‘Just gifted’: Stoke City is a distant memory for Choupo-Moting at Bayern | Bundesliga

It wasn’t the sort of goal you’d over-celebrate. The second in an eventual 2-0 win to put away prone opponents, with the best team in the division besting the worst (the former beating the latter for the ninth time in a row), and the goalscorer netting against his former club for good measure.

Yet there was something else which made this not a goal to let off fireworks for. It reminded us that in recent times Bayern Munich have become used to seeing Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting deliver for them. For Schalke – his former club who are in a different dimension to the one which they inhabited back when the Cameroonian striker wore the royal blue – this was the latest, inevitable, familiar boot to the nether regions, their falling short as habitual to a modern-day Bundesliga script as Choupo-Moting emerging triumphant.

There will be those who wonder aloud how Choupo-Moting gets these gigs, as if that solitary relegation at Stoke City (when other bigger name overseas imports like Jesé and Ibrahim Afellay hardly covered themselves in glory) should define him. Yet this sort of image has always clung to him. When he signed for Schalke in 2014, plenty thought he wasn’t good enough to play for a club of that size; his peak, statistically, had been a pair of 10-goal seasons for Mainz and, statistically, those doubters were subsequently proved right over his three years in Gelsenkirchen. Then, as now, those criticisms missed the point.

Tuesday night’s 6-1 shellacking of Werder Bremen had underlined exactly how – and why – Choupo-Moting’s star is rising. After he missed a penalty it brought an end to seven successive games on the scoresheet, which was remarkable in itself, but also showcased exactly what makes him so valuable to the team. The goals – 11 in all competitions – have undoubtedly been handy, but his all-round play has really been a huge boost to Bayern’s season; his ability to anchor the attack by harvesting the ball and intelligently bringing others into play brings the best out of Serge Gnabry and the red-hot Jamal Musiala.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting makes it 2-0 for Bayern at Schalke.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting makes it 2-0 for Bayern at Schalke. Photograph: S Mellar/FC Bayern/Getty Images

“Bayern’s game has a clearer structure with him playing in the centre of the attack,” as Tobias Altschäffl of Bild wrote. “He’s exactly what we need right now,” enthused Hasan Salihimidzic after one of Super Choupo’s recent greatest hits, a delicious shot from range against Inter to finish off the Champions League group stage in style (“I plucked up the courage and thought I’d have a go,” said the man himself on the night, a window into his own surprise at how well things are going).

If Stoke was a case of wrong place, wrong time, this is right place, right time. His spell at Paris Saint-Germain, under Thomas Tuchel, did wonders for his confidence. He was valued for his positive influence in the dressing room and as a squad player. It helped the team’s difficulty in finding true attacking equilibrium – rather than simply a dizzying array of options – and has played well since the departure of Robert Lewandowski. One past back-up, Sandro Wagner, believed he had the ability to contribute but ultimately caved to the immense frustration of backing up the Polish striker. It’s just timing. And how Choupo-Moting has capitalised.

His current coach thinks his centre-forward’s current success is a little more nuanced. “For me, he’s not a classic No 9 in that sense,” Julian Nagelsmann argued after Saturday’s win. “He’s just a gifted footballer. You can sometimes allude to him (like that) because he has a certain size.” If Choupo-Moting’s contributions did tick many of the big target man boxes, heading against the post in the first half before nervelessly tucking away the second, there was plenty to recommend that point of view. His ability, at 33 years of age, to keep mental and physical pace with a lightning counter-attack to finish that chance, just underlined how sharp his is.

Naglesmann has been in reflective mood this week, talking of “a turbulent year. Probably the most turbulent half-year of my professional life.” He also insisted in protecting Sadio Mané after his injury, saying he would not go the World Cup if not fully fit, with the long-term health of his player being the most important. With Bayern four points clear at the top, the coach has room to ponder – and he owes Choupo-Moting great thanks for creating that space to breathe.

Quick Guide

Bundesliga results


Borussia Mönchengladbach 4-2 Borussia Dortmund
Schalke 0-2 Bayern Munich
Werder Bremen 1-2 RB Leipzig
Hoffenheim 1-2 Wolfsburg
Hertha Berlin 2-0 Köln
Augsburg 0-1 Bochum
Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Stuttgart
Freiburg 4-1 Union Berlin
Mainz 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

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Talking points

  • Union Berlin have been the story of most of the first part of the Bundesliga season and rightly so, but they were supplanted to another less-heralded side deserving our attention. Urs Fischer’s long-time leaders were thrashed 4-1 at Freiburg, for whom the irresistible Vincenzo Grifo hit a first-half hat-trick – and they will spend Christmas in second place, despite also managing a European campaign (unbeaten winners of their Europa League group). “We’ve only played 15 games,” said the ever-cautious Christian Streich. “Let’s see how it goes.”

Vincenzo Grifo scored a hat-trick to guide Freiburg to second in the table.
Vincenzo Grifo scored a hat-trick to guide Freiburg to second in the table. Photograph: Helge Prang/Getty Images
  • On the other side of the capital Marco Richter-inspired Hertha to move out of the bottom three with a win at home to Köln who ended up empty-handed. One Sargis Adamyan open-goal miss for the visitors to the Olympiastadion on Saturday, when Effzeh were only one down, underlined the issues of a team that coach Steffen Baumgart admitted “are in a relegation battle, you don’t have to skirt around it,”. Hertha have many issues, with president Kay Bernstein leading his debut AGM on Sunday and presenting €80m losses, but this was a start.

