Thorgan Hazard

Bundesliga
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Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund wins late, Leipzig drops points

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Borussia Dortmund put a little added pressure on leaders Bayern Munich with a big win at Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.

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That’s the lead story, along with a Leipzig draw, as the Bundesliga provided Saturday action ahead of Bayern’s Sunday match with Augsburg.

USMNT players Josh Sargent and Weston McKennie both scored early in draws for their clubs.

Borussia Monchengladbach 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

Achraf Hakimi’s 71st-minute goal, off another Jadon Sancho assist, moved BVB to within a point of the leaders and dropped Gladbach’s hopes of a Bundesliga title.

Erling Haaland assisted Thorgan Hazard‘s opener before in-form Lars Stindl leveled for the hosts.

USMNT teen Giovanni Reyna was trusted with 12 minutes off the bench, making seven touches and a tackle while winning one of two duels.

Wolfsburg 0-0 RB Leipzig

There were no goals here, as Leipzig only gained a point on leaders Bayern Munich ahead of the Bavarians’ Sunday tussle with Augsburg.

John Brooks played his role in the draw, making three clearances to go with an interception and two blocked shots. He won four of six duels, completed six of 11 long balls, and passed at 81 percent according to SofaScore.

Fellow USMNT player Tyler Adams was an unused sub in his return from injury for the visitors.

Elsewhere
Paderborn 1-2 Koln — Friday
Schalke 1-1 Hoffenheim
Freiburg 3-1 Union Berlin
Hertha Berlin 2-2 Werder Bremen
Bayer Leverkusen 4-0 Eintracht Frankfurt
Bayern Munich v. Augsburg — 10:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Mainz v. Fortuna Dusseldorf — 1 p.m. ET Sunday

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 24 16 4 4 71 26 45 8-2-2 8-2-2 52
 Borussia Dortmund 25 15 6 4 68 33 35 9-3-0 6-3-4 51
 RB Leipzig 25 14 8 3 62 26 36 7-4-1 7-4-2 50
 Bayer Leverkusen 25 14 5 6 45 30 15 7-4-2 7-1-4 47
 Mönchengladbach 24 14 4 6 47 29 18 8-2-2 6-2-4 46
 FC Schalke 04 25 9 10 6 33 36 -3 5-6-2 4-4-4 37
 VfL Wolfsburg 25 9 9 7 34 30 4 4-6-3 5-3-4 36
 SC Freiburg 25 10 6 9 34 35 -1 6-2-4 4-4-5 36
 1899 Hoffenheim 25 10 5 10 35 43 -8 5-1-7 5-4-3 35
 1. FC Köln 24 10 2 12 38 43 -5 6-1-5 4-1-7 32
 1. FC Union Berlin 25 9 3 13 32 41 -9 6-1-5 3-2-8 30
 Eintracht Frankfurt 24 8 4 12 38 41 -3 6-3-3 2-1-9 28
 Hertha BSC Berlin 25 7 7 11 32 48 -16 3-3-7 4-4-4 28
 FC Augsburg 24 7 6 11 36 50 -14 5-3-4 2-3-7 27
 FSV Mainz 05 24 8 1 15 33 52 -19 4-1-7 4-0-8 25
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 24 5 6 13 26 49 -23 3-3-6 2-3-7 21
 Werder Bremen 24 4 6 14 27 55 -28 1-2-8 3-4-6 18
 SC Paderborn 25 4 4 17 30 54 -24 2-1-10 2-3-7 16

Old problems undermining Dortmund’s Bundesliga title bid

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BERLIN — Erling Haaland’s sensational start only papered over the cracks at Borussia Dortmund.

The 19-year-old Haaland scored a hat trick in his debut in only 23 minutes. He racked up seven goals in his first three games. But the tall Norwegian striker was held scoreless for the first time on Saturday as Dortmund slumped to a 4-3 loss, hurting the club’s Bundesliga title bid.

It wasn’t Haaland’s fault – the team’s problems are at the other end of the field.

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Dortmund was leading 3-2 at Bayer Leverkusen but conceded two goals in 81 seconds, only days after it was knocked out of the German Cup in a 3-2 loss at struggling Werder Bremen.

“When you concede so many goals and put yourself in such stupid positions, you can’t win games,” Dortmund player-manager Sebastian Kehl said. “The third goal was deserved, we had the game under control, but then we were way too passive. We have to keep doing well going forward and defend together. It’s not only a problem for defenders. It’s about all the work when we don’t have the ball.”

Dortmund’s work with the ball is fine. The team has scored 19 goals in four Bundesliga games since the midseason break. Along with Haaland, the team boasts an impressive attacking lineup in Marco Reus, Julian Brandt, Jadon Sancho, Thorgan Hazard and emerging talent Giovanni Reyna. World Cup winner Mario Götze has remained mostly an unused substitute on the bench.

But mistakes in midfield and defense have been costly all season. Manuel Akanji, Mats Hummels, Raphaël Guerreiro and Axel Witsel were at fault against Leverkusen, though no Dortmund player is blameless over the whole season.

