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Bayern recovers to crush Hoffenheim 5-2, keeps 16-point lead

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BERLIN (AP) Sandro Wagner scored his first goal for Bayern Munich to wrap up a 5-2 win over his former team Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

League top-scorer Robert Lewandowski scored one and set up another as Bayern stayed on track for another title – a record-extending sixth straight – with a 16-point lead.

[ MORE: West Brom drops the hammer on Liverpool in FA Cup ]

“Altogether I’m satisfied, though I’m a coach who prefers not to concede,” said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, who has led his side to 17 wins in 18 games across all competitions since returning for a fourth stint in charge in October.

Bayern was two goals down after 12 minutes with its own striker Serge Gnabry – on loan at Hoffenheim – involved in both goals.

Gnabry missed a penalty after he was brought down by Joshua Kimmich, but Mark Uth scored on the rebound. Gnabry added a second by shooting from distance after Jerome Boateng tried to clear.

Lewandowski pulled one back with his 18th goal of the season.

Five minutes later Boateng made up for his earlier mistake by equalizing.

Kingsley Coman completed the turnaround midway through the second half, firing inside the far corner after Lewandowski played him in with a perfect chip.

Arturo Vital headed Bayern’s fourth minutes later, and Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes sent on Wagner to grab the fifth in the final minutes.

Wagner joined Bayern from Hoffenheim in December for a reported 12 million euros ($14 million) plus bonus payments.

AUBAMEYANG WHISTLED

Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was subjected to whistles from his own team’s fans as Freiburg held them to 2-2.

Aubameyang returned to the starting lineup after being left out of the squad for the last two games. Many supporters are unhappy with what they perceive as a lack of professionalism as he pushes for a move to Arsenal.

“No player is bigger than our club,” read one banner held up by fans.

Aubameyang was barely involved in the game.

“He’s had better days,” Dortmund coach Peter Stoeger said. “He was in the team because of his qualities. We know what he can do. He just didn’t show it today.”

Shinji Kagawa volleyed the home side into an early lead, but Nils Petersen equalized.

Petersen then fired the visitors ahead midway through the second half when he pounced on a mistake from Nuri Sahin and chipped Roman Buerki brilliantly from 40 yards.

Jeremy Toljan saved Stoeger from his first defeat as Dortmund coach when he equalized late.

Freiburg stretched its unbeaten run to eight games.

SCHALKE ON THE UP

Naldo scored on his 337th Bundesliga appearance – a record for a Brazilian player in the league – to help Schalke reclaim second place with a 2-0 win at Stuttgart.

Hamburger SV drew at Leipzig 1-1 in Bernd Hollerbach’s first game as coach, and Augsburg came from behind to draw in Cologne 1-1, ending the bottom side’s three-game winning run.

Visiting Hertha Berlin held Werder Bremen to 0-0 in the late game.

DC brings U.S. U-20 Canouse home from Bundesliga

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DC United may be bringing a pair of Americans home to Major League Soccer.

Reports Wednesday linked the Black-and-Red with USMNT midfielder Paul Arriola, late of Club Tijuana in Liga MX. Arriola has 11 caps with two goals for the Yanks.

The 22-year-old midfielder is going to cost DC a club record $3 million, according to the Washington Post, and the Eastern Conference club is also going to have to ship money to LA Galaxy, holders of Arriola’s MLS rights.

[ MORE: All the latest transfer news ]

Meanwhile, DC announced the addition of another 22-year-old midfielder in Hoffenheim’s Russell Canouse. The Pennsylvania native leaves Germany with one Bundesliga appearances and 20 in Germany’s second tier after going on loan to Vfl Bochum, where he scored one goal in 905 minutes.

From DCUnited.com:

“Russell is a dominant holding midfielder with great talent and vision, especially as a young player,” Dave Kasper, United general manager and VP of soccer operations, said. “We’re pleased to acquire such a accomplished 22-year-old with years of European experience. He is a strong, physical presence who has an acute ability to dictate play.”

As good as these two are, the best international resume belongs to a third pickup for struggling United. Coach Ben Olsen can now deploy Hungarian international Zoltan Stieber.

Stieber, 28, has 21 caps and three goals for Hungary, including a goal against Austria at EURO 2016. A left wing and striker, Stieber comes from 2.Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern. He posted two goals and five assists for the side. He’s also played for Hamburg, Mainz, and Yeovil Town.

