American international Christian Pulisic, regarded as one of the hottest properties in European football, signed for Premier League side Chelsea for a reported fee of £58 million ($74m) from Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old right winger — who has had more playing time in the Champions League this term than the Bundesliga as coach Lucien Favre generally prefers England international Jadon Sancho in that position — has been loaned back to the German league leaders until the end of the season.
“In the summer I move on to Chelsea and to new competition, the English Premier League,” Pulisic said in a statement issued by Chelsea.
“It’s a privilege to have signed for such a legendary club and I look forward to working hard towards being a contributor to their team of world-class players.”
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said she looked forward to Pulisic becoming a major influence at the club for years to come.
“We are delighted to have signed one of Europe’s most sought-after young players,” she said.
“Christian has shown his quality during a fantastic spell in Germany and at just 20, we believe he has the potential to become an important Chelsea player for many years to come.”
Pulisic, who had also been linked with Premier League leaders Liverpool, has been at Dortmund since he was 15 and aged just 17 made both his Bundesliga debut and international debut for the United States having turned down an approach from Croatia to play for them.
A former national Under-17 captain, in November 2018 he became the youngest player to captain the United States senior side aged 20 years and 63 days.
Borussia Dortmund will begin the new year in pole position to win their first Bundesliga title since 2012 after beating second-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-1 on Friday.
An outstanding goal from English teenager Jadon Sancho and a sliding finish from Marco Reus ensured Dortmund end the first half of the German season top of the table as “autumn champions” going into the winter break.
Dortmund captain Reus admitted they showed some signs of tiredness following three league games in the last six days, including Tuesday’s shock 2-1 defeat at strugglers Fortuna Duesseldorf.
“You could see in the last 20 minutes that we were on our knees,” admitted match-winner Reus.
“A few weeks break will do us good so that we can attack again in the new year – the job is half done.”
The win puts Dortmund nine points clear of ‘Gladbach, who are level on points with reigning champions Bayern Munich who have a chance to cut the gap to six points when they face Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Sancho, the 18-year-old whose progress has been a major factor in Dortmund’s fine season, squeezed a shot in from the tightest of angles on 42 minutes after the lively Reus had crossed and Mario Goetze helped the ball on to the youngster.
Gladbach pulled level just before the break with a controversial goal from Christoph Kramer, which came after a goalmouth scramble that appeared to involve a handball but which the referee ruled valid after checking the VAR.
After the break, Reus charged in to put Dortmund back in front with Goetze the provider. Reus then slammed a free-kick against a post as Dortmund returned to winning ways after losing for the first time this season at Dusseldorf.
Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre played an experimental back four with Germany’s defensive midfielder Julian Weigl partnering Omer Toprak at centre-back.
“We deserved the win and now a few days of holiday,” said Favre.
“Julian Weigl played really well, created a lot of movement and solved a few problems for us at the back – it worked well.”
Mario Goetze says German league leaders Borussia Dortmund must put their first defeat of the season behind them and bounce back in Saturday’s crunch Bundesliga showdown at home against Bayern Munich.
Atletico Madrid avenged their 4-0 drubbing at Dortmund from a fortnight ago with a 2-0 home victory on Tuesday in the group stages of the Champions League as the Germans suffered their first loss of the 2018/19 season.
Dortmund lead the Bundesliga and have a four-point lead over defending champions Bayern Munich who they host this weekend.
“Losing is a new situation, but we knew it would be a very intense week with Atletico and Bayern – now we have to bounce back,” said Goezte, who replaced striker Paco Alcacer for the last 15 minutes in Madrid.
Goalkeeper Roman Buerki, who has only been beaten 10 times in as many league games this season, said the defeat may have done Dortmund some good.
“Perhaps it’s not so bad, that we have come back down to earth after a few weeks when everything was going so well,” said Buerki.
Club captain Marco Reus, who has been in great form this season with nine goals and seven assists in 16 games, brushed the defeat off.
