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Champions League wrap: PSG advances; USMNT stars shine

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Tottenham Hotspur, Paris Saint-Germain, and Liverpool clinched spots in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds with results on Tuesday.

For Liverpool and PSG, the spots came via away wins, while Spurs crafted an equalizer to earn a point in Barcelona.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

And two American players had good days, with Club Brugge goalkeeper Ethan Horvath keeping a clean sheet and Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic setting the table for a goal.


Club Brugge 0-0 Atletico Madrid

On the same day Zack Steffen was announced as a future goalkeeper for a Champions League club, fellow USMNT backstop Ethan Horvath produced a fine display in blanking Atletico Madrid.

Horvath, 23, made several key saves as Club Brugge finished third in its group and will play in the Europa League knockout rounds. Antoine Griezmann, Saul, Koke, and Thomas Lemar were among the top players in the XI for Atleti.

AS Monaco 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

Thierry Henry’s men are out of European competition thanks to a pair of goals from Raphael Guerreiro and no offensive answers of their own.

Paco Alcacer and Maximilian Philipp assisted the goals, and American winger Christian Pulisic went 90 minutes for the Bundesliga leaders.

He deserves the ol’ hockey assist on this one:


Barcelona 1-1 Tottenham HotspurRECAP

Lucas Moura‘s late goal was enough to get Spurs a draw at the Camp Nou, canceling out Ousmane Dembele’s terrific opening goal.

Inter Milan 1-1 PSV Eindhoven

Hirving Lozano’s early goal nearly stood up for the visitors, and Mauro Icardi’s late leveler wasn’t enough to push Inter beyond Spurs. That means Inter Milan is off to the Europa League.


Red Star Belgrade 1-4 Paris Saint-Germain

The stars were out for PSG, which knew it would move into the knockout rounds with a win and built a 2-0 lead through Edinson Cavani and Neymar before Marquinhos and Kylian Mbappe put it to bed late to win Group C.

Liverpool 1-0 NapoliRECAP

The chances were myriad for Liverpool, but only Mohamed Salah found the back of the net as the Reds earned a spot in the Round of 16.


Schalke 1-0 Lokomotiv Moscow

Alessandro Schopf scored the lone goal, and USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie was rested for already-advanced Schalke.

Galatasaray 2-3 Porto

Sergio Oliveira’s goal was decisive in a wild match with two penalties but no lead changes.

Derby win has Dortmund fans dreaming of more: the Bundesliga

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BERLIN (AP) Hundreds of Borussia Dortmund fans welcomed the team back after its Ruhr derby win over Schalke, celebrating wildly as if the team had already won the Bundesliga title.

They waited Saturday night for the bus to arrive from Gelsenkirchen, then greeted it with fireworks and flares, jumping up and down, singing songs and waving flags.

“What a brilliant reception! You’re the best fans!” Sebastian Kehl, head of the players’ department, wrote on Instagram.

Midfielder Axel Witsel posted footage showing one fan blowing kisses toward the team bus before shaking his fist in triumph.

Saturday’s 2-1 win at Schalke was Dortmund’s first Ruhr derby win in three years, its first after five meetings between the sides, and it widened the gap over its biggest rival to 22 points after 14 matches.

More importantly, it kept the team nine points ahead of defending champion Bayern Munich, which eased to a 3-0 home win over promoted Nuremberg at the same time.

No one at the club dares acknowledge it, but Dortmund – the only remaining unbeaten team in the league – has emerged as a genuine title candidate, the only realistic hope of ending Bayern’s six-year-stranglehold on the league.

Bayern is going for a record-extending seventh straight title but fell to a 3-2 loss in Dortmund and hasn’t been convincing in Niko Kovac’s first season in charge.

Dortmund coach Lucien Favre’s, on the other hand, could hardly be going better. Saturday’s win in Gelsenkirchen was another close one, not pretty, but an example of Dortmund digging out a win in difficult circumstances. Once Jadon Sancho restored Dortmund’s lead late in the match, the team simply closed out the game. Schalke never looked like getting an equalizer.

Dortmund is displaying a resilience and strength of character that hadn’t been seen since Juergen Klopp led the club to back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012.

“The mentality is right. We ended up losing many 50-50 games last season,” Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Buerki said. “We’re trying everything to stay up there and to start the second half of the season with a good feeling.”

Defeating Schalke, lately a thorn in the side for Dortmund, will likely give the team a further boost as it bids to maintain its league lead.

“We were all looking forward to it,” Dortmund captain Marco Reus said of the derby. “It will give us another shot of confidence and a lot of strength.”

After spectacular comeback wins this season against Bayern and Bayer Leverkusen, Favre was pleased again with how his players kept their cool in Gelsenkirchen.

“I liked how the team reacted after the 1-1 (Schalke equalizer). They played better, kept calm, had more ball possession and more goal chances,” Favre said. “We deserved to win in the end.”

