Josip Drmic

Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images

Aston Villa smashes Norwich City in 5-star win

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Aston Villa climbed out of the bottom three and sank Norwich City into it during a 5-1 defeat of the Canaries at Carrow Road on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Wesley scored a pair of first half goals, and Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane, and Douglas Luiz also got on the sheet in the big win.

Josip Drmic‘s stoppage time goal ruined Tom Heaton‘s clean sheet in a game with 44 total shots (22 to Villa).

Norwich has six points and sits 18th. Villa has eight and is up to 14th.


Three things we learned

1. The Villans will feel richly rewarded. Will they roll on? Perhaps no side has been less rewarded for performance this season than Smith’s men, including the remarkably silly officials’ decision at the end of the Crystal Palace match. The only shame is that Villa Park was unable to appreciate the moment.

Now can the Villa team feel a little unshackled, with their points meeting their performance for just a second time this season?

2. Mings the man early: Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings has consistently delivered for the newly-promoted side this season, beginning on Opening Day when he blocked every shot on Earth. He didn’t have a great second half at Carrow Road, but don’t sleep on what he did when the game was still in the balance.

Known before his time at Villa for being a big money buy with as many shocking tackles and injuries as good moments, Dean Smith has turned the center back into an England regular. And he is delivering, making an amazing recovery to stop a deflected effort from leveling the score at 1 shortly after Wesley put Villa in front, and then stopping Buendia’s rip in the 28th.

3. Shades of Benteke from Villa’s new big man: Remember for a moment that the Christian Benteke we saw at Aston Villa was unplayable at at times. Now a big Brazilian is conjuring up memories of the powerful yet deft Belgian, as Wesley scored his third and fourth goals of his Premier League career. The second was nothing special, just a center forward in the right place for a cutback, but the first showed the patience to not launch into a low header.

Man of the Match: 


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Stiepermann’s long dribble looked set for a lay-off to Teemu Pukki, who started the move, but the former Borussia Dortmund man took a shot which deflected onto goal.

He’d take another chance off a corner kick, and end up with three attempts when the sequence ended without a goal. Aston Villa had taken the first three shots, Stiepermann the next three.

Wesley’s chest trap and clever finish of a cross onto the doorstep was a deserved opener for the Brazilian big man, who is recalling the early days of former Villa man Christian Benteke.

In-form Tyrone Mings that made a terrific goal line clearances to keep it 1-0 as Norwich threatened the goal.

Anwar El Ghazi missed a clean bid to make it a two-goal lead with a header off the bar, and John McGinn curled a beauty just wide of the far post after fine work in the 27th minute.

Kenny McLean then caught Conor Hourihane’s run into the box to set up Wesley for a hat trick bid, but McGovern made a pair of saves after a slow run-up from the Brazilian.

The floodgates still opened after that, and Villa rightly deserved the three points.

Norwich City adds Switzerland international Drmic on free transfer

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Norwich City has added a new star striker to a unit which produced 93 goals in the Championship last season.

Josip Drmic will join Swiss national teammate Timm Klose with the Canaries for the next three seasons, hoping to bring his Bundesliga and international experience to a Premier League safety campaign.

[ MORE: Johannsson to MLS? ]

Drmic turns 27 next month, and scored two goals in five appearances for Borussia Monchengladbach last season. He has 31 goals and seven assists in 107 Bundesliga appearances between Gladbach, Hamburger SV, Bayer Leverkusen, and Nurnberg.

Coach Daniel Farke got 30 goals from target forward Teemu Pukki, who plays a similar role to Drmic and has plenty of top flight experience with Celtic and Schalke amongst others.

Drmic can also operate on the wing, usually left over right, and has featured in both the 2014 and 2018 World Cup. From Canaries.co.uk:

“I’m going to do everything and give 100% on the pitch. I will be ready to give everything for the club. My job is scoring but I also want to help my team and help us be successful.

“When I first came to Norwich, the first thing I noticed was how kind everybody was. It’s given me a lot of positive energy and I’m excited to see what happens.”

Between Pukki and Drmic, Norwich can have faith that its well-prepared to have an answer up top.

Bizarre must-see penalty levels Costa Rica, Switzerland

AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda
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A wild finish in Nizhny Novgorod saw Costa Rica come back to draw Switzerland 2-2, though the Swiss are the second-place side to move into the Round of 16.

Switzerland led through ex-Montreal Impact midfielder Blerim Dzemaili and later Josip Drmic, but Vancouver Whitecaps defender Kendall Waston and ex-Fulham man Bryan Ruiz found equalizers.

