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Bundesliga wrap: Bayern joins BVB on top; Wolfsburg wins

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Well, look out Lucien.

Borussia Dortmund manager Lucien Favre and his men have company atop the Bundesliga table, at least for a day, after Bayern Munich collected a 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

[ MORE: Almiron stars for Newcastle ]

That puts the six-time defending Bundesliga champions level on points with BVB, who plays Sunday.

Bayern Munich 1-0 Hertha Berlin

Having played at midweek, a grind of a 0-0 draw at Liverpool, Bayern had most of the ball but failed to generate too much danger.

So it’s fitting that an unorthodox scorer pushed the Bavarians through, with Javi Martinez scoring his first goal of the season and just fourth in as many years.

His 62nd minute winner was aided in producing the win by an 84th minute Hertha red card.

Borussia Monchengladbach 0-3 Wolfsburg

American center back John Brooks will be plenty happy with his performance under the eye of new USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter, who was in attendance as Wolfsburg closed the gap on its third-place hosts to five points.

Brooks won 8 tackles and took a team-high 81 touches in the match, completing 53 of 59 passes.

Yannick Gerhardt scored before Admir Mehmedi added a brace for the visitors.

Elsewhere
Werder Bremen 1-1 Stuttgart — Friday; Sargent gets 1st start
Fortuna Dusseldorf 2-1 Nurnberg
Freiburg 5-1 Augsburg
Mainz 3-0 Schalke
Hannover 96 v. Eintracht Frankfurt — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Borussia Dortmund v. Bayer Leverkusen — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Borussia Dortmund 22 15 6 1 54 23 31 9-2-0 6-4-1 51
 Bayern Munich 23 16 3 4 51 26 25 7-3-1 9-0-3 51
 Mönchengladbach 23 13 4 6 42 25 17 9-0-2 4-4-4 43
 RB Leipzig 22 12 5 5 41 19 22 7-3-1 5-2-4 41
 VfL Wolfsburg 23 11 5 7 38 30 8 4-3-4 7-2-3 38
 Bayer Leverkusen 22 11 3 8 39 32 7 6-1-4 5-2-4 36
 Eintracht Frankfurt 22 9 7 6 41 28 13 5-3-3 4-4-3 34
 1899 Hoffenheim 22 8 9 5 44 32 12 4-5-3 4-4-2 33
 Werder Bremen 23 8 8 7 38 34 4 4-5-3 4-3-4 32
 Hertha BSC Berlin 23 8 8 7 35 33 2 4-5-2 4-3-5 32
 FSV Mainz 05 23 8 6 9 26 36 -10 5-4-3 3-2-6 30
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 23 8 4 11 27 42 -15 6-0-6 2-4-5 28
 SC Freiburg 23 6 9 8 34 38 -4 4-5-3 2-4-5 27
 FC Schalke 04 23 6 5 12 25 35 -10 4-1-6 2-4-6 23
 FC Augsburg 23 4 6 13 32 45 -13 2-4-5 2-2-8 18
 VfB Stuttgart 23 4 4 15 19 51 -32 3-2-6 1-2-9 16
 Hannover 96 22 3 5 14 20 47 -27 3-1-7 0-4-7 14
 1. FC Nürnberg 23 2 7 14 18 48 -30 2-5-5 0-2-9 13

Brooks helps earn clean sheet as Wolfsburg tops Nurnberg

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Wolfsburg has moved into the top half of the table and secured four straight unbeaten with a 2-0 victory over relegation-threatened Nurnberg on Friday.

American defender John Brooks was one of the stars for Wolfsburg, returning from his yellow card suspension last weekend to contribute yet another 90 minutes. The clean sheet is the fourth of the season for Wolfsburg in Bundesliga play.

After a scoreless first half, Daniel Ginczek opened the scoring just before the hour mark with his fifth goal of the season and third in his last three matches. Josip Brekalo finished it off in stoppage time to send Wolfburg back home with all three points, giving them a total of 22 from 15 matches into eighth place and level on points with seventh-placed Hoffenheim.

