Bundesliga: State of play, USMNT players to watch

Bundesliga return date
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The German Bundesliga return date in May is nearly set as the 2019-20 season will resume in the next few weeks.

In the words of coach Ted Lasso: keep calm… and get fired up.

[ MORE: Bundesliga schedule  ]

There is so much to look forward to when the top two tiers in German soccer return, with the Bundesliga home to many of the top USMNT youngsters, plus there is an enthralling title race, battle for European qualification and a scrap against relegation.

With all of that in mind, here’s a primer so you’re ready with the Bundesliga return date later this month.


American players to watch

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There are a plethora of young American players scattered across Germany’s top two tiers, so USMNT fans will have a field day checking in on all of them. Here’s a look at who they are, where they are playing and how 2019-20 has been for them so far.

Bundesliga

Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig – Injuries have disrupted his season but when he has played at right back or in midfield for Leipzig he’s looked composed and he has been missed when he’s out. Primed to play a big role as Leipzig are in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals and in the Bundesliga title race.

Gio Reyna, Borussia Dortmund – What a first few months of 2020 it was for Reyna, as the teenager scored a stunning goal and burst onto the scene at Dortmund. Reyna, 17, has the potential to emulate Christian Pulisic’s success for the Black and Yellow.

Weston McKennie, Schalke – Has been hit by injuries this season but McKennie is a key utility player in David Wagner’s Schalke side. They are battling for a top six finish and Europa League qualification and are back to being one of the big boys in the Bundesliga. McKennie, 21, is having his best season to date.

John Brooks, Wolfsburg – Battling with Schalke for sixth place are Wolfsburg and USMNT center back Brooks is finally back fit and playing a dominant role. If he can stay fit for the next few seasons he will be a key man for club and country.

Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen – His goals will be key in Werder’s relegation battle but Sargent has had a tough season. Granted he hasn’t been getting much support but he’s return of three goals is a little below what he would expect. Still just 20 years old.

Alphonso Davies, Bayern Munich* – Okay, he’s Canadian, but we’ve all seen him from his MLS days with the Vancouver Whitecaps and wished him well. Signed a new long-term contract with Bayern during the suspension and has burst onto the scene this season as a left back/left wing back. Davies is still just 19 years old. Wow.

Timothy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt – A utility player as Eintracht have struggled in the Bundesliga but continue to do well in the Europa League season after season. Chandler has been a regular and scored four goals this season. Not bad at all, Timmy.

Fabian Johnson, Borussia Monchengladbach – Bit-part player and now a veteran on this ‘Gladbach squad, Johnson has made a handful of appearances as they battle for Champions League qualification and maybe, just maybe, can launch a late title push.

Zack Steffen, Fortuna Dusseldorf – Suffered an injury which will probably keep him out for the rest of the season. On loan from Man City and it will be intriguing to see what next season holds for the USMNT’s starting goalkeeper.

Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf – A constant in Fortuna’s midfield, which earned him some recent recalls with the USMNT. Smooth holding midfielder.

2. Bundesliga

Bobby Wood, Hamburg
Julian Green, Greuther Furth
Sebastian Soto, Hannover 96
Timothy Tillman, Greuther Furth
Marc Heider, Osnabruck
Kevin Lankford, St Pauli


Enthralling title battle

Bundesliga
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Bayern Munich are top but are just four points ahead of Borussia Dortmund and five points ahead of RB Leipzig, while Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen are also in touching distance. Bayern will be favorites to clinch the title but they have to play away at Dortmund and Levrkusen as well as host ‘Gladbach.

[ MORE: Bundesliga standings

This will be very interesting indeed. Dortmund now have Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho and Gio Reyna ripping it up together in attack and although Bayern improved drastically in recent months, perhaps the break came at a bad time for Hansi Flick’s side. Beware of RB Leipzig too, who have hummed along nicely all season long.


Epic tussle for Champions League, Europa League

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Given there is an epic title battle about to take place, there is an equally epic scramble for European qualification. The top four in Germany qualify automatically for the UEFA Champions League group stage and that means one of the five teams mentioned above as title contenders will miss out. But looking even further down the league, Schalke sit in sixth place but are just five points above Cologne in 10th as there is an incredibly tight battle for the Europa League. Schalke sit one point ahead of Wolfsburg and Freiburg and two ahead of Hoffenheim in 9th.