All this as well as the jettisoning of Lamar Neagle, Sebastian Le Toux, and Bobby Boswell. DC is going to look very different this weekend in a bid to improve on the league’s worst record.

Bundesliga wrap: Hamburger keeps Dortmund stumbling, Bayern cruises

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There were some clear surprises in the Bundesliga on Saturday, though in other ways the matches fell exactly as suspected.

Bayern rolled. But Leverkusen and Dortmund most certainly did not, and the table was shaken up near both extremes.

[ RELATED: Premier League roundup | La Liga is Neymar’s show ]

Let’s check it out:

Bayern Munich 4-0 Hannover 96
The reigning champs are now four points clear of the field after getting a brace each from Arjen Robben and Robert Lewandowski. The former now has three goals in Bundesliga play, while the latter has four. Bayern attempted 23 shots, 19 crosses and 11 corner kicks. Hannover’s totals? Six, nine and one. Domination.

Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Paderborn
The newly-promoted darlings put together another impressive performance, twice taking the lead at Bayern on goals by Suleyman Koc and Moritz Stoppelkamp. But Lars Bender and freshly-minted German national teamer Karim Bellarabi found late-half goals to snag a point.

Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Hamburger SV
What the heck is going on with Jurgen Klopp’s troops? Sure, Dortmund played in the UEFA Champions League this week, but to lose at home to previously-winless Hamburg? Pierre-Michel Lasogga netted in the 35th minute, and it was all they would need to pick up three valuable points, leaping out of the basement thanks to some big defense from Johan Djourou and company.

Hoffenheim 2-1 Schalke
Alright, alright, alright… Hoffenheim is second in the Bundesliga, at least for a day, after scoring twice early before holding on through a late Klaas-Jan Huntelaar goal to beat the UEFA Champions League side. Hoffe is one of four Bundesliga teams still undefeated this season (Bayern, Monchengladbach, Mainz).

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Hertha Berlin (Getty)

ELSEWHERE…

Eintracht Frankfurt 3-2 FC Koln — USMNT’s Timmy Chandler an 89th minute sub for winners 
Werder Bremen 1-1 Freiburg —
Last place Bremen still winless after draw No. 4.
Hertha Berlin 3-2 Stuttgart —
Salomon Kalou scored his 2nd and 3rd Bundesliga goals in the win.
Wolfsburg vs. Augsburg
 — Sunday, 930am ET
Monchengladbach vs. Mainz — Sunday, 1130 am ET

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Bayern Munich 7 5 2 0 15 2 13 4-0-0 1-2-0 17
1899 Hoffenheim 7 3 4 0 11 6 5 2-2-0 1-2-0 13
Mönchengladbach 6 3 3 0 8 3 5 2-1-0 1-2-0 12
Bayer Leverkusen 7 3 3 1 13 11 2 2-2-0 1-1-1 12
Eintracht Frankfurt 7 3 3 1 12 10 2 2-1-1 1-2-0 12
FSV Mainz 05 6 2 4 0 9 5 4 1-2-0 1-2-0 10
Hannover 96 7 3 1 3 5 8 -3 3-0-0 0-1-3 10
SC Paderborn 7 2 3 2 10 10 0 1-2-1 1-1-1 9
FC Augsburg 6 3 0 3 8 8 0 2-0-1 1-0-2 9
VfL Wolfsburg 6 2 2 2 10 8 2 2-1-0 0-1-2 8
FC Schalke 04 7 2 2 3 11 12 -1 1-2-0 1-0-3 8
Hertha BSC Berlin 7 2 2 3 11 14 -3 2-1-1 0-1-2 8
Borussia Dortmund 7 2 1 4 9 12 -3 1-1-2 1-0-2 7
1. FC Köln 7 1 3 3 4 6 -2 0-2-1 1-1-2 6
SC Freiburg 7 0 5 2 7 10 -3 0-3-0 0-2-2 5
VfB Stuttgart 7 1 2 4 6 12 -6 1-0-2 0-2-2 5
Hamburger SV 7 1 2 4 2 8 -6 0-1-2 1-1-2 5
Werder Bremen 7 0 4 3 10 16 -6 0-2-1 0-2-2 4

 

From the Bundesliga to the WWE? How fan furor made GK a bodybuilder

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Tim Wiese isn’t your ordinary goalkeeper in any stretch of the imagination. The German backstop played six times for the full national team during a 15-year career that took him from Cologne to Hoffenheim.

But it’s what he’s up to now — and how he got there — that makes Wiese’s story a truly intriguing tale.