Brooks was fantastic over the course of the match’s 90 minutes. He was stellar in the air, winning eight of his 10 aerial duels and completing 10 clearances, four of which with his head. He also successfully completed his only tackle attempt of the match and played a relatively clean game, with just one foul through the 90 minutes and none in his own defensive half. He also completed 56 of his 68 passes, including 29 of 41 forward passes.

Brooks has been solid for Wolfsburg this season, playing every single Bundesliga minute for the club minus last weekend’s suspension for yellow card accumulation. The 25-year-old has played only sparingly for the United States national team in the last 18 months, due to a combination of poor form and injuries. Therefore, a positive turnaround for Brooks is great news for the USMNT as they have shuffled defensive partnerships looking for the most effective one, with mixed results.

The USMNT year-in-review: Eleven matches, many questions

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The calendar year has not ended for the United States men’s national team, even if its playing slate concluded Tuesday with a 1-0 stoppage time loss to Italy in Belgium.

(Bring on Berhalter, because it’s reportedly too late for anyone else).

[ MORE: USSF announces Player of Year finalists ]

The USMNT’s schedule this season was daunting, a visit from Bolivia the closest thing to a walkover and away matches to France, England, and Italy.

Interim coach Dave Sarachan finished his run with three wins, five losses, and four draws — all but one coming in 2018 — the most notable results being a draw with France prior to Les Bleus winning the World Cup and a win over Mexico in Tennessee courtesy of Tyler Adams.

Its leading goal scorer was Bobby Wood, and Josh Sargent was the only other player to score more than once. The other goal scorers were Tim Weah, Julian Green, Tyler Adams, and Kellyn Acosta.

Jan. 28 — USMNT 0-0 Bosnia and Herzegovina — Ike Opara was our Man of the Match in a drab affair to start the year.

March 27 — USMNT 1-0 Paraguay — A Wood penalty before half time was earned by Adams and set up by Marky Delgado. Adams had his strongest performance in a U.S. shirt, and the Cameron Carter-Vickers and Matt Miazga pairing was promising at the heart of the defense. Wil Trapp was also quite good.

May 28 — USMNT 3-0 Bolivia — Zimmerman, Sargent, and Weah were part of an extremely encouraging rollover of an inferior opponent.

June 2 — Republic of Ireland 2-1 USMNT — Wood scored in first half stoppage to give the Yanks a surprising lead, but disappointing errors from Bill Hamid and Miazga allowed the hosts to snare a 90th minute win.

June 9 — France 1-1 USMNT — Green’s 44th minute goal was nice, but this was Zack Steffen’s coming-out party. That said, was it even the Yanks’ best goalkeeper performance of the year. Ask Tuesday.

Sept. 7 — USMNT 0-2 Brazil — Roberto Firmino and Neymar scored first half goals, but this moment was not too big for the  young Yanks (even if it was a case of not being experienced enough to know “their place”).

Sept. 11 — USMNT 1-0 Mexico — Tyler Adams’ 71st minute goal from an Antonee Robinson feed was a nice moment for the Yanks. Miazga’s taunting of Diego Lainez may have not been classy, but it was a moment for the future of the USMNT-El Tri rivalry.

Oct. 11 — USMNT 2-4 Colombia — Acosta and Wood scored after halftime to give the Americans a stunning 2-1 lead, but Los Cafeteros very much restored order. It was one to forget on the whole, but Acosta and Weah showed glimpses of what could be.

Oct. 16 — USMNT 1-1 Peru — Sargent looked set for his first match-winning goal in an American shirt, but DeAndre Yedlin lost track of Edison Flores in the 86th to nullify what should’ve been a fine day for Sarachan through youngsters Weah and Sargent.

Nov. 15 — England 3-0 USMNT — Let’s just pretend this didn’t happen. One of the worst halves of Christian Pulisic’s U.S. tenure led into an improved-for-him-but-pretty-much-no-one-else second.

Nov. 20 — Italy 1-0 USMNT (in Belgium) — The Yanks close off their season by wasting a prime performance from Ethan Horvath, with Sebastian Lletget losing track of Inter Milan youngster Matteo Politano on a stoppage time goal.

So what did we learn, huh?

