Jadon Sancho: The Englishman topping the assists chart

It appears every weekend we’re talking about Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho but there’s a reason for it. The Englishman once again grabbed the headlines in BVB’s 4-2 win against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday evening after Lucien Favre’s side fought back from two goals down. Just 70 seconds after his introduction in the second-half, Sancho assisted Marco Reus for the important equaliser before Paco Alcacer added two late goals to win it for Dortmund. Continue reading

Bundesliga Fantasy Game Predictions – Round 6

Following the Englisch Woche, the Bundesliga is back underway with some thrilling fixtures.

Hertha Berlin vs Bayern Munich

After a 1-1 draw against Bavaria rivals FC Augsburg, Bayern Munich will want to rectify their mistakes after dropping points for the first time this season. They welcome Hertha Berlin to the Allianz Arena on Friday night with the capital club themselves enjoying their start to the Bundesliga campaign. Three years of steadying the ship, Pal Dardai’s Hertha are finally up in the top half of the table while challenging for European football could be a real possibility this campaign after beating the likes of Schalke and Borussia Monchengladbach. Continue reading

Bundesliga Fantasy Game Predictions – Round 4

Reus

Criticised for being a one team league, the Bundesliga may well be that but there’s no denying it’s one of the most exciting in Europe. With 34 goals across nine league games, round three had it all.

Looking ahead, here’s three important games to keep an eye on this weekend. Continue reading

Jadon Sancho must start for Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund and England youth international Jadon Sancho once again propelled himself into the headlines with a sublime performance against Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday night.

Introduced on the hour mark, it took Sancho just 12 minutes to assist Marius Wolf to put Dortmund back in the lead. The 18-year-old played a key role in the goal with just three touches. Marco Reus dropped deep, bringing the defender with him which allowed Sancho space in behind. One first touch, a Ronaldo chop and a cross within seconds, Sancho found Wolf at the far post to fire past Eintracht’s Kevin Trapp. Continue reading

Paco Alcacer set for Borussia Dortmund debut

alcacer

Summer arrival Paco Alcacer is set to make his Borussia Dortmund debut on Friday night following his one-year loan signing from La Liga’s Barcelona. The Spaniard will add much needed fire power to BVB’s frontline following the departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Arsenal in January while they were unable to sign Michy Batshuayi on a permanent deal. Continue reading

Ranked: How Bundesliga’s top teams fared in the transfer market

Now that the transfer window is shut, clubs can focus on football on the pitch rather than recruitment off it. There’s been a total of 208 departures (£452m) and 247 arrivals (£441) which makes the Bundesliga one of the most profitable, and most entertaining, leagues when it comes to transfers.

With the Bundesliga season now in full swing, let’s rank the transfers from Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern Munich

Perhaps what is surprising from the Bundesliga champions is their failure to sign a winger despite cries from fans of the club to splash the cash even with the recent contract renewals of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. The experienced duo are not getting any younger and with the departure of Douglas Costa to Juventus on a permanent deal and the recent injury to Kinglsey Coman, Bayern find themselves short in wide areas.

Alphonso Davies will arrive from Vancouver Whitecaps in January and although this is an exciting signing, it’s not someone who’s expected to contribute to straight away. And considering Bayern Munich were linked with the likes of Julian Brandt and Leon Bailey, it’s perhaps a tad disappointing from the reigning champions.

That said, Bayern’s hierarchy did a remarkable job in convincing Leon Goretzka to join the club with Liverpool and Manchester United showing an interest in the Germany international, who joined Bayern Munich from Schalke after an impressive campaign. C.

Borussia Dortmund

Like Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund have a new head coach at the helm. Lucien Favre swapped sunny Nice for Dortmund which sees him return to Germany after a two year absence. With the appointment of the Swiss tactician, a revamp of the squad followed.

Andre Schurrle, Sokratis, Gonzalo Castro and Nuri Sahin were all high-profile departures but there’s no doubting that Dortmund have made some brilliant acquisitions. Thomas Delaney arrived from Werder Bremen, adding much needed stamina in midfield while Belgium international Axel Witsel followed. These summer arrivals make BVB midfield one of the most impressive in the Bundesliga with either Mahmoud Dahoud or Mario Gotze complementing the duo.

Abdou Diallo also arrived from Mainz as Sokratis’ replacement. The 22-year-old Frenchman had an outstanding season with Mainz last campaign and early signs suggest he’s worth the €22 million spent on Diallo. And just 48 hours before Friday’s deadline, Borussia Dortmund got the striker they desperately needed in Barcelona striker Paco Alcacer. The Bundesliga club were calling out for a No. 9 which will allow both Marco Reus and Max Philipp to play in their preferred positions.

A remarkable summer window from Borussia Dortmund. A.

Schalke 04

It is always going to be hard to replace players such as Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka but it’s fair to say that Schalke have done so rather well. Suat Serdar, Omar Mascarell both arrived to shore up the midfield before Bayern Munich’s Sebastian Rudy’s arrival later in the window.

