Davy Klaassen

INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

Bundesliga: Gladbach go top in style; Unbeaten Wolfsburg 2nd

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Saturday’s Bundesliga action opened the door wide for a new Top Two in Germany’s top flight, and both Sunday opportunists waltzed right through to a fine seat during the international break.

[ MORE: Bundesliga wrap — Saturday ]

ICYMI Saturday, Bayern lost at home to Hoffenheim but several chasers drew matches to leave the Top Five all with 4W-2D-1L records.

That meant huge opportunity for ‘Gladbach and Wolfsburg.

Borussia Monchengladbach 5-1 Augsburg

The hosts embraced their chance early, scoring in the third minute and building a 3-0 lead before the quarter-hour mark.

Alassane Plea had a goal and two assists, while Patrick Hermann had two goals and an assist in the win. Marcus Thuram and Breel Embolo also scored,

Plea’s goal was assisted by industry and comedy.

Wolfsburg 1-0 Union Berlin

So the lone remaining unbeaten team in the Bundesliga entered a home match knowing their weekend ceiling was second, and needed better than an hour to find its breakthrough.

Wout Weghorst continued his fine run as Wolfsburg’s new and improved Bas Dost with a 69th minute goal to push the club a point ahead of five teams on 14 points.

Eintracht Frankfurt 2-2 Werder Bremen

Eintracht’s many sales and fixtures are catching up to it.

Sebastian Rode’s 55th minute equalizer looked like a much-needed goal to pull a point at home, an Andre Silva soon scored to make three points a possibility.

But the lead would last only three minutes, as Milot Rashica scored in stoppage to earn a point for the visitors.

Davy Klaassen had given Bremen a lead, and USMNT teen Josh Sargent played 72 minutes.

Elsewhere

Hertha Berlin 3-1 Fortuna Dusseldorf — Friday
Freiburg 2-2 Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 RB Leipzig — Saturday
Paderborn 1-2 Mainz — Saturday
Schalke 1-1 Koln — Saturday

Bundesliga wrap: Wagner’s Schalke shine; RB Leipzig hang onto 1st

Photo by Thomas F. Starke/Bongarts/Getty Images
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The Bundesliga’s leaders remain RB Leipzig after four match days, and Schalke continues to surprise under new boss David Wagner.

Paderborn 1-5 Schalke

One-time “next big thing” Amine Harit scored twice to join goals from Salif Sane, Suat Serder, and Ahmed Kutucu as Schalke overcame an early concession to clobber the hosts at Benteler-Arena.

USMNT youngster Weston McKennie came off the bench to get in on the action for David Wagner’s men, trading a 1-2 with Everton loanee Jonjoe Kenny en route to Harit’s first of the night.

[ MORE: Bundesliga schedule  ]

RB Leipzig 1-1 Bayern Munich

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.

Elsewhere
Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-1 Wolfsburg — Friday
Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Bayer Leverkusen — Saturday
Koln 0-1 Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Mainz 2-1 Hertha Berlin — Saturday
Augsburg 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Hoffenheim 0-3 Freiburg — Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 RB Leipzig 4 3 1 0 10 3 7 1-1-0 2-0-0 10
 Borussia Dortmund 4 3 0 1 13 5 8 2-0-0 1-0-1 9
 SC Freiburg 4 3 0 1 10 3 7 1-0-1 2-0-0 9
 Bayern Munich 4 2 2 0 12 4 8 1-1-0 1-1-0 8
 VfL Wolfsburg 4 2 2 0 7 3 4 1-1-0 1-1-0 8
 FC Schalke 04 4 2 1 1 8 4 4 1-0-1 1-1-0 7
 Mönchengladbach 4 2 1 1 5 4 1 0-1-1 2-0-0 7
 Bayer Leverkusen 4 2 1 1 6 7 -1 1-1-0 1-0-1 7
 Eintracht Frankfurt 4 2 0 2 5 5 0 2-0-0 0-0-2 6
 Werder Bremen 4 2 0 2 8 9 -1 1-0-1 1-0-1 6
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 4 1 1 2 6 7 -1 0-1-1 1-0-1 4
 1. FC Union Berlin 4 1 1 2 5 8 -3 1-0-2 0-1-0 4
 1899 Hoffenheim 4 1 1 2 3 6 -3 1-0-1 0-1-1 4
 FC Augsburg 4 1 1 2 6 10 -4 1-1-0 0-0-2 4
 1. FC Köln 4 1 0 3 4 7 -3 0-0-2 1-0-1 3
 FSV Mainz 05 4 1 0 3 4 13 -9 1-0-1 0-0-2 3
 SC Paderborn 4 0 1 3 5 12 -7 0-0-2 0-1-1 1
 Hertha BSC Berlin 4 0 1 3 3 10 -7 0-0-1 0-1-2 1

Bayern extends lead in Bundesliga to four points (video)

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich extended its lead in the Bundesliga to four points with a 1-0 win over Werder Bremen on Saturday.

Niklas Sule scored in the 75th minute with Bayern’s 22nd shot of the game, his effort taking a deflection off Bremen’s Davy Klaassen.

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Bremen lost Milos Veljkovic to a second yellow card around the hour mark at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern leads with 70 points and has four games left. Second-place Borussia Dortmund, which plays Freiburg on Sunday, has 66 points.

Also Saturday, Augsburg thrashed relegation-threatened Stuttgart 6-0 and Bayer Leverkusen beat 17th-place Nuremberg 2-0.

Mainz beat Fortuna Duesseldorf 3-1 in a mid-table clash.

More AP German soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/Bundesliga and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

USMNT’s Sargent makes 1st Bundesliga start in Bremen’s 1-1 draw

Carmen Jaspersen/dpa via AP
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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.

More AP German soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/Bundesliga and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Bundesliga season preview: Bayern, sure, but who’s next?

AP Photo/Michael Probst
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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.

[ MORE: PL club power rankings, Wk 2 ]

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

Promoted teams: Fortuna Dusseldorf and Nurnberg

Relegated to 2.Bundesliga: Hamburg and Koln

Managerial changes: Niko Kovac (Bayern Munich), Eintracht Frankfurt (Adi Hutter), Borussia Dortmund (Lucien Favre), RB Leipzig (Ralf Rangnick)

Americans Abroad: In Bundesliga | And 2.Bundesliga

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.

BVB has added promising Mainz defender Abdou Diallo, while losing a number of name players: Andriy Yarmolenko, Andre Schurrle (loan), and Sokratis as well as star half-season loanee Michy Batshuayi.

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.

USMNT striker Bobby Wood left relegated Hamburg for Hannover 96 (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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.