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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.

[ MORE: Guardiola celebrates trophy ]

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.

STANDINGS

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

Bundesliga wrap: Mainz, Hamburg could send relegation race to wire

Stefan Puchner/dpa via AP
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With two matches to play, the Bundesliga’s relegation race is muddled and the European battle is set to go down to the wire.

There’s Bayern at the top, Koln at the bottom, and mostly chaos in between.

[ MORE: Fellaini, Pogba react to late win ]


 

Mainz 3-0 RB Leipzig

A seismic statement from Mainz, who greeted Hamburg’s hot streak with a convincing win that moved it five points clear of automatic relegation and three above the playoff spot.

Pablo De Blasis converted a 29th minute penalty kick to give Mainz an advantage that would later be buttressed by a pair of goals in the final five minutes from Alexandru Maxim and Bote Baku.

Now RB Leipzig, last year’s surprise runners-up, are on the precipice of missing out on European play altogether. Sixth-place Leipzig needs collapses from Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen to finish Top Four, and could finish as low as bottom half with poor performances against Wolfsburg and Hertha Berlin.

Wolfsburg 1-3 Hamburg

The wobbly seasons continue for Wolfsburg, and this one features a massive six-point loss to Hamburg Sunday.

American striker Bobby Wood converted a 43rd minute penalty — U.S. teammate John Anthony Brooks was on the bench for Wolfsburg — and the hosts could never get level in allowing their visitors to get within two points of 16th place.

Elsewhere

Hertha Berlin 2-2 Augsburg
Freiburg 3-2 Koln
Bayern Munich 4-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Schalke 1-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
Bayer Leverkusen 0-1 Stuttgart
Werder Bremen 1-1 Borussia Dortmund
Hoffenheim 3-1 Hannover 96

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 32 26 3 3 88 23 65 14-2-0 12-1-3 81
 FC Schalke 04 32 16 9 7 50 36 14 9-5-2 7-4-5 57
 Borussia Dortmund 32 15 10 7 62 42 20 9-4-3 6-6-4 55
 1899 Hoffenheim 32 14 10 8 63 45 18 10-4-2 4-6-6 52
 Bayer Leverkusen 32 14 9 9 55 42 13 7-5-4 7-4-5 51
 RB Leipzig 32 13 8 11 47 50 -3 8-4-4 5-4-7 47
 Eintracht Frankfurt 32 13 7 12 42 44 -2 7-4-5 6-3-7 46
 VfB Stuttgart 32 13 6 13 30 35 -5 9-4-3 4-2-10 45
 Mönchengladbach 32 12 8 12 43 49 -6 8-4-4 4-4-8 44
 Hertha BSC Berlin 32 10 13 9 40 37 3 5-7-4 5-6-5 43
 FC Augsburg 32 10 11 11 42 42 0 6-4-6 4-7-5 41
 Werder Bremen 32 9 11 12 35 39 -4 6-6-4 3-5-8 38
 Hannover 96 32 9 9 14 39 50 -11 7-3-6 2-6-8 36
 FSV Mainz 05 32 8 9 15 35 49 -14 7-3-6 1-6-9 33
 SC Freiburg 32 7 12 13 29 53 -24 6-6-4 1-6-9 33
 VfL Wolfsburg 32 5 15 12 31 43 -12 2-8-6 3-7-6 30
 Hamburger SV 32 7 7 18 27 49 -22 5-4-7 2-3-11 28
 1. FC Köln 32 5 7 20 33 63 -30 3-5-8 2-2-12 22

Bundesliga: Cologne relegated; Hamburg win again, have life

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BERLIN (AP) Cologne was finally relegated from the Bundesliga on Saturday, and Hamburger SV boosted its chances of an unlikely escape with a 3-1 win at Wolfsburg.

Lucas Hoeler scored in injury time for Freiburg to beat Cologne 3-2 to leave the visitors eight points from safety with two games remaining.

