Timo Werner

Lampard reacts to Chelsea clinching a Champions League place

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Admit it, because we have: Frank Lampard leading transfer ban-bound Chelsea back into the Champions League was a thought held by only the most bullish of Blues.

But that’s exactly what’s happened now that Chelsea beat Wolves 2-0 on Championship Sunday to land fourth place and an automatic place in the UCL.

That’s better, relatively speaking, than the Europa League title route used to get into the UCL last season under Maurizio Sarri.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

And it was done with a bevy of young players like Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount, with big time reinforcements coming in the form of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner.

The latter was in the stands on Sunday and Lampard hopes the free-scoring ex-RB Leipzig star is buzzing to pull on a blue shirt after Chelsea’s Sunday display.

“I hope he’d see a team who played with a lot of spirit,” Lampard said after the win, via Football.London. “A moment like Mason Mount did and we have things we want to improve on, but there is talent in the squad. Hopefully it was a nice first viewing for him.”

Chelsea can still make Lampard’s successful first season a shinier one when it meets Arsenal in the FA Cup Final on Aug. 1 at Wembley Stadium. And, of course, there’s a slim chance the Blues can reverse a 3-0 first leg deficit to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.

But that’s in the future and Lampard has his thoughts on now.

“I am very pleased and I don’t want to sing my own praises,” he said. “I have said a lot before that there were unknowns. You have seen breakthrough seasons, so it’s a team effort of staff and players. I am proud. But we want to challenge for titles in the future. We have been inconsistent at times.”

There’s a lot to like with Lampard, who’s carried himself without too many highs nor lows and kept Chelsea’s expectation and ambition at the heart of all of his answers. A club man, indeed. What will he do next season with title expectations?

Timo Werner to Chelsea official: Blues get their finisher

Timo Werner to Chelsea official
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Frank Lampard has his answer to its striker question as Timo Werner to Chelsea is official.

The Blues have produced the second-most chances in the Premier League this season and now have one of the game’s elite finishers to pound in the service.

[ MORE: Werner behind the numbers ]

Werner can play as the left striker in a two-man unit and is capable of functioning on the wing but it would be stunning if the 24-year-old wasn’t immediately put at center forward.

He’s reported to have a $65 million release clause and will join the Blues after the Bundesliga season is completed. Leipzig has two matches left including this weekend’s huge tilt with Borussia Dortmund.

Here’s Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia:

“We are very excited that Timo Werner has chosen to join Chelsea. He is a player who was coveted all over Europe and it is no surprise, he has that rare mix of being young and exciting and yet established and proven. We can’t wait to have Timo on board, but until then we wish him and RB Leipzig all the best for the rest of this season.”

Chelsea center forwards Tammy Abraham (15), Michy Batshuayi (6), and Olivier Giroud (3) have combined for 24 goals in 3830 minutes. Batshuayi’s hit rate of one goal per 109 minutes is the best of the bunch, and the trio has combined for nine assists.

Werner has 32 in 3437, good for one every 107 minutes. He’s added 13 assists.

The German turned 24 in early March and has 11 goals in 29 caps for Germany. His club record is exceptional with 93 goals and 40 assists in 157 matches for Leipzig after 14 and 11 in 103 with boyhood club Stuttgart

For RB Leipzig, the cash is nice but the impact on the club’s UEFA Champions League campaign is massive. RBL has Roma loanee Patrik Schick and has reportedly made a play to buy him permanently and scorer Yussuf Poulsen has been out for five matches with an ankle injury (though there’s still plenty of time until August).

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund, Leipzig both drop points as Bayer wins

Bundesliga recaps
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Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga-clinching Tuesday might’ve cast a pall over its two closest competitors.

Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig dropped points on Wednesday, the former in shocking fashion days before a meeting with the latter.

[ MORE: Man City drops Arsenal | Pep reacts ]

Bayer Leverkusen has renewed hope of finishing in the top three after becoming the lone top-four contender to win on Wednesday.

The early match saw USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie bag another goal in another loss, as Schalke fell 2-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Borussia Dortmund 0-2 Mainz

Jonathan Burkardt and Jean-Philippe Mateta scored as Mainz stunned second-place BVB at the Westalenstadion on Wednesday.

The visitors now are incredibly unlikely to finish in an automatic relegation place and the playoff spot isn’t looking probable either. Mainz is five points clear of 16th-place Fortuna and six ahead of Werder Bremen.

Dortmund had 70 percent of the ball and took 16 of the match’s 25 shots.

Americans Abroad: Giovanni Reyna missed out on the lineup card for the first time in a long time with a bacterial infection. Bild reported that the American 17-year-old tested negative for COVID-19.

Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Koln

Kai Havertz had a goal and an assist as Bayer Leverkusen moved fourth with a nice home win.

Sven Bender and Moussa Diaby scored the other goals for Bayer, who is back ahead of Borussia Monchengladbach and three back of third-place Leipzig.

Koln remains 13th with 35 points.

RB Leipzig 2-2 Fortuna Dusseldorf

Leipzig has renewed hope of second place but did not take complete advantage of Dortmund’s stumble.

The hosts struck twice after the hour mark including a terrific Kevin Kampl goal and yet another marker from Timo Werner.

But Fortuna kept fighting and found a point thanks to an 87th-minute goal from Steven Skrzybski and a stoppage-time equalizer from Andre Hoffman.

Fortuna’s 29 points are one better than 17th-place Werder Bremen but Mainz is now five points clear of the visitors with only six points left for Fortuna to win.

Americans Abroad: Tyler Adams went 90 minutes for RBL, completing 91 percent of his 67 passes and winning five of six duels. He had two tackles, an interception, and a clearance. On the other side was Alfredo Morales, who departed in the 82d minute with Fortuna down 2-0. He had a rough day passing but did register one key pass and a completed cross. Morales won seven of 15 duels and registered one tackle.

Augsburg 1-3 Hoffenheim

Hoffenheim is back in seventh ahead of what will be a frantic finish in the race for sixth and seventh.

Munas Dabbur scored twice and Ihlas Bebou also found the net against Ruben Vargas’ lone goal for the hosts.

Hoffenheim’s 46 points are level with Wolfsburg and one better than Freiburg. Eintracht Frankfurt is not totally out of the picture with 41, but those odds are long.

Augsburg’s still safe barring calamity, six points ahead of the playoff spot.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 32 24 4 4 93 31 62 12-2-2 12-2-2 76
 Borussia Dortmund 32 20 6 6 82 37 45 11-3-2 9-3-4 66
 RB Leipzig 32 17 12 3 79 34 45 7-8-1 10-4-2 63
 Bayer Leverkusen 32 18 6 8 60 42 18 8-4-4 10-2-4 60
 Mönchengladbach 32 18 5 9 61 38 23 11-2-3 7-3-6 59
 VfL Wolfsburg 32 12 10 10 44 41 3 4-7-5 8-3-5 46
 1899 Hoffenheim 32 13 7 12 45 53 -8 6-1-9 7-6-3 46
 SC Freiburg 32 12 9 11 43 44 -1 8-2-6 4-7-5 45
 Eintracht Frankfurt 32 12 5 15 55 57 -2 7-4-5 5-1-10 41
 FC Schalke 04 32 9 12 11 37 50 -13 5-7-4 4-5-7 39
 Hertha BSC Berlin 32 10 8 14 45 57 -12 5-3-8 5-5-6 38
 1. FC Union Berlin 32 11 5 16 38 54 -16 7-3-6 4-2-10 38
 1. FC Köln 32 10 5 17 49 62 -13 6-3-7 4-2-10 35
 FC Augsburg 32 9 8 15 43 60 -17 5-5-6 4-3-9 35
 FSV Mainz 05 32 10 4 18 41 63 -22 4-2-10 6-2-8 34
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 32 6 11 15 35 63 -28 4-5-7 2-6-8 29
 Werder Bremen 32 7 7 18 35 65 -30 1-3-12 6-4-6 28
 SC Paderborn 32 4 8 20 34 68 -34 2-2-12 2-6-8 20

Transfer news: Werner to Chelsea update; Meunier to Tottenham

Werner
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In transfer news there’s a Timo Werner Chelsea update, while Thomas Meunier has been linked with a move to Tottenham.

