Tyler Adams contract extension
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USMNT players in Bundesliga: Young stars set to shine

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The 2019-20 Bundesliga season returns this weekend and USMNT fans will know there are plenty of young American players to keep an eye on.

[ LIVE: Bundesliga scores ] 

Matchweek 26 in the Bundesliga will of course see games played in empty stadiums, which is the plan for the rest of the season and beyond, and USMNT stars will feature in plenty of them.

From Giovanni Reyna to Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie to John Brooks, plenty of USMNT stars are going to play pivotal roles as their teams battle for the Bundesliga title, European qualification and against relegation.

[ MORE: Bundesliga latest news ] 

BTW, if you’re new to Germany’s top-flight, here’s a guide to help you pick a club to support.

Below is a look at what lies ahead this weekend for the USMNT stars, as you can check out the full schedulestandings and find out how to watch the action, while we will have you covered right here on ProSoccerTalk.


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, Adams is ready to roll. Leipzig host Bundesliga surprise package Freiburg this weekend and Julian Nagelsmann’s side are eager to close the gap on Bayern Munich at the top.

Matchweek 26: v. SC Freiburg, Saturday, 9:30 a.m. ET

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. It will be intriguing to see if Reyna starts or comes off the bench as Dortmund have a few injuries in midfield. Either way, he will be coming up against another USMNT man in the big game of the weekend in the Bundesliga.

Matchweek 26: v. Schalke, Saturday, 9:30 a.m. ET

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 and German-American Wagner has restored pride in Schalke. A massive, massive Revierderby at Dortmund restarts their season as McKennie and Reyna will lock horns in the midfield area. USMNT fans will love to see two young talents going head-to-head for two of Germany’s biggest clubs.

Matchweek 26: @ Dortmund, Saturday, 9:30 a.m. ET

Bundesliga schedule
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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. Brooks and Wolfsburg face five of the current top six in their remaining games and they will truly deserve European qualification if they come through this gauntlet successfully.

Matchweek 26: @ Augsburg, Saturday, 9:30 a.m. ET

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, Sargent’s side have a very tough run-in and they currently sit second from bottom and are eight points from safety. An upset of an exciting Leverkusen side could kick off a massive late season surge.

Matchweek 26: v. Bayer Leverkusen, Monday, 2:30 p.m. ET

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. With the league so tight, Frankfurt have a game in hand and can still make a late surge for European qualification. They have the quality to do so.

Matchweek 26: v. Monchengladbach, Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET

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. Monchengladbach travel to an unpredictable Frankfurt side and they have to win the majority of their final nine games to keep their title chances alive.

Matchweek 26: v. Frankfurt, Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET

Bundesliga standings
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Zack Steffen, Fortuna Dusseldorf – Suffered another knee 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. Steffen has been really good for Fortuna this season when he has been fit.

Matchweek 26: v. Paderborn, Saturday, 9:30 a.m. ET

Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf – A constant in Fortuna’s midfield, which earned him some recent recalls with the USMNT. Smooth holding midfielder and his poise will be key as Fortuna face relegation rivals Paderborn. Morales has bounced between the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga during his career in Germany so he knows all about relegation battles.

Matchweek 26: v. Paderborn, Saturday, 9:30 a.m. ET

UK government gives PL green light for contact training

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The UK government has given the Premier League and the Championship the green light to resume contact training after publishing stage two of its return to training guidance.

This is a big boost for the Premier League ‘Project Restart’ plans ahead of a pivotal week of meeting and votes about playing the remaining 92 games of the 2019-20 season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Since last week all 20 Premier League clubs have been taking part in small-group training at a social distance as clubs agreed unanimously to return to training as part of stage one of the protocols.

Late Sunday the UK government released guidelines on stage two of training for elite athletes as contact training is now permitted. Per the stage two guidelines, athletes are allowed to ‘opt out’ of training ‘without any resulting discrimination.’

It is not known whether or not players who contract COVID-19 while in stage two of training may have to quarantine for 14 days. That is said to be something which will be discussed in full detail in the coming days in the Premier League meetings, while below is a little more from the UK government explanation on stage two.