Domenico Tedesco and sporting director Christian Heidel also did well to convince central defender Salif Sane, who was statistically in the top five defenders last season, to join the Royal Blues. 20-year-old Hamza Mendyl also adds further youth to Schalke’s defence while the left-back can also add quality going forward.

Finally, Schalke announced the signing of Mark Uth on a free transfer before the transfer window had even opened. The former Hoffenheim striker finished the Bundesliga last season as the highest scoring German in 2017/18 while the 26-year-old will certainly provide a different threat to Guido Burgstaller and Breel Embolo. B.

Bayer Leverkusen

Unhappy with playing time, Bayer Leverkusen said goodbye to highly-talented Benjamin Henrichs who joined AS Monaco for €20m. The Bundesliga club have adequate cover with the arrival of Hertha BSC right-back Mitchell Weiser who is much better defensively. Like Uth, it was also announced before transfer window opened that Vasco da Gama forward Paulinho would join the club for €18m. At just 18, the Brazilian adds pace to Leverkusen’s frontline while early signs show that Paulinho is yet another impressive South American import for the Bundesliga side.

One of the Bundesliga’s best goalkeepers last season, Lukas Hradecky, joined the club from Eintracht Frankfurt on a free transfer following the departure of Bernd Leno to Arsenal, while the loan signing of Isaac Kiese Thelin adds depth up top following the resignation of Stefan Kiessling.

Despite lack of arrivals, it has been a good summer for Leverkusen who have also renewed the contracts of Julian Brandt and Leon Bailey. B.

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Who represents the Bundesliga in the Champions League?

It’s been five years since Bayern Munich were involved in the Champions League final against Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund. It’s a fixture that many didn’t expect to happen with the duo from Germany up against Barcelona and Real Madrid. It’s perhaps one of the greatest finals in recent Champions League history, barring Real Madrid’s 3-1 win over Liverpool last season while both Bayern and Dortmund will be hoping to reach the final once again. Continue reading

Borussia Dortmund: The Lucien Favre effect

Borussia Dortmund couldn’t have got off to a worse start under Lucien Favre in the Bundesliga. It took RB Leipzig just 31 seconds on Sunday evening to take the lead at the Westfalenstadion as fans in attendance were in shock. Life under the Swiss tactician wasn’t supposed to start like this but to be fair, Dortmund-Leipzig was always going to be the game people had their eyes on in the opening round of fixtures as it was always going to involve goals.

Credit where it’s due though. Despite RB Leipzig’s possession in the first-half, it was Borussia Dortmund who posed more of a threat going forward – something you would expect to see under Favre. Die Schwarzgelben equalised through a Mahmoud Dahoud header before Marcel Sabitzer’s own goal gave Dortmund the lead after 40 minutes. Minutes later, Axel Witsel capped off his Bundesliga debut with a goal just before the break.

But for Borussia Dortmund’s attacking threat, they must be thankful for Roman Burki. The stopper denied RB Leipzig from scoring on several occasions, mainly through defensive errors. Something that Favre will be keen to iron out.

The second-half was very similar to the first. For all the possession that RB Leipzig had, Ralf Rangnick’s side were unable to find a way back into the game even with the introduction of Timo Werner. Favre’s Dortmund once again looked a threat on the break, something we saw so often during his time at Borussia Monchengladbach and OGC Nice.

Borussia Dortmund’s win over RB Leipzig has shown that they are clinical when given the chance. Movement in the final third is clearly something Favre has been working on during these early days at Dortmund and if they’re able to maintain it for the season as well as shoring up their defence, they could well be up there with Bayern Munich.

There were plenty of positives to note in an attacking sense, it’s still evident that CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke and Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc must work in these coming days to secure a striker before Friday’s deadline. The Bundesliga club appear to have struck a €2 million loan deal with Barcelona for Paco Alcacer, which includes a €25m purchase option.

The 24-year-old Spaniard will add depth to Borussia Dortmund’s attack and will also add something different to what both Max Philipp and Marco Reus can offer, with Sweden international Alexander Isak the only other viable option and so with Champions League football and DFB Pokal to contend with, it’s vital that Dortmund can get this deal done.

Should Alcacer arrive, then it’s fair to argue that Borussia Dortmund have had one of the most impressive summer transfer windows from a Bundesliga club. Abdou Diallo arrived from Mainz as one of the Bundesliga’s best central defenders last season as although their defence against RB Leipzig looked nervous, more minutes with Favre’s back-four will hopefully eliminate these early shaky moments.

The arrival of Thomas Delaney from Werder Bremen wasn’t held in high regard by Dortmund fans, but the signing of Belgium international Axel Witsel to play alongside the Dane improves Dortmund’s midfield immensely. Together, the duo adds much needed energy to Dortmund’s side while it will allow freedom to either Mahmoud Dahoud or Mario Gotze, dependent on who plays.

