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Bundesliga wrap: Leipzig goes top as Bayern stumbles

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RB Leipzig has seized first place on the table ahead of Sunday’s match between Gladbach and Freiburg, but Bayern Munich failed to take advantage of its chance with a home loss courtesy of a Leon Bailey double.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

That’s par for the course of this woolly Bundesliga season. Here’s what you missed.


Paderborn 2-3 RB Leipzig

The new table leaders — at least for a day — scored twice in the first four minutes and added a third in the 26th to account for a 3-0 advantage that was soured a bit in the second half. Timo Werner had a goal and an assist for Leipzig, with Patrik Schick and Marcel Sabitzer also finding the back of the net.

Bayern Munich 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen

A share of first place eluded the Allianz Arena set, as Jamaican striker Leon Bailey sandwiched a pair of goals around Thomas Muller’s 34th minute marker for the hosts. An 81st minute red card to Jonathan Tah opened the door to no avail despite nearly 75 percent of the ball and 21 shots. Bayern will finish the weekend at least three points back of the throne room.

Hertha Berlin 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

Jurgen Klinsmann’s home debut came close to a stirring result. BVB had taken a 2-0 lead after 17 minutes through goals from Jadon Sancho and Thorgan Hazard, but Vladimir Danda scored in the 34th for the hosts and Mats Hummels’ poor week continued with a 45th minute yellow card. But a 13-7 shot advantage could not produce a second goal as Hertha fell into 16th.

Hoffenheim 1-1 Fortuna Dusseldorf

The visitors came back for a point thanks in part to their American duo, as Alfredo Morales assisted on captain Rouwen Hennings‘ 87th minute equalizer and Zach Steffen made five saves and was a tidy 88 percent passer to move Fortuna a point clear of the Bottom Three.

Elsewhere
Schalke 2-1 Union Berlin — Friday
Koln 1-1 Augsburg
Borussia Monchengladbach v. Freiburg — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Wolfsburg v. Werder Bremen — Noon ET Sunday
Mainz v. Eintracht Frankfurt — 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 RB Leipzig 13 8 3 2 36 15 21 3-2-1 5-1-1 27
 Mönchengladbach 12 8 1 3 24 13 11 4-1-1 4-0-2 25
 FC Schalke 04 13 7 4 2 24 16 8 3-3-1 4-1-1 25
 Bayern Munich 13 7 3 3 34 18 16 4-1-2 3-2-1 24
 Borussia Dortmund 13 6 5 2 28 19 9 4-2-0 2-3-2 23
 SC Freiburg 12 6 4 2 21 13 8 3-2-1 3-2-1 22
 Bayer Leverkusen 13 6 4 3 20 17 3 2-4-1 4-0-2 22
 1899 Hoffenheim 13 6 3 4 18 20 -2 3-1-3 3-2-1 21
 VfL Wolfsburg 12 5 5 2 13 10 3 2-3-1 3-2-1 20
 Eintracht Frankfurt 12 5 2 5 21 18 3 4-2-1 1-0-4 17
 1. FC Union Berlin 13 5 1 7 16 19 -3 4-0-3 1-1-4 16
 FC Augsburg 13 3 5 5 18 25 -7 2-2-2 1-3-3 14
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 13 3 3 7 16 24 -8 2-1-3 1-2-4 12
 FSV Mainz 05 12 4 0 8 17 31 -14 2-0-3 2-0-5 12
 Werder Bremen 12 2 5 5 19 26 -7 1-2-3 1-3-2 11
 Hertha BSC Berlin 13 3 2 8 18 27 -9 2-0-4 1-2-4 11
 1. FC Köln 13 2 2 9 12 28 -16 1-1-4 1-1-5 8
 SC Paderborn 13 1 2 10 16 32 -16 1-0-6 0-2-4 5

Mourinho: Top-four without Kane, Son would be ‘something incredible’

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Jose Mourinho fancies himself either as a realist or a master of mind games — you be the judge, based on your own level of love or hate for the Portuguese manager — as Tottenham Hotspur embark upon their final dozen games of the 2019-20 Premier League season.

[ MORE: Premier League Preview: Chelsea v. Tottenham Hotspur ]

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s trip to Stamford Bridge where he’ll take on his former club Chelsea (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com), Mourinho attempted to put into perspective the level of heroics that will be required for Tottenham to finish in the top-four.

Perhaps he has a point, given the long-term injuries to Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, forwards who account for 20 of Spurs’ 43 PL goals this season and who will also miss the majority, if not all, of the rest of the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“Tottenham without Harry or Sonny, without one of them, doesn’t win a match since 2014. That means a lot. That means that Sonny and Harry score the majority of goals that Tottenham scores. This season was so, so negatively special that we are going to be without them both at the same time for a lot of matches.

“If we manage to finish top four it’s something incredible. Incredible achievement for the boys. So we have to give everything we have.”

As for their chances of doing, so? Well, let’s just say Mourinho is more than happy to pile the pressure onto others and divert it away from his own team, as he has routinely done throughout his career — quotes from Sky Sports:

“At this moment, Tottenham, Manchester United, Arsenal, Sheffield United, Wolverhampton, Everton — we are the underdogs.

