Eljero Elia

Bundesliga season preview: Bullet points you need to know before Bayern wins it all again

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Joking aside, it’s been a one-sided rivalry between Bayern Munich and the rest of the Bundesliga the past two seasons.

Pep Guardiola’s bunch may’ve not won the UEFA Champions League, but they’ve cruised through Germany’s top flight and appear poised to do so again this year.

[ LISTEN: Men in Blazers preview Bundesliga with Paul Kalkbrenner ]

But will it be that simple? Did they lose more than they gained in the offseason? Is Wolfsburg, Monchengladbach or Borussia Dortmund ready to take the next step in challenging for a crown? And how will the myriad USMNT players fare this season.

All that and more in quick tidbits here.

Who went down? Freiburg and Paderborn

Only two? Hamburger beat Kalrlsruher in the relegation/promotion playoff

Who came up? Ingolstadt and Darmstadt

New to the league: Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich), Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen), Douglas Costa (Bayern Munich), Francisco Rodriguez Araya (Wolfsburg), Charles Aranguiz (Bayer Leverkusen), Fabian Schar (Hoffenheim), Marko Maric (Hoffenheim), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz), Fabian Frei (Mainz), Mevlut Erdinc (Mainz), Emiliano Insua (Stuttgart), Albin Ekdal (Hamburger), Alfredo Morales (promoted with Ingolstadt), Mathew Leckie (promoted with Ingolstadt),

Gone from the league: Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United), Tranquillo Barnetta (Philadelphia Union), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City), Pepe Reina (Napoli), Christian Fuchs (Leicester City), Timon Wellenreuther (Mallorca), Ciro Immobile (Sevilla), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Kevin Trapp (Paris Saint-Germain), Sebastian Prodl (Watford), Eljero Elia (Feyenoord), Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City), Kevin Wimmer (Tottenham Hotspur), Joselu (Stoke City), John Heitinga (Ajax), Valon Behrami (Watford), Rafael van der Vaart (Real Betis)

Old faces, new places: Max Kruse (Borussia Monchengladbach), Josip Drmic (Borussia Monchengladbach), Emir Spahic (Hamburger), Gonzalo Castro (Borussia Dortmund), Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Bayer Leverkusen), Anthony Ujah (Werder Bremen), Lars Stindl (Monchengladbach), Anthony Ujah (Werder Bremen), Anthony Modeste (Koln), Junior Diaz (Darmstadt)

source:
Source: Werder Bremen

Americans Abroad: Johannsson (Werder Bremen), Fabian Johnson (Monchengladbach), Timothy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Julian Green (Bayern Munich, but expected with reserves), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), David Yelldell (Bayer Leverkusen), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Jerome Kiesewetter (Stuttgart).

Yeah, but which ones will factor? Johnson, Brooks and Morales should play a lot. Chandler, too, but the USMNT defender has recently gotten some grief from Frankfurt’s manager Armin Veh. Johansson will get every chance to win playing time and goals for new team Werder Bremen.

Why will Bayern win? Schweinsteiger is gone, but fought fitness for the past few years. The defense is in tact, Manuel Neuer is still between the sticks and Arturo Vidal is in town to strengthen the already-frightening attack unit (Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller, Franck Ribery, Mario Gotze, et. al).

Make me a case they don’t: Injuries could strike? Realistically, a bounce here or there against Bayern and a congested European schedule could help clubs like Borussia Dortmund, Wolfsburg, Leverkusen or Monchengladbach make a charge. But, really, Bayern finished with a plus-62 goal differential, allowing just 18, and they eased up on the Bundesliga slate once the 25th German title — 24th in the Bundesliga — was wrapped up.

VIDEO: Premier League Player of the Week – Round 38

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Theo Walcott is back to his best.

Arsenal’s speedy winger has taken almost the whole season to get over his horrendous knee injury from January 2014 but the England international finished the season with a bang. Walcott, 26, scored three goals in the first half to ease Arsenal to a 4-1 win against West Bromwich Albion on the final day.

[ RELATED: Playback reviews the 2104-15 season ]

Take a look at the video above to see Walcott’s incredible finishing as he scored the 10th and final hat trick of the PL season.