It’s also easy to forget Borussia Dortmund have Julian Weigl at their disposal. The 22-year-old German midfielder was expected to depart the club for either Paris Saint-Germain or a move to the Premier League but for BVB bosses to convince Weigl to remain at the club shows the power the Bundesliga club holds having once being criticised for being a selling club.

So all in all, Borussia Dortmund have opened up their 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign rather convincingly. Conceding a 31 second goal against RB Leipzig on the opening day, arguably against your league rivals given they’ll both be challenging this season, was always going to be a test of character. Borussia Dortmund overcame that test and the side Favre has inherited will certainly grow from this performance.

MD1 Bundesliga Results

Bayern Munich 3-1 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-2 FC Augsburg

Hertha Berlin 1-0 Nurnberg

Freiburg 0-2 Eintracht Frankfurt

Wolfsburg 2-1 Schalke 04

Werder Bremen 1-1 Hannover 96

Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 Bayer Leverkusen

Mainz 1-0 Stuttgart

Borussia Dortmund 4-1 RB Leipzig

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Three U-20 players to keep an eye on in Germany this upcoming season

If there’s one thing German clubs are good at, it’s developing players. Schalke’s renowned der Knappenschmiede has provided the club with the likes of Mesut Ozil and more recently Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka while their rivals, Borussia Dortmund, have blessed the Bundesliga with talent such as Mario Gotze while Borussia Monchengladbach have been responsible for Marco Reus, who will now play under his former coach Lucien Favre in Dortmund.

Just the past season we’ve seen the likes of Leon Bailey, Julian Brandt – both of Bayer Leverkusen and Timo Werner of RB Leipzig, all shine in the limelight and establish themselves as important players for their respective clubs.

And now with the 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign well underway, here’s three U-20 players to keep an eye on in Germany this season.

Weston McKennie

A product of FC Dallas’ youth academy, Weston McKennie decided against college and Major League Soccer in favour of a move to Schalke in 2016. Now 19, McKennie became an integral member of Domenico Tedesco’s Royal Blues last season, playing in 22 Bundesliga games and helping S04 to a runners-up place.

Swapping USA for Germany at such a young age is never going to be easy but McKennie seems to have settled down well in Gelsenkirchen, where he’s excelled in such a short time.

“I think I’ve made my mark on the team.” McKennie told Bundesliga.com. “I think they respect me now. As a young kid going over there, it’s kind of hard to try and gain the respect of your own teammates and let them trust you. But I think I’ve gained the trust from the players, and from the coach as well.

“And the club supports me also. So I think that’s the most important thing as a foreign player, I guess, going into a foreign country and playing, is to make sure you have a good support system from everyone. And just always have the right type of mentality.”

The 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign promises to be a good one for Schalke if they can build on their success last season while McKennie will become a key member for Tedesco given the departure of Max Meyer. Now capped for USA at international level, the 19-year-old is level-headed given his age while Schalke fans can expect big things of him.

Sergio Gomez

A member of Barcelona’s famed La Masia youth academy, Sergio Gomez swapped sunny Barcelona for Dortmund at the age of 17. A quicker route to first team football has been granted and given Dortmund’s emphasis on youth players, the Spaniard is at the perfect place to develop his game.

Injuries to key first team players resulted in Gomez getting a few minutes under his belt where he’s shown glimpses of just what he can do. Able to play anywhere behind a striker, the Spaniard offers plenty of options to Lucien Favre while the Swiss tactician is the perfect man in charge to develop Gomez’ game, perhaps like that of Reus during his time at Borussia Monchengladbach.

Whether Gomez gets more game time this season remains to be seen but if injuries occur, then the 17-year-old may just find minutes here and there just to show what he’s capable of.

Kai Havertz

Perhaps one of the Bundesliga’s and Germany’s best youth talents, it seems as though Kai Havertz has been around for some time given the experience the attacking-midfielder has under his belt. At just 19, Havertz has already appeared in 55 Bundesliga games for Bayer Leverkusen, notching up 15 assists in the process while he’s also shown glimpses of his talent in the Champions League, namely against Atletico Madrid.

During the 2017/18 season, Havertz became the youngest ever player to reach 50 Bundesliga games while he’s also Bayer Leverkusen’s youngest ever goal scorer. For a player of such an age, the 19-year-old has shown maturity while it’s clear to see just why he’s been linked with European’s top clubs. B04 will be hopeful of keeping Havertz, who signed a new deal with the Bundesliga club last summer until 2022.

A big future is expected of the youngster and although you could argue he’s already broken through, Leverkusen’s 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign will be largely down to the attacking talent of Leon Bailey, Julian Brandt and Havertz.

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Season Preview: Borussia Dortmund

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Borussia Dortmund are looking to dethrone Bayern Munich of their crown this season and they’re arguable the best equipped team to challenge Niko Kovac’s side. A poor campaign in 2017/18, Hans-Joachim Watzke and Michael Zorc will be looking to rectify countless problems endured last season with the appointment of Lucien Favre lifting spirits in Dortmund.  Continue reading