are. It was the visitors that opened the scoring, and Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s goal was enough to take them into the half with a 1-0 lead. Domi Kumbela equalized for Braunschweig in the 51st minute, and added another ten minutes later. Ivo Iličević pulled one back for Hamburg, but Braunschweig picked up the pace in the final five minutes. Kumbela completed his hattrick and Jan Hochscheidt added a fourth with the final play of the game.

Hoffenheim 4-1 Stuttgart
What? Another side got four goals? Yes, this time it was mid-table Hoffenheim pushing Stuttgart, who started off the season in Europa League and have now lost six in a row, even closer to the danger zone. You’d think Stuttgart did it to themselves, going down to ten men when Moritz Leitner received a second yellow, but Hoffenheim were already up 3-1 by the sending off in the 80th minute. Sven Schipplock scored on either side of the half, Kevin Volland put one in in between. Antonio Rüdiger finally found the net for Stuttgart in the 78th, but it was Hoffeinheim with the final say, a penalty converted by Roberto Firmino.

Werder Bremen 1-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Just two goals? Yawn. Gladbach must’ve thought they’d had this one all sewn up, cruising after Raffael’s sixth minute goal. But Ludovic Obraniak scored from a direct free kick in the 88th minute, grabbing a share of the points for Werder Bremen. If Gladbach, now in fifth, don’t start winning soon, their Champion League dreams will be completely out of reach.

Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Schalke
It’s obvious that Leverkusen aren’t going to catch Bayern, and it’s fairly clear they’re not going to lose out on a Champions League place. Still, you’d think they’d at least be able to secure a point at home, even against Schalke. Especially after getting kicked out of the Cup to Bundesliga 2 side Kaiserslautern. But maybe Leverkusen are just saving it up to meet PSG midweek, because they could do little to stop Schalke. In fact, their goal came courtesy of the visitors, an own goal from Felipe Santana. It was Leon Goretzka and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar that put the ball in the back of the Leverkusen net, giving Schalke the win.

Sunday Fixtures

Augsburg vs. Nurnberg
Nurnberg, with just two wins all season, don’t look a likely contender to throw a spanner in Augsburg’s plan to slip into the European positions. Then again, Nurberg do have six draws on the road and managed two wins in a row before facing Bayern, so the visitors grabbing a share of the points wouldn’t be completely out of left field.

Hertha Berlin vs. Wolfsburg
It’s rare that the Bundesliga weekend ends with an intriguing matchup with any relevance whatsoever, but the outcome of this game could have huge implications on which Bundesliga side takes the final Europa League spot. Wolfsburg has sixth right now, but Hertha are just two points back – and holding on to a European position would be quite a way to mark their return to Germany’s top division.

MLS Saturday wrap: Quakes keep firing; Toronto, SKC falter

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MLS doesn’t have too many days like Saturday, with four away teams collecting wins on a seven-match docket.

The surprise is lessened a bit by the identity of the losing hosts: struggling Vancouver, Colorado, and Sporting KC: Wow, that last one is taking some getting used to, isn’t it?).

[ MORE: Where will Bale go? ]

In a league where only two of 24 teams are above .500 on the road (DC United and LAFC), it’s still saying something about a hot weekend in these United States of America (and Canada).

Columbus Crew 2-1 Montreal Impact

The Crew’s early advantage looked like business as usual by halftime, as Caleb Porter’s struggling men conceded in stoppage time, but David Accam netted right after the break to give Columbus a much-needed three points.

Toronto FC 1-3 Houston Dynamo

TFC opened the door for New England or Orlando City to climb into the top seven by going into an early hole and failing to rally. Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore came off the bench, the latter scoring, but the Reds did little on Alejandro Pozuelo’s day off and the Dynamo get a big road win to move without touching distance of a playoff position.

This is not adequate defense.

Philadelphia Union 2-0 Chicago Fire

Marco Fabian scored a beauty and Anthony Fontana also netted as the Union assured themselves another week atop the Eastern Conference. Chicago remains winless away from home.

Sporting KC 0-2 FC Dallas

What in the world is going on? SKC could not find the net with more than one of their 17 shot attempts, and fell five points back of a playoff spot. Worse, the hosts allowed sixth-place Dallas to move five points clear of them.

Colorado Rapids 1-2 New York City FC

It didn’t take long for youngster Sebastian Anderson to go from hero to goat, as the soon-to-be 17-year-old gave the Rapids a sixth minute lead before taking a red card 27 minutes later. Heber and Alexandru Mitrita scored late in each half to drive NYCFC’s dreams of the top spot in the East. The visitors are now seven points back of first, but have four matches-in-hand on Philadelphia.

Real Salt Lake 1-1 Minnesota United

Darwin Quintero and Marcelo Silva traded goals in a fair result.

