Premier League Playback: Game of Thrones special

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With Game of Thrones returning on Sunday (everybody, chill) for season 6, now seemed like a good time for a Premier League inspired Thrones piece.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

There will be no spoiler alerts as I haven’t watched the first episode of the new series (it airs here in England today) but I know plenty of you are avid Thrones fans. And even if you’re not, below we have some fun comparing characters from what many believe is currently the greatest TV show on earth with what many say is the greatest sporting league on the planet.

So, I ask you, what if the 2015-16 PL season took place in Westeros instead of England and Wales? Who would be the main protagonists and why? Naturally, we focused on the two families (clubs) battling it out for the throne (PL trophy) with Leicester and Tottenham featuring heavily.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Below is a look at some of the leading characters from the hit HBO series and how they would compare to PL players and managers from this season.

Hit us up in the comments section below if you have any other characters to compare to players and vice versa.

Remember: “Winter is coming.”


Jamie Vardy is Jon Snow

Leicester’s Jamie Vardy celebrates after scoring against Manchester United, his eleventh consecutive goal in the Premier League, during the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Manchester United at the King Power Stadium, Leicester, England, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. Vardy becomes the first man to score in 11 consecutive English Premier League soccer matches after finding the back of the net against Manchester United today.(AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

The leading man at the heart of an incredible rise. We aren’t sure if Snow is still alive but what he stood for and what he achieved will always be remembered. Ditto Vardy for his goals and setting a new PL record of scoring in 11 consecutive games this season. Currently out at a pivotal stage of the season, will Vardy return to be the hero? Snow is also missing at a pivotal moment in Thrones. Will he return, at all, to rule the North and beyond? The tension is killing us.

Riyad Mahrez is Daario Naharis

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 06: Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on February 6, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Naharis is a skillful warrior guarding Daenerys Targaryen and a flick of his sword and spin move is almost as deadly as a Mahrez nutmeg and shimmy. After winning the PFA Player of the Year award the Algerian wizard will be a star of the future and Naharis is set for a leading role alongside Daenerys. Both magicians with a sword/ball.

Roberth Huth/Wes Morgan are Bronn

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 04: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City runs at Wes Morgan of Leicester City and Robert Huth of Leicester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on March 4, 2015 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Too difficult to splits these two up. Both are hulking warriors at the heart of Leicester’s defense and have gelled to become one over the past 15 months. Bronn has a certain Midlands twang to his accent and is a gutsy, ruthless fighter by the side of Jaime Lannister. Never gets the plaudits but does all of the dirty work. Huth and Morgan know what that feels like but like Bronn they don’t really care.

Harry Kane is Jaime Lannister

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur applauds the travelling fans after victory in the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Britannia Stadium on April 18, 2016 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Speaking of Jaime, the leading man of the famous Lannister family is back in Kings Landing and the famous warrior (before he lost his hand, anyway) is trying to lead from the front. Kane is Spurs’ leading man and has led from the front all season. In the future, like Jaime, he could rule all.

Eric Dier is … a Dierwolf

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 13: Eric Dier of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United at White Hart Lane on December 13, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Pretty simple one, this. Dierwolf’s have saved the Stark family time and time again as the huge beasts are loyal and protect the ones they love. Much like the way Dier protects the likes of Dele Alli, Mousa Dembele and Christian Eriksen in midfield. Don’t mess with the Dierwolf…

Dele Alli is Arya Stark

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 10: Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane on April 10, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Alli has a Dierwolf by his side and the PFA Young Player of the Year award in his back pocket. Mercurial talent who was in the third-tier last season and was an unknown. After growing up as a member of the famous Stark family, Arya has fled and ends up in the House of Black and White to find her own way with her family in ruins. Hiding her identity is becoming easy and like Alli she is slight in stature but nimble and able to punish opponents in a split-second. Huge future.

Wayne Rooney is Samwell Tarly

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United applauds the supporters after the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on January 2, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Honestly, I’m not just pointing at any physical similarities here. A guard of the Night’s Watch, Tarly is a respected and trusted ally of Jon Snow and is by his side whenever he needs him most. Rooney has always been there for Manchester United when they’ve needed him most. After overcoming injury, will Rooney’s end of the season return save the day for Louis Van Gaal?

