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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

Nigel Pearson appointed new Watford manager

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Nigel Pearson has been appointed new manager of Watford and been handed a very straightforward — but tall — task for the remainder of the season: avoid relegation from the Premier League.

[ MORE: Chelsea transfer ban reduced; can sign players in January ]

Pearson takes over from Quique Sanchez Flores — who only took over from Javi Gracia in September — who left his post at Vicarage Road with the Hornets sitting 20th out of 20 teams in the PL table, already seven points adrift from safety. Pearson’s contract runs through the end of the season.

The 56-year-old Pearson, who last managed in the PL with Leicester City in 2015, was most recently in charge of Belgian side OH Leuven before he was fired in February.

[ MORE: Brendan Rodgers signs new contract at Leicester ]

Pearson won’t take charge of Saturday’s game against Crystal Palace (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold). Interim manager Hayden Mullins will see out the week’s preparations and manage the team before handing the reins to Pearson on Sunday.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks

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Matchweek 16 is here in the Premier League as things are heating up very nicely ahead of 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

Tottenham 3-0 Burnley – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Bournemouth 1-3 Liverpool – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM] 

West Ham 1-3 Arsenal – (Monday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM


DON’T TOUCH THIS…

Newcastle 1-1 Southampton – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]

Man City 2-2 Man United – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM]

Watford 1-2 Crystal Palace – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM


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

 

Everton 2-1 Chelsea – (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Aston Villa 2-2 Leicester City – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Brighton 2-1 Wolves – (Sunday 11:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Norwich 2-0 Sheffield United – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Premier League TV, streaming schedule

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Matchweek 16 of the Premier League season is here, as the busy festive season has well and truly arrived.

Get in there.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ]

The full TV schedule for the games this weekend are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today, Sky Sports News, NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: Premier League live here ] 

You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” for all the goals as they go in around the grounds. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.

[ MORE: Premier League “Goal Rush” ] 

If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days.


FULL TV SCHEDULE

Saturday
7:30 a.m. ET: Everton v. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Bournemouth v. Liverpool – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Tottenham v. Burnley – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Watford v. Crystal Palace – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
12:30 p.m. ET: Man City v. Man United – NBC [STREAM]

Sunday
9 a.m. ET: Aston Villa v. Leicester City – NBCSN [STREAM]
9 a.m. ET: Newcastle United v. Southampton  – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
11:30 a.m. ET: Brighton v. Wolves – NBCSN [STREAM]
9 a.m. ET: Norwich City v. Sheffield United – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Monday
3 p.m. ET: West Ham v. Arsenal – NBCSN [STREAM]

The 2 Robbies podcast: Analyzing chaos at Everton, Arsenal

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In the latest The 2 Robbies podcast, Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle discuss Everton’s decision to sack Marco Silva after their 5-2 defeat to Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby (0:50), Arsenal’s shocking defeat at home to Brighton (14:00) and Tottenham’s 2-1 loss to Manchester United in the Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford thanks to a brace from Marcus Rashford (22:25).

Plus, thoughts on Gabriel Jesus‘ long-term role at Manchester City (29:00), Jamie Vardy and Leicester City can’t stop winning (35:10), back to winning ways for Chelsea (39:00) and the Underappreciated Performances of the week (43:40).

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]