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Monday, May 29, 2023

Weekend Evaluation: Borussia Dortmund dazzle, Odegaard MVP

There was no LaLiga motion this weekend because of Saturday’s Copa del Rey closing, however the European weekend delivered lots to speak about throughout the most important leagues, with Manchester Metropolis staying on track for the Premier League title regardless of Martin Odegaard‘s large recreation for Arsenal. Elsewhere, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund each received to maintain the Bundesliga race alive for one more week.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, extra (U.S.)

ESPN correspondents Rob Dawson, Julien Laurens, Sam Marsden, James Olley and James Tyler break down probably the most attention-grabbing and necessary stuff you should know concerning the weekend.

Speaking factors

Dortmund, Bellingham get it performed in fashion

Tyler: No matter the place the Bundesliga title finally ends up this season, credit score to Borussia Dortmund for regaining some momentum and retaining it tight on the prime with simply three rounds of matches remaining. Sunday’s 6-0 shellacking of Wolfsburg means BVB are one level behind league leaders Bayern Munich and closed the hole (barely) on objective distinction because of a fluid, potent show of their attacking prowess in opposition to an opponent with little or no to play for.

– Watch replay: Dortmund 6-0 Wolfsburg (ESPN+, U.S. solely)

Jude Bellingham (two objectives), Karim Adeyemi (objective, two assists), Sebastien Haller (objective, help) and Julian Brandt (three assists) placed on a present at a jam-packed Sign Iduna Park in what’s going to probably be one in every of Bellingham’s closing house video games in black and yellow. Wolfsburg merely had no response for Dortmund’s proactive, relentless vast play. Adeyemi nodded house a Brandt cross after 14 minutes, then turned supplier with a surge down the left and low cross for a straightforward Haller end. Donyell Malen had a equally simple conversion from Brandt’s low cross to make it 3-0 earlier than half-time, and it simply continued from there.

Bellingham had arguably the very best objective of all, thumping a long-range shot that Koen Casteels palmed up onto the bar, the ricochet spinning over the road in hilarious style to make it 4-0. Adeyemi and Bellingham added the ending touches for what was a surprisingly snug afternoon over a Wolfsburg facet that had conceded the fourth fewest objectives within the Bundesliga previous to this weekend.

When it comes to the title, Bayern have a one-point edge however a a lot harder run-in, with their recreation in opposition to RB Leipzig on Could 20 a possible entice. Dortmund have regained some type of late, successful three and drawing two of their final 5, however they’re going to should be excellent from right here on out and hope Bayern have yet another wobble left in them to be able to break the Bavarians’ exceptional run of 10 straight league titles.

Gundogan’s miss sours an excellent day for Man Metropolis

Dawson: Ilkay Gundogan‘s double received the sport for Manchester Metropolis in opposition to Leeds United on Saturday, however the veteran midfielder will nonetheless have walked off the pitch on the Etihad with some offended phrases from Pep Guardiola ringing in his ears.

Guardiola was aggravated that Gundogan — somewhat than Erling Haaland or Riyad Mahrez — had taken and missed a penalty that will have put Metropolis 3-0 in entrance earlier than Leeds went down the opposite finish and scored to make for a nervous finale. Thankfully for Gundogan, the Metropolis supervisor had calmed down by the point he walked into the media room for his post-match information convention and somewhat than berate the 32-year-old, he spoke solely of his admiration.

Gundogan is out of contract in the summertime and is but to resolve the place he desires to play subsequent season. Barcelona have an interest, however requested whether or not he would need to preserve Gundogan at Metropolis, Guardiola replied: “The membership is aware of my opinion on that.”

Metropolis imagine Gundogan has earned the suitable to resolve his personal future, however plans to revamp the midfield have been difficult by Actual Madrid‘s aggressive pursuit of Bellingham. If Bellingham chooses the Bernabeu — and, crucially, if Actual Madrid can agree a payment with Borussia Dortmund — then Guardiola might have Gundogan to remain slightly longer.

Captains prepared the ground in Ligue 1

Laurens: It has been an unforgettable weekend in French soccer, particularly if you’re a membership captain.