— Well, there are still major questions as to who is going to line up next to John Brooks, whether in a back three or four, for the next run of World Cup qualifying.

— And what about in goal? Ethan Horvath has made a claim to the job presumably heading to Zack Steffen, and either goalkeeper could literally spend the better part of a decade in the job.

— DeAndre Yedlin was once presumed the right back for the next decade, but his performances in a USMNT shirt have been haphazard at best. Can a new coach get him in line with his performances for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle, or might Reggie Cannon or Shaq Moore be in play.

— The U.S. still doesn’t have an experienced left back, and perhaps this will all be about Antonee Robinson learning on the job (though Moore was perfectly fine playing out-of-position against Italy).

— Is it two center mids or three, and is Michael Bradley coming back into the fold?Because Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams are penciled in for a while, and Kellyn Acosta has had fits and starts. Wil Trapp clearly also has a fan club in the USMNT hierarchy, and his club head coach is probably getting the job. So…. 4-1-4-1?

— Here’s something we already knew: This team goes as far as Christian Pulisic takes them.

— If Josh Sargent doesn’t start getting more meaningful playing time and Bobby Wood keeps living on his plateau, then you’re gonna be real mad when Jozy Altidore is striker No. 1 next summer.

Bundesliga wrap: Alcacer, BVB stays hot; Lewandowski feasts again

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Borussia Dortmund moved to a league-best 20 points on Saturday, ensuring that we’ll have a table leader not named Bayern Munich when the calendar turns to November.

[ VIDEO: Mourinho reacts to taunting, skirmish ]


Stuttgart 0-4 Borussia Dortmund

It’s been a very good time to be a supporter or member of Borussia Dortmund, who leads the table after another convincing win.

Red-hot Paco Alcacer now has seven goals in four Bundesliga matches after scoring the third goal on Saturday, while Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus, and Marvin Philipp also scored for the visitors.

USMNT winger Christian Pulisic returned to the fold for BVB, subbing into the match and providing an assist on Philipp’s 85th minute marker.

Schalke 0-2 Werder Bremen

Josh Sargent wasn’t on the bench for the visitors, but American teammate Weston McKennie did start for the hosts. McKennie covered the second-most ground in the contest, winning 14 tackles. He converted 19 of 24 passes and did not register a shot.

Unfortunately, the match wasn’t much to write home about for his side. Bremen got goals from Maximilian Egglestein on each side of halftime to grab another win on the young season.

Wolfsburg 1-3 Bayern Munich

Niko Kovac will be happy to get a decisive win after the international break, with James Rodriguez and Robert Lewandowski scoring in the win. Lewandowski’s brace included an absolute gift.

For Wolfsburg, USMNT center back John Brooks won tackles and completed 48 of his 53 passes, while Wout Weghorst scored its lone goal.

Elsewhere
Eintracht Frankfurt 7-1 Fortuna Dusseldorf — RECAP
Augsburg 0-0 RB Leipzig
Nurmberg 1-3 Hoffenheim
Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Hannover 96
Hertha Berlin vs. Freiburg — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Mainz — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Borussia Dortmund 8 6 2 0 27 8 19 4-0-0 2-2-0 20
 Werder Bremen 8 5 2 1 15 8 7 2-2-0 3-0-1 17
 Bayern Munich 8 5 1 2 15 9 6 2-1-1 3-0-1 16
 RB Leipzig 8 4 3 1 16 9 7 3-1-0 1-2-1 15
 Mönchengladbach 7 4 2 1 15 9 6 3-0-0 1-2-1 14
 Hertha BSC Berlin 7 4 2 1 12 7 5 3-0-0 1-2-1 14
 Eintracht Frankfurt 8 4 1 3 19 12 7 2-1-1 2-0-2 13
 1899 Hoffenheim 8 3 1 4 14 13 1 1-1-2 2-0-2 10
 FC Augsburg 8 2 3 3 14 13 1 1-2-1 1-1-2 9
 FSV Mainz 05 7 2 3 2 4 4 0 2-2-0 0-1-2 9
 VfL Wolfsburg 8 2 3 3 11 14 -3 1-2-2 1-1-1 9
 SC Freiburg 7 2 2 3 9 13 -4 1-2-1 1-0-2 8
 Bayer Leverkusen 8 2 2 4 9 15 -6 1-1-2 1-1-2 8
 1. FC Nürnberg 8 2 2 4 8 19 -11 2-1-1 0-1-3 8
 Hannover 96 8 1 3 4 10 16 -6 1-1-1 0-2-3 6
 FC Schalke 04 8 2 0 6 5 11 -6 1-0-3 1-0-3 6
 VfB Stuttgart 8 1 2 5 6 17 -11 1-1-2 0-1-3 5
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 8 1 2 5 6 18 -12 1-0-3 0-2-2 5

