RB Leipzig

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German Cup: Bayern Munich complete double by beating Leipzig

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BERLIN (AP) Captain Manuel Neuer returned from six weeks out injured to help Bayern Munich complete a domestic double after beating Leipzig 3-0 in the German Cup final on Saturday.

[ MORE: Valencia end Barcelona’s four-year hold on Copa del Rey ]

Robert Lewandowski scored twice and Kingsley Coman grabbed the other as Bayern claimed a record-extending 19th cup win to make up for the disappointment of losing last year’s final to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Bayern coach Niko Kovac, who was in charge of Frankfurt at the time, boosted his chances of keeping his job in Munich after bringing a successful end to what had been a testing season.

Neuer, who missed Bayern’s Bundesliga triumph the week before due to a calf injury, produced two stunning saves in either half when a goal for Leipzig might have been decisive.

Neuer somehow denied Yussuf Poulsen’s header from close range in the 11th minute, when the ball crashed back off the crossbar, and got the better of Emil Forsberg in a one-on-one after the break, when the Swedish midfielder should have equalized.

“You couldn’t write a better script,” Neuer said.

Lewandowski opened the scoring with a header in the 29th, Coman doubled the lead in the 78th after Forsberg’s miss, and Lewandowski wrapped it up with a chip over the goalkeeper in the 85th.

[ U-20 WORLD CUP: Ezequiel Barco’s golazo paces Argentina to big win ]

Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery went on late to make their last appearances for Bayern after 10 and 12 seasons respectively. Ribery became the only player to play in eight German Cup finals.

“They delivered a lot for the team and the club,” Lewandowski said. “We have to be grateful.”

Leipzig was appearing in its first, and had been hoping to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its founding date with a win. Thousands of fans made the relatively short journey from Saxony to cheer their side, though they found themselves outnumbered by Bayern fans at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, which hosts German soccer’s showpiece every year.

“It’s a huge disappointment,” Leipzig chairman Oliver Mintzlaff said. “When you come here, you want to win.”

The supporters had been warming up for hours before the encounter, downing beers and singing songs at various locations in the city before making their way to the game. Fans who arrived on chartered buses lit barbeques and shared crates of beer by the side of the road.

Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick, the sporting director who took charge of the team on an interim basis before Julian Nagelsmann arrives from Hoffenheim, started with his strongest team, with American Tyler Adams lining up beside Kevin Kampl in midfield.

Leipzig looked sharper, fresher and quicker at the start, but one lapse was all Lewandowski needed to open the scoring. David Alaba whipped the ball in toward the penalty spot, where Lewandowski had too much space to head inside the left post.

Coman displayed a fantastic first touch to control the ball past the helpless Peter Gulacsi for Bayern’s second, and Lewandowski ensured the result was emphatic when he claimed his competition-leading seventh goal. Lewandowski was booked for removing his shirt in the celebrations, but he accepted the yellow card with a smile.

“We worked hard for the whole season. In the end you could say it was a good season for us,” the Polish striker said.

Bayern’s history meets upstart Leipzig in German Cup final

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BERLIN (AP) Their histories, and lists of achievements, couldn’t be more different.

Bayern Munich has won 54 major titles, while Leipzig has none. Bayern has been around for 119 years, Leipzig 10.

Luckily for Leipzig, though, those numbers won’t mean much when the two teams meet in the German Cup final on Saturday.

Bayern won its 29th German league title last Saturday and is bidding for a record-extending 19th German Cup win. But Leipzig will head into the match knowing it’s no pushover.

Leipzig held Bayern to a 0-0 draw in the Bundesliga’s penultimate round – delaying the Bavarian club’s title celebrations by another week – while Bayern needed penalties to get past Leipzig in their only previous German Cup meeting in October 2017.

Bayern coach Niko Kovac, who won the title with Eintracht Frankfurt against his future club last year, is preparing for his third straight final. Kovac, however, is under pressure after his debut season at Bayern and would boost his case to remain with a win.

Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick, who is really the club’s sporting director, is leading the opposing team on an interim basis this season before Julian Nagelsmann arrives from Hoffenheim to take over.

Leipzig’s mere existence is a source of ire for rival fans who object to its fast rise, which was made possible by energy drink manufacturer Red Bull and its co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz. The 75-year-old Austrian billionaire bought a local fifth-tier team, SSV Markranstadt, rebranded it with his company’s name and financed its steady promotion through the lower leagues to the Bundesliga.

Few at the club could have imagined that it would be so successful, so quickly. Leipzig finished second and qualified for the Champions League in its debut Bundesliga season, dropped to sixth because of the added burden of European games in its next, and comfortably finished third after another solid campaign this season.

It would not have been possible without Red Bull, which already had the New York Red Bulls, Red Bull Salzburg, Red Bull Brasil and Red Bull Ghana in its portfolio of soccer clubs.

Leipzig chairman Oliver Mintzlaff defended receiving a loan of 134.2 million euros ($150 million) from the energy drink behemoth, saying Friday that it was necessary for the establishment of what has become a highly successful club.

