Werder Bremen

Werder Bremen avoids relegation
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Sargent, Werder Bremen avoid Bundesliga relegation (video)

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Werder Bremen is staying the Bundesliga on away goals after a 2-2 draw at Heidenheim in the second leg of the promotion/relegation playoff preserved their place in Germany’s top flight.

Bremen’s American forward Josh Sargent had a front-row seat for the decisive goal, getting the last touch before Norman Theuerkauf put it in his own goal in the third minute.

Heidenheim thickened the drama late when Tim Kleindienst put home the rebound of a shot smashed off the crossbar in the 85th, but a grinder’s effort from veteran Fin Bartels to set up Ludwig Augustinsson in stoppage time put the tie to bed. Heidenheim added a penalty at the death as Kleindienst finished his brace.

[ MORE: Marsch named Coach of the Year ]

Bremen avoids its first relegation in nearly 40 years. Heidenheim finished third in 2.Bundesliga while Bremen was third-bottom of Bundesliga.

Sargent, 20, worked his way into becoming a Bremen regular this season, featuring in its last 17 league matches and both playoff matches. He started Monday, one of 15 starts between the Bundesliga and playoffs. He finished the season with four goals and four assists.

His stats over 88 minutes were good. Sargent had two shots on target, one blocked, completed two of four dribbles, and influenced the own goal (SofaScore). One of his shots saved could’ve easily been a goal but it did not cost Bremen. The industrious Sargent was involved in 24 duels and drew two fouls.

Manager Florian Kohfeldt asked Sargent to run his shorts off and press hard at forward and Bremen was not good at getting service to anyone this season. Sargent will have hardened his game this season and can now claim to be a part of one of the greatest escapes in Bundesliga history.

An editorial note of pure opinion: Keep an eye on Heidenheim’s Niklas Dorsch, a Bayern Munich academy product who drove Heidenheim with influential performances all season. Unsure there’s another year in the second tier for him.

Bundesliga promotion picture complete: Stuttgart up, Heidenheim to playoff

Bundesliga promotion and relegation
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The three teams vying for promotion to the Bundesliga all lost on Sunday, leaving the top four in order after the final day of the season.

Arminia Bielefeld and Stuttgart are going up, Fortuna Dusseldorf and Paderborn are going down, and the promotion playoff match is set after the final weekend of league soccer in Germany.

Stuttgart is managed by American-born Pellegrino Matarazzo, who played his college ball at Columbia.

Sixteenth-place Bundesliga side Werder Bremen will face 2.Bundesliga’s third-place finisher, Heidenheim, in an intriguing two-legged playoff tie.

Heidenheim, 173 years old, has never been in the top flight during the Bundesliga era, while Bremen has been in the top flight since 1981. The first leg is Thursday in Bremen, the second in Heidenheim on July 6.

[ RELATED: Liverpool win title – everything to know ]

Arminia Bielefeld’s tour-de-force season continued with a 3-0 win over Heidenheim which cemented Stuttgart’s promotion despite the second-place side’s 3-1 home loss to 10-man Darmstadt.

Neither disappointed as much as Hamburg, who would’ve made the playoff spot with a draw at home to mid-table Sandhausen. Hamburg lost 6-1.

There are only two Americans set to be affected by promotion and relegation in Germany despite a wealth of U.S. players in Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga. Alfredo Morales and Fortuna were relegated, while striker Josh Sargent is a regular contributor for Bremen.

What’s at stake on the final day of Bundesliga 2019-20?

Bundesliga final day preview
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There are precious few things to play for on the final day of the Bundesliga season, though places in the Champions League and the relegation playoff are still available.

[ RELATED: Liverpool win title – everything to know ]

Bayern’s finishing first and Dortmund second, there won’t be a gate crasher to the Europa League, Robert Lewandowski will claim another Golden Boot unless he’s held scoreless and impending-Chelsea man Timo Werner scores eight, and no one can move from relegated to safe on the final day.

As for Americans abroad, one is guaranteed to be relegated, one will go to the relegation playoff, and another is either headed for the Europa League group stage of the qualifying rounds.

Champions League places

Bayern Munich is going back to the UCL as Bundesliga champions, where it will be joined by Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig unless the latter suffers a historic blowout loss and sees a rival score a historic blowout win.

That leaves one more spot (unless Bayern wins the UCL or Bayer Leverkusen wins the UEL).

Borussia Monchengladbach’s 62 points and superior goal differential have it in the catbird seat ahead of a visit from much-improved Hertha Berlin. Bayer shouldn’t have an issue with in-form but likely sated Mainz, but its 60 points means it likely needs a Gladbach loss.

