Zack Steffen

Americans star in Bundesliga play
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Bundesliga wrap: Adams, Werner star as Leipzig pads lead

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The Bundesliga returned Saturday after its winter break, bringing a cavalcade of impactful American stories to the field.

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RB Leipzig 3-1 Union Berlin

The table leaders got two goals from Timo Werner and a goal and an assist from Marcel Sabitzer to open the second phase of the season with a bang.

Leipzig has a five-point lead on second-place Gladbach, though Bayern Munich can pull within four points with a win at Jurgen Klinsmann’s Hertha Berlin on Sunday morning.

American midfielder Tyler Adams had another strong day in the win, going 86 minutes and gathering over 100 touches while completing 84 percent of his passes. He registered two key passes and a shot on target to go with a clearance, blocked shot, interception, and tackle. Adams was fouled four times.

Augsburg 3-5 Borussia Dortmund

Erling Braut Haaland became the first Borussia Dortmund player to score a hat trick on debut since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as BVB came back from 2-0 and 3-1 holes to move onto 33 points.

Watch Haaland’s incredible day here. Jadon Sancho had a goal and an assist, while Julian Brandt also scored for BVB. Florian Niederlechner scored twice for Augsburg, with Marco Richter also finding the back of the net.

American teenager Giovanni Reyna also made his debut in the win, earning praise from manager Lucien Favre.

Hoffenheim 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt

That’s right wing Timmy Chandler to you.

After missing all but one match last season due to injuries and fitness, the 29-year-old former USMNT mainstay has his first Bundesliga goal since Feb. 19, 2018.

Chandler rose above the fray to power home a match-winning header to move Eintracht four points clear of the relegation places, surprising a Hoffenheim side with designs on a return to Europe.

Bas Dost scored Eintracht’s other goal, with Konstantinos Stafylidis equalizing just after halftime.

Fortuna Dusseldorf 0-1 Werder Bremen

American forward Josh Sargent made his return from injury, playing 86 minutes in a huge win for Bremen. The visitors climbed over the now 17th place hosts via a Florian Kastenmeier goal.

USMNT midfielder Alfredo Morales played well over 71 minutes in the loss, while Zack Steffen missed out with a reported knee injury.

Elsewhere

Schalke 2-0 Borussia Monchengladbach — Friday| RECAP
Koln 3-1 Wolfsburg
Mainz 1-2 Freiburg
Hertha Berlin v. Bayern Munich — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Paderborn v. Bayer Leverkusen — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 RB Leipzig 18 12 4 2 51 21 30 6-2-1 6-2-1 40
 Mönchengladbach 18 11 2 5 33 20 13 7-1-1 4-1-4 35
 Bayern Munich 17 10 3 4 46 22 24 6-1-2 4-2-2 33
 Borussia Dortmund 18 9 6 3 46 27 19 5-3-0 4-3-3 33
 FC Schalke 04 18 9 6 3 31 21 10 5-4-1 4-2-2 33
 SC Freiburg 18 8 5 5 29 24 5 4-2-2 4-3-3 29
 Bayer Leverkusen 17 8 4 5 23 21 2 3-4-2 5-0-3 28
 1899 Hoffenheim 18 8 3 7 26 30 -4 4-1-5 4-2-2 27
 VfL Wolfsburg 18 6 6 6 19 21 -2 3-4-2 3-2-4 24
 FC Augsburg 18 6 5 7 31 36 -5 4-2-3 2-3-4 23
 Eintracht Frankfurt 18 6 3 9 29 30 -1 4-3-2 2-0-7 21
 1. FC Union Berlin 18 6 2 10 21 27 -6 5-0-4 1-2-6 20
 1. FC Köln 18 6 2 10 22 33 -11 4-1-4 2-1-6 20
 Hertha BSC Berlin 17 5 4 8 22 29 -7 3-1-4 2-3-4 19
 FSV Mainz 05 18 6 0 12 26 41 -15 3-0-6 3-0-6 18
 Werder Bremen 18 4 5 9 24 41 -17 1-2-5 3-3-4 17
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 18 4 3 11 18 37 -19 3-1-5 1-2-6 15
 SC Paderborn 17 3 3 11 20 36 -16 2-1-6 1-2-5 12

Bundesliga wrap: Tight at the top (again) as Gladbach loses

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Borussia Monchengladbach arrived to the 12th match day of the Bundesliga season with a 4-point table lead and a witty little PR Song about being back on top.

