Bundesliga wrap: Hamburg holds Bayern; Newly-promoted club atop league

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There were several eyebrow raisers on Matchday 4 of the Bundesliga season, and that’s before Sunday’s Rhein Derby and a big Wolfsburg match versus Bayer Leverkusen.

[ RELATED: Felix Magath out at Fulham ]

Paderborn 2-0 Hannover 96
First off, yes, that is newly-promoted SC Paderborn at the top of the table. In the German third-flight back in 2009, they’ve now beaten Hamburg and Hannover to go with draws against Koln and Mainz. Saturday’s win came versus Hannover, a decisive 2-0 win behind goals from Elias Kachunga (above) and Moritz Stoppelkamp. The 22-year-old Kachunga has three goals in four matches this season. Next week for Paderborn? A trip to Bayern.

Hamburger SV 0-0 Bayern Munich
That’s because Bayern Munich couldn’t take advantage of struggling Hamburger SV… at all. On loan from Bayern, American attacker Julian Green couldn’t produce a goal as a substitute, but all of Hamburg will take a point in the fixture against the reigning champions.

Mainz 2-0 Borussia Dortmund
A Champions League win against Arsenal won’t make up for Dortmund’s second league loss in four outings. Shinji Okazaki scored in the 66th minute before a Matthias Ginter own goal gave the hosts breathing room. Dortmund out-chanced Mainz 20-8, but that doesn’t mean anything on the table.

Schalke 2-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
source: APA wild one in Gelsenkirchen saw four goals and three red cards… in that order. American back Timmy Chandler played 90 minutes, and his Eintracht side opened up a 2-0 lead after 24 minutes on goals from Alexander Meier and Marco Russ. But Schalke’s stars responded, with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Julian Draxler scoring on each side of halftime.

Then, Kevin Prince-Boateng found a second yellow in the 61st minute and, on his birthday, Draxler put Schalke down to 9-men with a 71st minute red for a kick out.

Despite 24 minutes up one-man and 14 up two, Eintracht couldn’t find a winner. Then Slobodan Medojevic took a red for the visitors in the 85th minute, and the game finished with the score line even and Schalke down one man.

Elsewhere

Augsburg 4-2 Werder Bremen — Four different goal scorers for the Fuggerstädter.
Stuttgart 0-2 Hoffenheim —
The hosts put more shots on net, but zero into it
Freiberg 2-2 Hertha Berlin —
John Anthony Brooks goes 90, Ronny scores two for visitors
Wolfsburg vs. Bayer Leverkusen
 — Sunday
FC Koln vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Sunday

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
SC Paderborn 4 2 2 0 7 2 5 1-2-0 1-0-0 8
FSV Mainz 05 4 2 2 0 7 3 4 1-1-0 1-1-0 8
1899 Hoffenheim 4 2 2 0 6 2 4 1-1-0 1-1-0 8
Bayern Munich 4 2 2 0 5 2 3 2-0-0 0-2-0 8
Bayer Leverkusen 3 2 1 0 9 5 4 1-1-0 1-0-0 7
Hannover 96 4 2 1 1 4 3 1 2-0-0 0-1-1 7
FC Augsburg 4 2 0 2 7 7 0 1-0-1 1-0-1 6
Borussia Dortmund 4 2 0 2 6 7 -1 1-0-1 1-0-1 6
Mönchen 3 1 2 0 5 2 3 1-1-0 0-1-0 5
1. FC Köln 3 1 2 0 2 0 2 0-1-0 1-1-0 5
Eintracht Frankfurt 4 1 2 1 5 5 0 1-0-1 0-2-0 5
Werder Bremen 4 0 3 1 8 10 -2 0-1-0 0-2-1 3
VfL Wolfsburg 3 0 2 1 4 5 -1 0-1-0 0-1-1 2
SC Freiburg 4 0 2 2 3 6 -3 0-2-0 0-0-2 2
Hertha BSC Berlin 4 0 2 2 7 11 -4 0-1-1 0-1-1 2
FC Schalke 04 4 0 2 2 5 9 -4 0-2-0 0-0-2 2
Hamburger SV 4 0 2 2 0 5 -5 0-1-1 0-1-1 2
VfB Stuttgart 4 0 1 3 1 7 -6 0-0-2 0-1-1 1

Four-star Manchester United wins Europa League group

Manchester United Mata Greenwood
Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images
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Manchester United is in fine feather and showing it, smashing AZ Alkmaar in a stylish 4-0 win at Old Trafford in Europa League play on Thursday.

Juan Mata had a goal and set up two others, while Mason Greenwood scored twice after Ashley Young opened the scoring in a group-claiming victory.

[ MORE: Saka leads Arsenal comeback ]

United wins the group with 13 points, conceding just twice in six matches.