  • Stage Two training can be described as the resumption of close contact (interaction within the two metre social distancing boundary) training where pairs, small groups and/or teams will be able to interact in much closer contact (e.g. close quarters coaching, combat sports sparring, teams sports tackling, technical equipment sharing, etc).
  • The progression of training into Stage Two is vital to prepare fully for the return of competitive sporting fixtures in many sports. Close contact training is required to replicate match formations and conditions, so that the sport-specific demands can be placed on the body, mind and senses. Close contact training develops the sport-specific fitness which is an essential element for player safety and a reduced risk of injury during competition.
  • It is anticipated that engaging in this type of training would start with smaller ‘clusters’ of 2-3 athletes and eventually progress to larger groups of 4-12 athletes, and ultimately full team training, without social distancing possible at all times. Under Stage Two conditions, as per Stage One, social distancing will continue to be the expectation at all other times aside from technical training.

Speaking about the stage two guidelines, UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “This new guidance marks the latest phase of a carefully phased return to training process for elite athletes, designed to limit the risk of injury and protect the health and safety of all involved. We are absolutely clear that individual sports must review whether they have the appropriate carefully controlled medical conditions in place before they can proceed, and secure the confidence of athletes, coaches and support staff.

“Given the wide ranging input we have received from medical experts, we believe these pragmatic measures should provide further reassurance that a safe, competitive training environment can be delivered, as we work towards a restart of professional sport behind closed doors when it is safe to do so.”

Premier League clubs, players and managers will meet in the coming days to discuss the protocols in place around a return to contact training and clubs are due to vote on Wednesday whether or not to sanction the move to stage two.

This is a big boost for the Premier League and Championship as both had been waiting to get the green light from the government before their clubs could vote on the plan for a return to contract training.

All 20 Premier League clubs will meet on several video conference calls to discuss the protocols around a return to full-contact training as players, managers and the Premier League will discuss the details with medical experts. Several Premier League stars have revealed their angst about returning to training.

Per the guidelines, moving to stage two provides more risk of COVID-19 infection: “Due to the increased risk of transmission under Stage Two conditions, the COVID-19 officer must have a clear policy for managing a COVID-19 positive individual and abide by Government guidelines and reporting requirements.”

The Premier League confirmed over the weekend that from 1,744 tests on players and staff across the first two rounds of COVID-19 tests, eight positive tests have been recorded with players from both Watford and Bournemouth confirmed to have the virus. Two positive COVID-19 tests had arrived after 1,014 players and staff in the Championship were tested.

Premier League players will again be tested on Monday and Tuesday and the results of those tests will be key in seeing how the strict protocols at training grounds are working.

Now that the UK government has given clear guidance to the Premier League about how it can return to contact training, it is now down to clubs, medical experts, players and managers to all agree on the safest path forward.

There is still a long way to go until games return but this is another step on the path towards the 2019-20 season returning.

Transfer news: King to Man United; Tagliafico to Arsenal

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In the latest transfer news Josh King has been linked with a move to Man United this summer as several top clubs are circling, while Ajax and Argentina defender Nicolas Tagliafico could be heading to Arsenal.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

First up, our partners at Sky Sports in the UK have a beauty of a report which states that four of the Premier League’s top six clubs want to sign Bournemouth striker Josh King.

King, 28, was the subject of a late bid form Man United in the January window but the Cherries turned it down as they needed him to help with their relegation battle. Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe admitted it was tough on King and the players also revealed he was it was tough to see the move blocked, as he came through Man United’s youth academy and the Norwegian international is close with Man United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. King has scored 46 goals in 154 Premier League appearances for Bournemouth and has been instrumental since they were promoted to the top-flight in 2015. King loves Man United and this would clearly be a good fit for all concerned.

Per the fresh report, Man United are keen on King because he can play centrally and wide and with Odion Ighalo’s future uncertain amid his loan move from Shanghai Shenhua, Solskjaer wants to add one more striker this summer. King has one year left on his contract and Bournemouth are expected to cash in on him but Chelsea are also said to be interested, as well as two other ‘top six’ clubs.

Bournemouth rejected a $25 million offer for King in January but they would snap anybody’s hand off for that this summer given the financial situation due to the coronavirus pandemic and the fact King will have just one year left on his current deal. Bournemouth have already been burned by not extending Ryan Fraser’s contract and he is set to be out of contract on July 1.

Tagliafico
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Heading from Manchester to London, Arsenal are said to be interested in Ajax and Argentina defender Nicolas Tagliafico.

The Gunners continue to be linked with plenty of defenders and even though it is believed Mikel Arteta will not have a big transfer budget in the upcoming transfer windows, Tagliafico for $25 million is a steal.

According to the Sun, Arsenal want the 27-year-old as Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar recently said that Tagliafico, Andre Onana and Donny van de Beek are free to leave this summer if their transfer value is met. Tagliafico is said to be keen on a fresh challenge and wants a move to the Premier League.