  • All is not well at Borussia Dortmund, who tumbled to a Friday night defeat at Borussia Mönchengladbach in a pulsating game, a result which means they will enter 2023 outside the Champions League places. “It was just bad football,” their long-suffering goalkeeper Gregor Kobel told ESPN after a wretched defensive display. With any early-season optimism totally dispelled, they face a grim battle to snare a top four place unless something radically changes.

  • Another issue for BVB has been RB Leipzig’s surge in form. Their win at Werder Bremen was their ninth in 10 games, sealed by an excellent Xaver Schlager winner. Die Roten Bullen have taken more points than anyone else since Marco Rose took charge in September. “We played it with great maturity,” said the coach after his team resisted a determined Bremen onslaught in the second half.

  • They are joined by Eintracht Frankfurt in the top four after Randal Kolo Muani bookended his excellent opening to his career in Germany with a slick equaliser to secure a point at Mainz. With a Europa League win, qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League and World Cup calls for Kevin Trapp and Mario Götze all secured, “this is one of the best years Eintracht has had in a long, long time,” according to Trapp.

European roundup: Bayern ensure top spot, Napoli cling on for nervy victory | European club football

Bayern Munich eased past Schalke 2-0 to make sure of top spot going into the World Cup break as they hunt a record-extending 11th straight Bundesliga crown. The Bavarians, who fielded a starting lineup consisting entirely of World Cup-bound players, scored once in each half, through Serge Gnabry and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, with the Germany international Jamal Musiala delivering both assists.

Bayern’s sixth consecutive league win – and 10th across all competitions – lifted them to 34 points, six ahead of second-placed RB Leipzig. Freiburg and Union Berlin, both on 27, face each other on Sunday.

Bayern had the upper hand from the start but it was not until Musiala, who at 19 is the youngest Bayern player to reach 100 matches, combined well with Ganbry for the lead in the 38th minute.

“Jamal has played an outstanding first half of the season and will hopefully play even better at the World Cup and the second half of the season,” Julian Nagelsmann, the Bayern coach, said of his attacking midfielder. “He listens well and he wants to develop. He just has a lot of talent. He also has improved defensively.”

Musiala, who also has nine league goals, delivered his sixth assist of the season for Cameroon’s Choupo-Moting to tap in seven minutes after the restart and leave Schalke in last place following their eighth loss in the last nine matches.

RB Leipzig muscled their way past their hosts, Werder Bremen, 2-1 to finish the year with their fourth consecutive league victory. Leipzig, who had a bad start to the season with only one win in their first four league matches, have recovered in recent weeks with six consecutive wins across all competitions and a 13-game unbeaten run.

André Silva put the visitors in front in the 31st minute but a deflected shot from Christian Gross drew Werder level in the 56th. Leipzig, however, were sharper up front and Silva superbly flicked the ball to Xaver Schlager, charging into the box, to snatch the winner in the 71st minute.

Xaver Schlager watches his shot go into the net against Werder Bremen
Xaver Schlager (left) scores the winner at Werder Bremen. Photograph: Fabian Bimmer/Reuters

The Bundesliga goes into a prolonged break after this weekend’s matches, resuming on 20 January.

Napoli’s nervy 3-2 win over Udinese highlights how the Serie A leaders cannot take their position for granted, their coach, Luciano Spalletti, said. Spalletti’s side almost squandered the chance of setting a club record of 11 consecutive Serie A victories within a season when Udinese substitutes Ilija Nestorovski and Lazar Samardzic both scored late in the game.

“Every victory is a struggle, and the final 15 minutes of this game help to underline just how much these players have achieved so far is not to be taken for granted,” Spalletti told DAZN. “We thought the game was over and took our foot off the gas, but the game is never over because when you can introduce players off the bench like Nestorovski, they can find a way through if you don’t keep the tempo up.“

Napoli go into the World Cup break top of the Serie A standings, with their next game to come in early January, but Spalletti was still cautious about talk of winning the league. “There are six challengers and they are all close by, because it just takes a couple of incidents, a couple of minutes to create problems,” he said.

“This afternoon’s match will help us because it hasn’t happened so far, but we need to be even more determined and committed to the end in every match.”

Champions League last-16 draw: tie-by-tie analysis | Champions League

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Last month, Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Pérez, advocating for a Super League, lamented that his club have faced Liverpool in just nine competitive games. His wish for more has been granted sooner than he expected and perhaps would have liked. Real beat Liverpool reasonably comfortably in last season’s final and had few issues topping a relatively straightforward group, while Liverpool have suffered a miserable start to the season. With Mohamed Salah returning to form, though, Jürgen Klopp’s side may have improved by February and, out of the title race, can afford to focus on Europe. Aurélien Tchouaméni has joined Real and Eduardo Camavinga was beginning to make an impact last season, but the sense remains that the post-Casemiro midfield is yet to be really tested.

Winners Liverpool.

RB Leipzig's André Silva is congratulated after scoring against Manchester City last season
RB Leipzig’s André Silva is congratulated after scoring against Manchester City last season. Photograph: Ronny Hartmann/AFP/Getty Images

RB Leipzig v Manchester City

These teams met in last season’s group stage, City winning 6-3 at the Etihad before a 2-1 defeat in Germany, with qualification long since secured. In the first of those games, Leipzig were managed by Jesse Marsch; in the second by the caretaker Achim Beierlorzer. Since then Domenico Tedesco has come and gone and now, under Marco Rose, there has been a significant upturn. Saturday’s 3-0 win at Hoffenheim extended Leipzig’s unbeaten run to 11 games and they have been prolific in that time. The front four of André Silva, Dominik Szoboszlai, Christian Nkunku and Timo Werner, who should be back from his ankle injury by February, will test City on the counter.

Winners Manchester City.

