Bundesliga promotion and relegation
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Bundesliga promotion picture complete: Stuttgart up, Heidenheim to playoff

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The three teams vying for promotion to the Bundesliga all lost on Sunday, leaving the top four in order after the final day of the season.

Arminia Bielefeld and Stuttgart are going up, Fortuna Dusseldorf and Paderborn are going down, and the promotion playoff match is set after the final weekend of league soccer in Germany.

Stuttgart is managed by American-born Pellegrino Matarazzo, who played his college ball at Columbia.

Sixteenth-place Bundesliga side Werder Bremen will face 2.Bundesliga’s third-place finisher, Heidenheim, in an intriguing two-legged playoff tie.

Heidenheim, 173 years old, has never been in the top flight during the Bundesliga era, while Bremen has been in the top flight since 1981. The first leg is Thursday in Bremen, the second in Heidenheim on July 6.

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Arminia Bielefeld’s tour-de-force season continued with a 3-0 win over Heidenheim which cemented Stuttgart’s promotion despite the second-place side’s 3-1 home loss to 10-man Darmstadt.

Neither disappointed as much as Hamburg, who would’ve made the playoff spot with a draw at home to mid-table Sandhausen. Hamburg lost 6-1.

There are only two Americans set to be affected by promotion and relegation in Germany despite a wealth of U.S. players in Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga. Alfredo Morales and Fortuna were relegated, while striker Josh Sargent is a regular contributor for Bremen.

Report: Bobby Wood open to MLS, turns down FC Cincinnati

Bobby Wood
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“Wood-Bye?” Great headline, Bild.

A report from the German outlet says Bobby Wood has turned down the chance to join FC Cincinnati, but is interested in finding a home in Major League Soccer.

The 45-times capped USMNT striker was offered $1 million by the second-year MLS club, but didn’t want to risk what would be a $3 million pay cut if Hamburg is promoted next season.

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Only 21 players made $2 million or more in guaranteed compensation last season.

Hamburg sits second in 2.Bundesliga, and the first two teams are promoted at the end of the season. The third-place team plays the third-bottom team in the Bundesliga for a spot, and Hamburg has a six-point edge on fourth.

It’s very reasonable to think Wood’s side will be promoted, and that he’d make $4 million even sitting out all of the matches. It’s a huge challenge when MLS is going for players still in prime-aged years. Only 21 players made $2 million or more in guaranteed compensation last season. Money’s still in Europe.

But he’d also theoretically want to stay in the frame for the USMNT. Gregg Berhalter has made it clear he doesn’t care if you’re on a good club but not playing, and has also shown an affinity for MLS strikers.

Wood is 27 years old and has only managed 152 minutes for Hamburg this season, but his resume is much brighter. The Hawaii-born forward has 13 USMNT goals, 10 Bundesliga goals, and 23 in Germany’s second tier.

Third team appeals loss to Hamburg over refugee player’s identity

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BERLIN (AP) Karlsruher SC has become the third second-division club in Germany to appeal a loss to Hamburger SV because of questions over former refugee Bakery Jatta’s identity.

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“The objection is made in view of the unresolved situation regarding the eligibility of HSV player Bakery Jatta, brought to light by known media reports,” Karlsruhe said in a short statement on Monday.

Karlsruhe lost 4-2 at home to Hamburg on Saturday, when the 21-year-old Jatta played and was verbally abused by home supporters. Some fans whistled Jatta’s every touch.

Karlsruhe sporting director Oliver Kreuzer apologized for the abuse afterward.

Jatta, the first refugee to play in the Bundesliga, is the subject of a dispute regarding his identity since Sport Bild magazine suggested he has been playing under a false name and is in fact two years older than he claims.

Hamburg has consistently backed the player, arguing his documents have been checked and are valid, while the German soccer federation (DFB) and league body (DFL) have given him the green light to play.

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“As there is no evidence so far of the player’s false identity, the eligibility of Bakery Jatta, born on June 6, 1998, remains valid,” the bodies said in a statement on Aug. 12.

But Bochum and Nuremberg had already lodged appeals with the DFB after losing to Hamburg, citing the media reports and questioning Jatta’s eligibility to play, and Karlsruhe had indicated before the game that it would follow their example if it dropped points and Jatta played.

Hamburg coach Dieter Hecking asked why Jatta had been subjected to the abuse before answering the question himself after Saturday’s game.

“Because the subject was made public. Not from our side, not from the player’s side. We have to live with that, that football fans will react to it. This is going to be the same in every stadium now the longer this goes on. Those who have little sense will want to exploit it,” Hecking said.

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The Hamburg coach called on the DFB and DFL for a resolution, “although they are not obligated at all because Baka has submitted all the documents and they are valid. And if we can’t trust the German state, the German authorities, anymore, then we can all go home.”

City rival St. Pauli has indicated it will not make an appeal if Jatta plays and it drops points in the Hamburg derby on Sept. 15.

Jatta, who made his debut for Hamburg in April 2017, has made 29 appearances for in the second division and 16 in the Bundesliga. Hamburg was relegated in 2018.

Report: Arsenal youngster Amaechi signs with Hamburg

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The pipeline of young English players moving to Germany is continuing to be strong and grow this summer.