Relegation battle isn’t that boring either…

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Okay, so Paderborn and Werder Bremen look a little doomed but they are within touching distance of the relegation playoffs spot, which Fortuna Dusseldorf currently occupy. Teams will be desperate to stay in the Bundesliga given the current situation and if you look down to the 2. Bundesliga, two giants are battling for automatic qualification and to avoid the lottery of the relegation playoffs. Arminia Bielefeld are six points clear at the top of the second division but Stuttgart and Hamburg are separated by just one point with the former in second place and in possession of the automatic spot.

Wolves vs Liverpool: How to watch, stream link, team news

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Liverpool hopes it can boost its top-four hopes by hurting Wolves’ plans for Premier League safety when the duo meet Saturday at the Molineux (watch live, 10am ET Saturday online via Peacock Premium).

It’s the third meeting since early January between the sides following a 2-2 draw in the FA Cup and a 1-0 Liverpool win in the replay.

STREAM LIVE WOLVES vs LIVERPOOL

Wolves sit 17th with 17 points, only outside of the bottom three due to Bournemouth’s poor goal differential. Last place is just two points away, as there are seven teams within three points between 14th and 20th.

Liverpool, meanwhile, is 10 points off the top four but has played at least one fewer match than all but two of the eight teams ahead of them (Sixth-place Brighton and leaders Arsenal).

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Wolves vs Liverpool.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Wolves vs Liverpool live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
Online: Premier League on Peacock


Key storylines & star players

Winning games is about scoring goals and only two Wolves players have more than one. Daniel Podence has collected five, while Ruben Neves has four. Even more surprising, Wolves are still waiting on a goal from Raul Jimenez, Diego Costa, or injured Pedro Neto. Perhaps Matheus Cunha or Pablo Sarabia will chip in soon.

Liverpool has one win from its last three Premier League outings, but there’s a heaping helping of bad luck to their struggles. The Reds have 24 goals from open play and 20 allowed in that same situation. Their expected goals in those spots is 34.6 – 24. Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez have been especially unlucky despite combining for 12 goals and six assists on the season.


Wolves team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Pedro Neto (ankle), Sasa Kalajdzic (torn ACL), Boubacar Traore (undisclosed), Chiquinho (knee)

Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Virgil van Dijk (thigh), Roberto Firmino (calf), Ibrahima Konate (hamstring), Luis Diaz (knee), Diogo Jota (thigh), Arthur Melo (thigh) | QUESTIONABLE: Fabio Carvalho (undisclosed), Nathaniel Phillips (illness)

Newcastle vs West Ham: How to watch, stream link, team news

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Newcastle United can become the third Premier League team this season to cross the 40-point marker when it meets West Ham on Saturday at St. James’ Park (watch live, 12:30pm ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

The Magpies have been terrific at home in all competitions, including at midweek where they finished off Southampton to claim a spot in the League Cup Final.

STREAM LIVE NEWCASTLE vs WEST HAM

And while the 40-point marker used to just mean safety, Newcastle would stay within sight of second-place Man City and first-place Arsenal.

Meanwhile, West Ham’s mix of bad luck and substandard performances have them just a point above the drop zone, in 16th. A win here would be huge,

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Newcastle vs West Ham.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Newcastle vs West Ham live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 12:30pm ET, Saturday
TV Channel: NBC
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & star players

The Magpies won’t have their best all-around player in influential Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, and center forward Alexander Isak will miss out following a head injury suffered against Saints. Sean Longstaff will need to shine again after scoring twice against Saints.

As for West Ham, they have three attackers out but can look to Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen to continue upturns in form.


Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Bruno Guimaraes (suspension), Alexander Isak (concussion), Javier Manquillo (undisclosed), Matt Targett (foot), Emil Krafth (knee)

West Ham team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Gianluca Scamacca (knee), Maxwel Cornet (calf), Kurt Zouma (thigh), Danny Ings (knee)

Manchester United vs Crystal Palace: How to watch, stream link, team news

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Manchester United looks to keep climbing up the Premier League table when its hosts improving Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday (watch live, 10am ET online via Premier League on Peacock).

