Twitter/@ADSportwereld

Wolfsburg keeps Bundesliga spot with playoff win

Leave a comment

Wolfsburg managed a 1-0 win (4-1 on aggregate) over Holstein Kiel on Monday in the second leg of its German promotion playoff as the Bundesliga side kept its place in the top flight.

Robin Knoche scored the game-winner in the second leg, which ensured Wolfsburg’s stay in the Bundesliga ahead of the 2017/18 season.

The hosts boasted a number of quality chances in the first half, including David Kinsombi’s close-range shot that tested Wolfsburg keeper Koen Casteels with a save, however, Holstein couldn’t break through.

U.S. Men’s National Team defender John Brooks went the full 90 minutes for Wolfsburg, after the 25-year-old made nine starts this season for the German side in league play.

Wolfsburg beats Kiel 3-1 to boost Bundesliga survival hopes (video)

Swen Pfoertner/dpa via AP) via AP
Leave a comment

WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) Wolfsburg took a big step toward Bundesliga survival with a 3-1 win over visiting Holstein Kiel in the first leg of a relegation/promotion playoff on Thursday.

Goals from Divock Origi and Josip Brekalo in the first half and another from Yunus Malli in the second put Wolfsburg in a good position ahead of the second leg in Kiel on Monday.

Kingsley Schindler had briefly pulled the visitors level.

[ MORE: France’s loaded World Cup squad]

Kiel had a late penalty appeal when Rafael Czichos, the captain, appeared to be shoved by counterpart Maximilian Arnold, but referee Deniz Aytekin allowed play to continue and there was no intervention from the video referee.

Wolfsburg, which finished third from bottom in the Bundesliga, is playing in its second playoff in as many years. The Volkswagen-backed club defeated Eintracht Braunschweig to stay up last year.

Kiel, the third-place finisher in its first appearance in the second tier since 1981, is bidding to reach the Bundesliga for the first time to cap a remarkable ascent. The northern city club was promoted from the third division last season and from the fourth tier four seasons before that.

Bundesliga state of play with one match day to go

AP Photo/Michael Sohn
Leave a comment

After a penultimate match day with 28 goals and a single 0-0, the Bundesliga knows what’s on the line for Week 34.

And as for Americans abroad, there’s plenty at stake: Schalke’s Weston McKennie knows he’s headed for the Champions League, but BVB’s Christian Pulisic and Eintracht Frankfurt’s Timmy Chandler are still trying to cement their European destination. Hamburg’s Bobby Wood and Wolfsburg’s John Brooks are trying to out-duel each other to stay in the league.

The title has been settled in Munich for some time, and Bayern is going to win the league by between 21-27 points.

[ MORE: Guardiola celebrates trophy ]

Second place is settled, too, as Schalke has delivered on its preseason promise to finish about its Revierderby rivals Borussia Dortmund.

BVB doesn’t have a UEFA Champions League group stage berth sewn up, and a two (or more) goal loss at Hoffenheim on Saturday would put them in danger of dropping out of the Top Four altogether if Bayer Leverkusen blows out Hannover 96.

Still, it seems likely BVB will earn third place, leaving Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen to compete for the final UCL spot.

RB Leipzig is sixth, but could finish out of Europe altogether in certain permutations. As it stands, six teams are going to Europe but it will be seven if Bayern Munich defeats Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Cup Final. Should that not happen, and RBL gets passed by one of three teams on Saturday, it would finish outside the UEL.

Koln has been relegated, and either Hamburg or Wolfsburg will go down without a chance at the relegation/promotion playoff.

Hamburg, side of USMNT striker Bobby Wood, sits two points behind 16th place Wolfsburg and has a far worse goal differential. So they need to win versus Borussia Monchengladbach and hope Wolfsburg loses to last place Koln.