Club Brugge v Benfica

Club Brugge were the great surprise of the group stage, winning their first three games without conceding a goal. They secured progress with a 0-0 draw at Atlético Madrid, but the heavy home defeat to Porto that ultimately cost them top spot perhaps gave a truer impression of their abilities: no pushovers, well-organised, but essentially limited. Benfica, meanwhile, ended the group stage in joyous form, with Rafa Silva and João Mario playing probably the best football of their careers. There may be defensive concerns but, even more than the 6-1 win at Maccabi Haifa that meant they topped the group, the 4-3 win over Juventus, when they should have won far more convincingly, demonstrated just how dangerous Roger Schmidt’s side can be.

Winners Benfica.

Milan v Tottenham

Tottenham have not lost to Milan in their four previous meetings, a Peter Crouch goal giving them a 1-0 win at San Siro in their last tie in 2010-11, but how good they are at the moment is anyone’s guess. Hampered by injuries to forwards, with a weird inability to play in the first half (particularly when Dejan Kulusevski is absent) and a dislocation between the midfield and the forward line, their results have been rather better than performances so far this season. The Italian champions have suffered only two defeats in Serie A and have in Rafael Leão one of the more exciting forwards in Europe, but they were desperately poor in losing twice to Chelsea during the group stages, with injuries offer only some excuse.

Winners Tottenham.

André-Frank Zambo Anguissa celebrates scoring Napoli’s second goal in their 4-1 win against Liverpool in September
André-Frank Zambo Anguissa celebrates scoring Napoli’s second goal in their 4-1 win against Liverpool in September. Photograph: Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Eintracht Frankfurt v Napoli

Top of Serie A, unbeaten domestically and hugely impressive in the group stage, Napoli may be the most serious Italian challengers since Juventus decided five league titles in five seasons just wasn’t good enough and got rid of Max Allegri. They are playing fast, dynamic football under Luciano Spalletti and, after the failure of Italy, Nigeria and Georgia to qualify for the World Cup, have an unusual number of players who should be refreshed by a winter break. But unfancied as they may be under Oliver Glasner, Eintracht Frankfurt have become masters of the European away leg. Their Europa League success last season featured victories at Real Betis, Barcelona and West Ham, and this season they won on the road against Marseille and, when they absolutely needed it, Sporting.

Winners Napoli.

Borussia Dortmund v Chelsea

After a shaky start, progress from the group ended up being straightforward for Chelsea, but this is a club still undergoing transition as the recent league defeats to Brighton and Arsenal have shown. There were problems to be addressed in the squad even before the complications of sanctions, and recent injuries have exposed the imbalances that Graham Potter will need to resolve. With Sevilla in miserable form, Borussia Dortmund qualified for the last 16 easily enough, thanks in no small part to a 4-1 win in Spain, a game that highlighted just how important Jude Bellingham has become to Alen Terzic’s side. He may be only 19 but only he, Julian Brandt and Nico Schlotterback have played all 13 league games this season.

Winners Chelsea.

Internazionale v Porto

Porto trail Benfica by eight points domestically but they showed admirable resolve to bounce back from successive defeats at the start of the group stage to qualify with four wins in a row. After suffering a knee injury a month ago, Pepe is a doubt for the World Cup but Porto should have his experience back at the heart of the defence for the last 16. This has not been an easy season domestically for Internazionale and they were twice well-beaten by Bayern Munich, but two fine counterattacking performances against Barcelona ensured progress to the knockout phase for only the second time in the past decade. If Romelu Lukaku can rediscover his form and fitness, his partnership with Lautaro Martínez represents a major threat.

Winners Porto.

PSG’s Keylor Navas concedes the only goal of the 2020 Champions League final to Bayern Munich's Kingsley Coman
PSG’s Keylor Navas concedes the only goal of the 2020 Champions League final to Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman (second right). Photograph: Miguel A Lopes/AP

Paris Saint-Germain v Bayern Munich

For most of the group stage Paris Saint-Germain seemed to be cruising to top spot, but they were undone at the last by Benfica’s flurry away to Maccabi Haifa and are punished with a repeat of the 2020 final. In a sense they fell into a trap they had dug themselves by drawing at home against Benfica the day after stories broke of Kylian Mbappé’s supposed unhappiness at the club. The competing egos will always be the biggest challenge for a PSG coach. Bayern are top of the Bundesliga again, but four draws and a defeat at Augsburg have led to a certain amount of chuntering about Julian Nagelsmann, despite six wins out of six in the Champions League. His record in big European games is not brilliant.

Winners Bayern Munich.

European roundup: Napoli sink Atalanta to stretch lead at top of Serie A | European club football

Napoli extended their Serie A winning streak to nine games when first-half goals from Victor Osimhen and Eljif Elmas secured a 2-1 comeback victory at second-placed Atalanta, stretching the victors’ lead to eight points, at least until Milan’s late game against Spezia.

Luciano Spalletti’s men played without their exciting young winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who was out due to acute lower back pain that he felt in training on Friday.

The home side’s Ademola Lookman opened the scoring after 19 minutes with a penalty after handball by Osimhen. Napoli’s 23-year-old Nigerian international made amends four minutes later when he headed home Piotr Zielinski’s cross.

In the 35th, Elmas put the visitors in front after taking a pass from Osimhen inside the box, with his effort flying into the net via a slight deflection off Atalanta’s Hans Hateboers.

The hosts started the second half aggressively, chasing an equaliser. Joakim Maehle’s shot after 55 minutes was saved superbly by Meret and Lookman hit the rebound against the bar. That was as close as Atalanta came.