United has won all three of its cup matches since a Jan. 22 setback at Premier League leaders Arsenal, and now face Palace before two matches with Leeds

STREAM LIVE MANCHESTER UNITED vs CRYSTAL PALACE

Palace hasn’t won in 2023, though the Eagles managed back-to-back draws with Manchester United and Newcastle in their past two matches. Both of those were at Selhurst Park.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Manchester United vs Crystal Palace.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Manchester United vs Crystal Palace live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
Online: Premier League on Peacock


Key storylines & star players

Man United’s lost Christian Eriksen through April but acted quick and in impressive fashion with the loan addition of Marcel Sabitzer from Bayern Munich. Desperate for playing time and a more attacking role than what was asked of him by Bayern, the Austrian star may be just what the doctor ordered even before Eriksen went down. This is a hard-edged player with plenty of attcking firepower to boot.

Palace, of course, is still all about their creative players, as Wilfried Zaha, Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze, and Odsonne Edouard can deliver the goods with just a half-chance, but look out for Deadline Day adds Albert Sambi Lokonga, on loan from Patrick Vieira’s former team Arsenal, and Naouirou Ahamada, who they hope will add a needed ball progressor in the heart of the pitch.


Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Christian Eriksen (ankle), Donny van de Beek (knee), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Jadon Sancho (undisclosed), Anthony Martial (undisclosed), Diogo Dalot (thigh), Luke Shaw (illness), Scott McTominay (undisclosed)

Crystal Palace team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Wilfried Zaha (hamstring), Joachim Andersen (calf), Nathan Ferguson (undisclosed), James McArthur (groin)

Everton vs Arsenal, live! How to watch, stream link, team news

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The first match of the Sean Dyche era at Everton is a visit from the leaders, as Arsenal visits Goodison Park on Saturday (watch live, 7:30am ET on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com).

Dyche has been out of work since his time ended at Burnley last April, but he’ll have instant familiarity with Dwight McNeil, James Tarkowski, and Michael Keane.

So how’s it been around the club as he prepares to take hold of a team that isn’t Burnley for the first time since, thumbs through calendars… still thumbing…2011!

STREAM LIVE EVERTON vs ARSENAL

“A new voice, training ways, going about your business, building a bit of rapport,” Dyche said. “I had a good chat with a few players, not in an office kind of chat but speaking to them generally. Their careers, life, how they’re feeling, I always thought if you affect their lives you’ll affect their performance. It’s hard to do visa-versa, I’ve been honest with them. I’ve been down that, we did a Q+A session, I just wanted their feedback. What was the feedback? After that I shared it back with them, this is what we fed back ,what do you think? Gives us a chance to open it up a bit. We need to get to the truth of them, what we can offer, best thing to do is ask them – simple as that. Giving our feel, a different feel to understanding, that’s all. Hopefully they’ll respond and flourish. We’ve got to work, it can’t all be fluff, plenty of hard work this week.”

Former Everton star Mikel Arteta leads Arsenal into the affair with a five-point lead on Man City and a match-in-hand, but it’s also the first match since Arsenal fell 1-0 to City in an FA Cup match considered by many to be a first test for the leaders’ title hopes.

Everton sit 19th in the Premier League table, ahead of last-place Southampton by five goals in the goal difference column.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Everton vs Arsenal.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Everton vs Arsenal live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 7:30am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & star players

Is this what Dwight McNeil has been waiting for after stop-start usage from Frank Lampard? He’s one of the key pieces to monitor when team news arrives Saturday.  Everton hasn’t played since Jan. 21, when it rolled out a 5-4-1 in a 2-0 loss to West Ham. Dyche hasn’t used five at the back since 2019, but this Arsenal team, man…

Arsenal enters having navigated the absence of Gabriel Jesus pretty darn nicely, thank you very much. Will Eddie Nketiah keep feasting off the playmaking of Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka?

Let’s just say Everton’s new manager bounce is going to have to include Flubber.


Everton team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Michael Keane (knee), Nathan Patterson (knee), Andros Townsend (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Ben Godfrey (knee), James Garner (back)

Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Gabriel Jesus (knee), Reiss Nelson (thigh), Mohamed Elneny (knock) | QUESTIONABLE: Thomas Partey (chest), Emile Smith Rowe (thigh)