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Almost unprecedented: Sporting Lisbon facing exodus, free agent frenzy

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There is an almost unbelievable state of play at one of the world’s most successful clubs right now.

That club is Sporting CP, the group that has been home to Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Figo, and William Carvalho.

That last name is part of our story today.

[ MORE: Stoke signs Nigerian mid ]

When last we checked in with the Lisbon club, its players had been attacked mid-training session by a mob of supposed fans following the club’s failure to land its near-annual berth in the UEFA Champions League. This came a month after the club’s entire first team was suspended after a row with its president.

Sporting had spent four seasons in the UCL, rebounding from its lone season outside Portugal’s Top Four since 1976.

Now many on its laundry list of high-priced talents could be leaving the club for free, potentially setting one of the most storied clubs in Portugal back to its very roots.

Bas Dost, William Carvalho, Gelson Martins, and Bruno Fernandes reportedly requested to break their contracts on Monday, joining goalkeeper Rui Patricio and Daniel Podence.

Dost scored 27 league goals this season, and joined Fernandes and Martins as Top 15 performers according to WhoScored. Carvalho, the big 26-year-old midfielder, was 21st.

Sporting has done a remarkable job identifying talent from without and growing talent from within, only once spending more than $14 million on a player (Dost) while selling 11 individuals for that much or more (Adrien Silva, Ruben Semedo, Joao Mario, Islam Slimani, Marcos Rojo, Bruma, Joao Moutinho, Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo, Hugo Viana, Aldo Duscher).

Only a cursory search through our pages finds several of Sporting’s want-aways in the gossip section for almost thrice that figure. Carvalho (and/or Sporting) has resisted interest of as much as $50 million, often connected with Jose Mourinho. Dost has been linked with Newcastle, and Patricio said to be making a move to PL new boys Wolves.

To lose these players for free, largely because of an attack from “supporters” is bonkers. And in your gut, you have to think the players stand a very good chance of being allowed to leave for safety reasons, making for an unexpected sort of free agent frenzy.

How long would it take for a club to rebound from that, and how far could Sporting sink on the table? Fortunately, it would have some time to rebuild for its Europa League run, but wow.

Sporting wins late, stays perfect in Portuguese league

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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Dutch striker Bas Dost converted a 90th-minute penalty and Sporting Lisbon defeated Feirense 3-2 on Friday for its fifth straight victory to start the Portuguese league.

Sporting took a 2-0 lead with goals by Sebastian Coates in the 62nd and Bruno Fernandes in the 64th, but the hosts equalized with Joao Silva in the 69th and Etebo in the 80th.

[ PREVIEW: Manchester City vs. Liverpool on Saturday ]

The late victory left Sporting two points in front of defending champion Benfica, which edged Portimonense 2-1 after the referee used video review to annul an 88th-minute equalizer for the visitors.

Sporting is three points in front of FC Porto, which hosts Chaves on Saturday.

Porto is the only other team to have won all of its matches.

Bas Dost, with two more goals today, is eating the Bundesliga alive

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Bas Dost has two more goals today. And that’s not even the half of it.

Wolfsburg came back from a 1-goal deficit three different times, and the pair of goals from the 25-year-old Dutch striker provided the first lead that Die Wolfe never relented.

They are Dost’s 12th and 13th goals of the season, in 12 appearances. He has eight goals in his last three Bundesliga games, nine in his last four, and 11 in six. Throw in all competitions, and Dost has 11 goals in his last six games. And the numbers back up the mind-blowing goals tally.

Dost has more goals in the 2015 calendar year than Cristiano Ronaldo, Arjen Robben, and every Bundesliga team but two (Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund). Over his last seven Bundesliga matches, Dost has registered a stellar 82% shot accuracy, missing just three times in 17, and only has one blocked shot during that span. And most recently, Dost has scored nine goals on his last 10 shots!

For you stats nerds, this note about Dost’s expected goals to actual goals ratio is particularly eye-popping:

With Alexandre Lacazette’s goal storm brought to a screeching halt by injury, Dost is without a doubt the most in-form goalscorer in European soccer at the moment. As a result, Wolfsburg hasn’t lost since November 27 – a game in which Dost did not play – and has won five of its last six league games. Across all competitions, Dost has 18 appearances this season, and Wolfsburg has won 14 and drawn four – yes, that means no losses.

Obviously this ridiculous pace isn’t sustainable, but his form certainly is. With Andre Schurrle and a red-hot Kevin de Bruyne feeding him chances, it doesn’t look like anything aside from injury or suspension can stop the 25-year-old. Great news for Wolfsburg. Great news for the Bunesdliga.

Top Two power: Bas Dost scores four for Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich lights up Hamburg for eight

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We couldn’t even wait for the Bundesliga wrap post later today, because oh my goodness what a morning!

Three of the teams top teams were in play on Saturday morning, with two engaging in an absolute thriller while the third totally stomped relegation-threatened Hamburg.

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Bayern Munich 8-0 Hamburg

If there are any doubts about form, Bayern Munich squashed them by rolling over Hamburg.

Three players recorded a brace for the table-toppers, who started scoring in the 21st minute and kept it coming into the 88th.

Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben and Mario Gotze were the multi-goal scorers, while Robert Lewandowsi and Franck Ribery also scored (Yes, all five of those players are on the same club).

