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Dortmund 3-2 Bayern: Der Klassiker delivers exciting comeback

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Der Klassiker was billed as a chance for Borussia Dortmund to right all the wrongs suffered so far this young Bundesliga season. It looked as if they would make good on that opportunity, as Robert Lewandowski was on target and Borussia Dortmund was not.

Then, in a seven-minute span in the second half, all that went to waste. Dortmund found its shooting boots after a number of glorious chances went awry, as Marco Reus hit for a double and substitute Paco Alcacer found the winning touch in the 73rd minute for a 3-2 comeback win. The hosts found themselves a goal down twice, and both times erased the deficit before eventually going in front for good.

Surprisingly, both Christian Pulisic and Alcacer were left on the bench by Borussia Dortmund manager Lucien Favre, with in-form Jadon Sancho preferred to the American down the right-hand side and Mario Gotze chosen up top over the Spanish striker. That left Dortmund to sit back and defend for large stretches of time, and they wouldn’t make it to the halftime break with the clean sheet intact.

Dortmund looked dangerous on the counter-attack, but Bayern had the best early chances, the most contentious of which came in the 11th minute as Robert Lewandowski went down in the penalty area and screamed for a foul. VAR clearly gave it a look by the referee’s reaction, but ultimately decided there was minimal contact and did not ask for a review.

The game was wide open past the 15 minute mark, with Marco Reus through on goal but his a weak effort was saved by Manuel Neuer, before Franck Ribery fired a volley wide after latching onto a good Josh Kimmich cross. Bayern would go in front on 26 minutes as Serge Gnabry delivered a pinpoint cross to the head of Lewandowski, and the Polish international dove to meet the ball with his head, burying it past Marwin Hitz on the doorstep.

With Bayern leading at halftime, Dortmund took control of the run of play in the second half and pegged the visitors back. Just minutes after the break, Manuel Neuer brought down Marco Reus in the box, and although he got to the ball to punch it away, a penalty was awarded as Neuer cleaned out Reus after the touch. Reus took the spot kick and finished to equalize at 1-1 with a great penalty as Neuer went the wrong way.

The visitors would go back in front minutes later on a messy goal as Dortmund failed to clear, and eventually Kimmich at the near post lifted the ball to Lewandowski at the far post for another headed goal.  The hosts missed all kinds of beautiful chances to go in front, but Reus was there to finally put the ball in the back of the net on 67 minutes, leveling again at 2-2. He latched onto the ball near the top-right corner of the box and whipped a twisting shot across the face of goal and into the far right corner.

Dortmund would go in front just minutes later, and it was the in-form Alcacer to deliver the finishing blow. Bayern turned it over near the halfway line, and Axel Witsel perfectly released Alcacer on the break, who carried the ball forward before clipping it over Hitz after he had committed to coming out.

As expected, Bayern would pour forward looking to equalize, but they could not find a lifeline. Lewandowski thought he’d found the back of the net for a comeback of his own and a hat-trick, but the assistant referee’s flag went up to rule out the goal, with replays showing the decision was correct.

It was a famous comeback win for Borussia Dortmund who moved four points clear at the top of the table on 27 points, with Borussia Monchengladbach behind them at 23. Bayern sits in third, now on 20 points after the loss. The winner for super-sub Alcacer was his eighth Bundesliga goal in just his sixth appearance, with just one start in that span.

West Ham signs Sebastian Haller on club record deal

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West Ham made a highly anticipated signing official on Wednesday morning as they secured Sebastian Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt for a club-record transfer fee.

Prior to their Premier League Asia Trophy loss to Manchester City, the club announced the signing on Wednesday on a reported $56 million deal. He signed a five-year deal with an option for a sixth.

“I feel really great,” Haller told the club’s official website. “I think it’s a really good opportunity for me to be here. It means a lot (to be the record signing). It proves that the club [has] really wanted me for a long time. I felt this desire to sign me and I’m really happy to sign, also. it is an ambitious club, a nice club, a nice city and nice fans too

“For me I can guarantee that I will give 100% for the club because the club has given me this confidence and I will try to give it back every day in every game.”

The 25-year-old was prolific during his time in the Bundesliga, arriving at Eintracht Frankfurt two years ago. He made 77 appearances for the club during his two-year tenure, scoring 33 goals, including 24 goals in 60 Bundesliga matches. Prior to joining Eintracht Frankfurt, Haller spent time at Dutch side FC Utrecht and Ligue 2 side AJ Auxerre whose youth system he graduated from.

“Sebastien is a player we have been watching closely for some time,” Director of Football Mario Husillos said in the official club release. “He has always been a key target and someone who myself, Manuel Pellegrini and David Sullivan were very keen to bring to the football club. He is a player with excellent pedigree and experience in three of Europe’s top leagues. His record at Eintracht Frankfurt in recent seasons has been up there with the top strikers in the Bundesliga, and we believe that his physical and technical qualities will be well suited to the Premier League. ”

According to a report by The Guardian, there was a late attempt to hijack the bid by an unnamed Champions League club, but the effort was unsuccessful.

