Marcus Thuram

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Bundesliga: No sanctions for George Floyd protests

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The Bundesliga and German FA have confirmed that Marcus Thuram, Weston McKennie, Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi will not be punished for their message of support for George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN last week there have been widespread protests across the USA. A video showed former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, putting his knee on George Floyd’s neck for more than 8 1/2 minutes. Chauvin was arrested last Friday and charged with murder, authorities confirmed.

Over the weekend Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi revealed messages of support on their jerseys, while McKennie wore his armband saying ‘Justice for George’ and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram took a knee after he scored in the Bundesliga.

Clubs and players across Europe have since issued their support to the movement. As for the German FA, they said they are looking into potential breaches around rules on political, religious or personal slogans.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino called for ‘common sense’ to prevail over FIFA’s long-standing rules punishing players for wearing political, personal or religious messages on shirts or making gestures, while he added the four players should be ‘applauded not punished’ for their actions.

In a statement released Wednesday, the German FA and Bundesliga confirmed the quartet will not face any action over honoring George Floyd with their on-pitch protests.

“The DFB Control Committee will not initiate proceedings against Achraf Hakimi, Jadon Sancho, Weston McKennie and Marcus Thuram. The committee also intends to maintain this line in new anti-racism campaigns to mark the death of George Floyd on the coming match days.”

DFB vice president, Dr. Rainer Koch, added: “Of course, the DFB control committee always has the requirements of the FIFA football rules and the DFB regulations in mind. In the specific case, however, these are targeted anti-racism campaigns by the players, which are therefore committed to values ​​for which the DFB also stands for and always stands for. Therefore, no proceedings will be initiated, even with comparable anti-racism campaigns, in the next few weeks.”

DFB President Fritz Keller said: “The DFB is firmly opposed to all forms of racism, discrimination and violence and stands for tolerance, openness and diversity – i.e. values, which are also enshrined in the DFB statutes. Therefore the actions of the players have our respect and understanding.”

German federation explains review of players who honored George Floyd

George Floyd tributes in soccer
Bernd Thissn/Pool via AP
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BERLIN — The German soccer federation has defended its decision to assess whether four young Bundesliga players who made gestures in solidarity with George Floyd over the weekend must face sanctions.

The DFB also said on Monday that Jadon Sancho’s booking for removing his jersey to reveal a T-shirt with the demand “Justice for George Floyd” had nothing to do with the message — rather, the yellow card was issued because the 20-year-old England forward broke a rule that says players who celebrate goals by taking off their jerseys or lifting them over their heads must be booked for “unsporting behavior.”

Borussia Dortmund teammate Achraf Hakimi, 21, who displayed the same message after scoring in the same game on Sunday, was not booked because he did not lift his jersey over his head.

The DFB control committee is looking into their gestures and those made by Schalke’s 21-year-old American midfielder Weston McKennie and Borussia Monchengladbach’s 22-year-old French forward Marcus Thuram to see if the four players broke laws that prohibit players from displaying “political, religious or personal slogans.”

McKennie was the first to make a statement when he wore an armband with the handwritten message “Justice for George” around his left arm on Saturday.

Thuram on Sunday took a knee after scoring in Borussia Monchengladbach’s win over Union Berlin.

Sancho and Hakimi followed suit later Sunday.

Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died on Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee for several minutes on his neck. Three other officers were also at the scene. Chauvin has been charged with murder and all four were fired.

DFB president Fritz Keller on Monday showed his respect and understanding for McKennie, Thuram, Sancho and Hakimi’s gestures.

“If people are discriminated against on the basis of their skin color, it is unbearable. If they die because of their skin color, then I am deeply distraught,” Keller said in a DFB statement. “The victims of racism need all of us to show solidarity.”

Keller referred to meetings with victims of discrimination and representatives of organizations that have faced anti-Semetic, anti-Muslim or racist hostility, and said the DFB and German soccer was showing its clear rejection of all forms of racism, discrimination and violence.