Freiburg could drop into the playoff spot, which takes on the third place 2.Bundesliga team for the top flight’s final 2018-19 berth, should it lose at Augsburg while Wolfsburg beats Koln.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 33 27 3 3 91 24 67 14-2-0 13-1-3 84
 FC Schalke 04 33 17 9 7 52 37 15 9-5-2 8-4-5 60
 Borussia Dortmund 33 15 10 8 63 44 19 9-4-4 6-6-4 55
 1899 Hoffenheim 33 14 10 9 63 47 16 10-4-2 4-6-7 52
 Bayer Leverkusen 33 14 10 9 55 42 13 7-5-4 7-5-5 52
 RB Leipzig 33 14 8 11 51 51 0 9-4-4 5-4-7 50
 Eintracht Frankfurt 33 14 7 12 45 44 1 8-4-5 6-3-7 49
 VfB Stuttgart 33 14 6 13 32 35 -3 10-4-3 4-2-10 48
 Mönchengladbach 33 13 8 12 46 50 -4 9-4-4 4-4-8 47
 Hertha BSC Berlin 33 10 13 10 41 40 1 5-7-4 5-6-6 43
 FC Augsburg 33 10 11 12 43 44 -1 6-4-7 4-7-5 41
 Werder Bremen 33 9 12 12 35 39 -4 6-7-4 3-5-8 39
 Hannover 96 33 10 9 14 42 51 -9 8-3-6 2-6-8 39
 FSV Mainz 05 33 9 9 15 37 50 -13 7-3-6 2-6-9 36
 SC Freiburg 33 7 12 14 30 56 -26 6-6-4 1-6-10 33
 VfL Wolfsburg 33 5 15 13 32 47 -15 2-8-6 3-7-7 30
 Hamburger SV 33 7 7 19 27 52 -25 5-4-7 2-3-12 28
 1. FC Köln 33 5 7 21 34 66 -32 3-5-9 2-2-12 22

Bundesliga wrap: Mainz, Hamburg could send relegation race to wire

Stefan Puchner/dpa via AP
Leave a comment

With two matches to play, the Bundesliga’s relegation race is muddled and the European battle is set to go down to the wire.

There’s Bayern at the top, Koln at the bottom, and mostly chaos in between.

[ MORE: Fellaini, Pogba react to late win ]


 

Mainz 3-0 RB Leipzig

A seismic statement from Mainz, who greeted Hamburg’s hot streak with a convincing win that moved it five points clear of automatic relegation and three above the playoff spot.

Pablo De Blasis converted a 29th minute penalty kick to give Mainz an advantage that would later be buttressed by a pair of goals in the final five minutes from Alexandru Maxim and Bote Baku.

Now RB Leipzig, last year’s surprise runners-up, are on the precipice of missing out on European play altogether. Sixth-place Leipzig needs collapses from Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen to finish Top Four, and could finish as low as bottom half with poor performances against Wolfsburg and Hertha Berlin.

Wolfsburg 1-3 Hamburg

The wobbly seasons continue for Wolfsburg, and this one features a massive six-point loss to Hamburg Sunday.

American striker Bobby Wood converted a 43rd minute penalty — U.S. teammate John Anthony Brooks was on the bench for Wolfsburg — and the hosts could never get level in allowing their visitors to get within two points of 16th place.

Elsewhere

Hertha Berlin 2-2 Augsburg
Freiburg 3-2 Koln
Bayern Munich 4-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Schalke 1-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
Bayer Leverkusen 0-1 Stuttgart
Werder Bremen 1-1 Borussia Dortmund
Hoffenheim 3-1 Hannover 96