“We were not so fresh, Atletico closed down space, which was very difficult for us, we only found a few ways through,” said Reus.
“It was the first defeat, but life goes on.”
The defeat in Madrid leaves both Dortmund and Atletico neck-and-neck on nine points in Group A with two matches left.
However, their focus now is on this weekend’s Bundesliga showdown as Dortmund look to prove their status as Germany’s top side and make amends for their heavy defeat to the Bavarians the last time they met.
Bayern thrashed Dortmund 6-0 in Munich in March, as Robert Lewandowski netted a hat-trick against his former club.
Thomas Delaney says record-breaking Borussia Dortmund are relishing their chance to claim a place in the Champions League knockout phase at Atletico Madrid and tighten their grip on top spot in the Bundesliga in their showdown with Bayern Munich next weekend.
“It’s going to be an awesome week – we’re in good form and looking forward to it,” said Denmark midfielder Delaney, who set up club captain Marco Reus for their winning goal in Saturday’s hard-earned 1-0 win at Wolfsburg.
It was Dortmund’s 15th straight match without defeat in all competitions under head coach Lucien Favre, bettering the previous record of Thomas Tuchel, who led Dortmund to 14 games without defeat three years ago.
“I didn’t know about that,” admitted Favre when asked about the new club record, ahead of a week in which he faces his biggest challenges since he took charge in July.
The Germans travel to Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium for Tuesday’s Champions League rematch having thrashed Diego Simeone’s side 4-0 in Dortmund a fortnight ago.
Another win over the Spaniards will guarantee Dortmund a place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Then comes Saturday’s crunch visit defending Bundesliga champions Bayern, who trail leaders Dortmund by four points and again flattered to deceive in their 1-1 draw at home to Freiburg on Saturday.
A win at the weekend would put clear daylight between Dortmund and Bayern, who are chasing a seventh straight Bundesliga title.
“Bayern’s result (on Saturday) will certainly help put them under even more pressure,” said retired former Dortmund captain Sebastian Kehl, looking past Atletico and towards next weekend.
However, Dortmund’s focus is firmly on Madrid.
“They (Atletico) will go into the game with a lot of fighting spirit and try to avenge the 4-0 result,” added Kehl.
Favre admitted that Dortmund “found it very difficult to find holes” in Wolfsburg’s defence and that “there was a danger until the end”.
The gritty win at Wolfsburg also comes after they needed a Reus penalty — in the last second of extra-time — to snatch a 3-2 win over second division Union Berlin in the German Cup last Wednesday.
Nevertheless, Dortmund will fly to Madrid with high on confidence as they chase a win to put them in the knock-out stages of the Champions League.
English teenager Jadon Sancho has scored five goals and made eight assists this season, impressing with his displays from the left wing.
Reus is injury-free and in great form, having been involved in 16 goals in 15 games this season, scoring nine and setting up seven more.
“I have always said that when I am healthy, I can help the team,” said the fleet-footed Reus, who was sidelined between May last year and January with torn knee ligaments.
On top of that, striker Paco Alcacer is back from a thigh injury having scored an incredible eight goals in just six games since joining on loan from Barcelona.
Ten-man Bayern Munich ended their four-match winless streak on Saturday as Robert Lewandowski scored twice in a 3-1 win at Wolfsburg, a day after the club’s hierarchy launched an extraordinary attack on the German media.
After back-to-back league defeats, Bayern leapt from sixth to second in the Bundesliga behind Borussia Dortmund who routed Stuttgart 4-0 with Paco Alcacer claiming his seventh goal in four Bundesliga games.
Bayern got back to winning ways in Wolfsburg the day after chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and president Uli Hoeness slammed the media in Germany for “disrespectful and disgusting” reporting on star-studded Munich.
Bayern worked for the win, playing the last half an hour with ten men after Arjen Robben was sent off after receiving two yellow cards.
Head coach Niko Kovac left Thomas Mueller and Franck Ribery on the bench as Bayern broke their four-game winless streak in all competitions.
