Five things from the Bundesliga
Bayern Munich rumbled towards an eighth straight Bundesliga title on Saturday after their comfortable win at Bayer Leverkusen, while players throughout the league renewed support for the Black Lives Matters protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.
AFP Sport looks at five key things from Saturday’s action:
You have to go back to before Christmas to find a match which Bayern lost, and their stroll at Leverkusen took Hansi Flick’s side to 11 straight wins in all competitions and kept them seven points clear with just four matches remaining.
A goal down after 10 minutes against a team that beat them at the Allianz Arena in November, Bayern responded with two quick goals just before half-time to establish a stranglehold on the match after Kingsley Coman’s equaliser.
From that point Bayern were calm and composed as they saw out a ninth league win in a row that allows to put one hand on the Bundesliga trophy.
However bookings for both Thomas Mueller and Robert Lewandowski — who scored his 30th league goal of the season — mean that they will miss next week’s clash with Champions League-chasing Borussia Moenchengladbach, where a win will as good as seal the title.
Floyd tributes continue
Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin players were the latest to show their support for demonstrations across the USA and George Floyd, a black American who died in Minneapolis last month while being arrested by police officers, by taking a collective knee around the Signal Iduna Park centre circle before their match.
They had been preceded by Mainz’s Cameroonian midfielder Pierre Kunde Malong, who sunk to one knee after scoring in Mainz’s 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt, emulating similar gestures from last weekend.
Both Dortmund and Bayern Munich wore T-shirts showing solidarity with the protests, with Bayern players warming up in tops bearing both the Black Lives Matter hashtag and the slogan of the club’s official “Reds Against Racism” campaign.
Werner shows his worth
Timo Werner showed why Chelsea are reportedly set to spend 50 million euros (£44.5 million) on bringing him to the Premier League, setting up Patrik Schick to take the lead and playing with the verve that has attracted the attention of Europe’s biggest clubs.
The Germany forward has scored 31 times in all competitions for Leipzig this season and prestigious magazine Kicker reports that Chelsea will pay less than the Werner’s 55 million-euro release clause to bring the 24-year-old to the Premier League.
Leipzig sporting director Oliver Mintzlaff said that no deal had yet been done for Werner, although he made it clear that Werner would be leaving come the end of the season.
“We are sure that we will find a solution with his new club which allows us to end the Bundesliga season with Timo,” said Mintzlaff.
‘Huge talent’ Wirtz breaks through
A new young star made the headlines for Leverkusen in the absence of Kai Havertz, with Florian Wirtz becoming the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history.
Wirtz, who only made his top-flight debut last month, supplanted former Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin when he bagged Leverkusen’s consolation goal in the final seconds at 17 years and 34 days old.
“We already knew he was a huge talent, that’s why he has played before,” said Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz.
Emre cans Sancho after rallying Dortmund
Emre Can kept Borussia Dortmund’s faint hopes of winning the title alive with the only goal in a 1-0 win over dogged Hertha Berlin, and quickly tore a strip off young gun Jadon Sancho following the England winger’s haircut controversy.
Can, who struck in the 58th minute to keep Dortmund seven points behind Bayern with four games to play, said Sancho needed to be “more grown up” after being pictured having a haircut with neither the 20-year-old nor the hairdresser wearing any personal protective equipment.
“We need to guide Jadon a bit. He can’t afford to make mistakes like that in the future, and we can always talk to him about that as a team,” said Can.
Reporting and photos: AFP