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Muller suspended two matches for high boot

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Bayern Munich striker Thomas Muller was suspended two Champions League matches for the red card he received in the 75th minute of the 3-3 draw with Ajax to close out group stage play in mid-December.

As a result, Muller will miss both legs of the Round of 16 matchup against last year’s runners-up Liverpool.

The 29-year-old German was sent off for a vicious high-boot to the head of Ajax defender Nicolas Tagliafico. The standard Champions League ban for a straight red card involving violent conduct is one match, but the disciplinary committee chose to tack on an additional match due to the nature of the foul.

The straight red card was the first of Muller’s career and just the second sending off of his entire professional career of any variety, a remarkable record that spans 465 matches all for Bayern Munich. The only other time Muller has been sent off was a 2009 Champions League group stage match against Bordeaux when he was handed a second yellow card in the 30th minute of an eventual 2-1 loss.

Muller apologized to Tagliafico for the foul after the match on social media, saying it was “unintentional.” Bayern has announced it will appeal the decision.

Champions League wrap: Insanity between Bayern, Ajax; Lyon advances

AP Photo/Peter Dejong
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Most of the knockout rounds spots were decided before a ball was kicked on Wednesday, but it was another wild day of UEFA Champions League play across Europe.

[ MORE: Who can PL clubs draw in UCL? ]

That includes Thomas Muller’s terrible red card and a number of beautiful goals — Hi, Nabil Fekir — as the group stage concluded with eight matches.


Benfica 1-0 AEK Athens

Grimaldo’s 88th minute goal kept AEK from getting its first point of the group stage.

Ajax 3-3 Bayern Munich

There was one goal in the first hour, and five in the final 30 minutes, as the winner of Group E changed several times on the night.

Robert Lewandowski’s 13th minute goal gave Bayern a halftime lead, but Dusan Tadic scored in the 61st and 82nd minutes to put Ajax atop the group… for five minutes.

Lewandowski completed his brace to restore the tie and Bayern’s lead, then Kingsley Coman made it academic in the 90th.

The game being what it was, with both teams finishing with 10 men thanks to Thomas Muller and Max Wober being sent off, Nicolas Tagliafico gave Ajax a point with an equalizer in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Muller, WYD?


Man City 2-1 HoffenheimRECAP

Aymeric Laporte conceded an early penalty, but Leroy Sane was electric all night long in producing a brace en route to a 2-1 win and the group crown.

Shakhtar Donetsk 1-1 Lyon

Junior Moraes’ 22nd minute goal looked set to send the Ukranian side into the knockout rounds, but it’ll instead be headed for the Europa League thanks to Nabil Fekir’s wonderful 65th minute goal.


Real Madrid 0-3 CSKA MoscowRECAP

Georgi Schennikov, Arnor Sigurdsson, and Fedor Chalov all scored as Real Madrid’s second choice side suffered its worst home loss in UCL history.

Viktoria Plzen 2-1 AS Roma

Jan Kovarik and Tomas Chory scored for the home victors in the 62nd and 72nd minutes as the match’s three goals all came in 10-minute span, as Viktoria Plzen prepares for the drop into Europa League. Roma’s Cenzig Under scored his third goal of the group stage and second against Viktoria Plzen.


Valencia 2-1 Manchester United — RECAP

Phil Jones‘ disastrous own goal was the difference as Valencia built a two-goal lead and held on to beat United despite Marcus Rashford‘s late pullback.

Young Boys 2-1 Juventus

Two goals for 34-year-old forward Guillaume Hoarau paced the Swiss side to a feel-good upset of Juve. Paolo Dybala scored for the visitors.

Bundesliga wrap: Bayern falls, Eintracht rises, USMNT’s Wright debuts

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
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Goals, goals, goals: The Bundesliga returned from international break with a fury, with only 1-0 in the seven matches staged Friday and Saturday.

[ MORE: Spurs thump Chelsea ]

The fact that a 2-1 win from leaders Borussia Dortmund gets pushed down to the “Elsewhere” portion of our wrap-up shows you the nutty nature of the day.

Bayern Munich 3-3 Fortuna Dusseldorf

Bayern is now nine points off of first place BVB following a Dodi Lukebakio-inspired loss at the Allianz Arena.

Thomas Muller scored twice as Bayern held 2-0 and 3-1 leads, the latter with just over a half-hour to play.