It promptly lost to a newly-promoted team and saw its lead shrink to one.

This is what the Bundesliga does to its top teams this season.

[ MORE: Grading Pulisic’s day at the Etihad ]


Union Berlin 2-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

Anthony Ujah and Sven Andersson delivered the goods, as the hosts rode Ujah’s 15th minute opener deep into stoppage time before his Swedish teammate put the result to bed.

Gladbach had a slim edge in shot attempts and a 63-37 edge in possession, but Union was the more dangerous side and deserved the three points. Freiburg is next for Gladbach before a visit from Bayern on Dec. 7.

Union is now seven points clear of the relegation picture, and five ahead of city rivals Hertha.

Fortuna Dusseldorf 0-4 Bayern Munich

USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen was under siege at home, with four different Bayern goal scorers dotting the score sheet. Robert Lewandowski had an assist but saw his insane 11-match league scoring streak snapped in Dusseldorf.

Philippe Coutinho, Serge Gnabry, Corentin Tolisso, and Benjamin Pavard scored, with Gnabry also getting an assist for Bayern, who joins RB Leipzig one point back of first.

Steffen did have a possession error (below), which won’t be enjoyed by loan boss Pep Guardiola, but the other goals were not on him.

Werder Bremen 1-2 Schalke

Benito Raman had a goal and an assist, with Amine Harit also scoring as Schalke moved to within three points of the top of the table. USMNT forward Josh Sargent was an unused sub for Bremen, while Weston McKennie came off the bench for an effective and disruptive 17 minutes for Schalke.

Elsewhere
Borussia Dortmund 3-3 Paderborn — Friday | RECAP
Eintracht Frankfurt 0-2 Wolfsburg
Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Freiburg
RB Leipzig 4-1 Koln
Augsburg v. Hertha Berlin — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Hoffenheim v. Mainz — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Mönchengladbach 12 8 1 3 24 13 11 4-1-1 4-0-2 25
 RB Leipzig 12 7 3 2 33 13 20 3-2-1 4-1-1 24
 Bayern Munich 12 7 3 2 33 16 17 4-1-1 3-2-1 24
 SC Freiburg 12 6 4 2 21 13 8 3-2-1 3-2-1 22
 FC Schalke 04 12 6 4 2 22 15 7 2-3-1 4-1-1 22
 Borussia Dortmund 12 5 5 2 26 18 8 4-2-0 1-3-2 20
 VfL Wolfsburg 12 5 5 2 13 10 3 2-3-1 3-2-1 20
 1899 Hoffenheim 11 6 2 3 16 14 2 3-0-2 3-2-1 20
 Bayer Leverkusen 12 5 4 3 18 16 2 2-4-1 3-0-2 19
 Eintracht Frankfurt 12 5 2 5 21 18 3 4-2-1 1-0-4 17
 1. FC Union Berlin 12 5 1 6 15 17 -2 4-0-3 1-1-3 16
 Hertha BSC Berlin 11 3 2 6 17 21 -4 2-0-3 1-2-3 11
 Werder Bremen 12 2 5 5 19 26 -7 1-2-3 1-3-2 11
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 12 3 2 7 15 23 -8 2-1-3 1-1-4 11
 FC Augsburg 11 2 4 5 13 24 -11 1-2-2 1-2-3 10
 FSV Mainz 05 11 3 0 8 12 30 -18 2-0-3 1-0-5 9
 1. FC Köln 12 2 1 9 11 27 -16 1-0-4 1-1-5 7
 SC Paderborn 12 1 2 9 14 29 -15 1-0-5 0-2-4 5

Bundesliga wrap: Lewandowski, of course, leads Der Klassiker rout

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The wild and unpredictable Bundesliga season relented to give us another decisive home blowout in Der Klassiker.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Green scores ]

Bayern scored four times to close within a point of leaders Borussia Monchengladbach, who hosts Werder Bremen early Sunday.