Bayern Munich’s Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored twice in two minutes to lead the champions to a nervy 3-2 victory at Hertha Berlin as they went top in the Bundesliga, with the previous leaders, Union Berlin, playing at Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday. The 33-year-old Cameroon forward is in scintillating form less than three weeks before the World Cup, having netted for the seventh consecutive game in all competitions and the fourth straight in the league.

Jamal Musiala gave the visitors an early lead, rifling in after 12 minutes. In a frenzied end to the first half Choupo-Moting slotted in their second goal in the 38th before pouncing on a bad clearance to knock in another a minute later to make it 3-0.

Borussia Dortmund fans hold banners in protest to the World Cup in Qatar.
Borussia Dortmund fans hold banners in protest to the World Cup in Qatar. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

But Hertha, whose fans unfurled a banner reading “Boycott Qatar 2022” over the Gulf state’s human rights record, still had time to score twice before the break. Dodi Lukebakio volleyed in at the far post in the 40th and Davie Selke converted a 45th-minute penalty to cut the deficit. The pace dropped off after the break with Bayern doing enough to protect their slim lead.

The World Cup hopeful Youssoufa Moukoko scored twice as Borussia Dortmund cruised past local rivals VfL Bochum 3-0 to take over third spot. The 17-year-old Moukoko could not have delivered a better pitch ahead of Germany coach Hansi Flick’s squad announcement next week, confirming his outstanding form when he rifled in from 18 metres to give Dortmund the lead in the eighth minute.

Moukoko, who became the youngest player to reach 10 career goals in the Bundesliga, added another on the stroke of halftime, after Gio Reyna had made it 2-0. He audaciously lobbed the ball over out-of-position keeper Manuel Riemann for his sixth league goal of the season.

There was more good news for Dortmund early in the second half when captain Marco Reus made his comeback from injury, just in time for the World Cup squad announcement.

Borussia Dortmund fans had a banner showing German television’s test card and the message: “Switch off Qatar”.

This story will be updated

Champions League roundup: Eintracht Frankfurt reach last 16 for the first time | Champions League

Eintracht Frankfurt staged a second-half comeback, scoring twice in 10 minutes to beat the hosts Sporting Lisbon 2-1 on Tuesday and qualify for the Champions League last 16 for the first time, knocking the Portuguese club out of the competition.

Sporting needed only a point to advance and they took the lead when the winger Arthur Gomes volleyed in at the far post after a looping cross was headed on in the 39th minute.

Eintracht, the Europa League champions last season, hardly got a look-in during the first half but came out fighting after the break, needing a win to secure a top-two finish.

A handball by the Sporting captain, Sebastian Coates, in the 62nd minute gave Frankfurt a penalty and Daichi Kamada drew them level with a well-taken spot-kick.

The France international Randal Kolo Muani then powered into the box and drilled home the winner 10 minutes later to complete their comeback and secure second place behind Tottenham in Group D.

Bayern Munich completed a perfect group stage by beating fellow qualifiers Internazionale 2-0 thanks to goals from Benjamin Pavard and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in their final Group C game.

Bayern ended top on 18 points, eight ahead of second-placed Inter with both teams having already reached the knockout stage.

In Pilsen, Ferran Torres scored in each half as Barcelona eased past Viktoria Plzen 4-2 but both sides were already eliminated from the competition. Barcelona remained in third place in Group C behind Bayern and Inter and will drop into the Europa League. Plzen ended their European campaign without a point.

Barcelona, who rested a number of regulars including Robert Lewandowski, struck six minutes into the match when the defender Marcos Alonso poked the ball over the line.

The visitors doubled the lead just before the break when Jordi Alba deftly nodded the ball to the feet of an unmarked Torres who calmly slotted the ball into the net for a goal initially ruled out before a VAR review.

The Czech champions briefly cut the deficit in half when Tomas Chory converted a penalty after winning a spot-kick in the 51st minute before Torres nabbed his second of the night on the break minutes later.

Plzen responded with a glancing Chory header in the 63rd minute to potentially set up a nervy finish until Pablo Torre slammed a shot into the roof of the net on his Barcelona debut to wrap up the victory.

Porto’s Iranian forward Mehdi Taremi celebrates after scoring against Atlético Madrid
Porto’s Iranian forward Mehdi Taremi celebrates after scoring against Atlético Madrid Photograph: Miguel Riopa/AFP/Getty Images

Goals from Mehdi Taremi and Stephen Eustáquio helped Porto to secure a 2-1 win at home against Atlético Madrid to finish top of Group B.

Porto had already qualified for the last 16 but leapfrogged Club Brugge to finish as group winners with 12 points, one point ahead of the Belgian club who also went through. Atlético finished last, failing even to qualify for the Europa League knockout round playoffs.

Porto went ahead in the fifth minute when the forward Taremi tapped in a cross from Evanilson, registering his fifth goal in the Champions League this season.

The midfielder Eustáquio doubled Porto’s lead in the 24th minute, drilling the ball into the bottom corner after Galeno sprinted down the left and played a cross inside the box.

Atlético’s Antoine Griezmann found the net in the 68th minute but the referee had already blown the whistle for a foul from Rodrigo De Paul on Galeno in the build-up, while the Porto keeper Diogo Costa saved a shot from Angel Correa six minutes later.

The Porto defender Ivan Marcano scored an own goal in added time, but it did not do much damage to Porto who went on to seal three points.

Club Brugge finished second in their Champions League group after failing to win at Bayer Leverkusen, drawing 0-0 in their final Group B game.

Brugge had already qualified for the round of 16 in February following their first four games after emerging as the surprise package of the Champions League group campaign.

But a 4-0 defeat at home against Porto last week and the draw at the Bay Arena on Tuesday meant they ended on 11 points from their six games, one behind Porto.