Premier League Player of the Week

Week 1: Raheem Sterling, Liverpool

Week 2: Nacer Chadli, Tottenham Hotspur

Week 3: Diego Costa, Chelsea

Week 4: Diego Costa, Chelsea

Week 5: Frank Lampard, Manchester City

Week 6: Edin Dzeko, Manchester City

Week 7: David De Gea, Manchester United

Week 8: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Week 9: Wilfried Bony, Swansea City

Week 10: Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal

Week 11: Shane Long, Southampton

Week 12: Danny Ings, Burnley

Week 13: Lee Cattermole, Sunderland

Week 14: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Week 15: Andy Carroll, West Ham

Week 16: Olivier Giroud, Arsenal

Week 17: Charlie Austin, Queens Park Rangers

Week 18: Eden Hazard, Chelsea

Week 19: Mame Diouf, Stoke City

Week 20: Frank Lampard, Manchester City

Week 21: Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal

Week 22: Eljero Elia, Southampton

Week 23: Jonathan Walters, Stoke City

Week 24: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

Week 25: Chris Smalling, Manchester United

Week 26: David Silva, Manchester City

Week 27: Wayne Rooney, Manchester United

Week 28: Jordan Henderson, Liverpool

Week 30: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

Week 31: Ander Herrera, Manchester United

Week 32: Yannick Bolasie, Crystal Palace

Week 33: Jason Puncheon, Crystal Palace

Week 34: Dame N’Doye, Hull City

Week 35: Christian Benteke, Aston Villa

Week 36: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Week 37: Sadio Mane, Southampton

Week 38: Theo Walcott, Arsenal

VIDEO: Premier League Player of the Week – Round 37

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There is no real surprise as to who won the PL Player of the Week accolade this time around.

Sadio Mane, take a bow.

Southampton’s speedy Senegalese winger scored the fastest hat trick in PL history in Saints’ 6-1 demolition of Aston Villa. Mane scored three times in the space of 2 minutes and 56 seconds as the 23-year-old continued his superb debut season in England.

[ RELATED: Is De Gea irreplaceable for Man United? ]

Take a look at the video above to see Mane’s incredible display of devastating finishes.

Premier League Player of the Week

Week 1: Raheem Sterling, Liverpool

Week 2: Nacer Chadli, Tottenham Hotspur

Week 3: Diego Costa, Chelsea

Week 4: Diego Costa, Chelsea

Week 5: Frank Lampard, Manchester City

Week 6: Edin Dzeko, Manchester City

Week 7: David De Gea, Manchester United

Week 8: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Week 9: Wilfried Bony, Swansea City

Week 10: Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal

Week 11: Shane Long, Southampton

Week 12: Danny Ings, Burnley

Week 13: Lee Cattermole, Sunderland

Week 14: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Week 15: Andy Carroll, West Ham

Week 16: Olivier Giroud, Arsenal

Week 17: Charlie Austin, Queens Park Rangers

Week 18: Eden Hazard, Chelsea

Week 19: Mame Diouf, Stoke City

Week 20: Frank Lampard, Manchester City

Week 21: Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal

Week 22: Eljero Elia, Southampton

Week 23: Jonathan Walters, Stoke City

Week 24: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

Week 25: Chris Smalling, Manchester United

Week 26: David Silva, Manchester City

Week 27: Wayne Rooney, Manchester United

Week 28: Jordan Henderson, Liverpool

Week 30: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

Week 31: Ander Herrera, Manchester United

Week 32: Yannick Bolasie, Crystal Palace

Week 33: Jason Puncheon, Crystal Palace

Week 34: Dame N’Doye, Hull City

Week 35: Christian Benteke, Aston Villa

Week 36: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Week 37: Sadio Mane, Southampton

VIDEO: Premier League Player of the Week – Round 35

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Is Tim Sherwood a good manager? Is he a great manager? Is he a genius manager?

While all the above questions are still far from being answered with any semblance of finality, what’s clear is that the first-year Aston Villa boss is brilliant when it comes to instilling the confidence and belief in strikers after taking over a team mid-season.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League Playback: Can Chelsea now create a dynasty? ]

Sherwood did it last year with Emmanuel Adebayor after being named interim Tottenham Hotspur manager in December, and he’s done it again this season with Christian Benteke.

Benteke bagged another pair of goals in Villa’s 3-2 victory over Everton in leading his teammates to the brink of Premier League safety (35 points — three teams and two points clear of the final relegation place). For his contributions, Christian Benteke is the Premier League Player of the Week.