Lewandowski gave Bayern an early lead when he tucked away Thiago Alcantara’s dummied pass past Wolfsburg goalkeeper Koen Casteels.
It was the Poland striker’s first goal after drawing blanks in his last five games for club and country.
With half-time approaching, Robben earned his first booking for a blatant dive in the area before Lewandowski struck again just after the break.
The Polish striker latched on to William’s misplaced back pass and dribbled around Casteels to poke his shot into an empty net to make it 2-0.
There were nervous looks in the Bayern ranks on 57 minutes when Robben was dismissed after a foul on midfielder Elvis Rexhbecaj.
Wolfsburg pulled a goal back five minutes after Robben’s dismissal when Dutch striker Wout Weghorst buried the hosts’ first clear chance.
James Rodriguez calmed any nerves in the Bayern ranks with a stunning shot inside the post 18 minutes from time.
Sancho nets in Dortmund romp
In Stuttgart, Dortmund remain four points clear after their attack of Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus and Alcacer ran riot with the trio all claiming first-half goals.
Before kick-off, Dortmund’s sports director Michael Zorc revealed Borussia are set to make Alcacer’s loan stay from Barcelona permanent.
The Spaniard demonstrated why with his 11th goal this season for Dortmund and Spain to become the league’s joint top-scorer.
Fresh from making his senior England debut, Sancho, 18, put Dortmund ahead on just three minutes when he fired home after Reus’ shot was deflected into his path.
Reus then made no mistake with his second chance for his fifth league goal of the season.
Alcacer made it 3-0 after 25 minutes when his sublime chip beat the Stuttgart goalkeeper.
The hosts tightened their defence after the break, but Dortmund deserved the win as Maximilian Philipp slammed home their fourth six minutes from time.
Elsewhere, England junior international Reiss Nelson, on loan from Arsenal, scored twice as Hoffenheim warmed up for their Champions League game at home to Lyon with a 3-1 win at Nuremberg.
RB Leipzig are third after a goalless draw with Augsburg which cost them their fourth straight win.
Brazil defender Felipe was Hanover’s hero, then villain after scoring their second goal, but was then sent off in their 2-2 goal at Bayer Leverkusen, whose Karim Bellarabi scored a late equaliser.
On Friday, Serbia striker Luka Jovic, 20, became the youngest player to score five goals in a Bundesliga match as Eintracht Frankfurt romped to a 7-1 win over bottom side Fortuna Duesseldorf.
Robert Lewandowski will celebrate his 200th appearance for Bayern Munich this weekend, as the Polish superstar looks to continue his explosive early-season form when Bayern host Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.
Lewandowski, who has 157 goals in 199 appearances in his Bayern career so far, has found the net six times in competitive games this term, and is already a firm favourite to become Bundesliga top scorer this season.
Along with Schalke and RB Leipzig, Leverkusen are one of several big teams who are hoping to bounce back from a disastrous start to the campaign.
Elsewhere, Barcelona loanee Paco Alcacer is set to make his Borussia Dortmund debut against Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday, while Saturday will see the Bundesliga’s oldest and youngest coaches go head to head in Duesseldorf.
Here are five things to look out for in this weekend’s Bundesliga action:
Lewandowski reaches milestone Amid rumours of a move away from Munich and an early World Cup exit with Poland, it had been a turbulent summer for Robert Lewandowski.
Yet Bayern’s star striker is now back to his best, having scored in both Bundesliga games so far this season.
He will be looking to continue that run when his side host Bayer Leverkusen, in what will be his 200th appearance for the Bavarian giants.
Leverkusen, meanwhile, are hoping to avoid their worst ever start to a Bundesliga season after they lost their opening two games.
“Bayern are the best in the business but we have to go there and seek out chances,” under pressure Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich told SID, an AFP subsidiary.
Alcacer arrives in Dortmund
Paco Alcacer is hoping to make his first appearance for Borussia Dortmund this weekend after arriving on loan from Barcelona.