Leverkusen finished third to take a Europa League place ahead of Atletico on their head-to-head results against the Spanish club.

Brugge came closest to victory when their Canada international Tajon Buchanan struck the upright shortly after half-time although Leverkusen were the more attacking and forced visiting goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to make some key saves. Mignolet kept five clean sheets in the six group games.

European roundup: Osimhen hits hat-trick for flying Napoli, Bayern score six | European club football

Victor Osimhen struck a hat-trick as Napoli extended their unbeaten Serie A run to 16 matches with a 4-0 thrashing of Sassuolo.

Osimhen put Napoli ahead in the fourth minute after latching on to a pass from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and flicking it into the net. The 23-year-old Nigerian made it 2-0 in the 19th minute when he connected to another Kvaratskhelia pass and fired the ball behind the Sassuolo keeper, Andrea Consigli. Kvaratskhelia continued the rout in the 36th minute before Osimhen completed his hat-trick in the 77th minute by intercepting a poor Sassuolo pass and lobbing the ball over Consigli.

Napoli have a six-point lead in Serie A with 32 points from 12 games, six points ahead of second-placed Milan, who face Torino on Sunday. Sassuolo are ninth with 15 points.

A late goal by the half-time substitute Nicolò Fagioli earned Juventus a 1-0 victory at Lecce as Massimiliano Allegri’s side took their third consecutive win in Serie A. Juve moved up two places to sixth on 22 points, one ahead of both Udinese, who travel to bottom side Cremonese on Sunday, and Internazionale before they host Sampdoria later on Saturday.

Juventus’s Nicolò Fagioli celebrates his goal against Leece with his teammate Matías Soulé.
Juventus’s Nicolò Fagioli celebrates his goal against Leece with his teammate Matías Soulé. Photograph: Alberto Lingria/Reuters

After a dull first half with no threat to either goal, the Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot came close to nodding in a corner from Filip Kostic just before half-time but the Lecce goalkeeper, Wladimiro Falcone, dived full-stretch to deny him.

Three minutes into the second half Falcone kept out a header by the defender Federico Gatti from Juan Cuadrado’s free kick. Allegri’s side could have taken the lead in the 53rd minute but a back-heel from close range by the striker Arkadiusz Milik was saved by Falcone. The Poland forward had another chance in the 64th minute when he struck from the edge of the box but was again denied by the in-form Falcone.

The 21-year-old Fagioli secured the win with his first Serie A goal after 73 minutes when his curled shot from the edge of the box bounced in off a post after an assist by his fellow substitute Samuel Iling-Junior, who had just come on.

Lecce came close to levelling just before the final whistle but the midfielder Morten Hjulmand struck a post.

Bayern Munich demolished visitors Mainz 6-2, with Sadio Mané scoring once and setting up two more goals, to take over the lead in the Bundesliga. The Senegal international, who scored in Bayern’s 3-0 midweek win at Barcelona in the Champions League, also missed a penalty.

Sadio Mané fires home Bayern Munich’s third goal against Mainz.
Sadio Mané fires home Bayern Munich’s third goal against Mainz. Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala and Leon Goretzka were also on target for Bayern along with the substitute Mathys Tel and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. Mainz briefly cut the deficit twice, with goals from Silvan Widmer and Marcus Ingvartsen, after also missing a penalty.

The champions are now two points clear at the top of the table with 25 points. Union Berlin, in second place on 23, are in action against Borussia Moenchengladbach on Sunday. Mainz drop to eighth on 18.

The England international Jude Bellingham rifled in his third league goal of the season to give Borussia Dortmund a 2-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt that lifted them into third.

Bellingham fired Dortmund back in front in the 52nd minute with a low shot but his side had the goalkeeper Gregor Kobel to thank for protecting their lead with a string of superb saves in the second half.

Dortmund took a 21st-minute lead through Julian Brandt but Frankfurt levelled five minutes later when Daichi Kamada rifled in from 18 metres for his seventh goal of the campaign. After Bellingham’s goal Frankfurt pushed forward and forced Kobel to pull off save after save, twice denying Randal Kolo Muani and Jesper Lindstrom and coming to the rescue several more times.

Lionel Messi grabbed a goal and an assist to inspire Paris Saint-Germain to a 4-3 comeback victory over Troyes as they restored their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to five points. Mama Baldé gave Troyes the lead twice before Messi assumed control to score his seventh league of the season and take his tally of assists to 10 – a league high.

Troyes needed just three minutes to stun the crowd at the Parc des Princes as Abdu Conté raced down the touchline to send a cross into the box where Rony Lopes set up a chance for Baldé to volley in.

In the 24th minute Neymar scooped a ball into the box for Carlos Soler, who rounded the keeper to score, but Baldé restored Troyes’ lead seven minutes into the second half after firing low past the goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Messi then stole the show, first by equalising from long range with a sizzling strike before turning provider minutes later with an incisive ball for Neymar to score as PSG went ahead for the first time. Gallon then brought Soler down in the box and Kylian Mbappé converted the penalty.

Troyes pulled one back through an Ante Palaversa header but PSG held on. The visitors remain in 11th place with 13 points.

This story will be updated

Barcelona humiliated, relegated to Europa League then defeated by Bayern | Champions League

Barcelona’s players sat beneath the stand at the Camp Nou and watched their Champions League campaign come to an end, then ran out on to the pitch and demonstrated some of the reasons why. Already eliminated when this game began, witnessing any last, tiny hope extinguished on the television where Internazionale beat Viktoria Plzen in the early kick-off, they were not even able to have a bit of fun before bidding farewell, nor leave much to remember them by. Instead, they head into the Europa League with a 3-0 defeat, their sixth in a row against Bayern Munich. Aggregate score: 19-2.