Dortmund beats Schalke 2-1 in Ruhr derby, Bayern keeps pace

(AP Photo/Martin Meissner
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BERLIN (AP) Borussia Dortmund kept its nine-point advantage over Bayern Munich with a 2-1 Ruhr derby win at Schalke in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

[ RECAP: Chelsea 2-0 Man City ]

Jadon Sancho sealed the unbeaten visitors’ 11th win from 14 games with a fine finish in the 74th minute, restoring Dortmund’s lead after Daniel Caligiuri equalized from the penalty spot. Thomas Delaney had given Dortmund an early lead.

Bayern, which is chasing an unprecedented seventh consecutive title, kept pace and moved second with a 3-0 win over promoted Nuremberg in their Bavarian Derby in Munich.

Also, Freiburg defeated Leipzig 3-0 at home, Bayer Leverkusen earned a 1-0 win at home over Augsburg, and Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim drew 2-2.

Hertha Berlin was hosting Eintracht Frankfurt later Saturday.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Borussia Dortmund 14 11 3 0 39 14 25 6-1-0 5-2-0 36
 Bayern Munich 14 8 3 3 28 18 10 3-3-1 5-0-2 27
 Mönchengladbach 13 8 2 3 30 16 14 6-0-0 2-2-3 26
 RB Leipzig 14 7 4 3 24 13 11 5-2-0 2-2-3 25
 Eintracht Frankfurt 14 7 2 5 30 17 13 3-1-2 4-1-3 23
 Hertha BSC Berlin 14 6 5 3 22 20 2 4-2-1 2-3-2 23
 1899 Hoffenheim 14 6 4 4 30 21 9 3-2-2 3-2-2 22
 Werder Bremen 14 6 3 5 24 23 1 3-2-3 3-1-2 21
 VfL Wolfsburg 14 5 4 5 20 20 0 2-3-3 3-1-2 19
 FSV Mainz 05 13 5 3 5 12 14 -2 3-2-2 2-1-3 18
 Bayer Leverkusen 14 5 3 6 20 25 -5 3-1-3 2-2-3 18
 SC Freiburg 14 4 5 5 19 22 -3 3-3-2 1-2-3 17
 FC Schalke 04 14 4 2 8 15 20 -5 3-0-4 1-2-4 14
 FC Augsburg 14 3 4 7 20 23 -3 1-3-2 2-1-5 13
 VfB Stuttgart 13 3 2 8 9 26 -17 2-1-3 1-1-5 11
 1. FC Nürnberg 14 2 5 7 14 33 -19 2-3-2 0-2-5 11
 Hannover 96 13 2 3 8 15 28 -13 2-1-3 0-2-5 9
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 14 2 3 9 14 32 -18 2-0-5 0-3-4 9

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

Bundesliga wrap: Gnabry drives Bayern; American makes 1st Bundesliga start

Carmen Jaspersen/dpa via AP
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Borussia Dortmund continued its winning ways, while Niko Kovac and Bayern Munich may finally be pulling it all together for a worthwhile chase for the Bundesliga title.

[ RECAP: Saints 2-2 Man Utd ]


Hoffenheim 1-1 Schalke

Saturday will go down as an unforgettable one for California native Haji Wright, as the 20-year-old American center forward made his first Bundesliga start (a week after coming off the bench for his first senior appearance).

Wright played 70 minutes, leaving the match one minute after countryman Weston McKennie entered as a sub. Wright’s was industrious on the day but only managed 18 touches and 4-for-4 passing to go with his mileage up top.

As for Schalke, it answered in-form Andrej Kramaric‘s 59th minute goal with Nabil Bentaleb‘s 73rd minute marker to earn a point and move 11th.

Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Freiburg

Speaking of Americans, the league-leading hosts’ Christian Pulisic missed this one with a calf injury. No problem, really, as Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer scored to move the table lead to seven points before second-place Gladbach plays Sunday.

Bayern Munich 2-1 Werder Bremen
The serial champions are third for the time-being following a Serge Gnabry double at the Allianz Arena.