Dortmund hope that the former Valencia hitman can be the solution to their problems in the centre-forward position, and fans may see him in action for the first time in Friday’s clash with Eintracht Frankfurt.
“Paco links up with team-mates well and is very skillful in front of goal,” said Dortmund coach Lucien Favre.
Dortmund will be without USA international Christian Pulisic, who is still struggling with a muscular issue.
Tedesco under pressure
Schalke kick off their Champions League campaign next week, having finished second under precocious young coach Domenico Tedesco last season.
Yet after two defeats from two this term, Tedesco is now under huge pressure ahead of Saturday’s headline clash with Borussia Moenchengladbach.
“I’m not naive, and I’m not going to rest on my laurels and expect only to be given credit for last season,” the Schalke coach told SportBild this week.
Leipzig’s wheel of misfortune
RB Leipzig have also made a wobbly start to their Bundesliga campaign, and coach Ralf Rangnick will be hoping that his “wheel of misfortune” can turn his team’s luck around.
Leipzig have picked up just one point from their opening two games, and host a well-disciplined Hanover side on Saturday.
As Bild revealed this week, Leipzig players no longer receive fines for indiscretions but instead have to spin the wheel of misfortune.
The wheel can land on any of 12 different punishments, ranging from groundskeeping duties and shifts in the club fan shop to being forced to wear a ballerina’s tutu in training.
Old meets young in Duesseldorf
The Bundesliga’s oldest coach will meet its youngest when Fortuna Duesseldorf host Hoffenheim on Saturday.
Friedhelm Funkel, 64, is hoping to avoid relegation with Duesseldorf this year, while 31-year-old Julian Nagelsmann will lead Hoffenheim into the Champions League next week.
“Thankfully, it’s going to be eleven players against eleven players on Saturday,” Funkel joked. “If I had to play one-on-one against Julian, I wouldn’t stand a chance!”
Fixtures (all times GMT)
Borussia Dortmund v Eintracht Frankfurt (1830)
Bayern Munich v Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig v Hanover 96, Mainz 05 v Augsburg, Wolfsburg v Hertha Berlin, Fortuna Duesseldorf v TSG Hoffenheim (all 1330), Borussia Moenchengladbach v Schalke 04 (1630)
Werder Bremen v Nuremberg (1330), Freiburg v Stuttgart (1600)
Pep Guardiola’s start to his pre-season campaign ended in defeat as Borussia Dortmund captain Mario Gotze’s first-half penalty was enough to see off the Premier League champions Manchester City 1-0 at Soldier Field in Chicago on Friday.
Guardiola was able to call on the likes of new signing Riyad Mahrez and German Leroy Sane but his otherwise highly inexperienced, young team were unable to get the better of a Dortmund side who have already played one game this summer and looked far sharper in the opening match of this year’s International Champions Cup tournament.
Gotze’s winner came in the 28th minute when American international Christian Pulisic was hauled down in the box allowing the midfielder who famously scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final to beat Claudio Bravo.
Mahrez showed flashes of his quality yet Guardiola will be disappointed about the lack of cutting edge on show.
With the bulk of his Premier League title-winning squad enjoying an extended break after their exertions at the World Cup, it was a vastly inexperienced side sent out by the Spaniard at Soldier Field.
Mahrez, the $75 million signing from Leicester, made his debut while the precocious young English midfielder Phil Foden also started.
There was a healthy crowd of 34,629 inside Soldier Field and although a young City side held their own early on, Dortmund created the better chances with Gotze pulling the strings together with Pulisic.
Mahrez was City’s best player, who showcased his attacking threat with a decent run and cross midway through the first half.
But on 28 minutes the Germans were ahead.
A satisfied coach
Alex Zinchenko, who is set to leave the club before the start of the English domestic season, brought down the lively Pulisic in the box and Gotze beat Bravo from the spot before Alexander Isak almost made it two soon after.
Jack Harrison should have done better just before the interval when he miscued a shot from close range and then Mahrez forced a great save from Dortmund keeper Marwin Hitz.