But Lukebakio finished off his hat trick with goals in the 77th minute and third minute of stoppage time to send Bayern’s winless league run to three matches.

Augsburg 1-3 Eintracht Frankfurt

There’s a new second place side, at least until Sunday, as Eintracht built a three-goal lead starting with a first minute goal from Canadian midfielder Jonathan De Guzman. Star strikers Sebastien Haller and Luka Jovic also scored in the win.

Schalke 5-2 Nurnberg

It was 2-1 to the hosts when Nurnberg went down a man through Robery Bauer’s second yellow card. Schalke took further control through Guido Burgstaller, and scored twice in the final 10 minutes to salt away a fourth win of the season.

American winger Haji Wright made his Schalke senior debut in the 88th minute, getting three touches and completing both of his passes in the cameo. The 20-year-old has six goals and three assists for Schalke II, earning his first spot in a match day 18 since 2017.

Elsewhere
Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Stuttgart — Friday
Mainz 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

Wolfsburg 1-0 RB Leipzig
Hertha Berlin 3-3 Hoffenheim
Freiburg vs. Werder Bremen — 
9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Hannover 96 — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Borussia Dortmund 12 9 3 0 35 13 22 5-1-0 4-2-0 30
 Eintracht Frankfurt 12 7 2 3 29 14 15 3-1-1 4-1-2 23
 Mönchengladbach 11 7 2 2 26 13 13 5-0-0 2-2-2 23
 RB Leipzig 12 6 4 2 22 10 12 4-2-0 2-2-2 22
 Bayern Munich 12 6 3 3 23 17 6 2-3-1 4-0-2 21
 1899 Hoffenheim 12 6 2 4 27 18 9 3-1-2 3-1-2 20
 Werder Bremen 11 5 2 4 19 19 0 2-2-2 3-0-2 17
 Hertha BSC Berlin 12 4 5 3 19 20 -1 3-2-1 1-3-2 17
 VfL Wolfsburg 12 4 3 5 16 17 -1 2-2-3 2-1-2 15
 FSV Mainz 05 12 4 3 5 11 14 -3 3-2-2 1-1-3 15
 Bayer Leverkusen 12 4 2 6 18 24 -6 2-1-3 2-1-3 14
 FC Augsburg 12 3 4 5 20 21 -1 1-3-2 2-1-3 13
 SC Freiburg 11 3 4 4 15 19 -4 2-2-2 1-2-2 13
 FC Schalke 04 12 4 1 7 13 17 -4 3-0-3 1-1-4 13
 1. FC Nürnberg 12 2 4 6 13 29 -16 2-2-2 0-2-4 10
 Hannover 96 11 2 3 6 14 22 -8 2-1-2 0-2-4 9
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 12 2 3 7 13 28 -15 2-0-4 0-3-3 9
 VfB Stuttgart 12 2 2 8 8 26 -18 1-1-3 1-1-5 8

Muller’s wife apologizes after posting criticism of Bayern boss Kovac

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Bayern Munich has seemingly turned around its poor early-season form, but things don’t appear to be completely squeaky clean in Bavaria.

The German giants have been forced to issue an all-clear statement after the wife of Thomas Muller posted critical comments of Bayern manager Niko Kovac after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Freiburg. Lisa Muller posted a picture on her Instagram story of Thomas coming off the bench in the 70th minute, appearing to have been taken from the stands – likely by her – with the caption “More than 70 minutes until he [Kovac] had flash of genius.”

The post was eventually deleted but the damage had been done. Bayern released a statement saying that Lisa eventually apologized to Kovac, and the manager had no issues with the incident in his post-match press conference, insinuating that he has no problems taking criticism, and treated Lisa like any other passionate fan who has their own personal opinions.

“There’s nothing to clarify,” Kovac said. “Obviously it wasn’t Thomas himself who wrote that.”

Thomas was also asked about it after the match, and while he said she probably should have thought twice about posting, he supported his wife and her independent thoughts. “It was out of emotion,” Muller said. “In retrospect I don’t think it was super. But she just loves me, what should I do?”

Bayern led 1-0 on a Serge Gnabry goal at the time Muller came on the pitch, but Lucas Holer equalized in the 89th minute as the defending German champions failed to win for the first time in four matches across all competitions. They sit third in the Bundesliga table on 20 points, four points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund after struggles earlier in the year.

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