Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund, Hertha Berlin players kneel for George Floyd as Bayern Munich keep cruising with another win
Bundesliga was marked by gestures against racism and support for the Black Lives Matter movement on Saturday as Bayern Munich took another step toward a record-extending eighth straight title.
Berlin: Germany’s football league was marked by gestures against racism and support for the Black Lives Matter movement on Saturday as Bayern Munich took another step toward a record-extending eighth straight Bundesliga title.
All of Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin’s 22 outfield players took a knee in the center-circle together before the top tier's late game with no fans present. Coaches and other team members from both sides did likewise beside the field, bringing to mind former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest before games against police brutality and racial inequality.
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) June 6, 2020
Dortmund’s players had warmed up wearing T-shirts with slogans such as “United together,” and “No justice, no peace.”
Bayern and Bayer Leverkusen’s players wore black armbands against racism in their game earlier Saturday, which Bayern won 4-2 after rallying from a goal down. Bayern's players had ”Black Lives Matter” printed on their armbands, partly covering sponsor Qatar Airways’ logo on the left arm.
The teams’ gestures were made as tens of thousands of people across Germany attended anti-racism demonstrations in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May. Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died after a white police officer pressed his knee against his neck, ignoring his “I can’t breathe” cries even after Floyd eventually grew still.
Emre Can’s 57th-minute strike was enough for Dortmund to win 1-0 and stay seven points behind Bayern with four games remaining. Bayern, which has won its last nine games, looks unlikely to squander its lead.
Robert Lewandowski scored Bayern’s fourth to claim his 30th Bundesliga goal of the season, set up by Thomas Müller, who now has 20 assists. However, both players were booked in the first half and will miss the next game against Borussia Mönchengladbach due to an accumulation of yellow cards.
Bayern’s players had warmed up wearing anti-racism T-shirts in Leverkusen, where the home team had to do without young star Kai Havertz due to muscular problems.
It also had to do without fans, as all Bundesliga games are being played without supporters amid strict hygiene measures against coronavirus.
Leverkusen striker Lucas Alario opened the scoring in the ninth minute, staying calm to beat Manuel Neuer at the near post with the outside of his boot. The linesman lifted his flag for offside, but the goal was given after a VAR check.
The home side played well until Leon Goretzka set up Kingsley Coman to equalize in the 27th, then scored himself on a counterattack in the 42nd.
There was still time before the break for Serge Gnabry to grab Bayern’s third, lifting the ball over ’keeper Lukas Hradecky.
Though his side had played well for the first half-hour, Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz reacted with three changes at the break.
But another defensive mistake preceded Lewandowski’s goal in the 66th, a powerful header from Müller’s perfectly-placed cross.
The 17-year-old Florian Wirtz restored some pride for Leverkusen with a brilliant finish past Neuer in the 89th. He became the youngest goal-scorer in the Bundesliga.
Hennings brace gives Duesseldorf 2-2 draw with 10-man Hoffenheim
A goal in each half by Rouwen Hennings gave Fortuna Duesseldorf a 2-2 draw at home to 10-man Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga but Uwe Rosler’s side, who are third from bottom, will see it as two points dropped rather than one gained.
Hoffenheim got off to the worst possible start when striker Hennings headed the hosts into the lead in the fifth minute, shortly before visiting captain Benjamin Huebner was shown a straight red card for an altercation at a corner.
Munas Dabbur equalised in the 16th minute, while Hennings had a second headed goal ruled out two minutes later after the video assistant referee (VAR) spotted a foul in the build-up.
Steven Zuber put Hoffenheim ahead around the hour mark, but Hennings netted a penalty to secure the draw and leave his side third from bottom on 28 points, three behind Mainz. Hoffenheim climbed to sixth and into the Europa League places on 43 points.
The red card for Huebner appeared to tilt the game in Duesseldorf’s favour as they peppered the box with crosses. However, despite Hennings proving a handful in the area, the score remained 1-1 at the break.
Hoffenheim handled their numerical disadvantage much better in the second half and Danish international Robert Skov wasted a glorious chance to put them ahead, but made up for it minutes later on the counter-attack by squaring for Zuber to score.
With fellow strugglers Mainz leading 2-0 away to Frankfurt, Duesseldorf threw everything forward and their pressure paid off when Haavard Nordtveit pulled down Erik Thommy and the referee awarded a penalty, which Hennings calmly slotted home.
Back level, Hennings grabbed the ball and planted it on the centre spot as Duesseldorf continued their frenzied chase for a winner, but Hoffenheim managed to hold on for a draw.
Paderborn grab last-gasp goal for vital point at Leipzig
Captain Christian Strohdiek netted a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser to earn last-placed Paderborn a 1-1 draw away at high-flying RB Leipzig on Saturday and keep alive their faint hopes of avoiding relegation.
Patrik Schick’s 27th-minute goal gave Leipzig the lead, but their fortunes turned after defender Dayot Upamecano was needlessly sent off two minutes from the end of the first half when he petulantly kicked away the ball after a foul.
The 21-year-old Frenchman had been booked earlier in the game, and his second yellow card ensured an early shower.
The result left Leipzig in third place, 11 points behind leaders Bayern Munich with four games remaining, while Paderborn moved to 20 points, still five adrift at the bottom.
Schick’s goal came at the end of one of the high-paced passing movements that have been characteristic of Leipzig with Christopher Nkunku and Timo Werner involved and the clinical efficiency suggested a comfortable victory for the hosts.
Nkunku put Werner clear on goal but instead of striking himself, the Chelsea-bound forward squared the ball for Schick to finish — his 10th Bundesliga goal of the season.
Upamecano’s red card allowed Paderborn to fight their way back into the game in the second half, although it took them a while to use their one-man advantage.
It was only two minutes into stoppage time that Paderborn had a shot on target as Strohdiek hammered home from close range after substitute Marlon Ritter’s effort from a corner was blocked.
Leipzig could have made sure of three points, and moved second in the standings, had Dan Olmo not had a rasping shot well saved on the hour mark and Werner missed soon after despite rounding the goalkeeper.
But they tired in the last 10 minutes as Paderborn began to tighten the screws before eventually claiming a third successive away draw as they battle against the drop.
Paderborn midfielder Klaus Gjasula was cautioned after 21 minutes for a clumsy foul, claiming a Bundesliga record 16th yellow card of the season.
Mainz earn key win over toothless Frankfurt
Mainz 05 scored once in each half to beat Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 on Saturday and move three points above the Bundesliga relegation playoff spot with four games left in the season.
The visitors went ahead two minutes from halftime thanks to Moussa Niakhate’s first goal of the season, and Eintracht, who are unlikely now to qualify for Europe, rarely threatened.
The hosts, who have now won only once in their last six games, upped the tempo after the break but still failed to register a shot on target in the entire game.
Kunde Malong’s solo run after winning possession in midfield killed off the game in the 77th minute and gave Mainz a crucial victory in their battle to stay up.
Mainz are 15th on 31 points with Frankfurt 11th on 35.
With inputs from Reuters and AP
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