Keller also praised both male and female players for taking a stand and showing their solidarity.

“I’m proud of them. I can completely understand the actions from the weekend. Nobody can be indifferent to what happened in the United States,” Keller said.

Former Mainz forward Anthony Ujah was just given a warning by the DFB in 2014 in regard to the ban on political statements when he displayed a T-shirt with Eric Garner’s name and the words “can’t breathe” and “justice,” in reference to Garner’s death after a police officer placed him in what appeared to be a chokehold.

Now playing for Union Berlin, Ujah on Thursday tweeted a picture of his protest from the time, but with Floyd’s name typed above in bold.

Floyd also said “I can’t breathe” before he died.

“If the DFB’s control committee wants to investigate, then I have to ask myself if we all have the same values,” Union sporting director Oliver Ruhnert said. “It’s about a global issue here: The no to racism.”

Sancho, Thuram, Hakimi honor George Floyd after scoring (video)

George Floyd tribute
(Lars Baron/Pool via AP) (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
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Statements in support of George Floyd continued in German soccer on Sunday, as two African-European players used their goal celebrations to honor his memory and plead for justice.

Borussia Monchengladbach’s French star Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring a brace Sunday in a 4-1 defeat of Union Berlin.

Then Borussia Dortmund’s English winger removed his shirt to reveal a hand-drawn “Justice For George Floyd” statement on the front of his yellow undershirt. Later, Morocco teammate Achraf Hakimi would do the same.

[ PREMIER LEAGUE: Remaining schedule | Reaction to return ]

Floyd was killed Monday after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin putting his knee on George Floyd’s neck for more than 8 1/2 minutes, and calls for justice have reverberated around the world.

The moments came a day after Dallas native and American midfielder Weston McKennie wore a black armband with the words “Justice For George” in Schalke’s match versus Werder Bremen.

Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN on Monday there have been widespread protests across the United States. Chauvin was arrested Friday and charged with murder, authorities confirmed.

Thuram also turned to Instagram to confirm that his gesture referenced Floyd’s death.

Plea, Thuram drive Gladbach into third

Gladbach v. Union Berlin recap and video highlights
Photo by Martin Meisner/Pool via Getty Images
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Alassane Plea set up Marcus Thuram for his ninth and 10th goals of the season before scoring one of his own as Borussia Monchengladbach moved third with a 4-1 win over Union Berlin on Sunday.

Florian Neuhaus also scored for Gladbach, whose 56 points defy Bayer Leverkusen on goal differential.

Sebastian Andersson scored his 12th goal of the season just after halftime to halve Union’s deficit, but Union finishes the day four points clear of the bottom three with 31 points.

Thuram (10 goals, 8 assists) and Plea (10 goals, 10 assists) exit the day with similar stats in Bundesliga play. Thuram celebrating one of his goals by taking a knee in honor of George Floyd, whose death after a police officer kneeled on his neck has been protested worldwide.

[ Bundesliga: Live scores | Saturday roundup | Bayern blowout  ] 

Gladbach avoided an early scare on a Union shot from distance before sending a warning sign through Marcus Thuram.

That was followed by Neuhaus dribbling across traffic to push a shot off the inside that post that bounded across the line for a 17th-minute opener.

Thuram and Plea entered with near-identical league stats before teaming up for Gladbach’s second.

This is a perfectly-weighted cross from Plea for his ninth Bundesliga helper and Thuram’s ninth goal:

Andersson pulled one back for Union with another headed goal off a 50th-minute cross from Marcus Ingvartsen.

Gladbach restored the lead through the same combination that provided its second goal, Plea’s cross coolly slotted by Thuram for his 10th of the season.

Algerian left back Ramy Bensebaini kept up his fine play in crossing to a wide-open Plea for the match’s final marker.

USMNT-eligible back Julian Ryerson played only five minutes, subbing off in the 65th minute with injury.

