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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.

[ MORE: Now is not time for panic at Man United… not yet ]

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

AP Photo/Michael Sohn
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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

AP Photo/Michael Sohn
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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.