Europa League places

This is pretty much settled aside from the team that finishes fifth, though there is some drama. Bayer or Gladbach will go to the UEL group stage.

One of either Wolfsburg or Hoffenheim will go to group stage and the other to the qualifying rounds. Both have 49 points and both face clinched but powerful sides. Wolfsburg hosts Bayern Munich while Hoffenheim travels to Dortmund.

Wolfsburg has a 10-goal pad in the goal differential tiebreaker.

Eighth place could be a UEL spot if Bayer wins the Europa League or Bayern wins the UCL, making fifth a UCL position.

If that happens, Freiburg (45 points, minus-3 goal differential) or Eintracht Frankfurt (42 points, minus-2 goal differential) is in luck. Freiburg hosts Schalke while Eintracht entertains Paderborn.

Relegation

Paderborn is going down. The only suspense is whether Fortuna Dusseldorf or Werder Bremen will go to 2.Bundesliga or have to meet the third-place team from the second-tier in the promotion/relegation playoff.

Fortuna has 30 points to Bremen’s 28, but is away to Union Berlin while Bremen is home to Koln. Bremen has not been relegated in nearly 40 years.

Who is coming up from 2.Bundesliga?

Arminia Bielefeld has run away with the league to return to the Bundesliga for the first time since being relegated after the 2008-09 season.

Stuttgart, relegated after 2016-17, is well-positioned to join them with a 3-point lead on third-place Heidenheim and a healthy advantage in goal differential.

Heidenheim is in third by a point over faltering Hamburg. The final day is far kinder to the fourth-place side, who boasts an eight-goal advantage in goal differential and hosts 12th-place Sandhausen. Heidenheim is away to Arminia. The hosts might’ve won the league but they aren’t a pushover.

Heidenheim is 173 years old and has never been in the top flight, while Hamburg had not been in the second-tier until 2018-19.

Americans Abroad

One USMNT player, Alfredo Morales (Fortuna) or Josh Sargent (Bremen), will be automatically relegated after Saturday’s matches.

John Brooks (Wolfsburg) will either go to the Europa League group stage or qualifying rounds.

Bundesliga wrap: Reyna assists as Dortmund clinches 2nd; Richards debuts

Reyna assist video
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The Bundesliga’s top four picture is a lot clearer on a day that Americans danced through many of the matches on the penultimate match day of the season.

[ MORE: Brighton-Arsenal recapSpurs-Man Utd recap ]

USMNT teen prospect Giovanni Reyna made his first start and got his first assist, 20-year-old Chris Richards saw his first Bayern Munich league minutes, and several other American mainstays logged minutes across Germany.

RB Leipzig 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

Giovanni Reyna’s first Bundesliga start was a good one, the 17-year-old American setting up Erling Haaland for the first of 2 goals that sealed BVB’s second-place standing this season.

Haaland’s second goal came off a Julian Brandt feed, as Dortmund’s team is loaded with youth even with Jadon Sancho seemingly set for a summer sale. Haaland had no mercy on his former Red Bull family and now has 13 Bundesliga goals in 14 appearances since arriving from Salzburg in January.

Leipzig will finish top four with a point at Augsburg next week or dropped points from Borussia Monchengladbach or Bayer Leverkusen.

Reyna went 81 minutes, completing 86 percent of his passes including his only long ball. He converted four of five dribbles, won 10 of 17 duels, drew three fouls, and was credited with three tackles (SofaScore).

American midfielder Tyler Adams was a halftime sub for Leipzig, entering with the score 1-0. He won 2-of-3 duels, connected on 3-of-4 distance passes, made two interceptions and two tackles.

Supreme calmness and smarts on the assist, as Reyna darts into the box and knows where to find Haaland with his first touch.

Paderborn 1-3 Borussia Monchengladbach

Gladbach continues to control its top four destiny following a straight-forward win over already-relegated Paderborn, who took a red card with less than a half hour to play.

The visitors led 2-1 at that point on goals from Patrick Herrmann and Lars Stindl, the latter adding another on a Ramy Bensebaini assist with 17 minutes remaining on the clock.

Hertha Berlin 2-0 Bayer Leverkusen

Dodi Lukebakio had a goal and an assist as Bruno Labbadia’s Hertha continued its fine post-pause play and limited Bayer’s top four hopes to just that with one week to play.

Bayern Munich 3-1 Freiburg

The champions indoctrinated some new blood after building a 3-1 halftime lead on two goals and an assist from Robert Lewandowski.

