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Bundesliga: Wolfsburg, Leipzig, Hoffenheim all bag 3 goals in wins

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RB Leipzig and Wolfsburg both took necessary steps in the fight for European places as they each pulled out Saturday victories in Bundesliga play.

Leipzig, with Tyler Adams in the starting lineup, earned a 3-1 victory on the road at Stuttgart behind a brace from Yussuf Poulsen, while Marcel Sabitzer scored the decisive goal.

Notably for USMNT fans, Adams secured his first Bundesliga assist, feeding Poulsen for his second goal in the 74th minute to give Leipzig the two-goal advantage. Adams lept over right-back Andreas Beck on the flank and charged forward, eventually delivering a delicious ball for Poulsen on the break who, instead of feeding a wide-open Timo Werner right on the doorstep, took it himself under pressure and managed to slot the ball in past a charging Ron-Robert Zieler.

The win kept Leipzig to fourth in the Bundesliga table and drew them to within a point of third-place Borussia Monchengladbach. The victory was also critical given Wolfsburg, right behind them in fifth, also found a win with a 3-0 stomping of Mainz.

Wolfsburg midfielder Max Arnold scored his first goal of the season just four minutes in to put the hosts in front as young Florian Muller was very late to react in goal. They never looked back as Wout Weghorst bagged a penalty in the 69th minute and Robin Knoche finished things off 14 minutes from the final whistle. The win gave the hosts more life in the race for the final Champions League spot, keeping them five points back of Leipzig.

Hoffenheim also rode an early goal to a 3-0 win, topping Hannover at home to remain in the race for a European position. Brazilian youngster Joelinton was the man to put the hosts in front early on, scoring just four minutes in on a breakaway with a shot through the legs of a charging Michael Esser. Ishak Belfodil doubled the lead in the 14th minute, and Kerem Demirbay left no doubt with a late cherry on top. The win put Hoffenheim in seventh, level on 33 points with Eintracht Frankfurt above them and Bayer Leverkusen below them.

Hertha Berlin slumped to a 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen thanks to a 96th minute Claudio Pizarro goal to make him the Bundesliga’s oldest-ever goalscorer. Schalke and Freiburg both fell to 10 men as the two played to a 0-0 draw.

Barcelona-Atletico Madrid headlines Champions League final eight

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We’re all set for what should be a tantalizing group of matchups, as this year’s UEFA Champions League hits the quarterfinals.

[ MORE: PL secures four Champions League spots in 2016-17 ]

Defending champion Barcelona will takes on fellow La Liga side Atletico Madrid, headlining the group of matches. In 17 quarterfinal matches, the Blaugrana have won 14 times.

England’s lone survivor, Manchester City, will face stiff competition against this year’s Ligue 1 winner Paris Saint-Germain. The Citizens have already reached its summit in Champions League play, after their previous best finish came in the Round of 16.

Two German sides remain alive, with Bayern Munich taking on Benfica and Wolfsburg meeting Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid.

Pep Guardiola’s Bayern team won the competition two seasons ago, and will hope to replicate that feat with the Spaniard moving on to England this summer.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

The final eight will meet on April 5/6 for the first legs, before meeting again a week later on April 12/13.

Here are all of the quarterfinal fixtures:

Wolfsburg vs. Real Madrid

Bayern Munich vs. Benfica

Barcelona vs. Atlético Madrid

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester City

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Wolfsburg sporting director: “De Bruyne is off to Manchester City”

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Kevin de Bruyne’s move from Wolfsburg to Manchester City is all but official, as Wolfsburg’s sporting director has confirmed the deal will be completed within the next 24 hours.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news ]

Manchester City’s bid is reported to be worth around $85 million, and Wolfsburg admitted they could not compete with the massive wages offered to de Bruyne by City.

Now, the German club’s sporting director Klaus Allofs has announced the deal will be completed, with only “minor issues” remaining.

We will complete everything either tonight (Friday) or tomorrow (Saturday). De Bruyne is off to Manchester City.

I explained at the press conference that we had begun talks, those talks have progressed. Now only minor issues remain.

Of course it’s stressful but it’s a luxurious position for him to be in. He’s going to go from a Champions League club to another Champions League club, that’s a luxurious position to be in.

He’s done a lot of thinking but he’s made this decision. To live with this uncertainty, as a professional footballer you’ll just have to make it work.”

De Bruyne was left out of Wolfsburg’s squad today in their 3-0 win over Schalke, leading to further speculation that a deal with Manchester City was nearly complete.

