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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.

USMNT striker Wood takes loan move to stay in Bundesliga

hannover96.de
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Bobby Wood says his “gut told him” that Hannover 96 would be a good place for him.

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If his time there is anything like fellow USMNT veteran Steve Cherundolo, his gut is a genius.

Wood, 25, is staying in the Bundesliga on a loan deal after parent club Hamburger SV was relegated to the 2.Bundesliga.

The Hawaii-born striker scored 12 goals in 55 matches across two seasons for HSV. He has 39 caps and 12 goals for the United States.

Wood will wear No. 17, and had this to say about the move:

“I had very good discussions with the coach and I know what the club is up to, what kind of football to play and what role I can play in it, and my gut told me it was the right decision to switch to 96 Now I am happy that it has come to that and I am looking forward to getting to know the team directly tomorrow. “

Cherundolo is now an assistant coach at Stuttgart, but made 423 appearances for HSV as a player before spending four seasons in their coaching set-up. He is 87 times capped by the USMNT.

Bundesliga wrap: Relegation playoff race stays tight

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With three matches remaining for all 18 Bundesliga clubs, there’s clarity at the very top and bottom but plenty to sort in the races to qualify for Europe and avoid the relegation playoff.

[ RECAP: Man City 5-0 Swans ]

We focus on the latter here, with all three teams on 30 points losing away from home this weekend, including one to the 17th place side in Germany.

Hamburg 1-0 Freiburg

Lewis Holtby scored a 54th minute goal to keep the hosts’ slim survival hopes alive, and USMNT forward Bobby Wood got into the match for the final 23 minutes as Hamburg scooped up a rare win.

Augsburg 2-0 Mainz

The visitors had more of the ball but couldn’t rebound from a 29th minute Michael Gregoritsch goal, allowing Alfred Finnbogason to seal the result in stoppage time.

Borussia Monchengladbach 3-0 Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg has a hefty edge on Mainz and Freiburg in terms of goal differential, but won’t be feeling too confident after watching Lars Stindl, Raffael, and Christoph Kramer all score before halftime.

Elsewhere
RB Leipzig 2-5 Hoffenheim
Eintracht Frankfurt 0-3 Hertha Berlin
Stuttgart 2-0 Werder Bremen
Hannover 96 0-3 Bayern Munich
Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Koln 2-2 Schalke — USMNT’s McKennie goes 90

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 31 25 3 3 84 22 62 13-2-0 12-1-3 78
 FC Schalke 04 31 16 8 7 49 35 14 9-4-2 7-4-5 56
 Borussia Dortmund 31 15 9 7 61 41 20 9-4-3 6-5-4 54
 Bayer Leverkusen 31 14 9 8 55 41 14 7-5-3 7-4-5 51
 1899 Hoffenheim 31 13 10 8 60 44 16 9-4-2 4-6-6 49
 RB Leipzig 31 13 8 10 47 47 0 8-4-4 5-4-6 47
 Eintracht Frankfurt 31 13 7 11 41 40 1 7-4-5 6-3-6 46
 Mönchengladbach 31 12 7 12 42 48 -6 8-4-4 4-3-8 43
 Hertha BSC Berlin 31 10 12 9 38 35 3 5-6-4 5-6-5 42
 VfB Stuttgart 31 12 6 13 29 35 -6 9-4-3 3-2-10 42
 FC Augsburg 31 10 10 11 40 40 0 6-4-6 4-6-5 40
 Werder Bremen 31 9 10 12 34 38 -4 6-5-4 3-5-8 37
 Hannover 96 31 9 9 13 38 47 -9 7-3-6 2-6-7 36
 VfL Wolfsburg 31 5 15 11 30 40 -10 2-8-5 3-7-6 30
 FSV Mainz 05 31 7 9 15 32 49 -17 6-3-6 1-6-9 30
 SC Freiburg 31 6 12 13 26 51 -25 5-6-4 1-6-9 30
 Hamburger SV 31 6 7 18 24 48 -24 5-4-7 1-3-11 25
 1. FC Köln 31 5 7 19 31 60 -29 3-5-8 2-2-11 22

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.

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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.