American center back Chris Richards, 20, made his Bundesliga debut in the 84th minute of the win, completing all four of his passes and losing his only duel. Ex-Southampton and Chelsea man Jamal Musiala, 17, also made his Bundesliga debut.

Joshua Kimmich scored Bayern’s other goal.

Here’s what Richards told CBS’ Roger Gonzalez after the game:

“I was very excited when I heard my name to come over to the bench. Once I got the instructions from the coach then the nerves started to kick in, but after my first action I felt right at home.”

 

Hoffenheim 4-0 Union Berlin

Four different players scored as Hoffenheim clinched a place in the Europa League. Union is guaranteed a bottom-half finish but won’t care: There will be a second season in the top flight.

Mainz 3-1 Werder Bremen

Bremen now needs help from Union Berlin to avoid its first season in the second tier since 1980 after three different Mainz players scored to key a 3-1 win.

In-form Davy Klaassen set up Bremen’s lone goal from Yuya Osako, and American forward Josh Sargent’s good day up top wasn’t enough to produce a result. Sargent took two shots, completed two of three dribbles, and won five of nine duels as center forward.

Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-1 Augsburg

Fortuna’s point coupled with Werder Bremen’s loss means the hosts need to match or better Bremen’s final week result to avoid automatic relegation and contest the playoff against 2.Bundesliga’s third-place finisher. USMNT midfielder Alfredo Morales was an unused sub in the draw, and Rouwen Hennings was again Fortuna’s scorer.

Schalke 1-4 Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg is headed back to the Europa League after clobbering woeful Schalke. Wout Weghorst scored two more goals to pace the visitors.

USMNT center back John Brooks made his 12th-straight start in the win, helping to limit Schalke to zero big chances (SofaScore). International teammate Weston McKennie went 90 minutes in the loss, picking up a yellow card, a blocked shot, an interception, and two tackles. He won 10 of 20 duels, drew two fouls, and fouled three times himself.

Koln 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

Eintracht had the better of play but needed a 72nd-minute Bas Dost goal to take a point after Florina Kainz gave the hosts a lead before halftime. Neither team is going to Europe nor the second tier.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 33 25 4 4 96 32 64 13-2-2 12-2-2 79
 Borussia Dortmund 33 21 6 6 84 37 47 11-3-2 10-3-4 69
 RB Leipzig 33 17 12 4 79 36 43 7-8-2 10-4-2 63
 Mönchengladbach 33 19 5 9 64 39 25 11-2-3 8-3-6 62
 Bayer Leverkusen 33 18 6 9 60 44 16 8-4-4 10-2-5 60
 VfL Wolfsburg 33 13 10 10 48 42 6 4-7-5 9-3-5 49
 1899 Hoffenheim 33 14 7 12 49 53 -4 7-1-9 7-6-3 49
 SC Freiburg 33 12 9 12 44 47 -3 8-2-6 4-7-6 45
 Eintracht Frankfurt 33 12 6 15 56 58 -2 7-4-5 5-2-10 42
 Hertha BSC Berlin 33 11 8 14 47 57 -10 6-3-8 5-5-6 41
 FC Schalke 04 33 9 12 12 38 54 -16 5-7-5 4-5-7 39
 1. FC Union Berlin 33 11 5 17 38 58 -20 7-3-6 4-2-11 38
 FSV Mainz 05 33 11 4 18 44 64 -20 5-2-10 6-2-8 37
 1. FC Köln 33 10 6 17 50 63 -13 6-4-7 4-2-10 36
 FC Augsburg 33 9 9 15 44 61 -17 5-5-6 4-4-9 36
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 33 6 12 15 36 64 -28 4-6-7 2-6-8 30
 Werder Bremen 33 7 7 19 36 68 -32 1-3-12 6-4-7 28
 SC Paderborn 33 4 8 21 35 71 -36 2-2-13 2-6-8 20

Bundesliga: Takeaways from Week 31

Bundesliga Player of the Week
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With only one day between Bundesliga matchdays, we’re going to have to make this week’s takeaways brief and to the point.

That’s especially true considering Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich could win the title in less than 24 hours.

[ MORE: Premier League fixtures remaining ]

If Bayern wins at Werder Bremen on Tuesday, the Bundesliga belongs to the Bavarian giants for the eight-straight season.

There’s still plenty to play for and Bremen has been looking pretty strong in recent weeks but the storyline above is what pays the piper this midweek.

Below, we’ll get you caught up on the results behind and fixtures ahead, as well as name our Bundesliga Player of the Week and Bundesliga Team of the Week.


Bundesliga Player of the Week

Maybe this award is more on the merits of his start to 2020, but Leon Goretzka was very good even if you exclude his late match-winner Saturday versus Borussia Monchenglabach.