Bayern Munich 4-0 Borussia Dortmund

Robert Lewandowski scored twice, joining Serge Gnabry and an ironic Mats Hummels own goal as Bayern claimed the first Der Klassiker of the season with a controlling win at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern has now beaten Dortmund 4-0, 5-0, and 6-0 in the last three league Der Klassikers in Munich.

Lewandowski — who else? — snuck between two defenders (how?!?) to nail an easy header to the board in the 18th minute.

How good has he been this year? Lewandowski has now scored in all 11 of Bayern’s league matches this season, including three braces and a hat trick. He’s also scored in each of Bayern’s four Champions League matches, and has 23 goals in 18 matches.

Bayern was all over the visitors, and could’ve easily had a second and third before the half-hour mark. Gnabry nabbed his goal just after the break.

Schalke 3-3 Fortuna Dusseldorf

Rouwen Hennings scored a hat trick as the visitors thrice rallied to take a point at Schalke.

USMNT midfielders Weston McKennie (Schalke) and Alfredo Morales (Fortuna) each saw yellow in the draw. American backstop Zack Steffen had a rough day between the sticks against the highly-favored hosts.

Elsewhere
Koln 1-2 Hoffenheim — Friday
Mainz 2-3 Union Berlin
Hertha Berlin 2-4 RB Leipzig
Paderborn 0-1 Augsburg
Borussia Monchengladbach v. Werder Bremen — 7:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Wolfsburg v. Bayer Leverkusen — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Freiburg v. Eintracht Frankfurt — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Mönchengladbach 10 7 1 2 21 10 11 3-1-1 4-0-1 22
 RB Leipzig 11 6 3 2 29 12 17 2-2-1 4-1-1 21
 Bayern Munich 11 6 3 2 29 16 13 4-1-1 2-2-1 21
 1899 Hoffenheim 11 6 2 3 16 14 2 3-0-2 3-2-1 20
 Borussia Dortmund 11 5 4 2 23 15 8 4-1-0 1-3-2 19
 FC Schalke 04 11 5 4 2 20 14 6 2-3-1 3-1-1 19
 SC Freiburg 10 5 3 2 19 12 7 2-2-1 3-1-1 18
 Eintracht Frankfurt 10 5 2 3 21 15 6 4-2-0 1-0-3 17
 VfL Wolfsburg 10 4 5 1 11 8 3 2-3-0 2-2-1 17
 Bayer Leverkusen 10 4 3 3 15 15 0 2-3-1 2-0-2 15
 1. FC Union Berlin 11 4 1 6 13 17 -4 3-0-3 1-1-3 13
 Hertha BSC Berlin 11 3 2 6 17 21 -4 2-0-3 1-2-3 11
 Werder Bremen 10 2 5 3 17 21 -4 1-2-2 1-3-1 11
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 11 3 2 6 15 19 -4 2-1-2 1-1-4 11
 FC Augsburg 11 2 4 5 13 24 -11 1-2-2 1-2-3 10
 FSV Mainz 05 11 3 0 8 12 30 -18 2-0-3 1-0-5 9
 1. FC Köln 11 2 1 8 10 23 -13 1-0-4 1-1-4 7
 SC Paderborn 11 1 1 9 11 26 -15 1-0-5 0-1-4 4

Americans Abroad: Pulisic, Sabbi extend scoring spree

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For a second consecutive weekend, Christian Pulisic tops the list of Americans abroad.

A week removed from his historic, perfect hat-trick, the 21-year-old ace followed up by scoring Chelsea’s game-winner against Watford, stretching his Premier League goal count to four.

From the looks of it, Emmanuel Sabbi has been taking notes of Pulisic’s recent form.

