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Heroes dazzle on farewell, as Bayern win seventh-straight Bundesliga title

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Bayern Munich won their seventh-straight Bundesliga title on Saturday, as Niko Kovac’s side beat Eintracht Frankfurt 5-1 on the final day to clinch the trophy in front of their own fans at the Allianz Arena for the first time since they moved there.

[ MORE: Bundesliga scores/table  ] 

Departing legends Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben both jumped off the bench in the second half and scored, as they signed off the incredible careers at the Bavarian giants in style.

Going into the final day Bayern knew a win would see them finish above Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table and they got off to a perfect start as Kingsley Coman put them 1-0 up with less than five minutes on the clock.

However, Frankfurt made things interesting as Sebastien Haller equalized just after the break. But moments later David Alaba made it 2-1 and Renato Sanches then added another as Bayern’s fans got the party started late on. Ribery and Robben, playing in their final game for Bayern, then scored to seal their emotional farewells in style.

Bayern’s latest title win was far tougher than their recent successes with Kovac’s side starting the season in poor form but they rallied to chase down Dortmund who had a nine-point lead at the top earlier in the campaign.

Dortmund did finish the season with a win to finish in second place and two points behind Bayern, with Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus scoring in the 2-0 win at Borussia Monchengladbach.

Elsewhere Bayer Leverkusen snuck into the top four as they won at Hertha Berlin to qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage at the expense of Monchengladbach who slipped to fifth on the final day. RB Leipzig finished third and qualified for the UCL group stage despite a defeat at Werder Bremen on the final day.

Frankfurt’s defeat at Bayern on the final day saw them slip down to eighth with a few minutes to go as 10-man Hoffenheim were winning 2-0 at Mainz… but then Mainz launched an incredible late comeback to win 4-2 as Frankfurt finished seventh and will now play in the Europa League qualifiers. Wolfsburg finished sixth after a huge 8-1 win against Augsburg and will play in the UEFA Europa League next season, as they finished level and points and just one goal behind Monchengladbach.

Nuremberg and Hannover were already long relegated to Bundesliga. 2, while Stuttgart finished 18th and will play in the relegation playoff.

Below are the results from the final 90 minutes of the Bundesliga season in full.

Bundesliga results, May 18

Bayern Munich 3-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Borussia Monchengladbach 0-2 Borussia Dortmund
Fortuna Dusseldorf 2-1 Hannover 96
Hertha Berlin 1-5 Bayer Leverkusen
Mainz 4-2 Hoffenheim
SC Freiburg 5-1 Nuremberg
Schalke 0-0 Stuttgart
Werder Bremen 2-1 RB Leipzig
Wolfsburg 8-1 Augsburg

AT HALF: Martial, Rashford team up for impressive opener

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images
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Manchester United has a stylish opening goal in its quest to go a perfect 2-for-2 in Premier League play.

After quality passing in traffic ended with Marcus Rashford slipping a through ball in to both Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial, the Frenchman bolted a ball into the upper reaches of the net.

[ STREAM: Wolves – Man Utd ]

To be honest, Rui Patricio had little recourse.

The goal is Martial’s second of the season, and United is 45 minutes away from moving atop the league.

Report: Barcelona will make Neymar loan offer

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The most expensive player in the world may be going back to his old club…on loan.

According to a report by ESPNFC, Barcelona will make an official approach for Neymar on a loan with an option to buy next summer, similar to the switch Philippe Coutinho made from the Camp Nou to Bayern Munich earlier today. In fact, the report specifically states that Barcelona will look to copy Bayern’s approach of a one-year loan with a fee ($9.4 million for Coutinho’s loan) plus all wages paid, followed by an option to buy ($133 million).

Barcelona prefers this approach as they have already racked up a massive transfer bill this summer, spending over $220 million on the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong, Junior Firpo, and Neto.

While there have been numerous reports of potentially creative offers for Neymar over the past few weeks that mention players included in a swap deal, the ESPNFC report specifically states no players will be included in any current or future deal for Neymar either in the terms of the loan or as part of the option to buy. While Barcelona considered this approach in the past, Paris Saint-Germain was reportedly not interested in any players Barca offered, other than Coutinho. They apparently made an official offer already, ponying up $89 million plus Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic, but that was turned down.