Man City skates by West Ham in Premier League Asia Trophy

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Manchester City’s youth squad did the first-half job, which meant the heavy artillery coming off the bench was that much scarier. Man City came from behind to lead at halftime, and Raheem Sterling scored twice in the second half and the defending Premier League champions were no match for West Ham in a 4-1 victory in the semifinals of the Premier League Asia Trophy in Nanjing.

Pep Guardiola started a mostly second-choice lineup from the opening whistle, with David Silva and Aymeric Laporte the only true first-teamers in the squad. Claudio Bravo manned the net to begin, with new arrival Rodri also among the starters. West Ham’s lineup, meanwhile, was a strong one with Felipe Anderson, Mark Noble, Angelo Ogbonna, Jack Wilshere, Michail Antonio, and Manuel Lanzini all among a first-choice starting lineup.

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West Ham took the lead 25 minutes in through Noble who delivered from the penalty spot, but not without help from Felipe who was the star of the first half for the Hammers and won the penalty after sending Manchester City defender Angelino to the ground.

The lead didn’t last long as David Silva leveled things up in the 33rd minute, a wonderful start to his final season at Manchester City. He received a fabulous delivery from 18-year-old Spanish youth international Adrian Bernabe who rifled one to the far post where Silva was waiting, and the 33-year-old chested it down before unpacking a low finish from a tight angle.

City would go in front three minutes later as 20-year-old Man City youth product Lukas Nmecha won a soft penalty on a foul by Ogbonna, and the youngster took it himself and buried the spot-kick for the lead.

Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane all came on at halftime for the defending Premier League champions, while West Ham brought on the likes of Robert Snodgrass, Javier Hernandez, and Andriy Yarmolenko.

The changes for Manchester City overwhelmed West Ham, with Sane picking up a loose ball near the halfway line and feeding a beautiful pass through the back line to Sterling clean on goal who put City 3-1 up on the hour mark. That saw John Stones, Kyle Walker, Ilkay Gundogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko all come in off the bench for Pep Guardiola and into the fray.

The big three did it again in the 72nd minute as de Bruyne picked Carlos Sanchez’s pocket in the attacking third and fed Sane on the left. He sent it back to de Bruyne who layed it off for Sterling’s second goal of the match.

In squad notes, a pair of England youth internationals went the distance for Man City as Ian Poveda-Ocampo and Taylor Harwood-Bellis were the only two to complete the full 90 minutes. Notable for West Ham, Winston Reid came off the bench for the final 19 minutes, his first game action in over 16 months.

Rashford, James, Pogba star as Manchester United hammers Leeds in Perth

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Manchester United topped Leeds 4-0 in a comprehensive victory in Perth that saw Marcus Rashford and new signing Daniel James run rampant down the flanks.

Rashford scored in the 27th minute with a beautiful move down the left that threw two Leeds defenders into each other, while James struck the post just before halftime on an overlap down the right in his Red Devils debut.

Also on the scoresheet was 17-year-old Mason Greenwood who received a hard, low cross from fellow debutant Aaron Wan-Bissaka and beat two Leeds defenders in a footrace to the ball on the doorstep for a sliding finish. The move was started by Paul Pogba who found the new Manchester United defender down the right with a wonderful through-ball, leading to the delivery into the box. Greenwood has had quite the last 12 months, scoring for the Manchester United U-17, U-18, U-23, and now senior side all in that span.

After the break, Phil Jones found the back of the net by powering home a corner with his head, while Anthony Martial finished off the scoreline with a penalty after Tahith Chong was fouled in the area by Liam Cooper. Chong impressed throughout the second half, linking well with fellow Manchester United youth product Angel Gomes.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer found playing time for just about every first-teamer, completely changing the side at halftime. Nemanja Matic was one of the halftime introductions, but was curiously withdrawn with 12 minutes to go, unclear if due to injury. The only Red Devil in the squad to not see the field was 21-year-old Axel Tuanzebe.

Wolves rocks Newcastle in Premier League Asia Trophy

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A rough summer continued for Newcastle as the Magpies were hammered in Nanjing by a first-choice Wolves lineup 4-0 in Premier League Asia Trophy action.

Diogo Jota scored a pair, and England youth international Morgan Gibbs-White added a third as Wolves took a commanding 3-0 lead into the break. As both sides rung changes in the second half, an Allan Thomas own-goal with five minutes remaining finished the scoreline and doomed Newcastle to yet another summer misstep.

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For Wolves, it was a promising start to preseason play as the lineup featured a host of regulars, with only Mexican international Raul Jimenez, still resting after a successful Gold Cup campaign, missing from the starting eleven. Jota was particularly spectacular, with a brilliant touch in the buildup to his first goal rewarded with the finish, plus his second – Wolves third – where he snatched the ball straight off the feet of Newcastle defender Isaac Hayden in the penalty area.

Gibbs-White also scored off a Newcastle turnover in its own defensive third, with Jonny picking the pocket of Jamie Sterry on the left flank and finding the 19-year-old alone in the middle for a powerful finish from outside the top of the box.

Newcastle has had a rough summer, with the club losing manager Rafa Benitez, selling leading scorer Ayoze Perez, and failing to secure second-leading scorer Salomon Rondon on a permanent basis. The club has yet to sign a single player and was forced to overpay for Steve Bruce, who was in charge for the match against Wolves.