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Bundesliga title at stake as Bayern, Dortmund meet in Klassiker

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BERLIN (AP) Bayern president Uli Hoeness was on the field when his team earned its most-lopsided victory over rival Borussia Dortmund, an 11-1 rout in 1971.

Hoeness, then a sprightly forward and soon to be a World Cup champion, scored two of those goals to go along with another four from Gerd Mueller, the German great known as Der Bomber.

[ MORE: Bundesliga schedule  ] 

Bayern’s objective on Saturday won’t be to eclipse that 48-year-old mark, it’ll just be to eclipse Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga standings.

“If we don’t win, I’d still like to be German champion, but then we wouldn’t really deserve it, looking back on the first game,” Hoeness said, referring to the 3-2 loss to Dortmund earlier in the season. “Our team has to show that they want to be champions with a win over Dortmund.”

Borussia Dortmund leads the league by two points heading into the match. A win would give the team a five-point lead with six matches to go. A loss, however, would put Bayern back on top and on course for a record-extending seventh straight title.

“The winner will take a giant step toward the championship,” said Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski, who previously played for Dortmund.

Bayern arguably has an easier run-in, finishing with a home game against Eintracht Frankfurt while Dortmund visits Champions League-chasing Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Bayern, however, was almost embarrassed at home by second-division club Heidenheim in the German Cup on Wednesday. Reduced to 10 men after 15 minutes, Bayern was forced to bring on Lewandowski to turn a one-goal halftime deficit into a 5-4 win.

Following that hard-fought victory, tiredness may be a factor against Dortmund.

“On Saturday, 6:30 p.m., there can’t be any excuses. The side has to deliver against Dortmund,” Hoeness told news agency dpa. “I’m not even thinking of a defeat. We have to win, there’s no alternative for me.”

Before last weekend’s 1-1 slip-up at Freiburg allowed Dortmund to reclaim the league lead, Bayern had scored 17 goals in its previous three Bundesliga matches. So scoring isn’t really a problem, but Heidenheim showed that defending might be.

Bayern will be hoping goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and defender David Alaba are back from injuries, while Dortmund has a bigger problem in defense with Achraf Hakimi out for the rest of the season with a broken foot and Abdou Diallo and Lukasz Piszczek both doubtful. Raphael Guerreiro could fill in at left back, while captain Marco Reus is back after the birth of his first child.

Paco Alcacer, who scored two injury-time goals in Dortmund’s 2-0 win over Wolfsburg last weekend, fell on his arm in the game and wasn’t able to train properly.

Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said it was “hard to say” whether Alcacer will play.

Dortmund’s recent record in Munich also does not bode well for a win. The last three games ended in losses with two goals scored and 15 conceded.

Favre isn’t just thinking about Saturday’s match, however.

“It’s a bit special,” the Dortmund coach said. “But there are seven games to go. If we win it’s not yet done. If we draw it’s not yet done. If Bayern wins, everything is also still open.”

More AP German soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/Bundesliga and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Watford chasing Rennes, Senegal star Sarr

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Watford may capture one of the rising stars of the game.

Ismaila Sarr would cost the Hornets a club transfer record fee, and Sky Sports says that Watford and Rennes are about $10 million apart.

The Ligue 1 side reportedly wants $34 million for the Senegal national team right wing.

[ VIDEO: Nketiah leads Arsenal win ]

Sarr, 21, scored a goal and an assist in Senegal’s run to the Africa Cup of Nations final, playing opposite Sadio Mane of Liverpool.

He posted 13 goals with 14 assists last season between Ligue 1, the French Cup, and the Europa League. He was the lone Rennes player to score against Arsenal in the UEL Round of 16.

Watford has held onto Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dodi Lukebakio this offseason. Lukebakio is also a 21-year-old right wing, and had a sensational loan season with Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2019-20.

Nketiah leads Arsenal past Fiorentina (video)

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Eddie Nketiah scored twice as Arsenal beat Fiorentina 3-0 in Charlotte on Saturday.

Joe Willock also scored for the Gunners, which beat Colorado Rapids and Bayern Munich in their first two matches of the preseason and meet Real Madrid in Maryland on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails KDB ]

Fiorentina took 18 of the match’s 30 shots, though Arsenal had nearly 60 percent of the ball.

Nketiah, 20, scored against Burnley in last season’s Premier League finale and then late against Bayern Munich earlier this week.

He was deft in a high-pressure spot for this one.

Premier League friendlies: Watford beats Bayer, Man Utd over Inter

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Arsenal and Fiorentina are set to kickoff in Charlotte tonight, with the Gunners the last of a bevy of Premier League sides to engage in preseason friendlies this muggy Saturday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails KDB ]


Girona 1-2 Bournemouth

Juanpe’s late header pushed La Liga’s hosts past Eddie Howe and his 10-man Cherries, playing down after VAR deemed Jack Simpson‘s foul worthy of a sending off. Ryan Fraser scored Bournemouth’s goal, assisted by Jordon Ibe.

Northampton Town 0-4 Sheffield United

Oliver Norwood converted two penalties in an easy win for Chris Wilder in his return to a club he played for and managed.

Fulham 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion

Pascal Gross scored with an early free kick — a Megan Rapinoe special — but Tom Cairney scored twice after halftime for the Championship side.

Cheltenham Town 1-2 Leicester City

The Foxes collected a second win over a lower league side this week, with Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton on the board.

Newcastle United 1-0 West Ham United (Shanghai)

New manager Steve Bruce watched from the crowd as the Magpies made amends for a 4-0 loss to Wolves by blanking West Ham. Jamie Sterry‘s cross for Yoshinori Muto was delightful, and the Japanese striker’s finish was well-taken.

Port Vale 1-3 Burnley; Crewe Alexandra 0-1 Burnley

Chris Wood, Matej Vydra and Robbie Brady scored as the Clarets overcame an early Nick Pope goal to beat Port Vale, but the Premier League side couldn’t do much in a simultaneous friendly at Crewe.

Inter Milan 0-1 Manchester United (Singapore)

Substitute forward Mason Greenwood, just 17, scored the late goal in a match United controlled, outshooting Inter 21-8.

Preston North End 1-3 Southampton

Brace-bagging Danny Ings doesn’t usually have a problem with finish, so passing the ball directly to him is not something we’d recommend to goalkeepers. Jake Vokins also scored for Saints at Deepdale.

Watford 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen (Austria)

Will Hughes and Andre Gray scored as the Hornets collected a win over Champions League competition.

Man City (0-0, 2-3 pens) Wolves (Shanghai)

Rui Patricio was very good over 90 minutes, and stopped City’s first two penalty attempts as Wolves continue to perplex the PL champions.

WATCH: Marco Fabian smashes set piece goal

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Marco Fabian sent a missile toward goal, and perhaps it’s good the goalkeeper didn’t get to the hand-breaking shot.

Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead over Chicago on Saturday in Chester, Pennsylvania, thanks to the Mexican midfielder.

[ REPORT: Man Utd locks up De Gea ]

It was a pretty set piece from Jim Curtin’s men, a backwards played free kick was laid off to Fabian for his audacious rip.

Fabian hasn’t had a wonderful 2019 season, but his fourth goal of the season will give Union supporters hope that he’ll pick up his form and make the already East-leading side all the more dangerous.