The U.S. U-23 forward also scored for a second consecutive week in the Danish Superliagen. 31 minutes into Hobro’s match against Odense on Sunday, Sabbi, 21, executed his free kick perfectly, curling a right-footed strike over the wall and into the top-left corner.

Here is a list of several other USMNT affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) abroad this weekend.

Premier League

Christian Pulisic, Chelsea — Pulisic’s fine run of form continues. The Pennsylvanian played 83 minutes and scored Chelsea’s second and game-winner against Watford.

DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle — Yedlin started and played 90 minutes in Newcastle’s 3-2 win against West Ham on Saturday. The Magpies are no longer in the drop zone.

EFL Championship

Antonee Robinson, Wigan Athletic —  The young left back started and played the full 90 minutes as Wigan dropped to Swansea City 2-1 on Saturday.

Matt Miazga, Reading (loan from Chelsea) — The 24-year-old is back healthy and starting. On Saturday, Miazga played all 90 minutes in Reading’s 2-1 win over Millwall.

Eric Lichaj, Hull City — The captain played the full 90 minutes and was instrumental in Hull City’s 3-0 win over Fulham. That’s two straight clean sheets for the Tigers.

Geoff Cameron, QPR — The 34-year-old defender didn’t dress for QPR on Saturday.

Tim Ream, Fulham — Ream started and played 90 minutes in Fulham’s 3-0 loss to Hull City.

Cameron Carter-Vickers, Stoke City (loan Tottenham Hotspur) — Carter-Vickers and the Potters take on West From on Monday.

Duane Holmes, Derby County — Holmes started and played 90 minutes in Derby County’s 2-0 win over Middlesbrough.

EFL League One

Lynden Gooch, Sunderland – Gooch didn’t dress in Sunderland’s 1-0 win over Southend United on Saturday.

Bundesliga

John Brooks, Wolfsburg – The 26-year-old defender started and played 90 in Wolfsburg’s 3-0 draw loss to Borussia Dortmund.

Weston McKennie, Schalke —  After being inactive against Borussia Dortmund, McKennie played all 90 minutes in Schalke’s 3-2 win over Augsburg on Saturday.

Zack Steffen and Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf — Steffen played all 90 minutes and recorded a save and clean sheet in Fortuna Dusseldorf’s 2-0 defeat of Koln. Morales also started and played 81 minutes on Sunday.

Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen  Sargent came off the bench in the 72nd minute in Werder Bremen’s 2-2 draw with Freiburg.

Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig — Adams didn’t dress in RB Leipzig’s 8-0 thumping of Mainz on Saturday.

Fabian Johnson, Borussia Mönchengladbach Johnson didn’t feature for leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach this weekend.

Timmy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt — Chandler was on the 18 but didn’t play in Frankfurt’s 5-1 win over Bayern Munich.

Khiry Shelton, Paderborn – The 26-year-old winger dressed but didn’t play in Paderborn’s loss on Friday.

2. Bundesliga

Julian Green, Greuther Furth – The 24-year-old midfielder started and played the full 90 minutes in Greuther Furth’s 3-1 win over Darmstadt.

Eredivisie

Sergino Dest, Ajax — Dest dressed but didn’t feature in Ajax’s 4-2 win over PEC Zwolle.

Haji Wright, VVV-Venlo — The 21-year-old striker started and played 90 minutes in VVV’s 3-0 loss to Feyenoord.

Desevio Payne, FC Emmen — Payne didn’t dress for FC Emmen over the weekend, again.

Ligue 1

Timothy Weah, Lille — Weah remains sidelined with a muscular injury. There’s no timeline on his return.

Theoson Jordan-Siebatcheu, Rennes — Rennes’ match against Nimes over the weekend was postponed.

Honorable Mentions:

Emmanuel Sabbi, Hobro – The 21-year-old winger started and scored Hobro’s lone goal in their 2-1 loss to Odense on Sunday.