[ MORE: New PL TV schedule

Firstly, we start in west London with a Timo Werner Chelsea update as he is edging closer to completing his move. A report from the London Evening Standard says that Werner’s move from Leipzig will be announced this week.

Chelsea will activate Werner’s $66 million release clause and the 24-year-old has reportedly told Leipzig he will not be a part of their UEFA Champions League squad for the quarterfinals and beyond in August.

This is a massive coup for Chelsea as Werner was wanted by Liverpool, Bayern Munich and many others across Europe but the German striker has chosen to sign for the Blues.

In terms of how he will fit into the Chelsea team, he will start over Tammy Abraham up top and could partner the England international, as well as play off the left. With Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech the supporting acts for Werner next season, he will get plenty of quality service and his clinical finishing will be key as only Man City have created more chances than Chelsea so far this season.

With Willian and Pedro set to leave, plus Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi surplus to requirements, Frank Lampard will spruce up his attack and continues to be linked with Kai Havertz and others to provide Werner with chances.

Meunier
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Switching to north London, Tottenham are reportedly the frontrunners to sign right back Thomas Meunier on a free transfer this summer.

Meunier, 28, is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain and the Belgium international has been a long-term target for Tottenham, Man United and Liverpool. Given the fact that free agents are now like gold dust and Daniel Levy is set to give Mourinho very limited transfer funds, this deal makes sense for everyone.

According to the Daily Express, Meunier is a player Jose Mourinho likes and wants to bring in to strengthen his defense. Spurs have an ace up their sleeve too, with Toby Alderweireld a close friend of Meunier and they hope that brings him to north London.

Meunier is an attacking right back who is versatile and Mourinho could really use a solid, dependable defender to help shore up his defense. Going forward we know Spurs are the business with Kane, Son, Alli, Bergwijn and Moura, among others, so dangerous. Meunier would be a great addition to try and sort out their defense.

Olmo brace drives RB Leipzig past Hoffenheim (video)

Hoffenheim v. RB Leipzig recap and video highlights
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Dani Olmo’s early brace led RB Leipzig to a 2-0 away win over Hoffenheim at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena on Friday in Julian Nagelsmann’s return to his old stamping grounds.

Nordi Mukiele and Marcel Sabitzer set up the goals for Leipzig, whose 62 points are one less than second-place Borussia Dortmund and six clear of Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen, with the other three sides playing Saturday.

Hoffenheim can now be passed by Freiburg this weekend and fails to pass sixth-place Wolfsburg.

Leipzig’s three losses are the fewest in the Bundesliga, its 11 draws keeping them out of the title fight.

[ MORE: New PL schedule ]

The game began delivering early with hard fouls and a near-wonderful finish from Julian Baumgartner, whose shot swam wide of the Leipzig goal in the fifth minute.

Peter Gulacsi rushed off his line to earn a yellow card and send Hoffenheim to the spot in the sixth minute, but it was rescinded when VAR caught Baumgartner’s handling of the ball in the build-up.

Leipzig got its goal within a minute of the decision, Olmo sliding the ball past Oliver Baumann after a fortunate deflection kept the ball on his path for a cool finish.

Olmo got another in the 11th, lashing a loose ball inside the near post for 2-0.

Hoffenheim put a scare into the scoreboard when Diadie Samasseko leapt onto a loose ball outside the 18, but his outside-of-the-boot scun wide of the frame.

The hosts stayed in the mix and the first half was rather entertaining despite the two-goal gap.

Hoffenheim saw a Gulacsi double stop from close range, the second save a composed one.

Leipzig could’ve put it away in the 44th, but Timo Werner chopped a breakaway over the goal.

It was again close when Werner’s run was offside before feeding Angelino for a 53rd minute finish. Still 2-0.

Amadou Haidara was deprived a highlight reel rocket goal by a flying Baumann, who had four of the match’s nine saves.

Americans Abroad: Tyler Adams entered in the 68th minute for Kevin Kampf. He set up an early chance with a dribble in traffic and was generally calm and composed, completing 14-of-15 passes with one key pass, one clearance, and one-of-one on long balls.