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Dortmund, Bayern win before Klassiker

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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

Bundesliga aim to restart in May without fans hit by order

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BERLIN — Extending the ban on large gatherings in Germany to the end of August threatens soccer officials’aim of restarting the Bundesliga in May without spectators.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s announcement on Wednesday, maintaining gatherings of no more than two people in public to to try and contain the coronavirus, also ensures that the next Bundesliga season cannot begin as planned in August.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

After talks between Merkel and the 16 state governors about easing restrictions, Bavaria’s Markus Soder said the “Bundesliga wasn’t an issue,” meaning they have far bigger priorities than soccer.

The Bundesliga, last played on March 11, was hoping to resume in May without spectators, but the number of people needed at venues – two teams, substitutes, coaches, medical staff, security to ensure fans stay away – means even games in almost empty stadiums look like a tall order.

Complicating the issue for the German soccer league (DFL), is that each of the country’s 16 states can set their own conditions. It’s very likely they will differ, meaning some games could be allowed and others not.

German soccer federation president Fritz Keller is expecting a momentous fallout.

“I don’t think the landscape in soccer will be the same after the corona crisis,” Keller said last week. “We’re going to miss a few (clubs), and I think that the longer it continues, the more bankruptcies we’re going to have in professional soccer.”

Schalke and Paderborn in the Bundesliga are reportedly facing insolvency, while Kicker magazine says 13 clubs in the second division are also under existential threat if a delayed installment payment for television rights is not made to the DFL.

The magazine reports that Sky, DAZN and ARD missed a payment of 304 million euros ($331 million) – the last of four installments for TV rights for the two divisions – to the league on April 10, but the broadcasters have agreed to pay on May 2.

“We can manage another one or two months, but then we’re out of air,” Paderborn managing director Martin Przondziono told broadcaster Sport1. “If the TV money doesn’t come, it will be tight for us.”

Schalke has made no secret of its financial problems caused by the pandemic despite a sponsorship arrangement with Russian energy giant Gazprom reportedly worth 30 million euros per season.

Schalke communications director Alexander Jobst last month asked holders of boxes in the stadium to waive partial repayment for the club’s last home games.

“It’s about existence!” Jobst wrote in an email on March 17.

Schalke finance director Peter Peters warned club fans this week that its situation was precarious.

“We’re trying to reduce costs, have reduced employees’ working hours and agreed wage cuts with the players,” Peters said on Facebook. “But of course everything depends on when we can take in income and play football again.”

Bundesliga clubs are to meet again on April 23 to discuss how they can end the season as planned by June 30.

As of Thursday, Germany had nearly 135,000 registered cases of COVID-19, with 3,804 deaths attributed to the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Bundesliga wrap: Bayern’s backups fall to Bayer; Paderborn alive

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The beginning of the season seems ages ago, when newly-promoted Paderborn made it to the top of the Bundesliga off some surprising results.

That was before a long decline sent the club into the bottom of the table, from where it has just emerged after a big road win.

[ MORE: Premier League roundup ]

All that and more inside the Bundesliga wrap.

Freiburg 1-2 Paderborn
Twenty-four year old midfielder Lukas Rupp picked a heck of a time to score his first professional brace.

Rupp’s goals in 70th and 80th minutes helped Paderborn shock Freiburg and send the visitors into safety for the first time in weeks.

The hosts went ahead on Nils Petersen’s 40th minute tally, but lost the chance to put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone. Freiburg is now just goal differential above the promotion playoff spot.

Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Bayern Munich
Hakan Calhanoglu and Julian Brandt scored second half goals to pull the hosts within four points of second-place Wolfsburg.

There were still some big names in the mix for Bayern, as Manuel Neuer, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm and Mario Gotze hit the pitch for the league champions, who out-possessed Bayer but were out shot, our cornered  and out crossed.

Wolfsburg 2-2 Hannover
Bas Dost and Ivansource: Getty Images Perisic scored in the first half, and the hosts looked ready to coast to a win and cement themselves in second place.

Something happened at halftime, though, and the relegation-battling visitors found a point through a pair of French-born players. First Jimmy Briand netted just after halftime before big defender Salif Sane provided an equalizer 11 minutes later.

Hannover falls into the relegation playoff spot, though, after Paderborn’s win, and Wolfsburg’s second-place lead of Bayer is down to four points.