Who knows: maybe if it had mattered, it would have been different. Maybe watching their own execution immediately beforehand was not the greatest idea, either: “Being knocked out before the game affected us,” Xavi said. And this is Bayern too, a “super team” in his words. But ultimately Barcelona brought about their own demise, left feeling this level is still beyond them, so soft is their underbelly. “We’re a young team and we don’t yet have enough to compete in the Champions League,” Pedri said.

“You learn through taking the hits, and this is a big hit, Xavi said.

Bayern were better in everything, he admitted. If there was pride at play, a point to prove, it didn’t often show. It is not that Bayern destroyed them exactly, although they competed, more that they eased past. Goals from Sadio Mané and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting were already enough before Benjamin Pavard added another with the very last touch.

Barcelona had not managed a single shot on target. Even when Robert Lewandowski thought he had a penalty before half-time it was not to be, the ball taken from him on the spot, Anthony Taylor consulting the VAR and deciding he had dived – which spoke of frustration, the impotence that defined them. Him too, unable to score in either meeting with his former club.

In any case it was already done, confirmation of what Barcelona had known from the start of the day: that their fate would be decided on a far away field. Or, perhaps more accurately, already had been, even then. That said, on this evidence having it in their own hands wouldn’t have been any better.

Barcelona players show their disappointment.
Barcelona players show their disappointment. They were beaten 3-0 by Bayern Munich but already knew their fate before the match. Photograph: Soccrates Images/Getty Images

In Munich and Milan, Barcelona had moments but were beaten, those defeats followed by an error‑strewn 3-3 draw with Inter that left Barcelona facing the abyss and Xavi calling the competition “cruel”. They had to win their remaining two games and needed Inter not to win either of theirs.

“Hope is the last thing you lose,” Xavi had said, but it was the first.

Inter faced the side who had lost all four matches and conceded 16, Barcelona’s players called in to watch it together. It was not great motivation: before half-time, the Italians were two ahead; exactly as Barcelona ran out to warm up, they scored their fourth. It was over, they knew. Time for Europe’s second tier.

Xavi tried to avoid the word failure but the Europa League is not the place Barcelona are supposed to be. Not the place they budgeted for, either – still less for a second season running. The last manager to take charge of two consecutive years in the Uefa Cup here was Terry Venables. If last year was a reflection of their reality – “it is what it is,” to use Gerard Piqué’s words – this was supposed to be different, which made it hurt more.

Barcelona cannot afford this, certainly. At a time when every euro matters, this early exit costs around 20 million of them, plus knock-on effects.

There is an emotional element as well: the (in)famous levers pulled, multiple signings made and assets sold were a risk designed to begin a virtuous cycle. Instead, Barcelona have been knocked out earlier than at any time in 24 years, gone with a game to go. Two games, in fact.

Nor could they enjoy the first of those, or offer hope for the future, Serge Gnabry slipping in the knife. Just nine minutes had passed when he sent Mané away from Héctor Bellerín to clip in the opener and on the half hour he did it again, rolling the ball into Choupo-Moting to score. At the death, he hit a volley that Pavard turned in for the third, and his third assist. Gnabry had thought he had scored one of his own earlier, only for it to be ruled out, but it didn’t matter. Ultimately none of it did, over before it had started.

Bundesliga: Jude Bellingham double helps Dortmund thrash VfB Stuttgart | Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund stormed past VfB Stuttgart 5-0 with two goals from Jude Bellingham on Saturday to notch their first win in four league games and climb to fourth place in the Bundesliga.

Dortmund, who host Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday, scored after two minutes through Bellingham and were 3-0 up by half-time. “It was a deserved win today. We wanted play with a lot of confidence and wanted to win it and we did it really well,” said Dortmund coach, Edin Terzic. “We hope to fill up on self-confidence. The early goal made it a lot easier. But we stuck with it and it was not just one solo goal but we combined as a team, won possession as a team and that is how we scored our goals.

“We know we have to keep working and not praise the team too much and on Tuesday we have to show an even better performance.”

Dortmund opened their account with Bellingham slotting in from a Niklas Süle pass for his first league goal this season. The early opener threw Stuttgart off their game and before they had any time to react, Dortmund struck again. Defender Süle was left with too much space in the box, allowing him to volley in a cross after 13 minutes before Gio Reyna, making his first start of the season after a string of injuries, threaded home the third in the 44th minute.

After the break Dortmund picked up where they had left off and midfielder Bellingham got his second goal of the afternoon, curling a superb effort past keeper Florian Müller. Another quick passing combination sliced open the Stuttgart defence, allowing Youssoufa Moukoko to tap in a Raphaël Guerreiro cut-back. Despite the defeat Stuttgart’s interim coach, Michael Wimmer, will stay on at least until the end of the year, the club said after the game.

Bayern Munich struck twice in the first half through Jamal Musiala and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to defeat hosts Hoffenheim 2-0 and move within a point of leaders Union Berlin. Bayern never had to hit top form against toothless Hoffenheim but were dominant in the opening period, killing off the game quickly.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting seals Bayern Munich’s win over Hoffenheim with their second goal
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting seals Bayern Munich’s win over Hoffenheim with their second goal. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Musiala put the visitors ahead in the 18th minute after being left completely unmarked at the far post. Bayern keeper Sven Ulreich, replacing the injured Manuel Neuer, responded with a good stop of his own when he kicked away a Georginio Rutter shot. Choupo-Moting doubled the visitors’ lead in the 38th, playing a quick one-two with Serge Gnabry and then turning the ball past Baumann from a tight angle.