James Milner is Theon Greyjoy (Reek)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: James Milner (C) of Liverpool celebrates scoring his team's first goal with his team mates Roberto Firmino (L) and Philippe Coutinho (R) during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool and FC Augsburg at Anfield on February 25, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Theon betrayed the Stark family and was held captive by Ramsay Snow, of the Bolton family, until escaping with Sansa Stark. Many would say Milner was held captive at Man City and we never saw his best in Sky Blue. Now though, at Liverpool, he is becoming a pivotal figure. That “Boring Milner” Twitter account is becoming increasingly quiet as the England international is a key cog in Jurgen Klopp‘s machine. He’s proving all his doubters wrong. Can Reek (aka Danny Willett, seriously, look up images of both) follow in Milner’s footsteps?

Vincent Kompany is Tyrion Lannister

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: The injured Vincent Kompany of Manchester City walks off the pitch after only just coming on as a second half substitute during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

While everything else is changing and falling down around him, Tyrion always finds a way to stay on top. Kompany has suffered injuries, managerial changes and multiple new arrivals in defense over the years but the Belgian captain remains a key and pivotal figure for City. He should stay at the heart of City’s defense next season even after Pep Guardiola’s arrival. Both are sophisticated and despite their obvious size difference there are plenty of similarities between these two. Witty, wily survivors.

Louis van Gaal is Tywin Lannister

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Louis van Gaal manager of Manchester United celebrates with winning goalscorer Anthony Martial of Manchester United after victory in The Emirates FA Cup semi final match between Everton and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on April 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Ah, the head of the esteemed and dominant Lannister family. Tywin, like Louis, is respected across the land and has many contacts across the Seven Kingdoms. His tactical nous on the battlefield is legendary and his ability to get men to fight for him is unrivaled. That said, we all know what happened to Tywin… He was killed by his own son as he went to the bathroom. Many would say a similar fate (fairly similar, the end of him at United) awaits Van Gaal this summer.

(Sir!?) Claudio Ranieri is Ser Davos Seaworth

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: Claudio Ranieri Manager of Leicester City looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Leicester City at Selhurst Park on March 19, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

A shrewd and wise talking old mariner who is kind and caring yet forceful and direct when he has to be. That is Davos Seaworth. And it sounds a lot like Ranieri, right? The Italian manager has masterminded a Leicester team on the brink of their first-ever Premier League title in their 132-year history. It would be a miracle. Davos is trying to bring the people of the north together to defeat the Bolton’s. He, like Ranieri, has to use all his nous and a sprinkling of luck and magic to try and make it a reality.

Jurgen Klopp is Daenerys Targaryen

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05: Jurgen Klopp the Manager of Liverpool applauds the fans following their team's 1-0 victory during the Capital One Cup semi final, first leg match between Stoke City and Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium on January 5, 2016 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

The chosen one. Daenerys believes she is the rightful heir to the throne of the Seven Kingdoms in Westeros. After earning the respect of the famed and powerful Dothraki tribe overseas (for Klopp, see: Dortmund) she is now hellbent on taking over Kings Landing, getting on the Iron Throne and ruling the Seven Kingdoms she believes should still be in the hands of the esteemed Targaryen dynasty she is the princess of. Like Liverpool, they ruled for many decades. Now, Daenerys and Klopp have returned to help their respective families return to their rightful place. At least that’s the plan… She is the Mother of Dragons. He is the Father of the the liver birds.

Jose Mourinho is Petyr Baelish

Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho gestures during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

A middle-aged, smartly dressed, clever and manipulative individual (I’m talking about Petyr Baelish, by the way) who has risen in the ranks and is promised the title of Warden of the North after serving as an apprentice, master of coin and understudy for many powerful lords in Kings Landing. Mourinho learnt his trade under Sir Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal, so that checks out. They even look very similar. Mourinho, like Lord Baelish, is currently waiting in the wings for his next challenge. However, the man who knows the goings on across the Seven Kingdoms with his network of spies is never too far away from controversy. Sound familiar?

Mauricio Pochettino is Stannis Baratheon

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 02: Mauricio Pochettino Manager of Tottenham Hotspur stands dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at Boleyn Ground on March 2, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

A respected and loyal warrior trying to make his way in the world, Stannis believes he is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. He is the younger brother of Robert Baratheon who was married to Cersei Lannister. He is known as a fierce warrior who is swift and harsh with justice. Sounds like Pochettino who is staunchly protective of his players and runs them into the ground to get the best out of his methods. Step out of line and both are ruthless. It is unknown whether Stannis is dead but it is believed he perished after his forces, hugely outnumbered, were defeated bravely by the Bolton’s. Even if Pochettino doesn’t rule the Premier League this season, unlike Stannis he will likely be around at the top for many years to come.