The Red Devils have won three-straight matches, as AZ joins Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur in the loss column. Up next is a Sunday visit from Everton in the Premier League before Wednesday’s League Cup quarterfinal visit from Colchester United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handed starts to James Garner, Brandon Williams, and Axel Tuanzebe, bringing youngsters Ethan Laird and Tahith Chong off the bench.

Greenwood, 18, now has six goals in 22 senior appearances, while Mata, 31, gets on the score sheet for the first time this season.

For his career, the award-winning Spaniard is doing okay, though: 125 goals and 149 assists in 542 senior appearances.

Ljungberg hails ‘amazing’ teen Saka after game-changing performance

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Arsenal phenom Bukayo Saka‘s big day spurred the Gunners to a top seed in the Europa League knockout rounds.

Arsenal went behind on two deflected goals in the second half’s first 25 minutes, but Saka answered with a goal and an assist in three minutes to take a point from Belgium in a 2-2 draw at Standard Liege.

[ RECAP, VIDEO: Standard Liege 2-2 Arsenal ]

Saka was at the heart of it of all good things Arsenal, the 18-year-old handed plenty of responsibility. despite his tender age.

“He was amazing,” said interim manager Freddie Ljungberg. “He was a bit upset with me before the game that he had to play wing-back and full-back. He’s a tremendous talent.”

Saka had four key passes to go with his goal and assist, winning six of eight duels while producing two tackles and an interception.

Ljungberg said Arsenal hasn’t sent its young players on loan enough, though that hardly applies to Saka given he was 17 until September.

The injured Gunners used Konstantinos Mavropanos, Emile Smith-Rowe, Joe Willock, and Reiss Nelson in the Starting XI, and brought Gabriel Martinelli off the bench.

“I feel sorry for our young players,” he said. “A lot of them haven’t been on loan, they’ve not had that exposure to men’s football. Some of them made mistakes but they’ll learn from those mistakes and won’t do them again.”

Smith-Rowe was loaned to RB Leipzig last season and Nelson starred on loan at Hoffenheim. Mavropanos played first team football for Greek Super League side PAS Giannina in his late teens.

Arsenal joins Premier League sides Wolves and Manchester United in the knockout rounds, having lost the Europa League final to rivals Chelsea at the end of last season.

The Gunners beat West Ham on Monday and host Manchester City at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday.

Arsenal uses thrilling comeback to win Europa League group

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Nothing Arsenal-related is allowed to be easy, it seems.

The Gunners used a goal and an assist from Bukayo Saka to come back from a two-goal deficit and draw Standard Liege 2-2 in Belgium on Thursday, winning its Europa League group when Vitoria came back to beat Eintracht Frankfurt on a wild afternoon of soccer.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Arsenal trailed on second half goals from Samuel Bastien and Selim Amallah, but rallied behind Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette to score a second-straight win for interim boss Freddie Ljungberg.

Saka sent in a laser cross in the 78th minute and Lacazette did quite well to power it under the bar.

He’s loving this competition, having made a serious entrance earlier in the tournament versus Eintracht Frankfurt. The 18-year-old now has two goals and five assists across all competitions this season.

The Gunners needed just three more minutes to tie the score on a day they outshot the hosts 15-11.

Saka showed his nose for goal to tie the score five minutes later with a dribble to the top of the 18 and a sly finish to the keeper’s left.

This was all happening around the same time Vitoria scored twice in three minutes to take a 3-2 lead on Eintracht Frankfurt.

Standard Liege goes from the knockout rounds to nothing in a blink, while Eintracht goes from winning the group to second.

The field for the Europa League is looking fierce, with Inter Milan, Benfica, Ajax, Club Brugge, Olympiacos, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, and Red Bull Salzburg joining the competition via transfer from the UEFA Champions League.

Arsenal joins Premier League sides Wolves and Manchester United in the knockout rounds, having lost the Europa League final to rivals Chelsea at the end of last season.

The Gunners beat West Ham on Monday and host Manchester City at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks

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Matchweek 17 is here in the Premier League as the games continue to come thick and fast during the festive season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Listen carefully, because this is very specific.

While you can download the NBC Sports Predictor app (below) and play the Premier League Pick ‘Em game yourself to predict the scores and win the prizes.

DOWNLOAD NBC SPORTS PREDICTOR

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the long shots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Chelsea 3-0 Bournemouth – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Liverpool 3-1 Watford – (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM] 

Crystal Palace 3-1 Brighton – (Monday, 2:45 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Leicester 3-0 Norwich – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]


DON’T TOUCH THIS…

Southampton 1-1 West Ham – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM]

Sheffield United 2-1 Aston Villa – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Man United 2-1 Everton – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM


“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

Arsenal 3-3 Man City – (Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Wolves 1-2 Tottenham – (Sunday 9 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Burnley 1-2 Newcastle United – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM