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Bundesliga wrap: Bayern keeps Schalke reeling; Hertha wins

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Bayern Munich and Hertha Berlin both stayed unbeaten ahead of Friday’s match-up in Berlin, with the former adding to Schalke’s league woes with an away win.

[ RECAP: Spurs snap skid ]

Also some American kid scored again for Borussia Dortmund.

Schalke 0-2 Bayern Munich

Schalke had a chance to turn around its season following an 0-2 with a visit from the presumptive champions.

Didn’t happen.

Bayern outshot Schalke 14-10 at Veltins-Arena, getting an early goal from James Rodriguez and a Robert Lewandowski penalty to keep Schalke winless.

USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie was pulled off after 54 minutes, completing just four of his nine attempted passes.

Hertha Berlin 4-2 Borussia Monchengladbach

The big man was at it again. Vedad Ibisevic canceled out the visitors’ early lead with a 31st minute marker and then scored again in the 63rd minute as the second place side doubled up Gladbach at the Olympiastadion.

Hertha is one of five teams with a zero in the loss column, and sits two points back of Bayern.

Hoffenheim 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

Meanwhile, McKennie’s USMNT teammate saved a point for Schalke’s rivals. Down a man and a goal, BVB got this equalizer from Christian Pulisic late on to get a point.

Elsewhere
Stuttgart 0-0 Fortuna Dusseldorf — Friday
Wolfsburg 1-3 Freiburg
Nurnberg 2-0 Hannover 96
Augsburg 2-3 Werder Bremen
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Mainz — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. RB Leipzig — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 4 4 0 0 11 2 9 2-0-0 2-0-0 12
 Hertha BSC Berlin 4 3 1 0 9 4 5 2-0-0 1-1-0 10
 Borussia Dortmund 4 2 2 0 8 3 5 2-0-0 0-2-0 8
 Werder Bremen 4 2 2 0 7 5 2 0-2-0 2-0-0 8
 FSV Mainz 05 3 2 1 0 4 2 2 2-0-0 0-1-0 7
 VfL Wolfsburg 4 2 1 1 8 7 1 1-1-1 1-0-0 7
 Mönchengladbach 4 2 1 1 7 6 1 2-0-0 0-1-1 7
 1. FC Nürnberg 4 1 2 1 4 3 1 1-1-0 0-1-1 5
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 4 1 2 1 4 4 0 1-0-1 0-2-0 5
 1899 Hoffenheim 4 1 1 2 6 7 -1 1-1-0 0-0-2 4
 FC Augsburg 4 1 1 2 6 7 -1 0-1-1 1-0-1 4
 SC Freiburg 4 1 1 2 7 9 -2 0-1-1 1-0-1 4
 RB Leipzig 3 1 1 1 5 7 -2 1-1-0 0-0-1 4
 Eintracht Frankfurt 3 1 0 2 4 5 -1 0-0-1 1-0-1 3
 Hannover 96 4 0 2 2 3 6 -3 0-1-0 0-1-2 2
 VfB Stuttgart 4 0 2 2 3 7 -4 0-1-1 0-1-1 2
 Bayer Leverkusen 3 0 0 3 2 8 -6 0-0-1 0-0-2 0
 FC Schalke 04 4 0 0 4 2 8 -6 0-0-2 0-0-2 0

UEFA Nations League: Italy draws at home, Cheryshev scores again

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The UEFA Nations League continued on Friday, and there was a clear competitive edge to the matches, moreso than the usual friendly contested between to nations during an otherwise meaningless international break.

Italy was forced to come from behind to earn a point at home against Poland in a 1-1 draw. Mario Balotelli earned his first competitive appearance since 2014, but young goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was needed early to keep out Piotr Zielinski in the opening 15 minutes who broke free on goal.

Italy had a spell of attacking possession on the half-hour mark, but it came to nothing, and they were punished for it. Mateusz Klich dispossessed Chelsea midfielder Jorginho in the Italy third, and Robert Lewandowski’s cross fell to an unmarked Zielinski at the back post who finished easily for the 1-0 first-half lead. The Italians proved dangerous in the second half, and they earned an equalizer. Federico Chiesa came on in place of Lorenzo Insigne, and he was immediately effective. He earned a penalty with 14 minutes to go on a tackle by Jakub Blaszczykowski, who was lucky to stay on the field, already on a yellow from early in the match. Jorginho struck from the spot to level the score.

Russia traveled to Trabzon to take on Turkey, but it was the visitors who scored first, and a familiar name at that. Denis Cheryshev, who was massively influential in Russia’s surprising run at the World Cup over the summer, struck in the 13th minute with a powerful left-footed volley to put Russia 1-0 up. Before halftime, the hosts leveled as Galatasaray defender Serdar Aziz with a volleyed howitzer of his own. Russia retook the lead after the break through Artem Dyzuba

Romania drew Montenegro 0-0, although it wasn’t without controversy as Aleksandar Boljevic was brought down in the penalty area after just eight minutes, but no call was made. Romania had a few chances before the break, but otherwise there was little to speak of. Montenegro striker Stefan Mugosa was sent off for a second yellow with 13 minutes to go.

Aleksandr Mitrovic earned a penalty and Dusan Tadic scored from the spot as Serbia took down Lithuania on the road 1-0. Albania topped Israel 1-0 on a goal by Taulant Xhaka, the brother of Arsenal midfielder and Swiss international Granit Xhaka. The Faroe Islands topped Malta 3-1 for a big win, the country’s second win in a row and third in its last six matches.

Bundesliga wrap: Bayern Munich, Brooks’ Wolfsburg only 2-0 clubs

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After just two weeks, there will be a maximum of three perfect clubs in the Bundesliga.

[ MORE: Yedlin scores for Newcastle ]

If Hertha Berlin cannot win at Schalke, a decent ask, then two will be the number. Here’s how the second weekend has gone in Germany’s top flight.

Bayer Leverkusen 1-3 Wolfsburg

Level at one after the break, Wolfsburg got a wonderful three points away from home when Wout Weghorst and Renato Steffen scored twice in five second-half minutes.

No Wolfsburg player touched the ball as often as USMNT center back John Brooks’ 64 (Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz bettered him by three). He completed 37 of 41 passes, winning eight tackles to help Wolfsburg to a 2-0 start.

It wasn’t all glory for Brooks, who had a close-up view as Jamaica-born Leon Bailey put Bayer ahead early with a very nice goal.

Eintracht Frankfurt 1-2 Werder Bremen

Werder Bremen led on a 20th minute goal from Yuya Osako when Jetro Willems took a red card for the hosts, but that didn’t stop Eintracht from finding an equalizer.

Sebastien Haller scored from the spot in the 54th minute, but the visitors were not to be denied. Milot Rashica scored in the sixth minute of stoppage to send Werder Bremen home with four points on the young season

Stuttgart 0-3 Bayern Munich

Leon Goretzka scored his first Bayern goal early in this one, and played provider as Robert Lewandowski insured the lead in the second half. Thomas Muller also scored in the win, with Lewandowski assisting the marker.

Elsewhere
Hannover 96 0-0 Borussia Dortmund — Friday
Augsburg 1-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
Hoffenheim 3-1 Freiburg
Nurnberg 1-1 Mainz
RB Leipzig vs. Fortuna Dusseldorf —
9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Schalke vs. Hertha Berlin — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 2 2 0 0 6 1 5 1-0-0 1-0-0 6
 VfL Wolfsburg 2 2 0 0 5 2 3 1-0-0 1-0-0 6
 Borussia Dortmund 2 1 1 0 4 1 3 1-0-0 0-1-0 4
 Mönchengladbach 2 1 1 0 3 1 2 1-0-0 0-1-0 4
 FC Augsburg 2 1 1 0 3 2 1 0-1-0 1-0-0 4
 Werder Bremen 2 1 1 0 3 2 1 0-1-0 1-0-0 4
 FSV Mainz 05 2 1 1 0 2 1 1 1-0-0 0-1-0 4
 Eintracht Frankfurt 2 1 0 1 3 2 1 0-0-1 1-0-0 3
 Hertha BSC Berlin 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 1899 Hoffenheim 2 1 0 1 4 4 0 1-0-0 0-0-1 3
 Hannover 96 2 0 2 0 1 1 0 0-1-0 0-1-0 2
 1. FC Nürnberg 2 0 1 1 1 2 -1 0-1-0 0-0-1 1
 FC Schalke 04 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1 0-0-0 0-0-1 0
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1 0-0-1 0-0-0 0
 RB Leipzig 1 0 0 1 1 4 -3 0-0-0 0-0-1 0
 Bayer Leverkusen 2 0 0 2 1 5 -4 0-0-1 0-0-1 0
 SC Freiburg 2 0 0 2 1 5 -4 0-0-1 0-0-1 0
 VfB Stuttgart 2 0 0 2 0 4 -4 0-0-1 0-0-1 0

Bayern opens Bundesliga season with 3-1 win over Hoffenheim

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Bayern Munich survived a battering from Hoffenheim to earn a 3-1 win in the Bundesliga’s season-opening match despite seeing two goals ruled out by VAR.