Bayern took the foot off the gas after the break but Hoffenheim rarely found a way into their opponents’ box. “I am very satisfied with our performance. The first 35 minutes we showed a lot of passion. We could have scored another four or five goals,” said Bayern coach, Julian Nagelsmann. “We took some pace out of our game after the break which is an adult decision given the game against Barcelona [on Wednesday]. Overall it was a very dominant and mature performance.”

RB Leipzig pulled off an incredible comeback to draw 3-3 with Augsburg after trailing 3-0 in the second half. Augsburg took the lead through a Mergim Berisha penalty in the 34th minute, Berisha then laid on assists for Ermedin Demirovic early in the second half and Ruben Vargas in the 64th minute.

Leipzig then came storming back with André Silva grabbing their first on 73 minutes with Christopher Nkunku and Hugo Novoa sealing the breathtaking draw at the death.

Freiburg returned to winning ways with an easy 2-0 win over Werder Bremen while Bayer Leverkusen drew 2-2 with Wolfsburg.

Andy Brassell is away – his Monday Bundesliga blog will return on 31 October

Champions League roundup: Bayern, Napoli and Brugge seal knockout places | Champions League

Bayern Munich cruised past Viktoria Plzen 4-2, putting them through to the knockout stage of the Champions League after punishing the Czech champions during a ruthless first-half display.

The victory combined with Barcelona’s 3-3 draw with Internazionale put Bayern through to the knockout stage while confirming the hosts’ exit. Bayern, who have now gone a record-extending 32 group matches in the competition without defeat, struck first after 10 minutes when Sadio Mané played a one-two with Leon Goretzka before putting the ball in the net.

An unmarked Thomas Müller doubled the visitors’ lead, before Goretzka nabbed two goals to round off the scoring for Bayern. Adam Vlkanova and Jan Kliment pulled goals back for the home side in the second half.

Napoli kept up their 100% record in the Champions League group phase and secured progress to the knockout stages by beating Ajax 4-2 at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

Early goals from Hirving Lozano and Giacomo Raspadori put the Serie A leaders comfortably ahead by the 16-minute mark and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia added a second-half penalty after Davy Klaassen had pulled one back for Ajax.

The Dutch club made a desperate bid for a share of the spoils as Steven Bergwijn converted an 83rd-minute penalty to bring the score back to 3-2 but a terrible defensive error allowed Victor Osimhen to score Napoli’s fourth in the final minute.

Napoli’s 12-point haul means they are guaranteed a top-two finish in Group A, having scored 17 goals in four matches. Elsewhere in the section, Liverpool demolished Rangers 7-1 to put themselves a point away from qualification.

Hirving Lozano celebrates his opening goal with Victor Osimhen, who later came on to score Napoli’s fourth.
Hirving Lozano celebrates his opening goal with Victor Osimhen, who later came on to score Napoli’s fourth. Photograph: DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Club Brugge reached the knockout round after a 0-0 draw against Atlético Madrid guaranteed them a top-two spot in Group B. Atlético squandered a string of chances as they extended their winless streak in the competition to three games.

Elsewhere in the group, Porto’s Galeno scored one goal and earned two penalties for Mehdi Taremi to convert as they cruised to a 3-0 victory at Bayer Leverkusen, taking over second place with two matches remaining.

With manager Xabi Alonso making his Champions League debut on the Leverkusen bench, the German side quickly found themselves a goal behind after six minutes. Try as they might the hosts could not get back into the game with Porto keeper Diogo Costa pulling off several outstanding saves.

Porto’s win lifted them into second place on six points, Leverkusen are in fourth place on three points with only an outside chance of qualifying. Atlético are third on four.

In Group D, Marseille boosted their chances of reaching the last 16 with a 2-0 victory at nine-man Sporting. Mattéo Guendouzi and Alexis Sánchez scored before the break as Sporting, who lost Ricardo Esgaio and Pedro Gonçalves to red cards either side of the interval.

The result put Marseille in second place on six points, one behind Tottenham who beat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-2. Sporting are third on six points, two ahead of Eintracht.

Modeste beats buzzer to breathe life into Der Klassiker and his own career | Bundesliga

The first to approach him was Edin Terzić, and neither man attempted to look for the right words. They just saw each other, knew what it meant, and held each other, before the coach whispered a few words of vindication to his player. Teammates had submerged Anthony Modeste instants before at the denouement of this breathless Klassiker and now they followed Terzić, queuing up to congratulate the French striker on his moment of delight and relief.

Youssoufa Moukoko, the effervescent forward half Modeste’s age who had begun the comeback and whose performances in the last week had seemed to start the process of making the older man look obsolete, hugged his senior in a touching moment – pointing to Modeste as they walked towards Signal Iduna Park’s main stand, telling those in it to give it up for the man whose header delivered Borussia Dortmund from yet more disappointment in this fixture.

Further along in that same stand Oliver Kahn had shown what it meant with his reaction to Modeste’s later-than-late equaliser. The Bayern Munich chief’s reaction is destined to be the gif of choice for the rest of this year, as he slumped back in his seat then hit his forearms forward with an “Ah Mann!” summing up the twist, the shock, the exasperation and the celebration.

Dieses Ergebnis haut einen doch vom Stuhl… Ein verrücktes Fußballspiel mit einem frustrierenden Ende für uns. Dass wir mit dem Abpfiff das Tor kassieren, ist mehr als ärgerlich. pic.twitter.com/z6Muhwi5lK

— Oliver Kahn (@OliverKahn) October 9, 2022

This was the time for emotion, not analysis. Up until the evening’s incredible climax it was following a familiar, if entertaining, script. Bayern had threatened little in the first half yet taken the lead through Leon Goretzka’s shot from outside the area, their only real effort of note in that first 45 minutes but – thanks to a few Julian Nagelsmann adjustments – had taken a typical grip of things. In spells after Leroy Sané’s second (also from outside the box, and which also you would have expected BVB’s first-choice, Gregor Kobel, rather than current stand-in, Alexander Meyer, to have done better with) it felt as if the champions were toying with their hosts who seemed to be resigned, counting the minutes to their latest loss against Bayern, having been defeated in the last seven against them.

