Robert Lewandowski’s third minute goal leant the early goings of this one an aire of predictability, but Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig rallied behind a first half stoppage time penalty to keep the top spot on the table, one ahead of BVB and Freiburg. Bayern remains two points back of the leaders.
Union Berlin 1-2 Werder Bremen
Davy Klaassen and Niclas Fullkrug score early in each half as Bremen improved to 2-2 on the season.
USMNT teen Josh Sargent was a 68th minute sub for the visitors, but only had four touches while completing all three of his passes as the visitors defended for the win. He was credited with 31 runs over his 22 minutes.
BREMEN, Germany (AP) Werder Bremen’s European hopes were damaged by a 1-1 home draw with Stuttgart in the Bundesliga Friday.
Bremen had been hoping to get closer to Wolfsburg, which occupies the last Europa League qualifying position in sixth spot, but had to be content with a move up to ninth.
Steven Zuber fired Stuttgart ahead after 61 seconds. The former Hoffenheim striker stayed cool after he was sent through by Mario Gomez to shoot beyond Bremen keeper Jiri Pavlenka and inside the far post.
Despite more possession for the hosts, it was Stuttgart which had the better chances – Gomez spurning two good opportunities – and the visitors were left to rue the misses when Max Kruse set up Dutch midfielder Davy Klaassen to equalize with a powerful strike before the break.
“I’m sorry for the team,” Gomez said.
Bremen brought on Claudio Pizarro, who became the oldest ever goalscorer when he grabbed a late equalizer against Hertha Berlin last weekend, for the last half-hour but the 40-year-old Peruvian could not find the winner.
American forward Josh Sargent made his first league start for Bremen.
Stuttgart remained in the relegation zone with 16 points from 23 games.
On Saturday, second-place Bayern Munich hosts Hertha. Leader Borussia Dortmund takes on Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
Here’s your Bundesliga cheat sheet ahead of the Friday return of Germany’s top flight, though there’s little question that not much has changed: Bayern Munich is expected to win a seventh-straight title, and it’s not likely to be close.
FiveThirtyEight.com’s predictive model gives Bayern a crazy 82 percent chance to wear another crown. For comparison’s sake, Man City gets 50 percent odds to win the Premier League, the same as Juventus in Serie A and four percentage points lower than Barcelona’s odds to win La Liga (PSG is also 82 percent likely to win France).
The competition for second, though, should again be exciting, and league depth again tempts to make the race to qualify for Europe as long and heavy as ever.
Champions League entrants: Bayern Munich (reigning Bundesliga champions), Schalke, Hoffenheim, Borussia Dortmund
Europa League entrants: Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig, Eintracht Frankfurt
Another American story (or two?) — As Ralf Rangnick takes over at RB Leipzig, his No. 2 will be former New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch. There are rumors that Leipzig will then take RBNY midfielder Tyler Adams during the January transfer window.
Notable transfers (so far): Leon Goretzka moved from Schalke to Bayern Munich, with Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal the biggest names leaving the champions.
Schalke has signed goal scorer Mark Uth from Hoffenheim, and lost Goretzka, Mx Meyer, and Benedikt Howedes amongst others.
Uth is a loss for Hoffenheim, as is Serge Gnabry going back to Bayern after the end of his loan. Kasim Nuhu is an interesting add from Young Boys, and Leonardo Bittencourt is a good takeaway from Koln.
Bayer Leverkusen selling Bernd Leno to Arsenal means a change between the sticks, while RB Leipzig lost Naby Keita to Liverpool and Bernardo to Brighton.
Stuttgart hopes more playing time is the tonic for new additions Pablo Maffeo (Man City) and Gonzalo Castro (BVB).
Eintracht Frankfurt has seen a wealth of ins and outs, headlined by Ante Rebic, Carlos Salcedo, and Lucas Torro.
Gladbach added star striker Alassane Plea, selling one of its best backs to Southampton in Jannik Vestergaard.
Hertha Berlin is hoping a loan of Liverpool’s Marko Grujic does both parties wonders, while Werder Bremen flipped the shop and brought in Davy Klaassen and young U.S. striker Josh Sargent to go with a trio of Koln players (including Claudio Pizarro).
Augsburg won big with Twente youngster Fredrik Jensen, and also added Andre Hahn from Hamburg and Felix Gotze from Bayern.
Hannover 96 added USMNT striker Bobby Wood (right), while Mainz sold Leon Balogun to Brighton, Diallo to BVB, and Yoshinori Muto to Newcastle in addition to the sale of Jonas Lossl to Huddersfield Town.
Wolfsburg hopes Wout Weghorst can be its next big striker, while new boys Fortuna Dusseldorf loaded up with a number of new faces including USMNT midfielder Alfredo Morales and 19-year-old Davor Lovren (younger brother of Liverpool’s Dejan). Nurnber has scooped up German-American youngster Timothy Tillman on loan from Bayern Munich.
The read: It’s difficult to say anyone will overtake Bayern Munich, though there could be some bumps and bruises as the club learns Niko Kovac’s system.
Schalke and Borussia Dortmund will both lean heavily on their youth to make up for big name departures. The good news for the USMNT is that if either side succeeds, it means Pulisic and McKennie likely took the next steps in their careers. Bayer Leverkusen is a dark horse to compete for the Top Four.
Hoffenheim has lost a lot, as has RB Leipzig, which may open the door for Borussia Monchengladbach, Hertha Berlin, or even Werder Bremen to return to Europe.. The race for fourth through ninth should be bonkers.
New boys Fortuna Dusseldorf and Nurnberg will face long odds to stay in the top flight, and both Mainz and Freiburg have numerous questions. Those four should be considered most likely to drop to 2.Bundesliga via automatic relegation or the playoff.