“That we had to take a loan as a start-up company, to invest in bricks and legs, is right,” Mintzlaff told the Frankfurter Rundschau daily newspaper. “But if we were to sell everything that was achieved here, purely theoretically, the club would have made a very, very big plus. There would be big double-digit, maybe even a triple-digit million figure remaining.”

Leipzig’s turnover is 250 million euros ($279 million), compared to Bayern’s 657.4 ($734 million) for 2017-18.

Mintzlaff said the club was among the “most transparent soccer clubs,” in contrast to the likes of Volkswagen-backed Wolfsburg.

“We don’t hide anything. We wouldn’t get a license if we didn’t pay our debts,” Mintzlaff said. “Other clubs that get money from other backers do it, too. Borussia Dortmund is a stock cooperation, Hertha Berlin has got an investor on board, Schalke has (food industry billionaire) Clemens Tonnies.”

Bayern is backed by sportswear giant Adidas, carmaker Audi and financial services company Allianz, with each holding an 8.33% stake in the club, which has further lucrative sponsorship deals with Deutsche Telekom, DHL, Siemens, Goodyear, SAP, Paulaner beer and Qatar Airways. The latter is the subject of protest from some Bayern fans.

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

Ciaran Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

Bundesliga wrap: Schalke smacks Dortmund, RB Leipzig wraps up third

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After 15 weeks of the Bundesliga season, Borussia Dortmund had a surprising nine-point lead on perennial winners Bayern Munich.

On Sunday, BVB could trail that same Bayern side by four with three matches to play if the Bavarians do as expected and defeat 17th place Nurnberg.

[ RECAP: Watford 1-2 Wolves ]

Make no mistake: This is a notable collapse, and it now includes a 9-man home loss to one of BVB’s fiercest rivals on top of the smashing at the hands of Bayern in Der Klassiker. The latest loss also happens to let said rivals, Schalke, off the hook for a possible relegation playoff date.

Borussia Dortmund 2-4 Schalke

Dortmund went to Gelsenkirchen earlier this season and scored a 2-1 Revierderby win, but the tables were turned in a big way on Saturday.

Lucien Favre’s men lost for the third time in eight matches to extend a four-month slide which has seen BVB take 30 of 48 points while Bayern has dropped exactly four in the same period of time.

American winger Christian Pulisic came off the bench with 12 minutes left and BVB already down to nine men, while his USMNT pal Weston McKennie had an okay day in the middle of the park for Schalke. McKennie was credited with 10 tackles over 72 minutes.

This one started well enough, with Mario Gotze briefly putting the hosts back atop the table in the 14th minute. Schalke, however used a pair of Daniel Caligiuri goals and a Salif Sane marker to build a 3-1 lead.

Marco Reus was sent off with the score 2-1, and Marius Wolf saw red five minutes later, just after Schalke went ahead by two.

Axel Witsel pulled BVB back to within one in the 84th minute, but Breel Embolo’s goal two minutes later put the result away for Dortmund.

RB Leipzig 2-1 Freiburg

Timo Werner scored his fourth goal in his last six league games, and Emil Forsberg converted a late penalty as RBL firmed up third place in the Bundesliga.

Elsewhere
Augsburg 1-4 Bayer Leverkusen — Friday
Stuttgart 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach
Fortuna Dusseldorf 4-1 Werder Bremen
Hannover 96 1-0 Mainz
Eintracht Frankfurt 0-0 Hertha Berlin
Hoffenheim v. Wolfsburg — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Nurnberg v. Bayern Munich — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 30 22 4 4 79 29 50 11-3-1 11-1-3 70
 Borussia Dortmund 31 21 6 4 74 40 34 13-2-1 8-4-3 69
 RB Leipzig 31 19 7 5 59 24 35 10-5-1 9-2-4 64
 Eintracht Frankfurt 31 15 9 7 58 35 23 8-4-4 7-5-3 54
 Mönchengladbach 31 15 6 10 49 38 11 9-2-4 6-4-6 51
 Bayer Leverkusen 31 16 3 12 57 49 8 8-1-6 8-2-6 51
 1899 Hoffenheim 30 13 11 6 65 41 24 7-5-3 6-6-3 50
 Werder Bremen 31 12 10 9 53 46 7 7-5-3 5-5-6 46
 VfL Wolfsburg 30 13 7 10 48 45 3 6-5-4 7-2-6 46
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 31 12 4 15 44 60 -16 8-0-8 4-4-7 40
 Hertha BSC Berlin 31 9 10 12 41 48 -7 5-6-4 4-4-8 37
 FSV Mainz 05 31 10 6 15 37 52 -15 7-4-4 3-2-11 36
 SC Freiburg 31 7 11 13 40 56 -16 5-6-4 2-5-9 32
 FC Augsburg 31 8 7 16 47 59 -12 5-4-7 3-3-9 31
 FC Schalke 04 31 8 6 17 36 54 -18 4-1-10 4-5-7 30
 VfB Stuttgart 31 6 6 19 28 67 -39 5-4-7 1-2-12 24
 1. FC Nürnberg 30 3 9 18 24 56 -32 3-6-6 0-3-12 18
 Hannover 96 31 4 6 21 26 66 -40 4-1-11 0-5-10 18

Thierry Henry in talks for job within Red Bull organization

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Thierry Henry may be nearing his next move following a short-lived stay at combustible Monaco.