Dortmund, Bayern win before Klassiker

Bundesliga recaps and highlights
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Borussia Dortmund stayed hot ahead of their biggest match of the season, while Bayer Leverkusen pulled into third and hit Borussia Monchengladbach’s title hopes with a huge away win.

Elsewhere, Werder Bremen got a big win with help from VAR, while fellow relegation candidates Paderborn collected a rare point.

[ MORE: Bayern beats Eintracht in 7-goal fest ]

Below are the story lines, scorers, and status of three USMNT players to take the pitch in four 9:30 a.m. ET kickoffs.

Before we begin, though, an interesting note from our leader Joe Prince-Wright:

Wolfsburg 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

Goals from wingbacks Achraf Hakimi and Raphael Guerreiro have Dortmund hot on the heels of Bayern Munich before Tuesday’s Der Klassiker.

Dortmund is remains four points back of the top after Bayern won later Saturday.

Jadon Sancho subbed into the game and made a sensational run to set up Hakimi for Dortmund’s second.

There weren’t many true chances in the opening half, but Dortmund made theirs count with a little bit of help from an Erling Haaland slip.

[ MORE: Bundesliga table, box scores, schedule ]

Raphael Guerreiro got the goal on a pretty play started by another great Julian Brandt pass, as the Wolfsburg back line and keeper were focused on Haaland’s swing-and-miss.

The hosts probably should’ve been level early in the second half when Wout Weghorst sent Renato Steffen through on Roman Burki, but the Gladbach man beat the keeper and not the cross bar.

Dortmund made it 2-0 when super sub Sancho zipped into the final third to lay off for Hakimi, who slotted through the legs of Koen Casteels.

Sancho is worth his weight in gold. Maybe literally.

USMNT players: Wolfsburg back John Brooks went 90 minutes for Wolfsburg as the back line did a decent job with hot BVB forward Haaland, but Brooks failed with charges out of his space on both goals. He again passed well (94%, four of six long balls) and had a shot attempt but picked up a yellow card. Dortmund teen Giovanni Reyna entered after the second goal and showed no signs of the injury that cost him a start in the Revierderby last weekend.

Wolfsburg’s fate was sealed when Felix Klaus was sent off via VAR for an ankle tread late in the match.

Borussia Monchengladbach 1-3 Bayer Leverkusen

White-hot Kai Havertz scored another brace as Bayer kept its title hopes alive, pulling into third with a 3-1 win at Gladbach.

Kerem Demirbay set up a Sven Bender goal for Bayer’s third, as the visitors stay eight back of Bayern before the leaders’ match.

Bayer took the lead early through Havertz, who last week became the youngest player to score 30 goals in Bundesliga history.

Set-up by Karim Bellarabi, the soon-to-be 21-year-old Havertz coolly dinked over keeper Yan Sommer for a lead which would last into half.

Gladbach leveled after halftime on a wonderful bit of work from Marcus Thuram, who took the ball down and laid off before rushing to the back line to wait for Alassane Plea’s lovely cross through to goal. A clever finish for his eighth of the season made it 1-1.

It could’ve been two for Thuram within a minute of restart, who may’ve had a penalty if he hit the deck but instead was well-saved by Tomas Hradecky.

The penalty instead came at the other end, with VAR on the scene to award it. Havertz beat Sommer for 2-1.

Demirbay blazed the ball over an open goal with a chance to put away the game after Moussa Diaby’s shot was blocked onto his path.

Freiburg 0-1 Werder Bremen

Leonardo Bittencourt’s third goal of the year meant Bremen would take control of their relegation destiny due to a match-in-hand, and VAR helped make sure plucky Freiburg didn’t take a point.

Bremen is now two points behind current playoff side Fortuna Dusselfdorf, and has a match-in-hand. The two sides do not meet, though Bremen’s fixture list is rough.