Hoffenheim inflicted pain early and often with a physical style of play, earning four yellow cards in the first half and sending Kingsley Coman off injured just before the break on a hard challenge by Nico Schultz that on another day could have earned him a sending off.

[ MORE: Coman injured in first half ]

Thomas Muller opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with a free header off an inswinging corner by Joshua Kimmich, and it looked like Bayern might roll. However, Hoffenheim gummed up the match with its persistent fouling, and they would eventually equalize just before the hour mark.

Adam Szalai fired a low shot across Manuel Neuer’s goal and into the bottom-left corner to even things up, and it started to look dicey for the hosts. Nevertheless, Bayern weathered the storm and Franck Ribery earned a penalty in the 78th minute as he looked to play past a sliding Havard Nordveldt. Ribery tried to go up and over Nordveldt but instead was sent flying to the turf, and while the call remained questionable thanks to little actual contact, VAR was not called upon to challenge the decision.

On Robert Lewandowski’s ensuing penalty, Oliver Baumann made the save, and while Coman’s replacement Arjen Robben was there to poke home the rebound, VAR disallowed the goal on encroachment, meaning Lewandowski was forced to retake the penalty. Given a second chance, the Polish international buried the chance to put Bayern 2-1 up.

Lewandowski had a goal previously disallowed for offside, and VAR again ruled out a Bayern goal late in the match, pulling back a hard deflection off the body of Thomas Muller on the grounds of handball. Still, the hosts would eventually earn a third as Robben roofed one on the break in the 90th minute, and the game was decided.

The win gives Bayern a solid start to its title defense, with the Bavarian giants hoping to earn their seventh straight domestic championship.

Lewandowski confirms he asked Bayern for transfer this summer

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Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski confirms he requested a transfer this summer after receiving heavy criticism from poor late-season performances in big games.

Lewandowski bagged 29 goals in 30 Bundesliga appearances last season, but he was goalless in both legs of Bayern’s Champions League semifinal loss to Real Madrid, and had missed opportunities in a surprising DFB-Pokal Final loss to Eintracht Frankfurt. Having turned 30 just two days ago, Lewandowski told German publication Sport that he handed in a transfer request just before the World Cup, but ultimately was convinced to stay by new head coach Niko Kovac.

“When everything is going well it’s taken for granted what I do. If it goes badly, Lewandowski is to blame,” Lewandowski said. “That was how I felt at the end of the season. In April and May, almost everyone was having a go at me, I felt alone in this situation and didn’t enjoy any protection from the club. That disappointed me. I was an easy target because I failed to score in two or three important games. Suddenly it was a case of everybody laying into Lewandowski. I had the feeling that no one was behind me — none of the bosses defended me.”

Much of the criticism focuses on Lewandowski’s performances in big games over the last few years, especially in Champions League play. Bayern has bowed out of the Champions League in either the quarterfinals or the semifinals each of the last four years, with five individual 90-minute defeats in that span. In those five defeats combined, Lewandowski has scored just one lone goal.

“It wasn’t working out and everything came at once,” Lewandowski said, referring to this spring and early summer. “I felt as if I had been at Bayern for just one season and enjoyed zero credit at the club. That’s why I thought about leaving. That was the point when I thought: if everyone here has a problem with me and thinks I am not good enough, why should I stay here any longer? Everything came to a head before the World Cup. It was a difficult time for me. I thought about offers from other clubs.”

However, he is back on board, thanks to his new boss Kovac. “I had very good talks with Kovac,” he said. “The club will not consider selling me and is trying to keep me at all costs. That was the point when I said to myself: ‘I want to give everything to this club again.’ I’m now 30. I know how important I am and still have three years on my contract. I will never go on strike nor fight with the club. I will not waste any time thinking about [moving] abroad. Yes, I had problems but not with Munich nor the people here. My heart beats again for Bayern. I’m looking forward to my future at the club and the city.”

Lewandowski joined Bayern from rivals Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2014 on a free transfer and has scored 155 goals for the club across all competitions in 197 appearances.

Back in good spirits and ready to play this season, Lewandowski scored a hat-trick in the season-opening DFB-SuperCup against Eintracht Frankfurt and then bagged the lone goal in a 1-0 DFB-Pokal win over fourth-tier club SV Drochtersen. Bayern begins its Bundesliga title defense against Hoffenheim on Friday.