Premier League Player of the Week 

Week 1: Raheem Sterling, Liverpool

Week 2: Nacer Chadli, Tottenham Hotspur

Week 3: Diego Costa, Chelsea

Week 4: Diego Costa, Chelsea

Week 5: Frank Lampard, Manchester City

Week 6: Edin Dzeko, Manchester City

Week 7: David De Gea, Manchester United

Week 8: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Week 9: Wilfried Bony, Swansea City

Week 10: Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal

Week 11: Shane Long, Southampton

Week 12: Danny Ings, Burnley

Week 13: Lee Cattermole, Sunderland

Week 14: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Week 15: Andy Carroll, West Ham

Week 16: Olivier Giroud, Arsenal

Week 17: Charlie Austin, Queens Park Rangers

Week 18: Eden Hazard, Chelsea

Week 19: Mame Diouf, Stoke City

Week 20: Frank Lampard, Manchester City

Week 21: Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal

Week 22: Eljero Elia, Southampton

Week 23: Jonathan Walters, Stoke City

Week 24: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

Week 25: Chris Smalling, Manchester United

Week 26: David Silva, Manchester City

Week 27: Wayne Rooney, Manchester United

Week 28: Jordan Henderson, Liverpool

Week 30: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

Week 31: Ander Herrera, Manchester United

Week 32: Yannick Bolasie, Crystal Palace

Week 33: Jason Puncheon, Crystal Palace

Week 34: Dame N’Doye, Hull City

Sunderland 2-1 Southampton: Two penalties clinch big win for Black Cats

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Sunderland beat 10-man Southampton 2-1 at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, as two penalty kicks from Jordi Gomez did the damage.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Gomez scored a spot kick in the first half but Sadio Mane popped up 74 seconds later to equalize for Saints. Less than 10 minutes into the second half James Ward-Prowse was sent off for fouling Jermain Defoe in the box and Gomez stepped up to secure the win despite a late rally from Saints.

With the victory Dick Advocaat’s side remain in 18th but are just a point from safety, while Saints are in seventh and are now four points off fifth place.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

After an even start Sunderland went ahead as Danny Graham was scissor kicked in the face by Jose Fonte and referee Mike Jones pointed to the spot. Gomez stepped up and slotted home past Kelvin Davis to make it 1-0 to the home side after a bright start.

Moments later it was 1-1 as Fonte’s long ball forward saw Costel Pantilimon come rushing out of hos goal but the Romanian goalkeeper was clattered into by his own defender, John O’Shea, and the loose ball fell to Mane who swept home his seventh goal of the season. 1-1 and less than a minute had passed between the two strikes.

As the first half wore on, Sunderland looked more likely to take the lead as Patrick van Aanholt pulled back a great ball to the penalty spot but Connor Wickham sidefooted his effort over. Graziano Pelle headed a chance over after Ryan Bertrand’s cross from the left for Saints but Kelvin Davis was forced into two saves from Wickham and Sebastian Larsson before the break as the Black Cats piled on the pressure.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half Saints missed a good chance as half time substitute Filip Djuricic should have done better. In the 55th minute a moment that changed the game arrived as Ward-Prowse was sent off for appearing to take down Jermain Defoe and Saints’ midfielder was sent off.

Gomez stepped up and scored his second spot kick of the match to make it 2-1, but on second viewing it appeared harsh on Ward-Prowse, and Saints, to give the penalty and Ronald Koeman was livid with the referee. Mane was replaced by Eljero Elia in the second half and Saints pushed hard to find an equalizer but Jack Rodwell could have wrapped the game up for Sunderland but squandered a great chance.

For Saints, Djuricic saw his effort from close range blocked and late on Steven Davis saw his effort brilliantly saved by Pantilimon as Sunderland held on for the win.

LINEUPS

Sunderland: Pantilimon, Jones, van Aanholt, Cattermole, Larsson (Rodwell, 82′), Wickham, Gomez, O’Shea (Vergini, 31′), Graham, Coates, Defoe (Johnson, 82′)

Goals: (Gomez 21′, 55′)

Southampton: K. Davis, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand, Alderweireld, Wanyama (Davis, 66′), Ward-Prowse, Long (Djuricic, 45′), Mane (Elia, 70′), Pelle

Goal: Mane (22′)