On Saturday, Seko Fofana, the Paris-born chief of Lens, opened the scoring with a surprise strike within the large conflict in opposition to Marseille on the Stade Bollaert. It was third vs. second in Ligue 1 and the house facet’s victory put them (and Fofana) within the driving seat for direct qualification into the Champions League subsequent season. Lens at the moment are two factors away from Marseille with a barely higher objective distinction (+31 in opposition to +28). With 4 video games remaining, they’re dreaming of a return to the very best membership competitors on the planet.

Lyon and their captain Alexandre Lacazette can not end within the prime three this season, however they’re nonetheless combating to complete within the prime 5. For that, they needed to beat Montpellier at house on Sunday and so they did it in probably the most dramatic means. After being 4-1 down after 55 minutes because of a exceptional 4 objectives from Elye Wahi for the guests, Lyon got here again to win 5-4 because of a quadruple from Laca, together with a penalty within the a centesimal minute. The Groupama stadium exploded and the victory brings Lyon degree on factors with Rennes in sixth, and simply three factors behind Lille in fifth.

With two quadruples in the identical recreation, a loopy state of affairs and a captain on fireplace for the house facet, this Lyon-Montpellier match will go down in Ligue 1 historical past.

Mexico‘s Gimenez on type for Feyenoord, Celtic clinch the Scottish title

Marsden: Mexico worldwide Santiago Gimenez struck twice this weekend to maneuver Dutch facet Feyenoord inside touching distance of their first Eredivisie title since 2017. Gimenez’s brace — which took his tally in his debut season in Europe to 22 in all competitions — sealed a 2-0 win within the Rotterdam Derby in opposition to Excelsior, leaving Feyenoord eight factors away from PSV Eindhoven with simply three video games to go.

Arne Slot’s facet have performed remarkably effectively in current weeks to carry off the specter of PSV, who’ve strung collectively a 13-game unbeaten streak that now appears in useless. Feyenoord have performed so by dropping simply as soon as in 31 league video games all season and by enjoying some engaging soccer. As is usually the case, although, their success might see Slot and Gimenez targetted by larger European golf equipment in the summertime.

Elsewhere exterior of Europe’s Large 5 leagues, Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic wrapped up the Scottish Premiership on Sunday with 4 video games to spare by beating Hearts 2-0. Kyogo Furuhashi and Oh Hyun-Gyu obtained the objectives because the Hoops made it 11 league title in 12 years to reassert their dominance over Rangers, whose 2021 triumph beneath Steven Gerrard now feels a very long time in the past.


Kane on music for Spurs

Dawson: Guardiola as soon as referred to Tottenham Hotspur as “the Harry Kane crew” and now greater than ever, you possibly can see why. The England striker seems to be the one factor between Spurs and outright collapse and it was becoming that it was his objective which received the sport in opposition to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Tottenham are nonetheless by some means nonetheless within the combine to qualify for Europe subsequent season, however they might be nowhere close to with out Kane’s 26 Premier League objectives. Both means, his season can be getting way more consideration if it wasn’t for Haaland’s record-breaking marketing campaign.

Kane’s objective in opposition to Palace — a medical again publish header — noticed him surpass Wayne Rooney because the Premier League’s second all-time goalscorer behind Alan Shearer and additional cement his place as a terrific of English soccer.

Theo’s masterclass on level for AC Milan

Laurens: It isn’t like if Lazio did not know what may very well be coming once they confronted Milan’s Theo Hernandez this weekend. Whoever analyses the sport of the France worldwide would see that if there’s one factor he loves and is excellent at, it is operating ahead at tempo with the ball earlier than taking a shot; he scored a objective like that in opposition to Atalanta on the finish of final season, operating the size of the pitch with the ball earlier than hitting it low within the backside nook throughout objective.

And, on Saturday, he did it once more as Lazio let him run 80 yards earlier than smashing the ball within the prime nook this time. It was a wonderful objective and reveals simply what he’s able to.