Multiple sources tell ProSoccerTalk that Henry has been in talks with the Red Bull Global Soccer organization about taking a coaching role within one of their clubs.

[ RECAP: Barca 3-0 (4-0 agg.) Man Utd ]

The natural reaction would be to link Henry with the manager’s position at Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls, which has struggled out of the gates at 1W-2D-3L after making a quarterfinal run in the CONCACAF Champions League.

The Red Bulls told PST they don’t comment on speculation.

But there’s plenty of change within RBGS, which also operates RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga and Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga (I think we can rule out Red Bull Ghana, Red Bull Brasil, and Austrian second tier side FC Liefering).

This report comes a day after former New York Red Bulls boss Jesse Marsch was announced as the next manager of Red Bull Salzburg, and Henry was a celebrated assistant to Roberto Martinez with the Belgium national team.

And RB Leipzig will have a new boss next year, when 31-year-old Julian Nagelsmann leaves Hoffenheim to take over for Ralf Rangnick (who Marsch assisted this season).

Henry earned his first managerial job in October when he took over for Leonardo Jardim, whose much-changed AS Monaco was fighting relegation. That run lasted three-and-a-half months before Monaco restored Jardim to his post. Monaco is now 16th, well off their usual European pace, and Jardim’s minor revival has been buoyed by a bevy of January moves including Adrien Silva, Cesc Fabregas, Fode Ballo-Toure, and Gelson Martins.

Armas went 13-3-3 in taking over for Marsch midway through last season, and took the Red Bulls to the Eastern Conference finals where they lost to eventual champions Atlanta United.

Would the Red Bulls’ European hierarchy cut ties with Armas so early in the season after such an outstanding finish last season, especially after the club didn’t do anything major to offset the sale of Tyler Adams to RBL (no offense, Marc Rzatkowski)? Or could negotiations amount to bringing Henry onto Marsch’s staff (the two did not cross over at Red Bull Arena)?

To play devil’s advocate, there’s also the attendance boost that could come with bringing Henry back across the ocean. It certainly could buoy both young and old within the RBNY team, and it’s not difficult to remember the buzz that followed Titi’s move to the New York/New Jersey area.

Bundesliga wrap: Sancho leads Dortmund top as Bayern waits (video)

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Bayern Munich dropped into second place, at least for a day, as Borussia Dortmund got back to winning ways and RB Leipzig strengthened its hold on third place in the Bundesliga.

[ MORE: FIFA statement on racism ]


RB Leipzig 2-0 Wolfsburg

Kevin Kampl and Timo Werner scored 12 minutes apart as RBL rode a 2-0 lead after 28 minutes all the way through the final whistle.

Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Mainz

Jadon Sancho scored two early goals, his ninth and 10th of the Bundesliga season to go with 16 assists, as BVB responded nicely to its embarrassment at Bayern Munich last weekend.

Elsewhere
Nurnberg 1-1 Schalke — Friday
Werder Bremen 2-1 Freiburg
Stuttgart 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Hannover 96 0-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
Hoffenheim v. Hertha Berlin — 7:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Fortuna Dusseldorf v. Bayern Munich — 9:30 a.m. ET
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Augsburg — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Borussia Dortmund 29 20 6 3 68 36 32 13-2-0 7-4-3 66
 Bayern Munich 28 20 4 4 74 28 46 10-3-1 10-1-3 64
 RB Leipzig 29 17 7 5 55 22 33 9-5-1 8-2-4 58
 Eintracht Frankfurt 28 15 7 6 56 31 25 8-3-3 7-4-3 52
 Mönchengladbach 29 15 6 8 48 35 13 9-2-3 6-4-5 51
 Werder Bremen 29 12 10 7 52 41 11 7-5-3 5-5-4 46
 Bayer Leverkusen 29 14 3 12 51 48 3 7-1-6 7-2-6 45
 VfL Wolfsburg 29 13 6 10 47 44 3 6-4-4 7-2-6 45
 1899 Hoffenheim 28 11 11 6 58 39 19 6-5-3 5-6-3 44
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 28 11 4 13 38 52 -14 7-0-7 4-4-6 37
 Hertha BSC Berlin 28 9 8 11 41 46 -5 5-5-4 4-3-7 35
 FSV Mainz 05 29 9 6 14 34 50 -16 6-4-4 3-2-10 33
 SC Freiburg 29 7 11 11 39 50 -11 5-6-3 2-5-8 32
 FC Schalke 04 29 7 6 16 30 47 -17 4-1-9 3-5-7 27
 FC Augsburg 28 6 7 15 37 54 -17 4-4-6 2-3-9 25
 VfB Stuttgart 29 5 6 18 27 61 -34 4-4-7 1-2-11 21
 1. FC Nürnberg 29 3 9 17 24 54 -30 3-6-6 0-3-11 18
 Hannover 96 29 3 5 21 25 66 -41 3-1-11 0-4-10 14