Ruiz’s goal was especially wild, his PK bounding off the bar but hitting the Swiss goalkeeper for what will absurdly be recorded as an own goal.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Dzemaili’s goal came when Breel Embolo leapt to knock down Stephan Lichtsteiner’s cross back toward the top of the six.

The knockdown could hardly have found Dzemaili in a more favorable position.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

It was Whitecaps stalwart Waston who restored the deadlock off a 56th minute set piece.

MLS defenses have seen this before…

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]  

Switzerland went ahead through Drmic, and then almost gave the lead right back. A penalty was awarded to Costa Rica’s Bryan Ruiz, but the ex-Fulham man was found offside via VAR.

No matter, Costa Rica got its penalty late, and converted it in… unusual fashion. Joel Campbell’s effort won the PK, and Ruiz’s shot hit the bar, then Swiss goalkeeper Jan Sommer’s head to make it 2-2.

Bundesliga wrap: Blowouts a-plenty as Bayern cruises; USMNT’s Brooks, Chandler go 90

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Things are tight on the Bundesliga table, at least between spots No. 3 and 9, as well as the relegation battlers.

Bayern Munich continues to power its way toward another German title, this time pouring forth goals at the Weserstadion in Bremn on Saturday.

[ VIDEO: Messi’s magic dribble vs. Eibar ]

Werder Bremen 0-4 Bayern Munich

After winning 7-0 at home to Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League this week, Pep Guardiola’s boys let off the gas in only putting four past Werder Bremen on Saturday.

The Bundesliga’s top side increased its table lead to 14 points before Wolfsburg and Freiburg tangle on Sunday behind a pair of goals from Robert Lewandowski and stunners from Thomas Muller and David Alaba.

source: Getty ImagesEintracht Frankfurt 4-0 Paderborn

Four different players scored as the hosts cruised past Paderborn on Saturday, with the newly-promoted visitors in the relegation playoff spot, 16th.

Alexander Meier started the scoring in the 27th minute, and USMNT veteran Timothy Chandler (right) went 90 minutes as an effective and active right back. Chandler made 62 runs and was credited with 79 touches, second-best in the match to teammate Bastian Oczipka.

Eintracht is in 8th place, seven points back of fourth place.

Hertha Berlin 2-2 Schalke

USMNT center back John Anthony Brooks went the entire 90 and completed the second-most passes on his team as Hertha Berlin barely escaped with a home point against Schalke despite holding two leads on the day. Brooks was arguably responsible for both Schalke goals.

Anis Ben-Hatira (above left, with Brooks) scored in the 21st minute before Leroy Sane equalized for Schalke before halftime. Genki Haraguchi looked to have lifted Hertha in the 81st minute, but Joel Matip scored at the death to keep the visitors within three points of third place. Brooks’ boys are four points clear of the drop and three clear of the relegation playoff slot.

Elsewhere
Bayer Leverkusen 4-0 Stuttgart — Josip Drmic nets fifth and sixth of year.
Hoffenheim 3-0 Hamburger SV — Eugen Polanski scores in both halves for 7th side.
Augsburg 0-2 Mainz — Shinji Okazaki and Ja-Cheol Koo score in win.
Borussia Dortmund 0-0 Koln — BVB’s late Europe charge slowed by Billy Goats.
Wolfsburg vs. Freiburg — 10:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Hannover — 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Bayern Munich 25 20 4 1 70 11 59 11-1-0 9-3-1 64
VfL Wolfsburg 24 15 5 4 53 28 25 10-2-0 5-3-4 50
Bayer Leverkusen 25 11 9 5 44 29 15 6-6-1 5-3-4 42
Mönchen 24 11 8 5 33 20 13 8-3-1 3-5-4 41
FC Schalke 04 25 11 6 8 37 30 7 8-4-1 3-2-7 39
FC Augsburg 25 12 2 11 33 32 1 8-2-3 4-0-8 38
1899 Hoffenheim 25 10 6 9 40 38 2 8-2-3 2-4-6 36
Eintracht Frankfurt 25 9 7 9 48 49 -1 7-3-3 2-4-6 34
Werder Bremen 25 9 6 10 40 53 -13 6-3-4 3-3-6 33
Borussia Dortmund 25 8 6 11 31 31 0 5-3-4 3-3-7 30
FSV Mainz 05 25 6 11 8 34 35 -1 4-5-3 2-6-5 29
1. FC Köln 25 7 8 10 25 31 -6 2-6-4 5-2-6 29
Hannover 96 24 7 6 11 27 37 -10 5-2-5 2-4-6 27
Hertha BSC Berlin 25 7 5 13 30 44 -14 5-2-6 2-3-7 26
Hamburger SV 25 6 7 12 16 36 -20 4-4-4 2-3-8 25
SC Paderborn 25 5 8 12 23 50 -27 3-4-5 2-4-7 23
SC Freiburg 24 4 10 10 24 33 -9 2-6-4 2-4-6 22
VfB Stuttgart 25 4 8 13 24 45 -21 1-3-8 3-5-5 20