Ulysses Llanez, U-19 Wolfsburg – The 19-year-old played 82 minutes and scored in Wolfsburg’s 4-2 win over Hamburg on Saturday.

Three things from ugly USMNT loss in Canada

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We were warned after Couva that perhaps, somehow, the United States men’s national team still had some ways to go before really hitting rock bottom.

It seemed absurd, but after 10 months of the Gregg Berhalter era, which followed the least interesting manager search of all-time, perhaps the warning was needed and should’ve been heeded.

[ MORE: Match recap | Player ratings ]

The USMNT had no answers and no options on Tuesday in Canada, showing no urgency and getting bossed off the pitch against a team which may not qualify for the Hex.

Time for a change? It’s not insane to consider it. The team Berhalter rolled out, with several players who aren’t even standouts in MLS, was inept in Ontario.

Either the plan or players the problem, and both point one way

Canada’s John Herdman and his desperate team were ready for a fight, and the visitors apparently thought their talent and reputation would win the day.

Nuh-uh.

The book on Canada was electric attackers and suspect defense, so what did Gregg Berhalter spring for his opening salvo? No pressing on the back line and two plodding center backs. Tim Ream could work with an athlete like Matt Miazga. Aaron Long, too, but Berhalter put both players together (Long certainly grew into the game).

The result was that Alphonso Davies was shifted mainly to the side of the field with Daniel Lovitz, and man did he run wild.

So did Canada’s midfield who out-worked the Yanks up-and-down the center of the park. It was sad, and littered the match with doubt heading into the break.

Granted the U.S. is short several injured players and lost Jozy Altidore just before the international break, but Berhalter had no answers on his bench, or at least couldn’t manufacture one.

And that’s a huge part of the issue here. If you don’t have any sugar, might wanna prepare something other than cookies.

He removed Christian Pulisic at the hour mark, who had been poor and reportedly sick (see below) but still represents the best playmaker in his pool. Aside from the Chelsea man’s missed 1v1 duel with Borjan, there were no real attacking moments.

This was so bad, and absolutely according to plan by Herdman. No, not Tata Martino this time… John Herdman.

There is every reason to doubt Berhalter right now, and just as many to think that U.S. Soccer hierarchy wouldn’t consider remedying the situation on account of pride.

Given the way national team soccer works, it would not be off-color if the federation pulled the chute on Berhalter. The only possible excuse is injury, but Berhalter knew what he had in this camp and still rolled this plan out there in Toronto.

Pulisic frustrated, off-color, sick, and subbed?

Christian Pulisic didn’t have to do much in Friday’s demolition of Cuba, and he couldn’t do much of anything on Tuesday when asked to carry the team.

The Yanks were absolutely bamboozled in the first half which often had the match asking Pulisic to run wild once the ball actually found its way to him.

But he was dispossessed too often in any event, and missed a necessary goal when Jordan Morris sent him alone 1v1 with Milan Borjan. Yeah, that’s a Champions League goalkeeper with Milan Borjan, but this is the pride and joy of the program and it’s best product maybe ever.

Still, for Berhalter to pull him after 60 minutes begs the question of whether there’s an injury here. If not, well, there are a lot more questions than answers.

EDIT: Berhalter said after the game that Pulisic had been struggling with flu-like symptoms.

Davies roars, Steffen saves USMNT from blowout

While the Yanks’ best players wasn’t in rhythm, Canada’s was borderline symphonic.

Former Vancouver Whitecaps phenom and current Bayern Munich youngster Alphonso Davies was a problem for the Americans from Moment No. 1, and the only thing that could slow him was a 53rd minute leg injury.

Davies had the U.S. back line on its toes all night, and cooked Tim Ream early in the match before doing the same to Aaron Long on a play the Red Bulls man did very well to recover and slide to safety.

Fortunately for Gregg Berhalter, Zack Steffen is used to being put in bad positions due to his starring stint on loan at Fortuna Dusseldorf. The goalkeeper made a phenomenal 1v1 stop on Davies in the first half and was often forced to command his box under duress.