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-3 San Jose Earthquakes

Make it three-straight wins for the Quakes, who rode Cali Clasico momentum and overcame an early Doneil Henry goal through Vako, Chris Wondolowski, and the in-form Magnus Eriksson.

Kane scores from midfield to beat Juve

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Harry Kane lobbed Wojciech Szczesny from nearly 50 yards to send Tottenham Hotspur past Juventus early Sunday morning.

Maybe he wanted to embarrass a former North London Derby rival, or perhaps he just wanted to avoid penalties.

The goal was made more remarkable by Kane’s blast radius including two men marking him near the Juve part of the center circle.

[ MORE: Where will Bale go? ]

It was an entertaining International Champions Cup match on Sunday morning, with goalkeepers Hugo Lloris and Gianluigi Buffon plenty busy.

Tanguy Ndombele came off the bench to assist and impress for Spurs and Matthijs de Ligt making his Juve debut as a sub.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain scored for Juve, and the latter probably should’ve won it with a dragged shot in the 83rd minute.

Spurs goals came courtesy of Erik Lamela, who tapped in a rebound of a bullet shot from 17-year-old Ryan Parrott, and Moura.

The Brazilian was fed into the box by a sweet Ndombele pass moments after the new Spurs midfielder subbed into the match.

Here is Ronaldo’s goal.

Bale leaving Real Madrid; Where to?

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Gareth Bale is not going to play for Real Madrid this season. The jersey he will pull onto his body remains a mystery.

Real manager Zinedine Zidane said that “it’d be better” for the club and player if he was sold tomorrow, claiming it’s nothing personal but that Bale is simply not in his plans.

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Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett poured gasoline on those comments by blasting the French legend as “a disgrace,” saying the player and agent are “working on” an exit.

From Marca.com:

“Zidane is a disgrace,” Barnett told AFP. “He shows no respect for a player that has done so much for Real Madrid.”

Obviously it’s far from disgraceful for Zidane to publicly admit that a massive player and personality may no longer fit the bill, and Barnett’s harsh words are more than agent talk: He wants a higher fee than will come from Real saying, “He’s 10000000000% available.”

Barnett does represent Jesse Lingard and Luke Shaw, and there are so many reasons to think the Welshman could move to Manchester United. A return to Spurs is obviously romantic, but the club’s wage structure would be a concern to deeming this a fit.

Bale wasn’t fantastic last season, posting eight goals and three assists in under 1800 La Liga minutes and adding three goals and two assists in under 500 Champions League minutes (In fact, he was the 14th ranked player in UCL advanced stats according to Who Scored).

He is not far removed from monster campaigns with Real, and it’s no surprise that his production would drop off in a world without Cristiano Ronaldo around him (and vice versa, to a lesser degree).

There are a lot of reasons to wonder whether Mauricio Pochettino and Daniel Levy would consider what it takes to bring Bale to town. It would instantly and realistically elevate the discussion about whether Spurs could seriously rival Liverpool and Man City for a Premier League title while adding Champions League mettle as well.

The idea of Bale playing with Harry Kane the way he worked with Ronaldo and Karim Benzema is electric, though the prospective move took a hit by Zidane’s lack of love for Christian Eriksen.

Bayern Munich is another potential avenue for Bale, as is the Chinese Super League.

But we wonder if the 30-year-old would sign up for massive David Beckham wages at Inter Miami with a loan to a Champions League side for a season ahead of the Super Becks’ opening campaign in MLS. What better way to engender some fan interest amongst Floridians and Manchester United fans than a nice loan? We’re sure Zlatan brought some Red Devils’ eyes to LA, for what it’s worth. Spurs would work here, too, as would any side hopeful of expanding their American imprint.

Maybe Bale isn’t ready for that step. He’d surely prefer adding to his four Champions League titles and probably likes the idea of doing some bigger things for Wales, but there’s a lot of dough in America and really it’s not going to cost him his place with the Welsh side (though concerns about competition would be legit).

Russian fans clash with baton-wielding police at stadium

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MOSCOW (AP) Russian soccer fans have criticized what they consider heavy-handed policing after clashes at a league game.

Video footage posted online shows police in riot gear beating Spartak Moscow fans on the stadium concourse after a game Saturday with FC Rostov, including two who have fallen to the ground. Fans have alleged they were kept tightly packed in the corridor after the game and then attacked by police with batons.

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The Russian Football Union has told the Sport-Express newspaper that it is calling for an investigation and that “this kind of situation should not be repeated at stadiums.”

The Russian Premier League says in a statement that it is satisfied police acted correctly and accused Spartak fans of trying to free fellow supporters arrested earlier over allegations of throwing pyrotechnics.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports