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Jurgen Klinsmann signs on as Hertha BSC head coach

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Hertha BSC has hired former USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann as boss through the end of the season, the club announced Wednesday morning. Klinsmann replaces Ante Covic who had only been in the position since the summer.

The coaching position is Klinsmann’s first since he was fired from his post with the United States in 2016 and replaced by Bruce Arena amidst what would ultimately be a failed World Cup qualifying cycle.

Hertha sits 15th in the 18-team Bundesliga table, firmly in the relegation mix having lost its last four league games in a row. Aside from a four-match unbeaten run through late September and early October, Hertha has picked up just one points through its other eight league matches.

Klinsmann’s last Bundesliga spell came with Bayern Munich in the 2008/09 campaign, where he was sacked five matches from completion of his first season. The club sat third at the time of his firing and players later spoke of Klinsmann’s lack of tactical ability that led to dressing room turmoil. Klinsmann also led the German national team from 2004-2006 where he is credited with the birth of a youth revolution, overhauling the youth structure and helping the national team reload after a period of poor results.

Klinsmann had been appointed to the Hertha board just three weeks ago, saying he was “emotionally invested in” the club with his late father a big fan of the team while growing up in Berlin.

Covic had been with the club since 2003 first as a player – making 180 appearances in midfield over two stints – and then as a youth team and reserve coach.

“It was an extremely difficult decision for us, because Ante has been part of Hertha BSC for more than 20 years,” said Hertha sporting director Michael Preetz in the official team release. “He has conducted himself with a lot of passion, expertise and meticulousness ever since he took over as head coach of the first team in the summer. We regret that it has come to this, but ultimately, in terms of development and recent results, we felt there was a need for action. I would like to thank Ante for his commitment and in time we will talk to him about alternative ways for him to be involved with Hertha BSC.”

Bundesliga roundup: Bayern rolls, Hertha continues stumble, Wolfsburg beat again

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While the Bundesliga title is wrapped up, the race for a Champions League place is heating up. A few teams currently in the top four are floundering to the finish line, while others are heating up the chase. Here’s all the results from Saturday’s play in Germany.

Bayern Munich 3-0 Schalke

Bayern Munich won for the fifth straight time in Bundesliga play as they dominated Schalke 3-0 behind a second-half brace from Robert Lewandowski and a cherry on top from Arturo Vidal. After a scoreless opening 45 minutes, Lewandowski opened the scoring in the 54th minute after a header from Vidal landed in his lap, and the Polish striker completed the turn-and-shoot by tucking the ball inside the far post. The goal ended a run of six matches without a goal for Lewandowski, and he added another 11 minutes later to give him 26 this Bundesliga season.

Hoffenheim 2-1 Hertha BSC

Things are getting hairy for John Brooks and Hertha after they suffered a 2-1 loss to Hoffenheim at Rhein-Neckar Arena, giving them just one point over their last three matches. Niklas Stark scored for the visitors in the 26th minute, but they conceded just seven minutes later to level the score, and Hoffenheim bagged the winner via Mark Uth with five minutes to go. That drops Hertha from third to fourth in the table, with just a four-point cushion between them and Borussia Monchengladbach in fifth. USMNT’er Brooks played the full 90 minutes, his first game back after missing the last two with a knee injury. Prior to the injury, Brooks had played the full 90 in 16 straight league matches. The win for Hoffenheim, meanwhile, is massive, pulling them away from the relegation zone, especially important consindering Werder Bremen also won.

Werder Bremen 3-2 Wolfsburg

After lighting Europe on fire last season, Wolfsburg’s 2015/16 campaign has been nothing short of disappointing, as they fail to gain ground on Schalke with a road loss to Werder Bremen thanks to an 83rd minute score by Sambou Yatabare. That makes five winless in a row for Wolfsburg in Bundesliga play, with just two points in that span. They sit in eighth place in the league table, six back of Schalke and Mainz. The win for Werder Bremen puts them in the final relegation space, four points above Eintracht Frankfurt and just two behind Stuttgart.

Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 Eintracht Frankfurt

A trio of goals in the final 20 minutes saw Bayer cruise past relegation threatened Eintracht. With his team out-passing Frankfurt 323-119, Kevin Kampl put Bayer ahead in the 70th minute. The floodgates opened from there, with Julian Brandt and Karim Bellarabi putting the final touches on the scoreline. The win moves Bayer ahead of Hertha into third place with 51 points.

Augsburg 1-0 Stuttgart

A 36th-minute strike by Alfred Finnbogason was enough to propel FC Augsburg past Stuttgart at SGL Arena. The two sides are now level on points, with both just two points above the relegation zone.

Darmstadt 2-0 Ingolstadt

After a scoreless first half between the two promoted sides, Konstantin Rausch put Darmstadt ahead in the 51st minute and Sandro Wagner finished it off with five minutes to go as Darmstadt moved into 10th place, four points behind their opponents in ninth.

Americans Abroad preview: Howard, Guzan meet in England; Brooks, Johnson clash in Germany

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Another weekend is upon us, and that means Americans playing their club soccer abroad will turn their attention to executing top-notch performances.

The most notable matchup comes out of the Premier League, where Everton netminder Tim Howard and Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan will encounter each other as their respective teams go head-to-head. Howard and the Toffees are fresh off a superb 3-0 win against Manchester United, while Villa put in a valiant attempt to challenge Manchester City and lost, 3-2, last week. Guzan hasn’t won in four meetings vs. Everton when Howard’s started.

Ahead of Stoke City’s journey to Swansea on Saturday, Geoff Cameron has reportedly been coping with hamstring “tightness”, which, manager Mark Hughes said, will be a game-time decision and could keep him out of the clash. Phil Bardsley, who has been out of selection due to poor play, would likely replace Cameron.

To Tottenham, Spurs defender DeAndre Yedlin finally made his first team debut as a 79th-minute substitute in last week’s 1-0 loss to Aston Villa, and he showed moments of promise. His selection for the upcoming vital clash against Manchester City at White Hart Lane is undetermined at this point, but if Mauricio Pochettino needs an attacking spark late in the game, the 21-year-old may be called upon.

[RELATED: Cameron on Chelsea’s defensive success, life at NBC studio]

In the Bundesliga, Hertha BSC, featuring young German-American defender John Brooks, will take on Borussia Mönchengladbach, starring veteran midfielder Fabian Johnson. Many have commended Brooks for his growth this season, and currently, his success has helped his side allow only four goals in eight previous competitions. Johnson, too, is witnessing above average form right now with one goal and four assists in his past seven starts. Hertha is situated at 13th place, and the Foals are battling hard in the top three.

Over to Ligue 1, Alejandro Bedoya of Nantes has started the last four games for his team and scored two goals in that span. The USMNT regular has shown flashes of quality in France, and he will have the chance to extend his form this weekend in a clash against leader Paris Saint-Germain. The Canaries are slotted at 10th place in the league table.

Others

Norway: Bob Bradley, Cole Grossman when Stabæk faces Rhett Bernstein, Mjøndalen

Germany: Timothy Chandler in Eintracht Frankfurt at Werder Bremen

Bundesliga roundup: Bayern Munich extend league lead with Bayer and Dortmund dropping points

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Tough day in the Rhineland, as Borussia Dortmund had to battle back from two-down, and Borussia Monchengladbach could only muster a scoreless draw at ninth-placed Mainz 05.

In addition, second-place Bayer Leverkusen majorly disappointed at home against Eintracht Frankfurt, losing 1-0 and allowing Munich to extend their lead at the top of the Bundesliga table.

Everything else held true to league position, as Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg, and Schalke all won.