Nevertheless, Guardiola would have been all too aware of his side’s lack of killer instinct.
Jadon Sancho, who quit the Premier League club for Dortmund last August following a fall-out with Guardiola, was introduced in the second half and began promisingly.
Joe Hart, the former England keeper, was making his first City appearance since August 2016 but it was opposite number Hitz who was almost beaten on 55 minutes when another Mahrez set-piece flew just past the post.
Guardiola said his team played well despite not having a lot of time to train together.
“It was really good for their futures because we played one of the best teams in Germany and we did many good things,” he said. “The courage, intensity and desire to play was very good. I’m so satisfied.”
The Algerian’s cute pass set Lukas Nmecha through on 70 minutes but his finish was lacking before Hart produced an excellent point-blank save to deny Mahmoud Dahoud.
Dortmund, however, held firm to seal a deserved win.
A superb goal off the outside of his boot by Michy Batshuayi gave Borussia Dortmund a 1-0 win over Hanover on Sunday and kept them third in the Bundesliga.
Batshuayi, on loan from Chelsea for the rest of the season, gave Dortmund the three points at home with a wonderful piece of individual skill midway through the first-half.
The Belgian international claimed arguably the best of his eight goals in just 12 games for Dortmund by flicking the ball into the net from a corner.
Having hit the post after just 35 seconds, Batshuayi has his back on goal when he stabbed at Andre Schuerrle’s cross on 24 minutes and his effort sailed past Hanover’s goalkeeper.
It was his sixth German league goal in seven Bundesliga games with Dortmund after spending the first half of the season stuck on Chelsea’s bench.
“I saw the path to the goal wasn’t clear, but there was just a small gap and luckily it came off,” Batshuayi told Eurosport about his wonder goal.
“We were very physical and mentally very strong. You could see that the team really wanted the three points.”
Hanover had their chance to equalise on 81 minutes when Brazilian striker Jonathas headed on from a free-kick and the ball was poked over the line, but the goal was ruled offside.
“We lacked that bit of final luck,” lamented Hanover goalkeeper Philipp Tschauner, but Dortmund deserved the win after creating 25 shots on goal to just nine by the visitors.
Just before the final whistle, Dortmund winger Maximilian Philipp hit the post as the hosts tried to stretch their lead.
The home win buoyed Dortmund after Thursday’s disappointing Europa League exit in the last 16 when Borussia was held to a goalless second-leg draw at home to Red Bull Salzburg after losing 2-1 in Austria.
The home Bundesliga win at Signal Iduna Park leaves Dortmund 18 points behind runaway league leaders Bayern Munich, who are at RB Leipzig on Sunday night.
Dortmund’s win and Schalke’s 1-0 victory at Wolfsburg on Saturday mean Bayern’s confirmed title victory must be put on ice until after next weekend’s international break.
Later on Sunday afternoon, Bayer Leverkusen can draw level with Dortmund on 48 points if they win at bottom side Cologne in the Rhineland derby.
Mesut Ozil scored as Arsenal eased to a 3-0 victory at Swedish minnows Ostersunds in the first leg of their Europa League, last-32 tie on Thursday, while Michy Batshuayi snatched Borussia Dortmund a dramatic win over Atalanta.
Left-back Nacho Monreal put Arsenal into an early lead with his fifth goal of the season, tapping in after home goalkeeper Aly Keita inexplicably let the ball slip from his grasp.
The visitors were also gifted the second goal in the 24th minute as Ostersunds tried to play their way out of their own area, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan latching onto the loose ball and seeing a low cross diverted into his own net by defender Sotirios Papagiannopoulos.
Ostersunds coach Graham Potter, a former defender for Stoke and West Brom in England, made two half-time changes in an attempt to change the flow of the game, but Arsenal all but ended the tie before the hour mark.
Mkhitaryan played in Ozil, who jinked his way through and saw his shot burst through the hands of the hapless Keita and bobble into the net.