The ESPN report does state that Coutinho’s loan to Bayern is seen by those close to Neymar as “a huge setback” as the Brazilian’s camp saw Coutinho as the key to making the deal happen, given that Barcelona is unwilling to put up a straight cash offer this summer. Unnamed Barcelona officials are also quoted in the report as stating that a for a potential Neymar deal, “it will be complicated,” but they are hopeful of progress.

The option to buy in Barcelona’s offer has reportedly not been decided upon as of yet, although previous reports have stated that PSG is unlikely to consider an offer that does not net them back what they paid for Neymar two years ago, to the tune of $245 million.

Watch Live: Wolves v. Man United

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Manchester United travels to Monlieux to take on their boogy team as Wolverhampton Wanderers look to make it four straight without a loss against the Red Devils across all competitions (Watch live, 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)

The last time Manchester United beat Wolves was in 2012 when they won 5-0 at Monlieux in a season that saw Wolves eventually relegated. They were winless in all three matches against Wolves last season, including two in Premier League action and one in domestic cup play. To end that drought, they’ll need to break a Wolves streak of eight consecutive top-flight matches unbeaten at home, making their midlands ground a fortress of late.

WATCH WOLVES v. MAN UNITED LIVE ONLINE HERE

To help snap the streak, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has handed winger Daniel James a full debut, coming into the side in place of Andreas Pereira as the only change from the team that topped Chelsea 4-0 to begin the season. Juan Mata stays stuck on the bench, while Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial all spearhead the attack alongside James. Paul Pogba again partners with Scott McTominay in midfield to reprise a duo that was fabulous against the Blues. Alexis Sanchez remains out of the squad, although Solskjaer confirmed he is “close” to a return.

For Wolves, they deploy an unchanged side from the opening day draw with Leicester City. Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez are back leading the lines after being rested midweek for their Europa League win over Pyunik. Nuno again deploys a 5-3-2, with wingers Johnny and Matt Doherty serving as wing-backs along the three central defenders in Connor Coady, Wily Boly, and Ryan Bennett.


LINEUPS

Wolves XI: Patricio; Doherty, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Jonny; Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho; Jota, Jimenez.
Subs: Ruddy, Neto, Cutrone, Gibbs-White, Saiss, Vinagre, Traore.

Man United XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Pogba, James, Lingard, Rashford, Martial.
Subs: Romero, Tuanzebe, Pereira, Mata, Matic, Greenwood.

Sokratis calls it “easier” to defend Liverpool than Burnley

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Arsenal has not fared well at Anfield the last few years, not at all. In fact, the Gunners haven’t shown up against the Reds at all the past two seasons, shipping 13 goals in their last four meetings with Liverpool, and 15 goals in their last four trips to Anfield.

Which made the words out of the mouth of Arsenal defender Sokratis about defending Liverpool even more surprising.

Following 2-1 win over Burnley this past weekend, Sokratis compared playing the Clarets to playing defending Champions League winners Liverpool, whom Arsenal visits this coming weekend. “It is a different game,” Sokratis said. “Maybe it is more easy, because you don’t have to fight a lot, but they also play football.”

Play football they certainly do. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino have all scored each of the last two times the Gunners visited Anfield, resulting in 5-1 and 4-0 drubbings. So…how does that figure to “more easy?”

“If they are on good day and you are having a bad day, it is hard,” Sokratis admitted. “In the end, we know that it is difficult and we respect Liverpool a lot. But I think the best [way] is to go and play our style of game. We will see what happens.”

When asked specifically about last season’s lopsided result, Sokratis believes that was a rare occurance. “The 5-1 last season…it was not the game to take five goals – [there was] the penalty kicks, we made mistakes,” he said. “I think this year will be different, but we have to improve of course from the work we do with the coach and his staff.”

Arsenal will have to avoid the mistakes this time around if they want to find an important three points. Even a draw would be helpful in the Gunners’ quest to attain Champions League qualification for the first time in four years. Sokratis would be wise not to take the Reds lightly.