Elsewhere
Schalke 3-2 Stuttgart — Late own goal keeps visitors bottom of league.
Werder Bremen 1-0 Eintracht Frankfurt — Davie Selke wins it with 66th min goal.
Augsburg 0-0 Koln — Three combined shots on goal between teams.
Hoffenheim 1-1 Borussia Dortmund — Kevin Volland, Mats Hummels trade goals.
Mainz vs. Hamburg — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Hertha Berlin vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
x – Bayern Munich 31 24 4 3 77 15 62 13-1-1 11-3-2 76
VfL Wolfsburg 31 18 8 5 65 34 31 12-4-0 6-4-5 62
Bayer Leverkusen 31 16 10 5 59 32 27 9-6-1 7-4-4 58
Mönchen 30 16 9 5 45 22 23 11-3-1 5-6-4 57
FC Schalke 04 31 12 9 10 41 36 5 9-5-2 3-4-8 45
FC Augsburg 31 13 4 14 38 40 -2 9-4-3 4-0-11 43
Werder Bremen 31 11 9 11 47 59 -12 8-4-4 3-5-7 42
1899 Hoffenheim 31 11 8 12 46 49 -3 8-3-5 3-5-7 41
Borussia Dortmund 31 11 7 13 41 38 3 7-3-5 4-4-8 40
FSV Mainz 05 30 8 13 9 42 41 1 5-6-4 3-7-5 37
1. FC Köln 31 8 12 11 30 36 -6 3-8-4 5-4-7 36
Eintracht Frankfurt 31 9 9 13 51 60 -9 7-5-3 2-4-10 36
Hertha BSC Berlin 30 9 7 14 34 46 -12 6-3-6 3-4-8 34
SC Paderborn 31 7 10 14 29 59 -30 4-6-5 3-4-9 31
SC Freiburg 31 6 12 13 32 43 -11 4-6-6 2-6-7 30
Hannover 96 31 7 9 15 35 53 -18 5-3-7 2-6-8 30
Hamburger SV 30 7 7 16 19 46 -27 5-4-6 2-3-10 28
VfB Stuttgart 31 6 9 16 36 58 -22 3-4-8 3-5-8 27

Bundesliga wrap: Hamburg holds Bayern; Newly-promoted club atop league

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There were several eyebrow raisers on Matchday 4 of the Bundesliga season, and that’s before Sunday’s Rhein Derby and a big Wolfsburg match versus Bayer Leverkusen.

[ RELATED: Felix Magath out at Fulham ]

Paderborn 2-0 Hannover 96
First off, yes, that is newly-promoted SC Paderborn at the top of the table. In the German third-flight back in 2009, they’ve now beaten Hamburg and Hannover to go with draws against Koln and Mainz. Saturday’s win came versus Hannover, a decisive 2-0 win behind goals from Elias Kachunga (above) and Moritz Stoppelkamp. The 22-year-old Kachunga has three goals in four matches this season. Next week for Paderborn? A trip to Bayern.

Hamburger SV 0-0 Bayern Munich
That’s because Bayern Munich couldn’t take advantage of struggling Hamburger SV… at all. On loan from Bayern, American attacker Julian Green couldn’t produce a goal as a substitute, but all of Hamburg will take a point in the fixture against the reigning champions.

Mainz 2-0 Borussia Dortmund
A Champions League win against Arsenal won’t make up for Dortmund’s second league loss in four outings. Shinji Okazaki scored in the 66th minute before a Matthias Ginter own goal gave the hosts breathing room. Dortmund out-chanced Mainz 20-8, but that doesn’t mean anything on the table.

Schalke 2-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
source: APA wild one in Gelsenkirchen saw four goals and three red cards… in that order. American back Timmy Chandler played 90 minutes, and his Eintracht side opened up a 2-0 lead after 24 minutes on goals from Alexander Meier and Marco Russ. But Schalke’s stars responded, with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Julian Draxler scoring on each side of halftime.

Then, Kevin Prince-Boateng found a second yellow in the 61st minute and, on his birthday, Draxler put Schalke down to 9-men with a 71st minute red for a kick out.

Despite 24 minutes up one-man and 14 up two, Eintracht couldn’t find a winner. Then Slobodan Medojevic took a red for the visitors in the 85th minute, and the game finished with the score line even and Schalke down one man.

Elsewhere

Augsburg 4-2 Werder Bremen — Four different goal scorers for the Fuggerstädter.
Stuttgart 0-2 Hoffenheim —
The hosts put more shots on net, but zero into it
Freiberg 2-2 Hertha Berlin —
John Anthony Brooks goes 90, Ronny scores two for visitors
Wolfsburg vs. Bayer Leverkusen
 — Sunday
FC Koln vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Sunday

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
SC Paderborn 4 2 2 0 7 2 5 1-2-0 1-0-0 8
FSV Mainz 05 4 2 2 0 7 3 4 1-1-0 1-1-0 8
1899 Hoffenheim 4 2 2 0 6 2 4 1-1-0 1-1-0 8
Bayern Munich 4 2 2 0 5 2 3 2-0-0 0-2-0 8
Bayer Leverkusen 3 2 1 0 9 5 4 1-1-0 1-0-0 7
Hannover 96 4 2 1 1 4 3 1 2-0-0 0-1-1 7
FC Augsburg 4 2 0 2 7 7 0 1-0-1 1-0-1 6
Borussia Dortmund 4 2 0 2 6 7 -1 1-0-1 1-0-1 6
Mönchen 3 1 2 0 5 2 3 1-1-0 0-1-0 5
1. FC Köln 3 1 2 0 2 0 2 0-1-0 1-1-0 5
Eintracht Frankfurt 4 1 2 1 5 5 0 1-0-1 0-2-0 5
Werder Bremen 4 0 3 1 8 10 -2 0-1-0 0-2-1 3
VfL Wolfsburg 3 0 2 1 4 5 -1 0-1-0 0-1-1 2
SC Freiburg 4 0 2 2 3 6 -3 0-2-0 0-0-2 2
Hertha BSC Berlin 4 0 2 2 7 11 -4 0-1-1 0-1-1 2
FC Schalke 04 4 0 2 2 5 9 -4 0-2-0 0-0-2 2
Hamburger SV 4 0 2 2 0 5 -5 0-1-1 0-1-1 2
VfB Stuttgart 4 0 1 3 1 7 -6 0-0-2 0-1-1 1