And yes, Lewandowski is an important part of the attack (which outshot Hamburg 25-7):

source:
http://www.bundesliga.com/

Bayer Leverkusen 4-5 Wolfsburg

Meanwhile, few players are going as well as the No. 2 squad’s No. 1 striker. Bas Dost helped Wolfburg pick up a 5-4 win on the road at Bundesliga powers Bayer Leverkusen.Son Heung-Min scored thrice for Bayer, and how often is it that a player scores a hat trick and is upstaged?

Well, it happened today, as Dost netted four.

It was 3-0 at halftime on a pair of goals from Dost when Bayer begin an incredible 15-minute sequence that saw the match tied at 4. The match looked destined to be a well-earned draw for both sides when Dost got on the end of a Vieirinha cross and put it into the bottom left corner. 5-4.

Wolfsburg hasn’t lost with Dost in the lineup since an Aug. 22 defeat at Bayern Munich, and he’s scored eight goals in his last five matches to give him 9 goals in 10 Bundesliga starts.

Bayer misses a chance to move fourth, while Wolfsburg stays 8 points back of Bayern Munich.

Bundesliga wrap: Wolfsburg ends Bayern’s unbeaten dreams, USMNT’s Johnson strong

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The Bundesliga was away from us for far too long, but it returned bearing gifts this weekend.

Beginning with Friday’s shocking blowout of Bayern Munich by Wolfsburg, Germany’s top flight delivered with goals and table movement.

[ MORE: Premier League roundup ]

And to think, we’ve still a pair of Sunday matches on the slate. Let’s go through what’s done and dusted.

Wolfsburg 4-1 Bayern Munich

Kevin De Bruyne was the Man of the Match, and Bas Dost matched his brace as the hosts ended Bayern’s dream of an unbeaten Bundesliga season with a stunning 4-1 win.

source: Getty ImagesIn what was an even-enough game outside of the finishing, Wolfsburg sent four balls past Manuel Neuer.

The match moves second-place Wolfsburg to within 8 points of Bayern. De Bruyne says the club played with great courage:

I know how things work and now everyone will be talking about us beating Bayern, and that’s great. We can enjoy the win for the next two days but we only collected three points after all. Of course it was nice to put on such a great performance against Bayern of all teams. The key was being fearless and putting ourselves on the front foot. We did that really well.

Bayer Leverkusen 0-0 Borussia Dortmund

BVB is still languishing on the bottom of the table, but can take heart from a strong performance at a good Bayer Leverkusen squad.

Dortmund won more tackles and took more shots than the hosts, who are now a point back of third-place. Schalke and Borussia Monchengladbach leapt over Leverkusen on the day.

Stuttgart 0-1 Borussia Monchengladbach

USMNT player Fabian Johnson played an influential 90 minutes in Monchengladbach’s big move into third place. He covered 12 kilometers, took a team-best four shots, won nine tackles and completed 23 passes (only missing two).

Patrick Herrmann, 23, scored the winner in the 71st minute, pushing a hard shot off the hand of a Stuttgart defender and into the goal.

Elsewhere

Freiberg 4-1 Eintracht Frankfurt — Substitute Nils Petersen’s hat trick snaps deadlock in style. USMNT’s Timmy Chandler on for all four goals.
Schalke 1-0 Hannover —
 Marco Hoger’s 32nd minute goal holds up.
Mainz 5-0 Paderborn —
Yunus Malli scores the first two in blowout
Hamburger 0-2 Koln —
Marcel Risse scores both goals.
Werder Bremen vs. Hertha Berlin — 
930am ET Sunday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — 1130am ET Sunday

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Bayern Munich 18 14 3 1 42 8 34 9-0-0 5-3-1 45
VfL Wolfsburg 18 11 4 3 37 18 19 8-2-0 3-2-3 37
Mönchen 18 8 6 4 26 16 10 5-3-1 3-3-3 30
FC Schalke 04 18 9 3 6 29 21 8 6-3-1 3-0-5 30
Bayer Leverkusen 18 7 8 3 28 20 8 4-6-0 3-2-3 29
FC Augsburg 17 9 0 8 22 21 1 6-0-2 3-0-6 27
1899 Hoffenheim 17 7 5 5 29 25 4 5-2-2 2-3-3 26
Hannover 96 18 7 3 8 21 27 -6 5-0-3 2-3-5 24
Eintracht Frankfurt 18 6 5 7 35 38 -3 4-2-3 2-3-4 23
1. FC Köln 18 6 4 8 19 23 -4 1-3-4 5-1-4 22
FSV Mainz 05 18 4 9 5 24 23 1 3-4-2 1-5-3 21
SC Paderborn 18 4 7 7 21 31 -10 3-4-2 1-3-5 19
SC Freiburg 18 3 9 6 21 26 -5 2-5-2 1-4-4 18
Hertha BSC Berlin 17 5 3 9 24 35 -11 4-1-4 1-2-5 18
Hamburger SV 18 4 5 9 9 21 -12 3-2-4 1-3-5 17
Werder Bremen 17 4 5 8 26 39 -13 3-3-2 1-2-6 17
VfB Stuttgart 18 4 5 9 20 33 -13 1-2-6 3-3-3 17
Borussia Dortmund 18 4 4 10 18 26 -8 3-2-3 1-2-7 16