Manuel Pellegrini is Ser Jorah Mormont

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 11: The Manchester City Manager Manuel Pellegrini poses with the Premier League trophy at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium on May 11, 2014 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Exiled multiple times by Daenerys Targaryen, Jorah served as an experienced adviser to the Targaryen family. A noble, humble, wise warrior, Jorah is exiled for revelations that he was formerly spying on Daenerys to pay off bills wracked up by his wife. I’m not sure what Mrs. Pellegrini’s credit card bill looks like, but when it comes to her husband he’s often exiled and written off by the media. Pellegrini could well deliver a fitting finale to his time at Man City with a UEFA Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid looming large. Characters like Pellegrini and Jorah are always under-appreciated but essential for success.

Roberto Martinez is Melisandre

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 06: Roberto Martinez Manager of Everton looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Everton at Britannia Stadium on February 6, 2016 in Stoke on Trentl, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Known to many simply as “The Red Woman” Lady Melisandre is a figure loathed by many as she was responsible for the downfall of Stannis Baratheon’s army. She mystifies onlookers with her rhetoric about the “Lord of Light” and gets a cult following which grows larger as she latches onto Stannis. However, she jumps ship rapidly when Baratheon loses the battle to the Bolton’s. With Roberto Martinez under pressure and his constant positivity now openly questioned by Everton’s fans, it seems unlikely he will see out this summer in charge at Goodison. How much longer will “The Red Woman” be around?

Arsene Wenger is Varys

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger reacts in frustration during the second half of the English FA Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Arsenal and Watford at the Emirates stadium in London, Sunday, March 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

A wily old lord who has been there, seen it and done it… Wenger is still around. So is Varys. Always looking for the next opportunity to move himself up the power ladder, Varys has waited many years for his opportunity to get close to Daenerys Targaryen and be a leading figure in her ruling of the Seven Kingdoms. The brains behind many of the ruling families, Varys uses his vast network of contacts to stay on top. Wenger has fought off many questions about his methods, lack of spending and results to remain in charge at Arsenal for two decades. Both Wenger and Varys are at pivotal moments in their lives. Will their legacies be tarnished by recent events?

Premier League Playback comes out every week as PST’s Lead Writer and Editor takes an alternative look at all the action from the weekend. Read the full archive, here.  

UK government postpones plan to reintroduce fans

Premier League
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Premier League fans may have to wait a while longer to get back into stadiums: Amid a steep rise in COVID-19 cases across the United Kingdom the government have halted plans for fans to return to stadiums from October 1.

The UK chief medical officer yesterday said cases could climb to 50,000 a day if the current trajectory isn’t stopped.

Speaking to the BBC, UK government official Michael Gove was asked about the reintroduction of a small number of fans at sporting venues and here was his answer.

“We were looking at a staged programme of more people returning – it wasn’t going to be the case that we were going to have stadiums thronged with fans,” Gove said. “We’re looking at how we can, for the moment, pause that programme, but what we do want to do is to make sure that, as and when circumstances allow, get more people back.

“The virus is less likely to spread outdoors than indoors but again it’s in the nature of major sporting events that there’s a lot of mingling.”

This was expected given the huge rise in cases in the UK and the expected trajectory of the spread of the virus in the coming weeks and months. Premier League fans haven’t been allowed in stadiums since play was suspended in March, but test events in the Championship, League One and League Two have been held in recent weeks with 1,000 fans in attendance.

The fact that the UK will postpone fan reintroduction will hit the Premier League financially but it will hit the lower leagues harder. Clubs in the third and fourth tiers rely heavily on fans paying for tickets and they will now need big help from the football and government authorities in the UK to try and stay afloat in the coming months.

For now, Premier League fans will be waiting for the next update.

Serie A wrap: ‘Benjamin Button’ Zlatan nabs 2; McKennie debuts for Juve

Serie A results
Photo by Filippo Alfero - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images
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Catch up on all you missed from the opening week of calcio with the Serie A wrap.

[ MORE: Serie A schedule ]

Fourteen of the league’s 20 teams debuted this weekend, as European combatants Atalanta and Inter Milan will start the season late along with Serie B playoff winners Spezia.