Elsewhere
Fortuna Dusseldorf 0-1 Mainz — Friday
Stuttgart 1-0 Augsburg
Hannover 96 0-2 Hertha Berlin
RB Leipzig vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Wolfsburg — Noon ET Sunday
Nurnberg vs. Bayer Leverkusen — 2:30 p.m. ET Monday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Borussia Dortmund 13 10 3 0 37 13 24 6-1-0 4-2-0 33
 Mönchengladbach 12 8 2 2 30 14 16 6-0-0 2-2-2 26
 Bayern Munich 13 7 3 3 25 18 7 2-3-1 5-0-2 24
 Eintracht Frankfurt 12 7 2 3 29 14 15 3-1-1 4-1-2 23
 RB Leipzig 12 6 4 2 22 10 12 4-2-0 2-2-2 22
 1899 Hoffenheim 13 6 3 4 28 19 9 3-2-2 3-1-2 21
 Hertha BSC Berlin 13 5 5 3 21 20 1 3-2-1 2-3-2 20
 Werder Bremen 13 5 3 5 21 22 -1 2-2-3 3-1-2 18
 FSV Mainz 05 13 5 3 5 12 14 -2 3-2-2 2-1-3 18
 VfL Wolfsburg 12 4 3 5 16 17 -1 2-2-3 2-1-2 15
 FC Schalke 04 13 4 2 7 14 18 -4 3-0-3 1-2-4 14
 Bayer Leverkusen 12 4 2 6 18 24 -6 2-1-3 2-1-3 14
 SC Freiburg 13 3 5 5 16 22 -6 2-3-2 1-2-3 14
 FC Augsburg 13 3 4 6 20 22 -2 1-3-2 2-1-4 13
 VfB Stuttgart 13 3 2 8 9 26 -17 2-1-3 1-1-5 11
 1. FC Nürnberg 12 2 4 6 13 29 -16 2-2-2 0-2-4 10
 Hannover 96 13 2 3 8 15 28 -13 2-1-3 0-2-5 9
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 13 2 3 8 13 29 -16 2-0-5 0-3-3 9

Champions League wrap: Messi, Mertens star in wins

AP Photo/Peter Dejong
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Four spots remain in the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 following Wednesday’s group stage action.

Who’s qualified for the knockout rounds? Ajax, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Manchester City, Manchester United, Porto, Real Madrid, Roma, and Schalke are moving into the new year.

[ MORE: Robbie Keane announces retirement ]


Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Inter MilanRECAP

Christian Eriksen‘s late finish of a fine team goal gave Tottenham Hotspur hope of the knockout rounds.

PSV Eindhoven 1-2 Barcelona

Lionel Messi had a goal and sent in the ball that Gerard Pique sent home for Barca’s second goal in a win which seals Group B.

Group A
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Atlético Madrid 5 4 0 1 9 6 3 3-0-0 1-0-1 12
Borussia Dortmund 5 3 1 1 8 2 6 2-1-0 1-0-1 10
Club Brugge 5 1 2 2 6 5 1 0-1-1 1-1-1 5
Monaco 5 0 1 4 2 12 -10 0-0-2 0-1-2 1

Borussia Dortmund 0-0 Club Brugge

American youngsters Christian Pulisic and Ethan Horvath faced off at the Westfalenstadion, with the Club Brugge goalkeeper making a few stops on Borussia Dortmund’s young star. Okay, so there’s a bit more to this one than that, but given the lack of goals, it’s what sat atop our minds. BVB moves onto the knockout rounds with the point.

Atletico Madrid 2-0 AS Monaco

Thierry Henry’s side went behind before the clock hit 2:00, and Monaco has officially been eliminated from European competition regardless of what happens at home to Dortmund on Dec. 11.

Group B
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Barcelona 5 4 1 0 13 4 9 2-0-0 2-1-0 13
Tottenham Hotspur 5 2 1 2 8 9 -1 2-0-1 0-1-1 7
Inter Milan 5 2 1 2 5 6 -1 1-1-0 1-0-2 7
PSV Eindhoven 5 0 1 4 5 12 -7 0-1-2 0-0-2 1

 

Napoli 3-1 Red Star Belgrade

Marek Hamsik scored early and Dries Mertens added two before halftime as Napoli cruised into pole position in Group C. A draw, scoring 1-goal loss, or better against Liverpool will be enough for a knockout round berth (a PSG loss also helps).

PSG 2-1 LiverpoolRECAP

The Reds conceded twice early and only put one shot on target, a penalty kick, as Neymar’s had a fine day at the Parc des Princes.

Group C
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Napoli 5 2 3 0 7 4 3 2-1-0 0-2-0 9
Paris SG 5 2 2 1 13 8 5 2-1-0 0-1-1 8
Liverpool 5 2 0 3 8 7 1 2-0-0 0-0-3 6
Red Star Belgrade 5 1 1 3 4 13 -9 1-1-0 0-0-3 4

Lokomotiv Moscow 2-0 Galatasaray

Vladislav Ignatyev’s 54th minute marker joined a late first half own goal in giving Lokomotiv its first win of the group stage.

Porto 3-1 Schalke

Both sides are moving on, but Schalke’s late Nabil Bentaleb penalty wasn’t enough to drag the Bundesliga side back into the match. USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie did not play for Schalke.

 

Group D
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
FC Porto 5 4 1 0 12 4 8 3-0-0 1-1-0 13
FC Schalke 04 5 2 2 1 5 4 1 1-1-0 1-1-1 8
Galatasaray 5 1 1 3 3 5 -2 1-1-0 0-0-3 4
Lokomotiv Moscow 5 1 0 4 4 11 -7 1-0-2 0-0-2 3