This was the root of Kahn’s explosion. It had seemed so easy, so inevitable that Bayern would put Dortmund down again. “It’s been an amazing season,” he mused afterwards, “where we [frequently] forget to seal the deal and deprive ourselves of what we deserve. They were dead. They had already come to terms with the defeat. But we ourselves brought them back into the game.”

Kingsley Coman’s 90th-minute should-have-been-too-late-to-matter second booking was a window into how Bayern had slid from a position of imperious comfort to indignant holding on. Sané could have followed him seconds later for aiming his studs at Karim Adeyemi after the winger held him back and referee Deniz Aytekin – despite Kahn’s chiding of his lack of “empathy” towards Coman in a Sunday morning tweet – was at his most lenient through most of this, with Jude Bellingham having earlier escaped a second booking for a high foot on Alphonso Davies that compelled the Canadian to be withdrawn.

Nagelsmann was less vocal about Aytekin and more so about his team’s strange lack of intensity in those closing stages. Could Sané or Jamal Musiala have pressured Raphaël Guerreiro more when he repeatedly recycled the ball towards the Bayern goal in the final moments with Meyer up the field and no backpass on? Probably. “In the end it’s quite fair,” he suggested, “even if the 2-2 came late.”

It had been coming, even if it felt like it might elude Dortmund. Terzić – whose pointing to the sky after the equaliser had been a nod to the recent death of his father – had leaned into the emotion of the occasion, throwing on Modeste to join Moukoko in a Hail Mary move. It worked too, with the substitute tidily setting up the starter (“he didn’t score for many games,” noted the coach, “but he didn’t keep hold of his ego”) to rifle in. It also appeared as if Modeste’s own moment had come and gone, as he missed his kick in front of goal after great work by Adeyemi, with a seemingly certain equaliser beckoning.

Dortmund’s players thank supporters in the Yellow Wall after the 2-2 draw against Bayern Munich.
Dortmund’s players thank supporters in the Yellow Wall after the 2-2 draw against Bayern Munich. Photograph: Sebastian Widmann/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection/Getty Images

Not only did Modeste need this – how he needed this – but Der Klassiker needed this too. In the first edition post-Lewandowski and post-Haaland, it showed what it is and what it never was. Superstars are nice to have but this was never a star-led fixture, even branded and distilled for the modern audience, but a rivalry designated by necessity. It was built as a potential beacon of hope – that there can be jeopardy, engaging battle, meaningful competition. Football supporting in the modern age, in other words, in its purest form. Modeste’s last-gasp show gave it succour, little matter if it doesn’t endure.

Quick Guide

Bundesliga results


Hoffenheim 1-2 Werder Bremen, Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Bayern Munich, Mainz 1-1 Leipzig, Augsburg 1-1 Wolfsburg, Bochum 3-0 Eintracht, Bayer Leverkusen 4-0 Schalke, Stuttgart 0-1 Union Berlin, Hertha Berlin 2-2 Freiburg, Mönchengladbach 5-2 Cologne

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Talking points

Xabi Alonso had a strong debut as Bayer Leverkusen coach, with his side brushing aside Schalke 4-0 following the midweek sacking of Gerardo Seoane. “We didn’t have much time to plan,” Alonso said afterwards, having been appointed on Wednesday, “but the players understood how we wanted to play.” And he understood how they wanted to play, with hints at the attacking power this team possess, albeit against very limited opposition. It’s the return with Porto up next in a far-from-unsalvageable Champions League campaign. Alonso’s opposite number on Saturday, Frank Kramer, might be next out of the Bundesliga door, with former Bochum coach Thomas Reis the heavy favourite to come in.

Xabi Alonso jumps for joy during Leverkusen’s 4-0 victory against Schalke.
Xabi Alonso jumps for joy during Leverkusen’s 4-0 victory against Schalke. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Borussia Mönchengladbach took the Rheinderby, Daniel Farke’s team beating Köln 5-2 to recover from their own five-goal hiding in Bremen last week. It all centred around a couple of first-half clashes between Jonas Hofmann and Florian Kainz – the former fouled the latter to allow Kainz to score a Köln equaliser from the penalty spot, before the roles were reversed and Kainz received a second booking for an elbow on the Germany wide man. The always reliable Ramy Bensabaini put Gladbach back in front with his spot kick – the first of the defender’s brace – and it was one-way from there. Marcus Thuram rubbed salt in the wounds, scoring the fifth and continuing his derby teasing by reprising Modeste’s glasses celebration in front of the visiting fans – he later put a photo of him doing so on social media, with the caption “only here for the comments” and a popcorn emoji.

Speaking of Werder, the neutral’s (OK, this column’s) favourites are in the top five after their win at Hoffenheim on Friday, with their fantastic front two shining again – Marvin Ducksch got a stylish opener before league top scorer Niklas Füllkrug nervelessly netted a late winner from the penalty spot.

They got there at last – Bochum finally have a win this season and a handsome one at that, turning over Tottenham’s Champions League opponents Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 with a late salvo inspired by Philipp Förster. The former Stuttgart man set up the first two and smashed in the third with his right foot, unbelievably (“I actually only have the right one so I don’t fall over,” he noted afterwards), to seal a long-awaited and rapturously-received win.