Dortmund has already conceded 32 goals in 21 league games – a lot more than any of its title-chasing rivals.

Dortmund coach Lucien Favre has tried variations from his favored 4-3-3 formation, switching at times to three defenders with two wingers dropping back to help out, but the issues remain.

“We’re not closing down crosses. We’re not attacking the ball. We’re not decisive enough defending in the penalty area,” Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said. “We’ve had these problems for a while. That’s the main reason we’re not higher in the table.”

Dortmund signed Germany international Emre Can from Juventus to help ease its defensive worries. The 26-year-old Can scored a brilliant goal in his debut against former club Leverkusen but was in no mood to celebrate.

“That’s not how you win games,” Can said of conceding the two late goals. “The team has a lot of potential but has to learn one thing – when you go in front, you have to play dirtier.”

Dortmund can be grateful that the top two – Bayern Munich and Leipzig – held each other to a scoreless draw on Saturday. Dortmund remains third, four points behind Bayern, which leads Leipzig by a point.

But the next games could be decisive for Favre. Dortmund faces a tough game against Eintracht Frankfurt at home on Friday before it welcomes Paris Saint-Germain and former coach Thomas Tuchel for a reunion in the last 16 of the Champions League next Tuesday.

Marco Reus out 4 weeks with muscle injury

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Borussia Dortmund attacker Marco Reus picked an awfully bad time to find himself out a month.

The 30-year-old has been in fabulous form, with six goals and five assists in his last eight Bundesliga appearances. That all comes to a halt now as the club announced Reus suffered an unspecified muscle injury during the 3-2 DFB-Pokal loss to Werder Bremen on Tuesday.

With the Champions League knockout stages coming up in mid-February and the Bundesliga title race in full swing, Reus has found an awfully terrible time to get injured. Not only on a team level, but a personal one as well. Borussia Dortmund’s attacking talent is bursting at the seams, and that could complicate Reus’s eventual return. Jadon Sancho is on absolute fire with nine goals and seven assists in his last nine league games, new signing Erling Haaland is a goal machine, and even Julian Brandt is banging in a few strikes of late.

Mario Gotze and Thorgan Hazard will likely be the biggest beneficiaries of Reus’s injury, and should either of the two find their form – especially Hazard, who was an assist machine to start the season before eventually falling back to Earth – then Reus may find his place in the starting lineup in serious jeopardy.

The blow to Dortmund is significant as well. The German club is drawn against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League Round of 16, with Reus set to miss both legs of the matchup. PSG is roasting Ligue 1, and with Neymar in spectacular form, Kylian Mbappe putting in shifts, and Mauro Icardi settled in nicely, Dortmund will need all the attacking firepower it can muster to keep up.

In addition, the Bundesliga title race is a vicious one. Dortmund sits in third, three points back of leaders Bayern Munich and two behind RB Leipzig. Reus is likely to be fit by the time Dortmund matches up with Bayern on April 4 and certainly for the penultimate match of the season against Leipzig on May 9, but nonetheless any slip between now and then could prove deadly. Reus is set to miss matches against competitive sides in Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach, and SC Freiburg, so Dortmund will need to make due in his absence.

Favre reacts to Dortmund debuts for Haaland, U.S. prospect Reyna

Giovanni Reyna debuts for Borussia Dortmund
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Borussia Dortmund supporters couldn’t help but gush about the hat trick debut for teenage striker Erling Braut Haaland.

Their manager was sure to talk about both of his teen debutants.

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The second was American 17-year-old Giovanni Reyna, who was promoted to the first team this week and came off the bench to make his Bundesliga debut in Saturday’s 5-3 win over Augsburg.

Here’s one of Favre’s answers when asked about Haaland, via Fussball.news:

“We also played with Gio Reyna. It was very good. The first time he plays here at 17, that’s good. A 17-year-old, a 19-year-old, I think that’s good.”

“(Haaland) immediately showed his strength, the runs down. He moves well between the lines. It gives us another way to play forward.”

Haaland’s 20-minute hat trick has been well detailed by Joe Prince-Wright here.

Reyna entered for Thorgan Hazard in the 72nd minute, getting 13 touches and completing 7-of-9 passes. He completed his lone dribble attempt and won his only duel while failing to put his only shot attempt on target.

Haaland signs for Borussia Dortmund

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Erling Braut Haaland has signed for Borussia Dortmund for a reported $23.5 million.

The Norwegian teenager has been on fire for RB Salzburg in Austria and the UEFA Champions League this season, scoring 29 goals in 27 games in all competitions including eight goals in six UCL group stage games.

Dortmund revealed that Haaland, 19, has signed a contract until 2024 as the German giants keep their reputation of attracting the top young players in Europe intact.

Haaland had been linked with moves to Napoli, Manchester United, RB Leipzig and others, but Dortmund seems like the perfect place for him to develop his game as they need a central striker to take the pressure off Paco Alcacer and make the most of the numerous goalscoring chances the likes of Marcos Reus, Jadon Sancho and Thorgan Hazard create.

Haaland may still end up in the Premier League in the years to come but for now the powerful Norway international is in a really good place.