 

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund keeps climbing, Lewandowski leads Bayern rout

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A goalkeeper’s goal is overshadowing big wins from a pair of big names at both ends of the table, as the Bundesliga continues to provide plenty of excitement.

[ MORE: Augsburg GK nets equalizer ]

Second-place Wolfsburg has yet to play, and USMNT defender John Anthony Brooks will try to keep the red-hot Wolves at bay on Sunday.

Stuttgart 2-3 Borussia Dortmund
The big names are producing as BVB kept moving clear of relegation fears with a big road win against fellow relegation threats Stuttgart.

The UEFA Champions League side got goals from Ilkay Gundogan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Marco Reus, while Florian Klein and George Niedermeier scored for the hosts.

In the relegation zone for most of the season, BVB’s third-straight victory has it within a remarkable three points of the top half of the table.

Augsburg 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Marwin Hitz is the hero of the day, as the Swiss goalkeeper scored a goal inside the Bayer six-yard box with mere moments to play in stoppage time, giving Augsburg a point and keeping the club in the thick of the race for a UEFA Champions League spot.

source: APBayer held 1-0 and 2-1 leads on goals from Josip Drmic and Stefan Reinartz, with Caiuby netting in the middle for Augsburg.

Paderborn 0-6 Bayern Munich
There was a nice time when tiny Bundesliga newcomers Paderborn were shocking the league with early season wins. That time is a distant memory, as Robert Lewandowski scored a brace to leave the hosts a point above the relegation playoff mix.

Bayern gave itself an 11-point table lead before second-place Wolfsburg plays Sunday, also getting a pair of goals from Arjen Robben and individual tallies from Franck Ribery and Mitchell Weiser.

Elsewhere
Mainz 3-1 Eintracht Frankfurt — Martin Schmidt wins debut as manager in derby.
Freiburg 1-1 Hoffenheim — Kevin Volland nets equalizer in Black Forest rivalry.
Schalke 1-1 Werder Bremen — Sebastian Prodl’s late goal keeps Bremen on rise.
Koln 1-1 Hannover — Points shared in bottom half of table.
Hamburg vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — 930am ET Sunday
Wolfsburg vs. Hertha Berlin —
1130am ET Sunday

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Bayern Munich 22 17 4 1 59 9 50 10-1-0 7-3-1 55
VfL Wolfsburg 21 13 5 3 46 23 23 9-2-0 4-3-3 44
Mönchen 21 10 6 5 28 17 11 7-3-1 3-3-4 36
FC Schalke 04 22 10 5 7 32 24 8 7-4-1 3-1-6 35
FC Augsburg 22 11 2 9 32 29 3 7-2-2 4-0-7 35
Bayer Leverkusen 22 8 9 5 36 29 7 4-6-1 4-3-4 33
1899 Hoffenheim 22 8 6 8 34 35 -1 6-2-3 2-4-5 30
Werder Bremen 22 8 6 8 36 44 -8 6-3-2 2-3-6 30
Eintracht Frankfurt 22 7 7 8 40 44 -4 5-3-3 2-4-5 28
Hannover 96 22 7 5 10 25 33 -8 5-1-4 2-4-6 26
FSV Mainz 05 22 5 10 7 30 31 -1 4-4-3 1-6-4 25
Borussia Dortmund 22 7 4 11 28 31 -3 4-2-4 3-2-7 25
1. FC Köln 22 6 7 9 20 25 -5 1-6-4 5-1-5 25
Hamburger SV 21 6 5 10 14 30 -16 4-2-4 2-3-6 23
SC Paderborn 22 5 8 9 23 41 -18 3-4-4 2-4-5 23
SC Freiburg 22 4 10 8 24 31 -7 2-6-3 2-4-5 22
Hertha BSC Berlin 21 6 3 12 26 40 -14 4-1-6 2-2-6 21
VfB Stuttgart 22 4 6 12 23 40 -17 1-2-8 3-4-4 18