“We have ambitions to be there but we are one, two, three points behind Chelsea, so they have an advantage to all of us. That’s obvious. It’s not a big advantage but it is an advantage.

“Chelsea, in this moment, are favorites for the fourth position, considering Leicester has nine points more at this stage of the season.”

Over the course of their next nine PL games, Spurs will face all six sides currently within five points of fourth place. They will almost certainly be without both Kane and Son for the vast majority of those critical six-pointers.

USWNT pushed in depositions: Could they beat the German men?

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Carli Lloyd was pushed over and over on differences between women and men.

[ MORE: USWNT seek over $66 million in damages from U.S. Soccer ]

“Do you think the women’s national team could beat the German men’s team?” U.S. Soccer Federation lawyer Noah Finkel asked during a Dec. 20 deposition.

“I’m not sure,” the two-time FIFA Player of the Year replied.

Finkel inquired about a 2015 email interview Lloyd conducted through her agent’s assistant with the website Sportskeeda.

“You wrote men are faster and stronger, right?” Finkel probed.

“Yeah, if you take those away, yeah, it would be a contest,” Lloyd said.

Again and again, members of the champion U.S. women’s team were pushed to detail distinctions between their sport, which they dominate, and the men’s game, where the Americans struggle.

Lawyers for the USSF are trying to show it’s OK to pay the women differently than the men because the competition is different. The sides made excerpts of depositions public in court filings Thursday night.

“The tone during depositions is reflective of the kind of condescension that many USSF officials employ when talking to the players about pay and workplace conditions,” said Molly Levinson, spokeswoman for the players, “including the plainly disrespectful and sexist attitudes from USSF and their representatives during CBA negotiations when they refused to offer anything close to equal pay.”

[ MORE: Premier League TV, streaming schedule ]

The women sued last year, alleging the USSF violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 in reaching what they say is an inferior collective bargaining agreement with the women than the deal struck with the American men. They are seeking more than $66 million in damages.

The federation maintains the women have many benefits the men lack, including guaranteed salaries, health insurance, paid child-care assistance, pregnancy and parental leave, severance pay and access to a 401(k) retirement plan. Men get paid by the game and tournament, most earning the majority of their income from their club.

Reigning FIFA Player of the Year Megan Rapinoe was questioned about her response in an interview she gave to Pod Save America in which she said: “Our pay structure is different. We play different games. We’re different rankings in the world. Like, it’s just apples to oranges.”

The USSF said that from fiscal year 2009 through fiscal year 2019, the women’s national team had gross revenue of $101.3 million for 238 games, an average of $425,446, and the men grossed $185.7 million for 191 matches, an average of $972,147. The women had a $27.6 million net loss over 11 years and the men lost $3.13 million.

“The international soccer environment in which the MNT players compete is far more competitive by many measures than that in which plaintiffs compete,” the USSF said in one of its papers filed with the court. “The MNT players have lower odds of succeeding in the face of such greater competition. In short, MNT players must achieve more and/or better results against tougher competition in order to qualify for, and succeed in, tournament competition.”

Barring a settlement, the trial is scheduled to start May 5 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The women’s five-year labor deal runs through 2021 while the men play under the terms of a contract that expired Dec. 31.

[ MORE: In the Mixed Zone with JPW: Episode 1 ]

During her deposition on Jan. 15, former U.S. coach Jill Ellis testified she was told the men got chartered flights at times and the women didn’t. The USSF spent about $10.7 million on hotels for the men and approximately $7.3 milllion on the women during the fiscal years 2012-20. Air travel was about $6.3 million for the women during that period and $14.3 million for the men, many of whom play in Europe. The USSF increased first- and business-class travel for the women in 2017.

Speaking during her Dec. 20 deposition, Lloyd talked about personally training with the Medford Strikers’ under-18 boys team in New Jersey.

“It’s different in the sense that men are bigger, stronger, faster. That’s their makeup. There’s no — there’s no denying science in that regard,” she said. “But I am the most skillful player there. So if you take their speed and athleticism and their strength away, it’s the same game.”

Former USSF President Sunil Gulati, speaking during a Dec. 17 deposition, used a comparison with an NBA star to point out differences.

“LeBron James doesn’t get a bonus for getting 15 points and for the Lakers finishing out of the playoffs,” he said. “The expectations for him are different based on who they’re playing against, what – who he is, what the level is.”