Player ratings: The good & the bad in USMNT’s loss to Colombia

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The U.S. men’s national team could do very little to slow down a star-studded, powerful Colombia side on Thursday, falling to a 4-2 defeat in Tampa, Fla.

There were a handful of good things to glean from the friendly, as well as plenty of bad things.

[ MORE: USMNT can do little to slow down prolific Colombia ]

GK – Zack Steffen: 5.5/10 — Steffen had no chance to do anything with three of the four goals conceded, given the quality of chances and finishes, but he was quick off his line on multiple occasions early in the game when Colombia could have blown it wide open and put up a crooked number.

RB – DeAndre Yedlin: 5/10 — The entire point of a player with Yedlin’s skill set is that he can bomb forward to overlap on the right wing and open up space for the attacker on that side of the field. Colombia simply had too much firepower, which pinned Yedlin back far too much for him to be effective.

CB – Matt Miazga: 5/10 — Similar to Yedlin, Miazga is at his best when he’s affecting the game further up the field — only in a defensive manner. Again, Colombia turned Miazga into an emergency defender running toward his own goal, which is far from his strong suit.

CB – John Brooks: 4.5/10 — Colombia repeatedly targeted the left side of the USMNT defense — and for good reason — which meant Antonee Robinson got roasted again and again (more on that in a moment). Brooks, the “veteran of the backline” at 25 years old and 34 caps, did very little — if anything — to remedy the situation.

LB – Antonee Robinson: 4/10 — Robinson had been a mostly encouraging piece for the future in his limited exposure with the USMNT. Tasked with defending one of James Rodriguez or Juan Cuadrado at all times — and the overlapping Santiago Arias, the 21-year-old struggled mightily. It’s almost as if he’d never played against anyone who’s been a star at Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Juventus.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from USMNT’s loss to Colombia ]

DM – Michael Bradley: 5.5/10 — Back with the USMNT for the first time in a year — and wearing the armband — Bradley was finally deployed in a situation that works for him: as a no. 6, with a no. 8, who’s actually a no. 8, alongside him. However, Bradley’s effort on Colombia’s third goal stuck out as sorely lacking, which won’t have done him any favors in the minds of his many skeptics.

DM – Kellyn Acosta: 6.5/10 — Acosta scored a goal and was extremely active, but outside of his 50th-minute equalizer he could impact very little a game that was played at an uncomfortably high tempo.

RW – Tim Weah: 7.5/10 — With Christian Pulisic not in camp due to injury, all eyes were on Weah, and a standout performance was expected — and desperately needed — from the 18-year-old. His assist to Bobby Wood in the 53rd minute certainly stood out and showcased a part of his game that’s far more important — and yet unknown: vision, seeing the perfect pass and playing the pass.

CM – Julian Green: 6/10 — Green is 23 years old, and somehow it feels like he’s enjoying a career renaissance as a central midfielder. It was Green who forcefully won the ball back in the lead-up to Acosta’s goal, and it was Green — not Bradley or Acosta — who was most effective with his final-third passing.

LW – Kenny Saief: 4/10 — Speaking of players who did little nothing to help Robinson in his struggles, Saief offered nothing defensively. It was such a problem that Dave Sarachan flipped Saief and Weah at halftime.

FW – Bobby Wood: 6/10 — Wood scored a goal, which is a big part of a forward’s job, but did very little else during his 83-minute shift. The goal was a result of his straight-line speed as he outran a pair of defenders — we knew he could do that already, but is there anything else to his game?