In what was an enormous recreation within the race for the highest 4 in Serie A, Theo delivered. Final season’s champions are nonetheless fifth within the desk, however have closed the hole with Lazio in third to a few factors. In addition to being among the best objectives of the season in Italy, this Theo strike might effectively go down as some of the necessary.

A peach for Werder Bremen in defeat

Tyler: Bayern Munich held on for a 2-1 win at Bremen to stay totally engaged within the Bundesliga title chase with Borussia Dortmund, however how about this stunning long-range strike by Nicklas Schmidt?

That is the sort of objective you inform your grandchildren about as Schmidt collected the ball from Milos Veljkovic and swung his leg by it from totally 30 yards, leaving Bayern keeper Yann Sommer pawing at skinny air. At Weekend Evaluation, we prefer to rejoice cool objectives in addition to consequential ones.

Groups in hassle

Leeds United

Olley: “Large Sam” Allardyce might contemplate himself Pep Guardiola’s equal in terms of teaching, however he could not keep away from defeat to Manchester Metropolis in his first match as Leeds supervisor on Saturday.

Halting the Metropolis juggernaut was at all times going to be a tall order, with Guardiola’s facet successful their tenth Premier League recreation in a row to maneuver 4 factors clear on the prime. Allardyce solely had three coaching periods to work along with his new gamers, however took a daring name in dropping goalkeeper Illan Meslier for Joel Robles and there have been at the least some positives the 68-year-old might take from the second half when Rodrigo‘s Eighty fifth-minute objective left Metropolis enjoying out time to finish a 2-1 win.

“Whenever you see Manchester Metropolis operating down the clock for 4 minutes on the finish, you realize you could have given your self an opportunity,” he mentioned afterwards, although time actually is in opposition to Leeds now. They hover above the relegation locations on objective distinction having performed a recreation greater than the three groups beneath them, all of whom are in motion on Monday.

Leeds face high-flying Newcastle at house, West Ham away after which Tottenham at Elland Street on the ultimate day of the season. Not less than one win will probably be required for Large Sam to drag off one other one in every of his trademark escapes.

Spare a thought for Malaga

Marsden: The Copa del Rey closing — that noticed Actual Madrid beat Osasuna 2-1 on Saturday to win the competitors for the primary time since 2014 — introduced larger give attention to Spain’s second division this weekend, with no LaLiga fixtures going down. Malaga is not going to have been grateful for the eye.

It has solely been 10 years since Malaga got here agonisingly near a Champions League semifinal, dropping to eventual runners-up Borussia Dortmund in dramatic circumstances, however this weekend their relegation to the third tier of Spanish soccer was all however confirmed with a 2-0 defeat at Ponferradina, who’re additionally heading down. A current flurry of 4 wins in 5 video games had impressed perception that the nice escape was doable, however a goalless draw at house to Huesca on Monday and Sunday’s loss to Ponferradina has left them eight factors adrift of security with simply three matches to be performed.

A sobering thought: simply 5 years have handed since Malaga had been enjoying Madrid and Barcelona; subsequent 12 months, their first crew will probably be on the similar degree as these giants’ reserve groups as a substitute.

Weekend MVP

Odegaard comes up large for Arsenal

Olley: Martin Odegaard saved Arsenal within the hunt for the Premier League title with a man-of-the-match show in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Newcastle. The Gunners wanted guile and graft in equal measure at a raucous St James’ Park, the place the house facet had solely misplaced one recreation all season, and the 24-year-old embodied each qualities with an all-action show.

Odegaard’s 14th-minute opener would swing the sport decisively within the guests’ favour, arrowing a shot into the underside left-hand nook of Nick Pope‘s objective from 20 yards. It was a pivotal second, quietening the house crowd and giving Arsenal a foothold within the match. Odegaard additionally scored twice within the midweek win over Chelsea and backed that up with one other influential show right here; he has now obtained on the scoresheet 15 occasions within the Premier League this season with 9 non-penalty objectives away from house, the latter being the very best tally for an Arsenal participant in six years.

Arsenal lower Metropolis’s lead on the prime to 1 level — having performed a recreation extra — and Odegaard is doing his greatest to assist guarantee Pep Guardiola’s facet should preserve successful proper to the wire.

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