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By Gavin Faucette – Summer Staff Writer
Teams and players across the Bundesliga continued to show solidarity with the Black Live Matters movement in America and across the globe. The two biggest teams – Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund – warmed up in shirts with various messages supporting the movement. As for the title race, not much changed as Bayern held onto their 7 point lead over Dortmund and things in large part remained the same across the league.
Friday’s lone game could have been a goal fest if either team could finish off their chances. Mönchengladbach had 18 shots but only 3 on target, not a promising stat for a team desperately holding onto their Champions League place. Freiburg were not much better totaling 15 shots with 6 on target. However, super sub Nils Petersen headed home a free kick a minute after coming onto the pitch. Petersen now has 24 goals as a substitute which is the most ever in the Bundesliga. With Leverkusen’s loss, Mönchengladbach still remains in 4th but they will have to secure some points against Bayern next week to hold onto their Champions League spot. The win for Freiburg leaves them 4 points behind Wolfsburg for a Europa League spot but they could come within one as they play Wolfsburg this weekend.
Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz missed the highly anticipated matchup with an injury. His presence was sorely missed by his side whose finishing was quite lacking. Leverkusen was first to score in the 9th minute from a Julian Baumgartlinger through ball that was calmly finished off by Lucas Alario. For a short period of time it seemed the title race was back. However, Bayern instantly began to control the game. Bayern made Leverkusen pay for three mistakes as they headed into the 2nd half with a 3-1 lead with goals from Kingsley Coman, Leon Goretzka, and Serge Gnabry. Fox’s incredible coverage of the Bundesliga continued by not even showing Gnabry’s goal live. The only real highlights of the second half were Lewandowski netting his 28th Bundesliga goal in 28 games and Florian Wirtz becoming the youngest scorer in Bundesliga history at the age of 17. Thomas Muller also set a new Bundesliga record for assists passing Kevin de Bruyne with his 20th assist of the season. Bayern looks to hold their 7 point lead with 4 games remaining but still have to beat three formidable opponents in Mönchengladbach, SC Freiburg, and VFL Wolfsburg.
It looks as if Leipzig’s title hopes have dwindled as their draw against Paderborn leaves them 11 points behind leaders Bayern. Leipzig looked as if they would come away with three points early on in the match as the heavily linked Chelsea target Timo Werner assistedPatrik Schick in the 27th minute. However, Dayotchanculle Upamecano’s costly red card allowed Paderborn to get back into the game. Timo Werner and Dani Olmo each had incredibly close chances but could not find the back of the net. Paderborn continued to put pressure on the man down Leipzig with chance after chance. Eventually in the 92nd minute, center back Christian Strohdiek put home a rebound to even the score. Paderborn will be happy with the point but unfortunately are almost certainly going to be relegated as they are 11 points from safety.
Dortmund remain within reach of Bayern but will need a lot of help with only 4 games remaining. Dortmund struggled to create many opportunities in the first half against a strong Hertha Berlin side. Jadon Sancho livened up in the 2nd half creating a multitude of chances for Dortmund. In the 57th minute he chipped a ball to Julian Brandt who beautifully headed it back into Emre Can’s path who calmly finished it far post. Hertha only managed to get one shot on target the whole game. Dortmund will need to win out if they want any chance at challenging Bayern.
By now Schalke must forget how it feels to win a Bundesliga game. Sunday’s result makes it 11 games without a win in the Bundesliga for the side. Fortunately, Schalke still remains in 10th place. Union Berlin got off to a fantastic start as Anthony Ujah assisted Robert Andrich on a counter attack. Schalke managed to answer, Everton loanee Jonjoe Kenny hit a stunning strike from outside the box in the 28th minute. From then on, both sides struggled to create chances. Union Berlin are becoming closer and closer to securing their second ever season in the Bundesliga but will need at least one more result.
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