Ostersunds were gifted a chance to at least add a memorable goal to their fairytale run, but after Tesfaldet Tekie was brought down by Hector Bellerin, David Ospina saved Tom Pettersson’s injury-time penalty.
The comfortable win means that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will be able to rest his key players for the second leg at the Emirates in a week’s time.
“We did the job well, controlled the ball against a good side,” Wenger told BT Sport.
“Overall we played a serious game, so job done. They looked very nervous and we took advantage of it.”
Red-hot Batshuayi rescues Dortmund
Batshuayi continued his good form with a late brace as Dortmund fought back to beat Atalanta 3-2 at Signal Iduna Park.
Dortmund forged ahead on the half-hour mark as Andre Schurrle did well to control Lukasz Piszczek’s pass and turn the ball in for only his second goal of a disappointing campaign.
But Atalanta, who impressed in finishing ahead of Lyon and Everton at the top of Group E, scored an away goal only six minutes into the second half.
Josip Ilicic showed excellent composure to control Leonardo Spinazzola’s long pass and curl into the far corner, before the Slovenian striker tapped home just five minutes later with his fourth goal of the competition.
Dortmund hit back midway through the second half, though, as Batshuayi slammed in his fourth goal in three games for the club since joining on loan from Chelsea in January.
And the Belgian striker pounced in the first minute of added time to give the two-time runners-up a precious lead in the tie.
Elsewhere, Patrick Cutrone and Fabio Borini scored as AC Milan claimed a 3-0 lead over Ludogorets Razgrad to take back to the San Siro for the second leg.
Mario Balotelli scored twice, but 10-man Nice blew a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at home to Lokomotiv Moscow as Manuel Fernandes hit a hat-trick, while Valere Germain struck two goals as Marseille cruised past Braga 3-0.
Aritz Aduriz’s double helped Athletic Bilbao win 3-1 at Spartak Moscow, while Salzburg snatched a 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad with a 94th-minute leveller.
Borussia Dortmund signed Belgian forward Michy Batshuayi on loan from Chelsea just before the German transfer window closed on Wednesday — hours after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s departure to Arsenal.
Having sold Aubameyang to the Gunners, who spent a club record £56 million ($79.2m, 63.7m euros), Dortmund have already secured his replacement, just before the country’s transfer deadline of 1800 (1700 GMT).
The 24-year-old Batshuayi has been signed until the end of the season to fill Aubameyang’s boots having spent the season on Chelsea’s bench behind Alvaro Morata.
“Michy is a young, very interesting striker, who has a high quota of goals,” Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc told the club’s website.
“He has proven his exceptional quality at both Chelsea and Olympique Marseille, in the Belgian league and the national team.”
Batshuayi has scored 12 goals in 26 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions this season having made just 12 starts for the Blues.
He is clear of his aim for the rest of the season.
“The World Cup takes place this summer and in order to reach my big goal, I want to play as much as I can and score many goals.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has joined Arsenal for a record fee for the Gunners, a reported £56 million ($79.2 million, 63.7 million euros), from Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund, both clubs confirmed Wednesday.
The 28-year-old Gabon striker, who has scored 141 goals for Dortmund since joining in 2013, signed a long-term contract with the storied London club.
His transfer fee outstrips the £46.5 million that Arsenal paid for French striker Alexandre Lacazette last August. Aubameyang’s arrival is likely to lead to the departure of veteran marksman Olivier Giroud.
“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has joined us from Borussia Dortmund on a long-term contract for a club-record fee,” the statement from Arsenal said.
The club described him as “one of the world’s most highly-rated strikers”.
“He scored 98 goals in 144 Bundesliga games for Dortmund and had a hand in 172 goals in 213 matches in all competitions for his former club,” it continued.
“That works out at an average of 96 minutes per goal or assist.
“Auba is the Gabon captain and all-time top goalscorer, and became the first Gabonese winner of the African Footballer of the Year award in 2015.”