According to the BBC, Arsenal prospect and academy graduate Xavier Amaechi has turned down a new Arsenal deal and is set to join Hamburg in a transfer worth around a reported $2.8 million. The BBC report states Amaechi will sign a four-year contract with Hamburg and has been promised he’ll be a first team regular this coming season.

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Interestingly, Arsenal hasn’t included a buy-back clause in the deal, reportedly, but they have included an undisclosed sell-on fee for when Amaechi eventually leaves Hamburg.

It’s hard to blame Amaechi, who was reportedly heading into the final year of his Arsenal contract, for wanting to leave the club. While Arsenal had reportedly offered a new deal, there doesn’t seem to be any obvious place in the team for Amaechi to become a regular starter this coming season. His chances would have decreased even more if the reports of Arsenal signing Lille winger Nicolas Pepe are true.

At 18-years old, it’s time for Amaechi to be challenging for senior minutes somewhere. However, a loan move is a bit dicey, as both sides know it’s usually a short-term deal. The receiving club knows it doesn’t really have to invest in the player while the player knows they’re working to eventually return to the original club.

With a full-transfer to Hamburg, Amaechi, who is eligible to play for England and Nigeria, is striking out on his own and could take his career to a new level. Amaechi has only played for Arsenal’s youth sides and the reserves, and now he’ll get a chance for regular minutes.

In his favor as well, Hamburg will play its second season in the 2. Bundesliga, so the level will be a little easier to adjust to before hopefully for him, gaining promotion and moving into the Bundesliga.

Bundesliga state of play with one match day to go

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After a penultimate match day with 28 goals and a single 0-0, the Bundesliga knows what’s on the line for Week 34.

And as for Americans abroad, there’s plenty at stake: Schalke’s Weston McKennie knows he’s headed for the Champions League, but BVB’s Christian Pulisic and Eintracht Frankfurt’s Timmy Chandler are still trying to cement their European destination. Hamburg’s Bobby Wood and Wolfsburg’s John Brooks are trying to out-duel each other to stay in the league.

The title has been settled in Munich for some time, and Bayern is going to win the league by between 21-27 points.

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Second place is settled, too, as Schalke has delivered on its preseason promise to finish about its Revierderby rivals Borussia Dortmund.

BVB doesn’t have a UEFA Champions League group stage berth sewn up, and a two (or more) goal loss at Hoffenheim on Saturday would put them in danger of dropping out of the Top Four altogether if Bayer Leverkusen blows out Hannover 96.

Still, it seems likely BVB will earn third place, leaving Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen to compete for the final UCL spot.

RB Leipzig is sixth, but could finish out of Europe altogether in certain permutations. As it stands, six teams are going to Europe but it will be seven if Bayern Munich defeats Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Cup Final. Should that not happen, and RBL gets passed by one of three teams on Saturday, it would finish outside the UEL.

Koln has been relegated, and either Hamburg or Wolfsburg will go down without a chance at the relegation/promotion playoff.

Hamburg, side of USMNT striker Bobby Wood, sits two points behind 16th place Wolfsburg and has a far worse goal differential. So they need to win versus Borussia Monchengladbach and hope Wolfsburg loses to last place Koln.

Freiburg could drop into the playoff spot, which takes on the third place 2.Bundesliga team for the top flight’s final 2018-19 berth, should it lose at Augsburg while Wolfsburg beats Koln.


Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 33 27 3 3 91 24 67 14-2-0 13-1-3 84
 FC Schalke 04 33 17 9 7 52 37 15 9-5-2 8-4-5 60
 Borussia Dortmund 33 15 10 8 63 44 19 9-4-4 6-6-4 55
 1899 Hoffenheim 33 14 10 9 63 47 16 10-4-2 4-6-7 52
 Bayer Leverkusen 33 14 10 9 55 42 13 7-5-4 7-5-5 52
 RB Leipzig 33 14 8 11 51 51 0 9-4-4 5-4-7 50
 Eintracht Frankfurt 33 14 7 12 45 44 1 8-4-5 6-3-7 49
 VfB Stuttgart 33 14 6 13 32 35 -3 10-4-3 4-2-10 48
 Mönchengladbach 33 13 8 12 46 50 -4 9-4-4 4-4-8 47
 Hertha BSC Berlin 33 10 13 10 41 40 1 5-7-4 5-6-6 43
 FC Augsburg 33 10 11 12 43 44 -1 6-4-7 4-7-5 41
 Werder Bremen 33 9 12 12 35 39 -4 6-7-4 3-5-8 39
 Hannover 96 33 10 9 14 42 51 -9 8-3-6 2-6-8 39
 FSV Mainz 05 33 9 9 15 37 50 -13 7-3-6 2-6-9 36
 SC Freiburg 33 7 12 14 30 56 -26 6-6-4 1-6-10 33
 VfL Wolfsburg 33 5 15 13 32 47 -15 2-8-6 3-7-7 30
 Hamburger SV 33 7 7 19 27 52 -25 5-4-7 2-3-12 28
 1. FC Köln 33 5 7 21 34 66 -32 3-5-9 2-2-12 22