Do Arsenal need a left back? Teenage star Bukayo Saka has been splendid out of position at left back this season but both he and Arsenal are keen to move him back into his natural position as a left winger, while young Scottish left back Kieran Tierney has struggled with injuries throughout his debut campaign in the Premier League.

Tagliafico can also play as a left-sided center back and with the Gunners experimenting at times with a 3-4-3 formation, he would give them flexibility and defensive options. It is clear Arsenal need to improve defensively and Tagliafico is a very solid left back who is good on the ball and is also a goal threat at the other end of the pitch.

Cologne deny Fortuna with amazing late comeback (video)

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Relegation-threatened Fortuna Dusseldorf thought they had secured a massive win away at FC Cologne in the Rhine Derby on Sunday as Kenan Karaman and Erik Thommy struck in each half to put them 2-0 up, but the hosts struck twice late on to grab a dramatic 2-2 draw.

Anthony Modeste and Jhon Corodba were the heroes for Cologne, who blew a 2-0 lead last week to draw 2-2 at home with Mainz but this time out they were on the other end of a comeback.

It didn’t look like being Cologne’s day for vast swathes of the game as at 1-0 to Fortuna, Florian Kastenmeier saved Mark Uth’s penalty kick in what looked like a key moment for Uwe Rosler’s Fortuna who are embroiled in the Bundesliga relegation battle.

The draw sees Fortuna move onto 24 points as they sit in 16th place, which is the relegation playoff spot. After a big win for 17th place Werder Bremen this weekend, plus heavy defeats for Mainz, Augsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt above them, the Bundesliga relegation battle has become extremely intriguing. A note for USMNT fans: midfielder Alfredo Morales put in a tireless 90 minute shift in central midfield.

Cologne sit 10th on 34 points and are in the hunt for Europa League qualification.

Fortuna went ahead early on as Karaman found some space in the box and his shot deflected in as the away side led at the break.

Cologne were handed the perfect opportunity to get back into the game in the second half as Uth first hit the post, then was denied by Kastenmeier before he was scythed down in the box as a penalty kick was awarded.

Uth, who scored a penalty kick last week, appeared to take the ball off Cordoba and Kastenmeier produced a fine save down low as Fortuna celebrated wildly once the ball was cleared.

Buoyed by that penalty save, Fortuna went up the other end moments later and doubled their lead as the ball found Thommy at the back post and he curled a sumptuous effort into the far corner.

Fortuna believed they were home and dry.

With 88 minutes on the clock, the Cologne comeback began as Modeste headed home superbly to make it 2-1 and give his side hope of grabbing a point.

 

In the 91st minute the equalizer arrived in similar fashion.

Fortuna ran out of steam and another cross from the right found Cordoba who nodded home to snatch a point for the hosts.

The draw felt like a win for Cologne and it was a sickening blow for a Fortuna side who badly need all three points in their battle against the drop.

Crucial week ahead for the Premier League

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The upcoming week is a huge one for the Premier League as a key vote and serious talks are set to take place with regards to restarting the 2019-20 season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

All 20 clubs will meet on several video conference calls to discuss the protocols around a return to full-contact training, subject to government approval, as players, managers and the Premier League will discuss the details with medical experts. The UK government have yet to release details about stage two of a return to training for professional athletes and several Premier League stars have revealed their angst about returning to training.

Clubs will then vote on a return to full-contact training on Wednesday and depending on the outcome of that vote, that will shape further talks. If full-contact training is given the thumbs up, it is expected that on Thursday clubs will then discuss the plan to either restart the season in mid-June or curtailment plans which would see the table potentially decided on a points-per-game basis.

The Premier League confirmed over the weekend that from 1,744 tests on players and staff across the first two rounds of COVID-19 tests, eight positive tests have been recorded with players from both Watford and Bournemouth confirmed to have the virus.

Players will again be tested on Monday and Tuesday and the results of those tests will be key in seeing how the strict protocols at training grounds are working.

All 20 clubs unanimously voted in favor of a return to small-group training and they are all said to be in favor of a return to action, although some have publicly aired reservations.

The next few days seem pivotal as to whether or not the final 92 games of the Premier League season will be played and all eyes will be on the vote on Wednesday, if the UK government can provide details on the new protocols.

With the Bundesliga off and running, La Liga set for a June 8 restart and Serie A planning for a mid-June restart, the Premier League are correctly being cautious when it comes to a restart. Sooner or later they need to vote on a path forward and this week will be crucial.