Goretzka has six goals and eight assists this season, with all of the markers save one assist coming since Bayern returned from Winterpause.

The midfielder has nearly matched his Schalke output in half the time. After 19 goals and 17 assists in 142 appearances for Schalke, he’s got 17 and 16 in 72 for Bayern.

On Saturday, Goretzka barely put a foot wrong. Playing next to Joshua Kimmich, it’s a wonder anyone gets through to the back line.

Pretty finish here, too:


Bundesliga Team of the Week (3-5-2)

Gulacsi (Leipzig)

Hummels (Dortmund) — Akanji (Dortmund) — Gouweleeuw (Augsburg)

Kimmich (Bayern) — Goretzka (Bayern) —  Klaassen (Bremen)

Olmo (Leipzig) — Kamada (Eintracht)

Silva (Eintracht) — Weghorst (Eintracht)

  • Leipzig’s 2-0 win at Hoffenheim was anything but easy, as goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi made six saves for his clean sheet.
  • Mats Hummels was everywhere for Dortmund in its shutout of Fortuna, but it was center back partner Manuel Akanji’s cross to Erling Haaland that got the job done.
  • Augsburg’s Jeffrey Gouweleeuw was credited with an almost-absurd 15 clearances in a massive win at Mainz. He also won six-of-seven duels.
  • Daichi Kamada and Eintracht impressed in winning at in-form Hertha, especially considering they played at midweek and lost late in the German Cup semi at Bayern.

Week 31 results and recaps

Hoffenheim 0-2 RB Leipzig — RECAP
Fortuna Dusseldorf 0-1 Borussia Dortmund — RECAP
Kolnn 1-2 Union Berlin — RECAP
Wolfsburg 2-2 Freiburg — RECAP
Hertha Berlin 1-4 Eintracht Frankfurt — RECAP
Paderborn 1-5 Werder Bremen — RECAP
Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Monchengladbach — RECAP
Mainz 0-1 Augsburg — RECAP
Schalke 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen — RECAP

Week 32 fixtures

Borussia Monchengladbach v. Wolfsburg — 12:30 p.m. ET Tuesday
Union Berlin v. Paderborn — 2:30 p.m. ET Tuesday
Werder Bremen v. Bayern Munich — 2:30 p.m. ET Tuesday
Freiburg v. Hertha Berlin — 2:30 p.m. ET Tuesday
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Schalke — 12:30 p.m. ET Wednesday
Borussia Dortmund v. Mainz — 2:30 p.m. ET Wednesday
RB Leipzig v. Fortuna Dusseldorf — 2:30 p.m. ET Wednesday
Ausgburg v. Hoffenheim — 2:30 p.m. ET Wednesday
Bayer Leverkusen v. Koln — 2:30 p.m. ET Wednesday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 31 23 4 4 92 31 61 12-2-2 11-2-2 73
 Borussia Dortmund 31 20 6 5 82 35 47 11-3-1 9-3-4 66
 RB Leipzig 31 17 11 3 77 32 45 7-7-1 10-4-2 62
 Bayer Leverkusen 31 17 6 8 57 41 16 7-4-4 10-2-4 57
 Mönchengladbach 31 17 5 9 58 38 20 10-2-3 7-3-6 56
 VfL Wolfsburg 31 12 10 9 44 38 6 4-7-5 8-3-4 46
 1899 Hoffenheim 31 12 7 12 42 52 -10 6-1-9 6-6-3 43
 SC Freiburg 31 11 9 11 41 43 -2 7-2-6 4-7-5 42
 FC Schalke 04 31 9 12 10 36 48 -12 5-7-4 4-5-6 39
 Eintracht Frankfurt 31 11 5 15 53 56 -3 6-4-5 5-1-10 38
 Hertha BSC Berlin 31 10 8 13 44 55 -11 5-3-8 5-5-5 38
 1. FC Köln 31 10 5 16 48 59 -11 6-3-7 4-2-9 35
 FC Augsburg 31 9 8 14 42 57 -15 5-5-5 4-3-9 35
 1. FC Union Berlin 31 10 5 16 37 54 -17 6-3-6 4-2-10 35
 FSV Mainz 05 31 9 4 18 39 63 -24 4-2-10 5-2-8 31
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 31 6 10 15 33 61 -28 4-5-7 2-5-8 28
 Werder Bremen 31 7 7 17 35 64 -29 1-3-11 6-4-6 28
 SC Paderborn 31 4 8 19 34 67 -33 2-2-12 2-6-7 20