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Niklas Sule tears ACL, will miss rest of season and likely Euros

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Bayern Munich defender Niklas Sule suffered an ACL tear that will cause him to miss the rest of the club season as well as Euro 2020, the club announced.

“Apparently, the season is over for him, he can forget about the Euros,” said Bayern club president Uli Hoeness.

Sule has become a critical player for both club and country over the past year. He had been on the pitch for every minute of Bayern’s league campaign until his injury in the 12th minute of the 2-2 draw with Augsburg, and Germany manager Joachim Low had tabbed Sule as a long-term solution at center-back after publicly moving on from Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng in the hopes of overhauling the national team squad.

Sule represents a massive loss for Germany, having started and played the full 90 minutes in each of the past 11 matches for the national side. He has been the lone constant in the national team defense while his center-back partnership is a rotating door of players such as Emre Can, Robin Koch, Mattias Ginter, Jonathan Tah, and Antonio Rudiger. It is unclear whether Low would re-consider his stance on Hummels and/or Boateng with his defensive situation thrown into disarray.

At the club level, Bayern has options to replace Sule but almost all of them represent a downgrade. Benjamin Pavard, who played full-back for the French national team during their 2018 World Cup run, has transitioned to center-back and seen significant playing time already this season. Lucas Hernandez is also a relative newcomer to the center-back role like Pavard, while Boateng could potentially find his way back into the starting lineup having made just four appearances so far this season.

Bayern Munich, Germany mainstay Sule tears ACL

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Bayern Munich suffered more than dropped points on Saturday, as the club has confirmed that center back Niklas Sule has suffered a torn ACL and will undergo surgery on Sunday.

Sule, 24, was injured in the 2-2 draw at Augsburg and is one of only five players to have started every game for the Bavarians. He’s also gone 90 minutes in each of Germany’s last 11 matches.

[ MORE: Bundesliga wrap ]

Bayern boss Niko Kovac brought in David Alaba against Germany, skipping over Jerome Boateng. He’s used Javi Martinez at defensive mid in recent weeks, but that may change, with academy product Lars Lucas

Sule was partnered with Benjamin Pavard on Saturday, a surprise, and left back Lucas Hernandez has also played center back during a tumultuous early season.

It’s a huge blow to Bayern’s goal of an eighth-straight Bundesliga crown. The club is one point back of first at the start of action Sunday, one of nine teams within two points of the top.

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund beats leaders Gladbach; Bayern draws

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Another Saturday in the Bundesliga, another nutty set of results allowing a side the chance to claim the top of the league on Sunday.

David Wagner, Weston McKennie and Schalke are the ones licking their lips this time, knowing that a win at Hoffenheim will boost them into first.

[ MORE: Lampard “pleased” for Pulisic ]

Wolfsburg remains unbeaten with a draw, and dropped points for Borussia Monchengladbach, RB Leipzig, and Bayern Munich means an absurd nine teams are within two points of the top of the table.

Nine!

Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

Gladbach’s stay atop the league could last just one match day, as Thorgan Hazard set up Marco Reus for a 58th minute goal and a place one point back of the top.

Werder Bremen 1-1 Hertha Berlin

Josh Sargent’s 7th minute goal didn’t stand up, thanks to Hertha’s electric Dodi Lukebakio scoring with 20 minutes to play. Watch the American striker’s goal, here.

Augsburg 2-2 Bayern Munich

The champions’ stumbles continued, with first minute concession providing a test. Bayern’s red hot pair delivered a lead, with Robert Lewandowski answering in the 14th minute, and Serge Gnabry supplying a 49th minute lead.

Stoppage time was the downfall, though, as Alfred Finnbogason helped himself to the equalizer with all kinds of questions for the Bayern defense.

