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USMNT’s Sargent signs ‘long-term’ extension with Werder

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Josh Sargent’s stock is rising as quickly as any American player’s stock has ever risen, but Werder Bremen intend to keep the 19-year-old forward among their ranks for quite some time in the wake of signing him to a “long-term contract extension.”

[ MORE: Top PL storylines for Week 28 (Tuesday & Wednesday) ]

Werder, who sit ninth in the Bundesliga table, announced the deal on Tuesday, four days after the U.S. men’s national team starlet made his first league start in a 1-1 draw with Stuttgart on Friday.

Head coach Florian Kohfeldt was full of praise for the St. Louis, Mo., native: “If you see Josh in the dressing room, in training or on a matchday, you see someone who wants to watch and learn, not just a very talented young footballer. I’m sure that Josh will become a very important part of the squad.”

[ MORE: Premier League midweek streaming, TV schedule ]

Sargent is arguably the best center forward prospect the USMNT has ever had, mixing loads of technical talent and a creative mind with great spatial awareness and timing on his movement. With any luck, he’ll continue to develop in a prominent role at Werder for at least two more seasons, scoring a boatload of goals in the process, before following in the footsteps of Christian Pulisic’s $73-million transfer to one of Europe’s biggest clubs.

USMNT’s Sargent makes 1st Bundesliga start in Bremen’s 1-1 draw

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BREMEN, Germany (AP) Werder Bremen’s European hopes were damaged by a 1-1 home draw with Stuttgart in the Bundesliga Friday.

Bremen had been hoping to get closer to Wolfsburg, which occupies the last Europa League qualifying position in sixth spot, but had to be content with a move up to ninth.

Steven Zuber fired Stuttgart ahead after 61 seconds. The former Hoffenheim striker stayed cool after he was sent through by Mario Gomez to shoot beyond Bremen keeper Jiri Pavlenka and inside the far post.

Despite more possession for the hosts, it was Stuttgart which had the better chances – Gomez spurning two good opportunities – and the visitors were left to rue the misses when Max Kruse set up Dutch midfielder Davy Klaassen to equalize with a powerful strike before the break.

“I’m sorry for the team,” Gomez said.

Bremen brought on Claudio Pizarro, who became the oldest ever goalscorer when he grabbed a late equalizer against Hertha Berlin last weekend, for the last half-hour but the 40-year-old Peruvian could not find the winner.

American forward Josh Sargent made his first league start for Bremen.

Stuttgart remained in the relegation zone with 16 points from 23 games.

On Saturday, second-place Bayern Munich hosts Hertha. Leader Borussia Dortmund takes on Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.

More AP German soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/Bundesliga and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Bundesliga is back: What to watch for

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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The Winterpause ends Friday, as Bayern Munich visits Hoffenheim with a new feel for its first match of a calendar year: That of the title chaser.

The six-time defending Bundesliga champions enter the second half of the season six points back of Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: JPW’s PL picks ]

Still 2.5 months from the next Der Klassiker (April 6 at the Allianz Arena), Bayern has to navigate a title fight without the chance to directly affect its rivals. Both clubs face Premier League opposition in the Champions League — Bayern with Liverpool, BVB v. Spurs — and neither has a particularly easy start to 2019. Other storylines to watch:

How much will Christian Pulisic’s transfer further affect his playing time? Whether or not Pulisic leaves for Chelsea as a Bundesliga champion is one thing, but many American eyes will be trained upon how often he’s deployed by Lucien Favre at Borussia Dortmund.

Let’s be clear on one thing: Favre has rotated his forwards heavily between Champions League and the Bundesliga. Jadon Sancho has played 1025 minutes, Jacob Bruun Larsen 830, Maximilian Philipp 515, Paco Alcacer 503, and Pulisic 483. Numbers two through eight on the playing time scale are defenders or midfielders (Marco Reus is first with 1483).