That leaves opponents Lazio, Benevento, and Udinese also waiting to start their 2020-21 seasons.


Benjamin Button’s brace leaves Milan

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice as AC Milan started the Serie A season with a 2-0 defeat of Bologna on Monday.

The humble Swede said that if he were 18 years younger he would’ve scored two more.

“I am not old, I am like Benjamin Button, I start old and die young,” Ibrahimovic said after the win. “Kidding aside, the team worked well, we are not at 100 percent and therefore made some mistakes we usually avoid, but it bodes well.”

Ibrahimovic is 38 years old and demanding he not be held to any less of a standard than his prime, which is incredible considering his prime is better than 99 percent of top soccer careers.

“I don’t want people to talk about my age, I want to be treated at the same level as everyone else,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if I am 38, I want to be treated like someone aged 20 and do the same work.”

Milan is coming off seven-straight seasons outside of the top four, six of those coming behind their city rivals Inter Milan.

But Ibrahimovic’s 2019-20 half-season in Italy showed he can still bring the goods, with 14 goals and five assists in 20 appearances

Now he’s scored thrice in two competitive fixtures after opening his campaign with a goal against Shamrock Rovers in Europa League qualifying.

Milan is aiming high and is tied for the fifth-best odds to win the scudetto this season due to a talented squad that features Ibrahimovic, Alessio Romagnoli, Gianlugi Donnarumma, and Theo Hernandez.

“This year, we have to take it one game at a time, play with confidence and treat every match like a Cup Final.”

Serie A results
MILAN, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 21: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Soccrates/Getty Images)

McKennie impresses as Juve rolls again

Playing under Andrea Pirlo has started well for USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie.

The 22-year-old Texan went 90 minutes in central midfield with Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot as Juventus beat Sampdoria 3-0 in Turin.

McKennie had 94 touches and completed 88 percent of his passes, with one key pass and four-of-five crosses in that mix.

[ MORE: Americans abroad in Bundesliga, Week 1 ]

He took two shots and converted his lone dribble attempt, the busy midfielderwinning six of 12 duels while registering four tackles, three interceptions, and two clearances. SofaScore did hit him with a “big chance missed” on debut.

McKennie kept some very good players on the bench in the forms of Arthur and Rodrigo Betancur. It’s going to be a battle to keep his place in the Starting XI but it’s clearly one he’s prepared to fight.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Leonoard Bonucci, and Dejan Kulusevski all scored for The Old Lady, who is bidding to win its 10th-straight title. That would double Inter’s second-best five-consecutive title run earlier this century.


Week 1 scoreboard

Fiorentina 1-0 Torino
Hellas Verona 0-0 AS Roma
Parma 0-2 Napoli
Genoa 4-1 Crotone
Sassuolo 1-1 Cagliari
Juventus 3-0 Sampdoria
AC Milan 2-0 Bologna


Week 2 fixtures

Torino v Atalanta — 9 am ET Saturday
Cagliari v Lazio — Noon ET Saturday
Sampdoria v Benevento — Noon ET Saturday
Inter Milan v Fiorentina — 2:45 pm ET Saturday
Spezia v Sassuolo — 6:30 am ET Sunday
Verona v Udinese — 9 am ET Sunday
Napoli v Genoa — 9 am ET Sunday
Crotone v AC Milan — Noon ET Sunday
AS Roma v Juventus — 2:45 pm ET Sunday
Bologna v Parma — 2:45 pm ET Monday


Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Genoa 1 1 0 0 4 1 3 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Juventus 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Milan 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Napoli 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 0-0-0 1-0-0 3
 Fiorentina 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Cagliari 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0-0-0 0-1-0 1
 Sassuolo 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0-1-0 0-0-0 1
 Hellas Verona 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0-1-0 0-0-0 1
 Roma 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-1-0 1
 Atalanta 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Benevento 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Inter Milan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Lazio 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Spezia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Udinese 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Torino 1 0 0 1 0 1 -1 0-0-0 0-0-1 0
 Bologna 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0-0-0 0-0-1 0
 Parma 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0-0-1 0-0-0 0
 Crotone 1 0 0 1 1 4 -3 0-0-0 0-0-1 0
 Sampdoria 1 0 0 1 0 3 -3 0-0-0 0-0-1 0

Champions League qualifying: How to watch, start times, odds

UEFA Champions League qualifying
Photo by Raddad Jebarah/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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The 12 clubs remaining in the race for the final UEFA Champions League group stage slots will be pared down to six in the next eight days.