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 32 26 3 3 88 23 65 14-2-0 12-1-3 81
 FC Schalke 04 32 16 9 7 50 36 14 9-5-2 7-4-5 57
 Borussia Dortmund 32 15 10 7 62 42 20 9-4-3 6-6-4 55
 1899 Hoffenheim 32 14 10 8 63 45 18 10-4-2 4-6-6 52
 Bayer Leverkusen 32 14 9 9 55 42 13 7-5-4 7-4-5 51
 RB Leipzig 32 13 8 11 47 50 -3 8-4-4 5-4-7 47
 Eintracht Frankfurt 32 13 7 12 42 44 -2 7-4-5 6-3-7 46
 VfB Stuttgart 32 13 6 13 30 35 -5 9-4-3 4-2-10 45
 Mönchengladbach 32 12 8 12 43 49 -6 8-4-4 4-4-8 44
 Hertha BSC Berlin 32 10 13 9 40 37 3 5-7-4 5-6-5 43
 FC Augsburg 32 10 11 11 42 42 0 6-4-6 4-7-5 41
 Werder Bremen 32 9 11 12 35 39 -4 6-6-4 3-5-8 38
 Hannover 96 32 9 9 14 39 50 -11 7-3-6 2-6-8 36
 FSV Mainz 05 32 8 9 15 35 49 -14 7-3-6 1-6-9 33
 SC Freiburg 32 7 12 13 29 53 -24 6-6-4 1-6-9 33
 VfL Wolfsburg 32 5 15 12 31 43 -12 2-8-6 3-7-6 30
 Hamburger SV 32 7 7 18 27 49 -22 5-4-7 2-3-11 28
 1. FC Köln 32 5 7 20 33 63 -30 3-5-8 2-2-12 22

Bundesliga wrap: Relegation playoff race stays tight

Christian Charisius/dpa via AP
Leave a comment

With three matches remaining for all 18 Bundesliga clubs, there’s clarity at the very top and bottom but plenty to sort in the races to qualify for Europe and avoid the relegation playoff.

[ RECAP: Man City 5-0 Swans ]

We focus on the latter here, with all three teams on 30 points losing away from home this weekend, including one to the 17th place side in Germany.

Hamburg 1-0 Freiburg

Lewis Holtby scored a 54th minute goal to keep the hosts’ slim survival hopes alive, and USMNT forward Bobby Wood got into the match for the final 23 minutes as Hamburg scooped up a rare win.

Augsburg 2-0 Mainz

The visitors had more of the ball but couldn’t rebound from a 29th minute Michael Gregoritsch goal, allowing Alfred Finnbogason to seal the result in stoppage time.

Borussia Monchengladbach 3-0 Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg has a hefty edge on Mainz and Freiburg in terms of goal differential, but won’t be feeling too confident after watching Lars Stindl, Raffael, and Christoph Kramer all score before halftime.

Elsewhere
RB Leipzig 2-5 Hoffenheim
Eintracht Frankfurt 0-3 Hertha Berlin
Stuttgart 2-0 Werder Bremen
Hannover 96 0-3 Bayern Munich
Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Koln 2-2 Schalke — USMNT’s McKennie goes 90

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 31 25 3 3 84 22 62 13-2-0 12-1-3 78
 FC Schalke 04 31 16 8 7 49 35 14 9-4-2 7-4-5 56
 Borussia Dortmund 31 15 9 7 61 41 20 9-4-3 6-5-4 54
 Bayer Leverkusen 31 14 9 8 55 41 14 7-5-3 7-4-5 51
 1899 Hoffenheim 31 13 10 8 60 44 16 9-4-2 4-6-6 49
 RB Leipzig 31 13 8 10 47 47 0 8-4-4 5-4-6 47
 Eintracht Frankfurt 31 13 7 11 41 40 1 7-4-5 6-3-6 46
 Mönchengladbach 31 12 7 12 42 48 -6 8-4-4 4-3-8 43
 Hertha BSC Berlin 31 10 12 9 38 35 3 5-6-4 5-6-5 42
 VfB Stuttgart 31 12 6 13 29 35 -6 9-4-3 3-2-10 42
 FC Augsburg 31 10 10 11 40 40 0 6-4-6 4-6-5 40
 Werder Bremen 31 9 10 12 34 38 -4 6-5-4 3-5-8 37
 Hannover 96 31 9 9 13 38 47 -9 7-3-6 2-6-7 36
 VfL Wolfsburg 31 5 15 11 30 40 -10 2-8-5 3-7-6 30
 FSV Mainz 05 31 7 9 15 32 49 -17 6-3-6 1-6-9 30
 SC Freiburg 31 6 12 13 26 51 -25 5-6-4 1-6-9 30
 Hamburger SV 31 6 7 18 24 48 -24 5-4-7 1-3-11 25
 1. FC Köln 31 5 7 19 31 60 -29 3-5-8 2-2-11 22