“It was a difficult game, emblematic of the whole season,” Cologne coach Stefan Ruthenbeck said. “The last goal cannot happen so easily in a relegation battle. That’s exactly how you get relegated.”

Cologne had shown signs of life in recent games but it was too little, too late after losing 13 of its opening 16 games. The first of its five wins came at the 17th attempt.

Goalkeeper Timo Horn, who saved a penalty from Freiburg’s Christian Guenter, and captain Jonas Hector both extended their contracts last week, signaling their intent to help the side return to the top flight under new coach Markus Anfang, who is joining from promotion-chasing Holstein Kiel.

Hamburg, the only side to have played every Bundesliga since the league’s formation in 1963, has had several near misses with relegation in recent years.

Known as “der Dino” for its longevity, Hamburg is playing its worst season yet, but its third win in four games closes the gap on Wolfsburg and survival to just two points with two games remaining.

Bobby Wood broke the deadlock from the penalty spot minutes before the break. It was the American striker’s first goal since the second round on Aug. 25.

Tatsuya Ito, who had been fouled for the penalty, then sent in a cross for Lewis Holtby to make it 2-0 in first-half injury time.

Josip Brekalo pulled one back with a harmless-looking free kick, but Luca Waldschmidt smashed home a rebound after Koen Casteels saved Filip Kostic’s penalty in injury time.

It was only Waldschmidt’s second goal for Hamburg. His first was against Wolfsburg on the final day last season to save Hamburg from the relegation playoff.

Report: Bobby Wood interested in MLS; Where would he fit?

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At this point, it would be stunning if Hamburg isn’t relegated from the Bundesliga for the first time since 1964.

Die Rothosen are eight points back of the relegation playoff spot in Bundesliga, and even if they took six points from a pair of six-pointers versus Wolfsburg and Freiburg, they’d need one of those clubs or Mainz to go winless and beat either seventh place Eintracht Frankfurt or eighth place Borussia Monchengladbach.

[ REPORTS: Pogba to be sold ]

If and when Hamburg goes down, a number of big name players will likely be looking for new homes. There’s electric young striker Jann-Fiete Arp, Serbian winger Filip Kostic, and 29-times capped Greek center back Kyriakos Papadopoulos.

There’s also relentless American striker Bobby Wood, who at 25 has never played in the United States and apparently has interest in a move to Major League Soccer.

Wood’s contract with Hamburg runs through the 2020-21 season, so he’s not going to come cheap. Transfermarkt puts his value at around $4 million, with the site ranking him both Hamburg and the USMNT’s eighth-most valuable player.

The Washington Post says at least one team has put in a claim for Wood should he want to come to the league. He’s not subject to Allocation Order.

His value in MLS would be very interesting. No doubt would Wood sell a bunch of jerseys and there’s little doubt he’d be productive, but strikers are an area in which clubs invest their resources. Toronto, LAFC, the Galaxy, NYCFC, Atlanta, Houston, and Chicago are among the many sides with stars in place up top.

Seattle would be a very intriguing landing spot for Wood, who could not just replace injured Jordan Morris but potentially serve as a significant upgrade in Rave Green. Sporting KC could use a striker of Wood’s ilk, too.

Hamburg fires manager, could be reprieve for USMNT’s Wood

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There’s new life for American striker Bobby Wood as Hamburg looks to pull off a miracle run to Bundesliga safety.

[ MORE: West Ham fallout ]

The club fired coach Bernd Hollerbach on Monday after the club was pummeled 6-0 at Bayern Munich this weekend to leave them eight points back of the relegation playoff spot and safety (Wolfsburg and Mainz both have 25 points).

U-21 coach Christian Titz is taking over the gig.

Hamburg hasn’t won since Nov. 26, their 18 points one more than bottom-dwelling Koln. The club has a brutal schedule ahead, and the focus will be on late April six-pointers against Wolfsburg and Freiburg,

Wood has just two goals for the club, and has not been in the 18 the past two matches after serving as a sub for the two previous losses.