There are American connections to two of the six ties.

Former USMNT midfielder Jesse Marsch manages Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg toward the next round, while Molde right back Henry Wingo came up with the Seattle Sounders.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Salzburg are significant favorites to advance over two legs, odds accentuated by Maccabi Tel-Aviv’s seven players absent due to positive COVID-19 tests.

Marsch had previously said he did not want to go to Israel due to COVID-19 concerns, calling it “dangerous,” but has accepted the task at hand.

From Austrian publication Kronen Zeitung:

“The moment UEFA said we were going to play in Tel Aviv, it wasn’t a problem for me. Maccabi has a great team. We are not naive. We understand that we have to fight tomorrow.”

At 3:10 in some sportsbooks, Marsch’s men are the only club favored to win the first leg away. Salzburg is led by Dominik Szoboszlai and Patson Daka, who’ve helped the team thrive despite the sales of several stars including Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino.

Molde has a much tougher test with Hungarian side Ferencvaros, who knocked off Celtic. That tie could go either way, while Slavia Prague and Olympiakos are respectively noticeable favorites to beat Midtjylland and Omonia Nicosia.

Dynamo Kiev will be expected to outlast Gent over two legs, while it would be a minor upset if PAOK takes down Krasnodar.


UEFA Champions League playoff round matches

All 12 legs will kickoff at 3 pm ET between Tuesday and Sept. 30.

Tuesday

Maccabi Tel-Aviv v. Red Bull Salzburg
Slavia Prague v Midtjylland
Krasnodar v PAOK

Wednesday

Gent v Dynamo Kiev
Molde v Ferencvaros
Olympiakos v Omonia

Sept. 29

Ferencvaros v Molde
Dynamo Kiev v Gent
Omonia v Olympiakos

Sept. 30

Midtjylland v Slavia Prague
PAOK v Krasnodar
Red Bull Salzburg v Maccabi Tel-Aviv

Bundesliga: Takeaways from Week 1

Bundesliga Week 1
Photo by M. Donato/FC Bayern via Getty Images)
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With all due (and perhaps a bit) biased respect to Giovanni Reyna and Borussia Dortmund’s decisive beating of fellow title hopeful Borussia Monchengladbach, the Bundesliga’s top story came Friday with the champions.

[ MORE: Bundesliga season preview ]

Bayern Munich thumped Schalke 8-0, running its win streak in all competitions to 22. That’s just two behind the world record set by Brazil’s Coritiba in 2011.

It’s not just about the extension of the streak, but about the pure domination from the champs.

Hat trick hero Serge Gnabry and midfield prototype Joshua Kimmich continued to play as well as any midfielder in the world. New pal Leroy Sane played a role in three goals while Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, and Leon Goretzka all scored before German-English teenager Jamal Musiala scored to make it eight.

As a domestic bonus, American defender Chris Richards played the final 17 minutes and completed 95 percent of his passes while making an interception.

[ MORE: Bundesliga odds 2020-21 ]

As for the record, Bayern will have to work for it. The Bavarians need to beat Sevilla in Thursday’s UEFA Super Cup before visiting a decent Hoffenheim side.

If they win both, Bayern will have a chance to set a Guinness Book record by beating… Borussia Dortmund in the German Super Cup on Sept. 30.

Now let’s talk about Schalke. While sold midfielder Weston McKennie was starring for Juventus, the remaining players had little to like about their day.

A team that failed to win its final 16 league matches of the 2019-20 season, losing 10, was again oh-so-poor.

If manager David Wagner wanted to get some heat off his back after holding onto his position, this wouldn’t have helped things.


Americans Abroad

— Tyler Adams went the distance at midfield in RB Leipzig’s 3-1 win over Mainz. He was typically tidy at 78-of-82 passing including a perfect 4-for-4 on long balls. Adams had four tackles and won 4-of-9 duels.

— Werder Bremen’s Josh Sargent was deployed as more of a left-sided attacking midfielder in a lopsided loss to Hertha, making one key pass and putting a matching shot on target in an uneven performance.

— John Brooks helped Wolfsburg keep a clean sheet and posted three clearances, three interceptions, and a tackle at center back. He wasn’t as clean passing as usual, but connected on 7-of-13 long balls.

