Spieltag Saturday: A New Bundesliga Record
Swedish Goalkeeper Yann Sommer saves 19 against Bayern
Match of the Week: Bayern v. M’Gladbach
Since 2011, no team in the German Bundesliga has a better record (9-9-5) against FC Bayern Munich than Borussia Mönchengladbach. With 32 points against Bayern, Gladbach is unique in Germany’s top league as a team that can consistently play the champions to a draw.
Today, Gladbach had another banner performance against Bayern on their home turf at the Allianz Arena. While Bayern dominated the match with 33 shots to 5, 20 shots on target to 3, and possession for 69% of the minutes, Gladbach keeper Yann Sommer delivered a performance for the ages. With 19 saves, Sommer now has the all-time Bundesliga record for saves in a single match.
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In the 34th minute it looked like the 32-time Bundesliga champions finally broke through, but an offside call kept the dam from breaking. On the other side of the pitch, a Marcus Thuram goal late in the first half gave the visitors hope for a win going into halftime. Despite the year’s most impressive goalkeeping heroics since Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois won Man of the Match honors in the UEFA Champions League final, Sommer’s clean sheet was finally blotted in the 83rd minute by Bayern’s Leroy Sané. Gladbach and Sommer proceeded to hold Bayern at bay through six minutes of stoppage time, brining home a point.
Bayern, meanwhile, is back atop the table, tied with 1. FC Union Berlin in points, but with a superior tiebreaker. Union Berlin hosts Bayern at home next week for one of the most anticipated Bundesliga matches of this year’s campaign. The clubs play on Saturday, September 3 at 1530 CET / 9:30 AM EDT. Editor’s note: while Soccer Sheet writer Sam Spencer is a Union Berlin member and supporter, we will try to be as objective as possible next week.
Speaking of Union Berlin, they demolished the recently-promoted FC Schalke 04 1-6, with starter Sheraldo Becker and joker Sven Michel posting braces. US Men’s National Team player Jordan Pefok played a major role and came away with two assists, both to Becker. Becker is making a name for himself this season as the most effective finisher in the Bundesliga. Statistically, Becker has an xG (expected goals) of 0.94 so far this season; he’s scored a total of four.
As of press time, Bayern and Union lead the table with 10 points each; SC Freiburg, TSG Hoffenheim, and Borussa Dortmund each have 9; Gladbach has 8; and 1. FSV Mainz 05 has 7. 1. FC Köln has 5 points but doesn’t play its fourth match until tomorrow; RB Leipzig also has 5 points, and rose to 10th with a win against Wolfsburg today.
English Premier League
Arsenal remains undefeated and atop the EPL table with a 2-1 win after hosting Fulham today. In many ways, today’s fixtures played out less like some of the unexpected results from the first three weeks of play; Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, and the Gunners all won.
The biggest story may be Liverpool’s 9-0 performance at home. After starting the season with two draws and a loss, Liverpool supporters were scratching their heads; looks like they were saving all of the goals they needed in previous matches for Bournemouth. This is only the fourth-ever 9-0 result in EPL history; no team has ever won 10-0.
Three matches remain tomorrow: the Wolves host Newcastle and Aston Villa hosts West Ham (both matches at 1400 local time/9:00 AM EDT), whiled recently-promoted Nottingham Forest hosts Tottenham Hotspur. The Wolves and West Ham are both trying to leave the relegation zone, and West Ham is still seeking its first points of the season. Two-time European champions Forest are trying to make it back to the top of the table, while a win will put Tottenham in 3rd place behind Arsenal and Man City.
While Bayern was certainly missing Robert Lewandowski’s offensive talent today, his new squad will be happy to have him when FC Barcelona hosts Valladolid tomorrow at 1930 CET / 1:30 PM EDT. After the first week draw against Rayo Vallecano, they’re playing catchup; Real Betis, Real Madrid, and Villarreal CF all remain undefeated going into tomorrow.
Betis defeated Osasuna 1-0 today to take the outright lead in La Liga, while tomorrow Real Madrid travels to play 16th-place Espanyol and Villarreal travels to play last-place Getafe. So while Real Betis Balompié is atop the table, lets give El Glorioso their flowers.
Betis traditionally wears green and white since their inception in 1907. Outside of football fandom they’re probably less-known than Seville’s other top-flight team, Sevilla FC, since the latter has had more recent European success; however, both clubs have only won La Liga once each. The team may have the best (or most realistic) motto in football: "Long live Betis even when they lose!" That motto will be put to the test next weekend when Betis travels to Madrid to take on the reigning La Liga champions on September 3 at 1615 CET/10:15 AM EDT.
It’s been a bad day for Charlotte FC captain Christian Fuchs’ former teams: they all lost. The list includes the aforementioned Schalke and Mainz 05, as well as Leicester City and VfL Bochum.
Best of luck to Fuchs and Charlotte as they host Toronto FC tonight.
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