Elsewhere

Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen — Friday
Union Berlin 2-0 Freiburg
Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-0 Mainz
RB Leipzig 1-1 Wolfsburg
Koln v. Paderborn — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Hoffenheim v. Schalke — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Mönchengladbach 8 5 1 2 15 7 8 2-1-1 3-0-1 16
 VfL Wolfsburg 8 4 4 0 11 5 6 2-2-0 2-2-0 16
 Bayern Munich 8 4 3 1 22 10 12 2-1-1 2-2-0 15
 Borussia Dortmund 8 4 3 1 20 11 9 3-1-0 1-2-1 15
 RB Leipzig 8 4 3 1 16 8 8 1-2-1 3-1-0 15
 FC Schalke 04 7 4 2 1 14 7 7 2-1-1 2-1-0 14
 SC Freiburg 8 4 2 2 15 9 6 1-2-1 3-0-1 14
 Eintracht Frankfurt 8 4 2 2 14 10 4 3-2-0 1-0-2 14
 Bayer Leverkusen 8 4 2 2 12 11 1 2-2-0 2-0-2 14
 Hertha BSC Berlin 8 3 2 3 13 13 0 2-0-1 1-2-2 11
 Werder Bremen 8 2 3 3 13 17 -4 1-1-2 1-2-1 9
 1899 Hoffenheim 7 2 2 3 6 11 -5 1-0-2 1-2-1 8
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 8 2 1 5 10 14 -4 1-1-2 1-0-3 7
 1. FC Union Berlin 8 2 1 5 8 13 -5 2-0-3 0-1-2 7
 FC Augsburg 8 1 3 4 10 21 -11 1-2-1 0-1-3 6
 FSV Mainz 05 8 2 0 6 7 18 -11 1-0-2 1-0-4 6
 1. FC Köln 7 1 1 5 5 16 -11 0-0-3 1-1-2 4
 SC Paderborn 7 0 1 6 9 19 -10 0-0-4 0-1-2 1

Report: Bayern Munich contacts Eriksen eyeing January move

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According to reports in Denmark, Bayern Munich has made contact with Christian Eriksen‘s representatives about a potential move to the Bavarian giants.

Eriksen’s contract at Tottenham expires at the end of this season, leaving him to sign a pre-contract agreement as soon as the calendar turns to 2020. And yet, a report by SPORT1 claims that Bayern could even potentially make a move for the 27-year-old in January, looking to convince Spurs to part ways early in order not to lose the Danish star for nothing.

Tottenham has been extremely poor this season, falling three times already in Premier League play plus a loss to lowly Colchester United in the EFL Cup and an embarrassing 7-2 defeat to Bayern in Champions League play. Eriksen himself has not performed up to standards, recording just a goal and an assist so far in league competition.

Still, he has been nothing short of a critical player for Spurs during his seven-year career with the club, arriving from Ajax for $15 million in 2013. He has collected 67 goals in 288 total appearances for the club, including 50 league goals in 214 appearances.

The SPORT1 report says that Eriksen is open to the move, and could slide right into contention for a starting role with the club. He would be in competition with Thomas Muller and Philippe Coutinho for the main creative role. Bayern suffered its first league defeat of the season before the international break, falling to Hoffenheim in a game that saw Coutinho garner renewed criticism for a poor performance reminiscent of his disastrous Barcelona tenure. With Muller also rumored to be considering a departure this coming summer, Eriksen could be a critical player for the 29-time German champions.

Should Bayern fail to convince Spurs to sell Eriksen this winter, they could still work with the player to sign a pre-contract agreement for the summer.

Ex-Germany, Bayern star Schweinsteiger is retiring

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CHICAGO — Former Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger says he is retiring from soccer, ending an 18-year professional career.

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The 35-year-old midfielder made 121 appearances for Germany from 2004-16, and was in the team that won the World Cup in 2014.

Schweinsteiger played for Bayern Munich, Manchester United and, since 2017, Chicago Fire in his club career. He won the Champions League with Bayern in 2013.

Schweinsteiger announced his retirement over Twitter on Tuesday, writing: “Saying goodbye as an active player makes me feel a little nostalgic but I am looking forward to the exciting challenges that await me soon.”

He is married to former tennis player Ana Ivanovic.