— There were just a few minutes for 88th-minute Eintracht Frankfurt sub Timothy Chandler. He won his only duel and completed his only dribble in the waning moments of a 1-1 draw with Arminia Bielefeld.

— Reyna scored his first Bundesliga goal and won a penalty in 78 strong minutes that featured a perfect 29-for-29 in passes.

— Bayern’s Richards, 20, went 17 minutes and completed 19-of-20 passes while making an interception.

— Stuttgart manager Pellegrino Matarazzo, a New Jersey-born Columbia University product, saw his promoted side lose at home to Freiburg.

— U.S. eligible Norwegian youth international Julian Ryerson was an unused sub for Union Berlin.

Bundesliga Week 1
John Anthony Brooks (Photo by Peter Niedung/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Player of the Week

Serge Gnabry was absolutely marvelous. Even considering the lack of, well, everything from Schalke, Bayern’s hat trick man had as many key passes as goals.

Gnabry hit 30-of-35 passes in doing all of his damage on 57 touches over 72 minutes.

The German made three tackles and two interceptions to edge opposite wing Leroy Sane’s 1-goal, 2-assist, 5-key pass day and the hat trick produced by Hoffenheim’s Andrei Kramaric in giving his team three leads and the win.


Team of the Week

Casteels (Wolfsburg)

Framberger (Augsburg) — Lacroix (Wolfsburg) — Pieper (Bielefeld)

Kimmich (Bayern)

Kramaric (Hoffenheim) — Reyna (Dortmund) — Cunha (Hertha)

Sane (Bayern) — Haaland (Dortmund) — Gnabry (Bayern)

  • All three of Koen Casteels’ saves in Wolfsburg’s 0-0 draw with Bayer Leverkusen came inside the box, while Lacroix put together a gaudy stat line in front of him: 10 clearances, four interceptions, three tackles.
  • No one completed more dribbles than Matheus Cunha’s five. The Brazilian also scored as Hertha hung four on Werder Bremen.
Bundesliga results
Bremen’s Josh Sargent and Maximilian Eggestein couldn’t stop Hertha’s Matheus Cunha (Photo by PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Week 1 results

Bayern Munich 8-0 Schalke
Union Berlin 1-3 Augsburg
Stuttgart 2-3 Freiburg
Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 Arminia Bielefeld
Werder Bremen 1-4 Hertha Berlin
Koln 2-3 Hoffenheim
Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Borussia Monchengladbach
RB Leipzig 3-1 Mainz
Wolfsburg 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen


 

Week 2 fixtures

Hertha Berlin v Eintracht Frankfurt — 2:30 pm ET Sept. 25
Bayer Leverkusen v RB Leipzig — 9:30 am ET Sept. 26
Augsburg v Borussia Dortmund — 9:30 am ET Sept. 26
Borussia Monchengladbach v Union Berlin — 9:30 am ET Sept. 26
Arminia v Koln — 9:30 am ET Sept. 26
Mainz v Stuttgart — 9:30 am ET Sept. 26
Schalke v Werder Bremen — 12:30 pm ET Sept. 26
Hoffenheim v Bayern Munich — 9:30 am ET Sept. 27
Freiburg v Wolfsburg — Noon ET Sept. 27


Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 1 1 0 0 8 0 8 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Hertha BSC 1 1 0 0 4 1 3 0-0-0 1-0-0 3
 Borussia Dortmund 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Augsburg 1 1 0 0 3 1 2 0-0-0 1-0-0 3
 RB Leipzig 1 1 0 0 3 1 2 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Freiburg 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 0-0-0 1-0-0 3
 Hoffenheim 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 0-0-0 1-0-0 3
 Arminia Bielefeld 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0-0-0 0-1-0 1
 Eintracht Frankfurt 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0-1-0 0-0-0 1
 Bayer Leverkusen 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-1-0 1
 Wolfsburg 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0-1-0 0-0-0 1
 1. FC Köln 1 0 0 1 2 3 -1 0-0-1 0-0-0 0
 Stuttgart 1 0 0 1 2 3 -1 0-0-1 0-0-0 0
 Mainz 05 1 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0-0-0 0-0-1 0
 Union Berlin 1 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0-0-1 0-0-0 0
 Werder Bremen 1 0 0 1 1 4 -3 0-0-1 0-0-0 0
 Mönchengladbach 1 0 0 1 0 3 -3 0-0-0 0-0-1 0
 Schalke 04 1 0 0 1 0 8 -8 0-0-0 0-0-1 0