Manuel Guide’s 89th minute goal looked to be a crushing blow to Werder Bremen, who had safety in their sites after seeing an early lead deep into the outing.

The hosts will be miserable, lamenting a missed chance to move sixth with Wolfsburg’s loss to Dortmund, especially given the status of their 17th-place visitors.

USMNT angle: American 20-year-old Josh Sargent went 64 minutes at center forward in his fourth league start of 2020. He was again on an island for struggling Bremen, and didn’t manage a shot. Sargent had 21 touches, winning five of 11 duels while making three clearances, drawing two fouls and fouling twice himself.

Paderborn 1-1 Hoffenheim

The visitors struggled to finish against lower table competition for the second-straight week, giving Paderborn a precious point after both teams scored in the first nine minutes.

Robert Skov scored for Hoffenheim and Dennis Srbeny for Paderborn.

The bottom-dwelling hosts have 18 points, five back of 16th-place Fortuna Dusseldorf who plays Sunday.  Padeborn is three points behind 17th-place Werder Bremen, who has a match-in-hand.

Hoffenheim is ninth, three points back of sixth after taking just one point from matches against Hertha Berlin and Paderborn.

Bayern Munich v. Eintracht Frankfurt — 12:30 p.m. ET

Matchweek 27 in the Bundesliga again saw games played in empty stadiums, which is the plan for the rest of the season and beyond. If you’re new to Germany’s top-flight, here’s a guide to help you pick a club to support.

You can check out the full schedulestandings and find out how to watch the action, while we will have you covered right here on ProSoccerTalk with analysis, reaction and more.

The 2019-20 season restart saw eight matches Saturday and Sunday with a Revierderby blowout and a Gladbach warning shot to its fellow title chasers, while leaders Bayern Munich got back to winning ways in Berlin.

The Bundesliga announced the remaining schedule for the rest of the season on Wednesday so you can plan time in front of the TV with a bratwurst and a beer with plenty of mouthwatering games coming up. Our lead writer Joe Prince-Wright has five players to watch this weekend here.

Sunday
Schalke v. Augsburg — 7:30 a.m. ET
Mainz v. RB Leipzig — 9:30 a.m. ET
Koln v. Fortuna Dusseldorf — Noon ET

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 27 19 4 4 80 28 52 10-2-2 9-2-2 61
 Borussia Dortmund 27 17 6 4 74 33 41 10-3-0 7-3-4 57
 Bayer Leverkusen 27 16 5 6 52 32 20 7-4-2 9-1-4 53
 Mönchengladbach 27 16 4 7 53 34 19 9-2-3 7-2-4 52
 RB Leipzig 26 14 9 3 63 27 36 7-5-1 7-4-2 51
 VfL Wolfsburg 27 10 9 8 36 33 3 4-6-4 6-3-4 39
 SC Freiburg 27 10 7 10 35 37 -2 6-2-5 4-5-5 37
 FC Schalke 04 26 9 10 7 33 40 -7 5-6-2 4-4-5 37
 1899 Hoffenheim 27 10 6 11 36 47 -11 5-1-8 5-5-3 36
 Hertha BSC Berlin 27 9 7 11 39 48 -9 4-3-7 5-4-4 34
 1. FC Köln 26 10 3 13 41 47 -6 6-2-5 4-1-8 33
 1. FC Union Berlin 27 9 3 15 32 47 -15 6-1-6 3-2-9 30
 Eintracht Frankfurt 26 8 4 14 41 49 -8 6-3-4 2-1-10 28
 FC Augsburg 26 7 6 13 37 54 -17 5-3-5 2-3-8 27
 FSV Mainz 05 26 8 3 15 36 55 -19 4-2-7 4-1-8 27
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 26 5 8 13 27 50 -23 3-4-6 2-4-7 23
 Werder Bremen 26 5 6 15 29 59 -30 1-2-9 4-4-6 21
 SC Paderborn 27 4 6 17 31 55 -24 2-2-10 2-4-7 18