Bayern Munich 3-1 Hamburg

The league leaders increased their gap at the top to seven points, showing no ill effects from their 3-2 loss to Manchester City midweek.

It took most of the first half to get going, but after it was over Mario Mandzukic, Mario Gotze and Xherdan Shaqiri had all bagged goals.  The Bavarians host Bayer Leverkusen next weekend with a chance to make the gap even larger.

Hoffenheim 2-2 Borussia Dortmund

Two goals from the hosts in the first half forced Dortmund to battle from behind, finally pegging back level via Lukasz Piszczek in the 67th minute.

It was all Dortmund could muster though, as Piszczek, Robert Lewandowski, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all wasted chances to clinch the full bounty, and Dortmund fell 12 points off the leaders Bayern Munich.

Bayer Leverkusen 0-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

The first home Bundesliga defeat since March leaves Bayer unable to keep pace with Bayern Munich at the top, as a Marco Russ header downed the hosts.

It could have been more too, had Eintracht taken advantage of their dominant first half, but goalkeeper Kevin Trapp made some quality saves to doom Bayer.

Mainz 0-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

The visitors were clearly on top but couldn’t get the spoils despite moving their unbeaten run to seven matches.

Mainz’s Shinji Okazaki wasted a counter opportunity, as did Monchengladbach’s Max Kruse and the point moves the visitors level with Borussia Dortmund with 32 points.

Hannover 3-3 Nurnberg

Nurnberg blew a three-goal lead, but the comeback was marred by Hannover’s second, which came on a missed offsides on Mame Diouf who grabbed the last two scores in the 87th and 90th minutes.

source: AP
Jefferson Farfan bagged the second for Schalke as they eased into sixth in the table.

The comeback is bitterly disappointing for the visitors, who are still searching for their first win of the season, and three points would have seen them out of the relegation zone.

Schalke 2-0 Freiburg

It took an own-goal just before the break to start the scorebooks, but Schalke built on that with a 67th minute penalty by Jefferson Farfan.  American Jermaine Jones was bright along the right flank.

The victory also marked the substitute return by Kyriakos Papadopoulos, who made his first Bundesliga appearance in over a year on his way back from a torn ACL.

Augsburg 4-1 BTSV

Andre Hahn bagged a double within three minutes as Augsburg jumped Mainz in the table and moved to 8th place.  BTSV remains in 20th with just eight points on the year.

Hertha BSC 3-2 Werder Bremen

On Friday Werder Bremen were looking to bounce back from a 7-0 shellacking at the hands of Bayern Munich, but couldn’t maintain an early lead.

Adrian Ramos led the comeback for Hertha with a first-half double and Ronny picked up the winner as they maintained their spot in seventh place.

Klinsmann to call up 20-year-old defender for friendly

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Hertha BSC defender John Anthony Brooks is set to receive a call-up from the USMNT for the friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina on August 14, according to German news organization Kicker.

ESPN reporter Jeff Carlisle has confirmed the report via Twitter.

Brooks is of German birth, but his father is American, and he’s not committed to either country as of yet.  This would be a massive blow to the German international team, whom Brooks has represented at the U-20 level, and a huge grab for the United States.

The 6-foot-4 20-year-old has attended a number of camps held by U-20 coach Tab Ramos, but turned down an invite to represent the United States at the past U-20 World Cup in order to recuperate from the past season, which saw Hertha promoted to the German top flight.  He had previously told Berliner Kurier in April that he would play in the U-20 World Cup but hadn’t decided which team.

The Berlin-born defender made his debut with the Hertha senior team last season, and made 29 appearances in the 2.Bundesliga without drawing a single card, and also scored a goal.

Hertha manager Michael Preetz said of Brooks’ call-up, “The appointment will give him a boost and we hope he builds on his good performances of the season in the Bundesliga second division.  This will give us another perspective on a very interesting young player.”

One would now expect Brooks to appear in the friendly, which will take place in Sarajevo at 2:30pm ET.