Ridiculed after Hoffenheim failed to achieve its lofty goals, Wiese turned to a distraction, an outlet. It wasn’t food, drink or worse; Tim Wiese turned to bodybuilding.

And did he.

The jacked-up keeper was released by Hoffenheim last season as his body became too muscular to stand between the sticks (at least according to the club).

His next organization? It just may be World Wrestling Entertainment. From TopDrawerSoccer.com:

In any case, Wiese told German news outlet Bild that he’s received an offer from the WWE (that’s American professional wrestling for you neophytes) and is seriously mulling it over. The WWE apparently had its interest piqued initially when Wiese pushed out this muscle-bound selfie last year. It appears his fall from grace in the soccer realm coincided neatly with his rise as a lifter of very heavy objects.

wiese-muskeln

Wiese hasn’t yet accepted the offer, but it sounds like there’s a legitimate chance the nation’s fine network of professional wrestling fans will soon have a former international soccer player to cheer (or despise, depending on the script. Hopefully they don’t dress him up in a Nazi goalkeeper kit). On the topic, Wiese told Bild, “Why should I say no right away? Wrestling is very popular, especially in the United States. I will discuss the request in the next few weeks with my advisor.”

He looks like a wrestler, that’s for sure (no way it’s natural, right?). This Eurosport article delves into his expansion, and is truly interesting. A highlight or two:

source:
Wiese with Germany

“When I came to Hoffenheim, we thought we could challenge for European places. Then everything backfired.

“And every time we lost, it seemed it was my fault; I was being analysed and criticised, not the team. It was all about me.

“Despite my experience and confidence, I had never faced this before. It culminated in a fan protest at the club’s office – a fan protest, just against me!

“There were only a few of these fans, but this made me feel deeply unwanted, and I would never wish this on another player.

“It was like being in a horror movie. The pressure was inhuman. I could not play freely.”

The article also details how Wiese chose Hoffenheim over a move to Real Madrid to back up Iker Casillas. But he wanted to play, which led him here.

Lots of folks will crack wise over the story, and that’s understandable. But at least part of the tale is really tough to read. He was driven to lift…and lift… and lift. What comes next will certainly bear following with interest.

Fabian Johnson, Danny Williams still in Bundesliga after Hoffenheim’s playoff win

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Hoffenheim cut it close in the regular season, needing an unlikely win at Borussia Dortmund and a Fortuna Dusseldorf loss at Hannover to avoid an automatic relegation to the 2. Bundesliga, but after today’s 2-1 win at Kaiserslautern, the club of U.S. internationals Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams finally secured their spot in next year’s Bundesliga. Winning their two-leg playoff by an aggregate 5-2, Hoffenheim stays up at the expense of the four-time German Champions, `Slautern seeking to bounce straight back up after last season’s relegation.

Survival means Johnson and Williams don’t have to worry about relegation’s effect on their international careers. As Carlos Bocanegra has found, life for a second division club doesn’t help hold down a place ui Jurgen Klinsmann’s set up (though Bocanegra was also having trouble earning playtime at Racing Santander). While there was a time when Benny Feilhaber could get called in after Aarhus’s relegation or Frank Simek would get a look while paying for Sheffield Wednesday, now it takes circumstances like Bocanegra’s or Stu Holden’s (at Bolton) to be considered as exceptions.

Johnson may have been alright. The U.S. is so thin at left back, it would have taken a sharp downturn in form to see him left out. By and large, Hoffenheim’s struggles have been in spite of Johnson’s contributions, not because of them. If he didn’t want to stick it out in Germany’s second division, Johnson would have found another club.

Williams, however, would have been in a more precarious position. The defensive midfielder has failed to hold down a consistent place in the team, injuries teaming with on-field struggles to limit him to 21 league appearances and 17 starts. His last game with Hoffenheim’s senior team was on March 30.

Those are the type of circumstances you see surrounding players who drift out of Klinsmann’s squad, and while Hoffenheim’s spot in the first division will help Williams maintain his, that only solves half the problem. Williams will have to show improvement in 2013-14 to regain some of the playing time he’s lost. If he doesn’t, Williams may eventually see his name descend the pecking order in a crowded U.S. central midfield.

Most of these questions, however, will remain thought experiments. Thanks to today’s result, Johnson, Williams, and Hoffenheim will stay up. That doesn’t necessarily mean the U.S. internationals be with their club when next season starts (this is soccer, after all), but if they are, they’ll be playing first division soccer.