Expect an official announcement to be coming shortly, as the 24-year-old Belgian winger is on his way to the Etihad. For now, just imagine a midfield of Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne terrorizing Premier League defenses… Soon, it will all be a reality.

Antonio Conte names two uncapped players in Italy’s squad ahead of Euro ’16 qualifier

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Italy’s national team will encounter Croatia in a Euro 2016 qualifier on June 12, and manager Antonio Conte has named a 32-man squad, including two uncapped men,¬†Daniel Caligiuri and Nicola Sansone.

Caligiuri, scoring 10 goals on the year, made his name known due to a top-notch season with Wolfsburg, a team that defeated Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal final yesterday and also qualified for Champions League spot.

Sansone of Sassuolo, with¬†five goals and four assists on the year, came through Bayern Munich’s youth system and was born in Germany, though he has made appearances for Italy’s youth side dating back to 2007.

Stephan El Shaarawy returned from injury and is fit for a training retreat that goes from June 2 to June 4.

[RELATED: Marcelo injured, dropped from Brazil’s Copa America squad]

Premier League standout Graziano Pelle, who scored 16 goals in his first season in England, is joined by a veteran of a lesser impact, Sunderland’s Emanuele Giaccherini.

For those wondering about the whereabouts of Juve’s stars in this roster, none have been selected due to their vital Champions League final match against Barcelona next weekend.

Conte will announce a final squad next weekend for the game. In Qatar on June 16, the Blues will then clash with Portugal.

Roster below:

Goalkeepers: Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Daniele Padelli (Torino), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint -Germain)

Defenders: Francesco Acerbi (Sassuolo), Davide Astori (Roma), Domenico Criscito (Zenit), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Mattia De Sciglio (Milan), Lorenzo De Silvestri (Sampdoria), Emiliano Moretti (Torino), Manuel Pasqual (Fiorentina), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter)

Midfielders: Andrea Bertolacci (Genoa), Daniel Caligiuri (Wolfsburg), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Andrea Poli (Milan), Roberto Soriano (Sampdoria), Mirko Valdifiori (Empoli), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint Germain)

Forwards: Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Stephan El Shaarawy (Milan), Manolo Gabbiadini (Napoli), Ciro Immobile (Borussia Dortmund),Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Alberto Paloschi (Chievo), Graziano Pelle (Southampton), Nicola Sansone (Sassuolo), Franco Vazquez (Palermo), Simone Zaza (Sassuolo)

DFB Pokal final: VfL Wolfsburg ends Jurgen Klopp’s reign at Borussia Dortmund in disappointment

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GOALS

Dortmund:¬†Aubameyang¬†5′

Wolfsburg:¬†Gustavo¬†22′,¬†De¬†Bruyne¬†33′,¬†Dost¬†38′

Seven years.

The tenure of soon-to-be-gone Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp, and a second DFB-Pokal title marked the perfect way to end his run with the Bundesliga club.

However, the ideal doesn’t always come true.

Facing VfL Wolfsburg earlier today, Klopp witnessed the crown slip away as his opposition fought back to secure a 3-1 victory for themselves in Berlin.

Wolfsburg gained revenge after Dortmund eliminated them in the semi-final a year ago, while a disappointed BVB can still point to success this year with a Europa League qualification.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring with a magnificent volley to put the Black and Yellows in front at the five-minute mark, but Luiz Gusatavo was alert to convert the equalizer off¬†a rebound from Naldo’s attempt.

[RELATED: CSKA Moscow qualifies for Champions League with dramatic finish]

Belgian international Kevin De Bruyne brandished his exceptional skill with a scoring bullet from 25 yards out in the 33rd minute, and five minutes later, Bas Dost extended the advantage with a textbook header from Ivan Perisic’s cross

Shinji Kagawa’s¬†sliding effort nearly got Dortmund a second goal right after the half.

In the first half, Dortmund goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak rejected a low shot from De Bruyne early on, and Marco Reus sailed his strike high following a threatening sequence led by Aubameyang on the right side.

23-year-old defender Erik Durm made a mistake that allowed Daniel Caligiuri to continue Wolfsburg’s attacking success, though Langerak was there for the stop. had to be alert to deny

Club legend Sebastian Kehl, at Dortmund since 2001 and making over 300 top-flight appearances, was substituted off in the 68th minute for defender Lukasz Piszczek.

Kehl announced that he will retire at the end of the season and wanted to go off on a high note, just like Klopp.