Amongst BVB attackers in the Champions League, however, only Reus has played more than Pulisic’s 339 minutes. And while Pulisic played 1 and 2 minutes in consecutive Bundesliga matches, he went 90 against Monaco in the UCL match separating those sub spots.

In other words, this isn’t as much of a quagmire as some Americans would lead you to believe. Yes, ex-Man City man Jadon Sancho has stolen Pulisic’s wonder boy numbers and title, but the kid isn’t being left in the cold.

Is Weston McKennie heading for Liverpool? It seems more likely a new deal is coming at Schalke, but you could easily see Jurgen Klopp liking the versatility of the 20-year-old midfielder as its midfield gets a bit older.

Schalke’s American midfielder Weston McKennie (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

What about the rest of the Americans (and a Canadian)? Almost as many eyes will be on Tyler Adams as the New York Red Bulls product takes the next step at RB Leipzig. FC Dallas’ Chris Richards is also now with Bayern Munich, while Canadian phenom Alphonso Davies begins his much-anticipated time with Bayern.

John Brooks of Wolfsburg is the top-rated American player in the top flight this season via WhoScored.com, one of eight Yanks to take the field.

Here are the Americans abroad in Germany :

Christian Pulisic, Borussia Dortmund — 11 apps, 483 mins, 1G-2A
Weston McKennie, Schalke — 13 apps, 778 mins, 1G-1A
Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen —
2 goals in 45 senior minutes
John Brooks, Wolfsburg — 16 apps, 1440 mins, 1G-1A
Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig  —  
Arrived in January
Haji Wright, Schalke  —  5 senior games, 1 goal
Bobby Wood, Hannover 96 — 14 apps, 913 mins, 3G-1A
Aron Johannsson, Werder Bremen — Hasn’t played
Fabian Johnson, ‘Gladbach — 11 apps, 543 mins, 1 goal
Timothy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt — Hasn’t played
Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf — 11 apps, 917 mins, 1 goal
Caleb Stanko, Freiburg — Hasn’t played
Timothy Tillman, Nurnberg — Hasn’t played

How low will Schalke finish? A dreadful start to the season has last season’s No. 2 team, Schalke, sitting four points above the relegation playoff spot, nine back of the last Europa League spot, and 13 behind the Top Four.

Schalke’s other route to Europe include the DFB-Pokal, where they next face Fortuna Dusseldorf in the Round of 16, and winning the Champions League (Manchester City is their next opponent).

Will Robert Lewandowski defend his Golden Boot? The Bayern Munich star is chasing his fourth time leading the league in goals since 2013-14, his final year at Dortmund. Here are the current leaders:

Race for the Golden Boot
Pos Name Total
1 Luka Jovic, Eintracht Frankfurt 12
1 Paco Alcácer, Borussia Dortmund 12
3 Marco Reus, Borussia Dortmund 11
3 Timo Werner, RB Leipzig 11
5 Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich 10
6 Sebastien Haller, Eintracht Frankfurt 9
6 Thorgan Hazard, Borussia Monchengladbach 9
6 Alessane Plea, Borussia Monchengladbach 9
9 Youssef Poulsen, RB Leipzig 8
10 Alfred Finnbogason, Augsburg 7

[ MORE: Emery on possible exit for Mesut Ozil, reason for his absence ]

Will any of the new boys survive? Two teams go down and a third goes to a playoff game against the third place team in 2.Bundesliga (currently FC St. Pauli).

This season, the four latest teams to earn promotion are all in danger of the drop. Here’s how bottom of the table looks:

14. Fortuna Dusseldorf(2018/19) – 18
15. Augsburg (2011/12) – 15
16. Stuttgart (2017/18) – 14
17. Hannover 96 (2017/18) – 11
18. Nurnberg (2018/19) -11

USMNT’s Sargent scores again

Carmen Jaspersen/dpa via AP, file
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American teenager Josh Sargent scored the second goal of his Bundesliga career, giving Werder Bremen an equalizer at RB Leipzig on Saturday.

RBL led 2-0 at halftime through Lukas Klostermann and Timo Werner, but Bremen began to get it going in the second half.