Premier League Preview: Chelsea v. Tottenham Hotspur

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  • Chelsea (41 points) sit 4th in PL table
  • Spurs (40) chasing, up to 5th
  • Last meeting: Spurs 0-2 Chelsea

Jose Mourinho is set to make his latest triumphant return to Stamford Bridge, this time for the first time as the manager of Tottenham Hotspur, one of Chelsea’s bitter London rivals, in the first fixture of the Premier League weekend on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Not only does the Mourinho storyline carry significant weight ahead of Saturday’s showdown at the Bridge, so too does the two sides’ increasingly tight battle for a top-four finish. As recently as Jan. 17, Chelsea enjoyed a nine-point lead on Tottenham, but the Blues’ current run of just one win from their last six PL games has seen that advantage shrink to a single point with the very real possibility of flipping two points in the opposite direction once the full-time whistle blows. On the other hand, Spurs would already be miles clear if not for dropping a combined seven points from three games against the current 12th-, 19th- and 20th-place sides in recent weeks.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

Both Chelsea and Spurs are currently enduring injury crises which have just about crippled their respective attacking units. Frank Lampard‘s side has been without Christian Pulisic since New Year’s Day, while both Callum Hudson-Odoi (hamstring) Tammy Abraham (ankle) also missed this week’s defeat to Manchester United. As for Mourinho’s selection issues, Harry Kane (hamstring) has been out since Jan. 1 and will continue to be sideline for at least two more months, and now Son Heung-min could miss the rest of the season after breaking his arm during his two-goal outing in the dramatic victory over Aston Villa last weekend. Son had scored at least one goal in each of his last five appearances (all competitions).

Spurs have scored 43 PL goals this season; Kane and Son combined for 20 between the two of them. Dele Alli, who sits just behind them with seven, has scored just once in his last seven league games and 12 games across all competitions — coincidentally, Alli’s drought began one game before Kane tore his hamstring — after enjoying a red-hot resurgence (four goals in three games) on the back of Mourinho’s appointment. To compound matters, Spurs have had 48 fewer hours to recover and prepare for Saturday’s early kickoff, with Chelsea playing Man United in league play on Monday and the north London side suffering a narrow defeat to RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Injuries/suspensions

Chelsea: OUT – Christian Pulisic (groin), Callum Hudson-Odoi (hamstring), N’Golo Kante (leg), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (fitness); QUESTIONABLE: Tammy Abraham (ankle), Andreas Christensen (face)

Spurs: OUT – Harry Kane (hamstring), Son Heung-min (arm), Moussa Sissoko (knee), Juan Foyth (groin)


Projected lineups

Chelsea: Caballero — James, Zouma, Rudiger, Azpilicueta — Jorginho, Mount, Kovacic — Willian, Pedro, Abraham

Spurs: Lloris — Aurier, Sanchez, Aldeweireld, Davies — Winks, Ndombele — Lo Celso, Alli, Bergwijn — Moura


What they’re saying

Lampard, on various injured players: “Christian Pulisic is still not fit. I can’t give you an exact date. It’s a difficult injury and we’re working on that. … Tammy has trained the last two days probably at about 70 percent having not trained much recently. He’s in the squad but I’ll have to make a decision on whether he’s fit. … N’Golo is not fit. It’s a muscle injury, similar to the one he came off with against Arsenal recently. Hopefully three weeks, something around that.”

Mourinho, on returning to Stamford Bridge: “To go back to play against Chelsea is the same as to play against West Ham or Crystal Palace. It’s the same for me, exactly the same. The situation is clear, I’m here for about three months, in three months I don’t think about myself, I think about the club, I think about the players and I think about the effort that the players made to be in this position now. We were 12 points behind fourth place. I remember in my first week speaking with the players about not having targets, let’s go match after match and get as many points as possible, because if we were thinking about being 12 points behind, we would lose immediately the motivation that we needed to try to climb such a difficult mountain.”


Prediction

Throw out the injuries to some of this game’s brightest attacking stars along with the fitness and fatigue concerns, because Chelsea v. Spurs almost always delivers a thrilling, goal-filled game. There will be at least three goals, including a late winner to Chelsea.

Lewandowski scores late to keep Bayern on title track (video)

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MUNICH (AP) Robert Lewandowski scored late for leader Bayern Munich to get a head start on its Bundesliga rivals after a hard-fought 3-2 win over bottom side Paderborn on Friday.

[ MORE: Premier League TV, streaming schedule ]

The Polish striker scored twice and took his league-leading tally to 25 with the winning goal in the 88th minute, set up like his previous goal by Serge Gnabry, who scored the opener in the 25th.

Bayern (49) stretched its lead to four points ahead of the rest of the 23rd round, with rivals Leipzig (45), Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach (42 each) all playing on Saturday.

The visitors were first to have the ball in the net, but Paderborn striker Streli Mamba was clearly offside and the linesman waited before raising his flag to rule out his third-minute goal.

[ MORE: In the Mixed Zone with JPW: Episode 1 ]

Paderborn defended well, keeping Bayern at bay until Gnabry found a way through with two touches after Lewandowski persevered to win the ball back in the 25th.

A mistake from Manuel Neuer allowed Dennis Srbeny to equalize a minute before the break. The Bayern goalkeeper emerged from goal in typical fashion but failed to clear and Srbeny eluded three helpless defenders before shooting to the unguarded net.

Lewandowski restored Bayern’s lead in the 70th, finishing off a Gnabry cross.

Sven Michel equalized five minutes later, from a rebound after Neuer deflected Dennis Jastrzembski’s effort to his feet. But Lewandowski had the last say to keep Bayern’s title charge going.

Paderborn remained six points from safety.