[ WATCH: Townsend’s Goal of Season contender ]

Max Kruse’s deflected strike made it 2-1 in the 67th, a minute after the visitors put the 18-year-old Sargent into the match.

Sargent got his own marker in the 77th, running into space to earn a terrific pass from Yuya Osako and pull Bremen level with a fine finish inside the far post. RBL has since retaken the lead.

The run and the shot are equal parts encouraging, as the stage has not proved too big for the USMNT forward.

Bundesliga wrap: Alaba meteor leads Bayern rout; BVB wins again

AP Photo/Michael Sohn
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David Alaba scored a beautiful goal as Bayern Munich pulled level with second place Borussia Monchengladbach, but the pair sit nine points back of outstanding Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: Pep praises G. Jesus ]

Meanwhile, Stuttgart and Augsburg both moved away from the Bottom Three on Saturday in Germany.


Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Werder Bremen

Paco Alcacer scored his 11th goal of the Bundesliga season to make it 1-0 in the 19th minute. He’s scored in eight of 10 league matches this season, and has a goal in the Champions League as well.

Marco Reus would double BVB’s advantage seven minutes later, but Max Kruse put the difference back to one by halftime.

Americans Christian Pulisic (BVB) and Josh Sargent (Bremen) began the match on the bench, with Sargent coming on for the final seven minutes and Pulisic in the 89th. Sargent was shown a yellow card.

Hannover 96 0-4 Bayern Munich

There were four different scorers for the visitors, but David Alaba’s wonder strike stands as the clear highlight.

The Austrian laid into a half-volley atop the 18, smashing the 29th minute effort toward the upper 90.

Hannover keeper Michael Esser saw the ball rocket off his fingers, as Alaba scored the second goal for Bayern. Joshua Kimmich opened the soring in the 2nd minute, and both Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski also found the scoresheet.

Elsewhere

Nurnberg 0-2 Wolfsburg — Friday
Stuttgart 2-1 Hertha Berlin
Augsburg 1-1 Schalke
Fortuna Dusseldorf 2-0 Freiburg
Hoffenheim 0-0 Borussia Monchengladbach
RB Leipzig vs. Mainz — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Bayer Leverkusen —  Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Borussia Dortmund 15 12 3 0 41 15 26 7-1-0 5-2-0 39
 Mönchengladbach 15 9 3 3 33 16 17 7-0-0 2-3-3 30
 Bayern Munich 15 9 3 3 32 18 14 3-3-1 6-0-2 30
 RB Leipzig 14 7 4 3 24 13 11 5-2-0 2-2-3 25
 Eintracht Frankfurt 14 7 2 5 30 17 13 3-1-2 4-1-3 23
 1899 Hoffenheim 15 6 5 4 30 21 9 3-3-2 3-2-2 23
 Hertha BSC Berlin 15 6 5 4 23 22 1 4-2-1 2-3-3 23
 VfL Wolfsburg 15 6 4 5 22 20 2 2-3-3 4-1-2 22
 Werder Bremen 15 6 3 6 25 25 0 3-2-3 3-1-3 21
 FSV Mainz 05 14 5 4 5 13 15 -2 3-3-2 2-1-3 19
 Bayer Leverkusen 14 5 3 6 20 25 -5 3-1-3 2-2-3 18
 SC Freiburg 15 4 5 6 19 24 -5 3-3-2 1-2-4 17
 FC Schalke 04 15 4 3 8 16 21 -5 3-0-4 1-3-4 15
 FC Augsburg 15 3 5 7 21 24 -3 1-4-2 2-1-5 14
 VfB Stuttgart 15 4 2 9 11 30 -19 3-1-3 1-1-6 14
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 15 3 3 9 16 32 -16 3-0-5 0-3-4 12
 1. FC Nürnberg 15 2 5 8 14 35 -21 2-3-3 0-2-5 11
 Hannover 96 15 2 4 9 16 33 -17 2-1-4 0-3-5 10