Werder Bremen 1-2 Bayern Munich: Gnabry and Sane send leaders four points clear

By Sports Desk May 06, 2023

Bayern Munich stretched their lead at the Bundesliga summit to four points as goals from Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane clinched a 2-1 win over a stubborn Werder Bremen.

Having taken advantage of Borussia Dortmund's slip-up at Bochum to go top last week, Bayern knew an 11th consecutive league title is now in their hands as they travelled to the Weserstadion on Saturday.

Thomas Tuchel's stuttering start at Bayern looked set to continue as Werder held firm for over an hour, but Gnabry's close-range finish broke the hosts' resistance before Sane capped a flowing move to make it 2-0.

Though Niklas Schmidt's stunning strike ensured a nervous finish, Bayern clung on to pile the pressure on Dortmund ahead of their meeting with Wolfsburg on Sunday.

Jiri Pavlenka smothered Gnabry's shot from a tight angle early on before making an even better save 20 minutes in, blocking Benjamin Pavard's powerful close-range header.

Werder threatened on the break as Mitchell Weiser went close to converting Romano Schmid's cross, while Christian Gross fired over at the end of a mazy run.

Gnabry misjudged an overhead kick as Bayern's pressure mounted after the restart, and then teed up Sadio Mane to side-foot narrowly wide.

It was Gnabry who made the breakthrough just as Bayern seemed to be running out of ideas. The Germany international lost his marker to sweep home from close range after Jamal Musiala's shot deflected into his path.

Bayern extended their lead 10 minutes later as substitute Sane slotted into the bottom-left corner.

There was a tense finish to come as Schmidt found the top-right corner from long range, but Bayern stood firm to take a huge step towards retaining their title.

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    Thomas Tuchel has insisted Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga season is far from over despite Bayer Leverkusen ending the club’s bid for a 12th successive title.

    Leverkusen’s 5-0 home win over Werder Bremen last Sunday left Bayern 16 points adrift with just five games to play, and although Tuchel’s deposed champions soothed their disappointment in midweek when they edged past Arsenal to book a Champions League semi-final showdown with Real Madrid, they still have work to do on the domestic front.

    They lead third-placed Stuttgart only on goal difference and with RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund still fighting for a top-four finish, cannot afford to relax as they head for Union Berlin on Saturday.

    Tuchel told a press conference: “We want to prove our good form tomorrow.”You can celebrate moments like against Arsenal. The fixture list is full, now we’ve got another away trip, but the emotions after a game like that are special. It’s not a given. The team was able to enjoy it.

    “I don’t know if it’ll kick-start things – it would be too late in the Bundesliga. We’ll prepare in a professional way. We’ve got a lot to come. The season isn’t over yet in the Bundesliga.”

    Tuchel has decisions to make ahead of the trip to Berlin with Leroy Sane unlikely to be involved as he recovers from injury and Serge Gnabry facing a race against time to face Madrid on April 30.

    Vastly experienced forward Thomas Muller was an unused substitute against the Gunners and Tuchel admits neither he nor the player was happy about the situation.

    He said: “I hope our relationship is good and that it remains. Neither of us like the situation. He doesn’t like that he didn’t play and I don’t like that I had to tell him that.

    “It was a sporting decision and no depreciation of his sporting status. He’s professional enough to put it behind him.”

    Sane found himself the centre of attention the last time the sides met in January when Union coach Nenad Bjelica was sent off after pushing the Germany winger in the face as he attempted to retrieve the ball on the sideline and was subsequently handed a three-match ban and fined 25,000 euros.

    Tuchel said: “I’d forgotten about that. I’m pleased for my colleague that there was no further impact. It was a one-off. They’ve become more solid under him and taken a step forward.”

    Bjelica’s men, who have won just one of their last seven games, face a very different challenge to Bayern as they attempt to increase the three-point gap which currently separates them from the danger zone at the foot of the table.

    The head coach told a press conference: “Of course it’s a big challenge to play against Bayern, but we expect to have a chance against any opponent. The entire squad is highly motivated.”

  • Wolves v Arsenal: ‘What we still have to play for is beautiful’ – Arteta Wolves v Arsenal: ‘What we still have to play for is beautiful’ – Arteta

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta set out to remind his team that they still have something “beautiful” to play for despite their Champions League exit.

    The Gunners slipped out of UEFA’s flagship club competition in midweek when they went down 1-0 to Bayern Munich, losing 3-2 on aggregate.

    That defeat followed on from a 2-0 loss to Aston Villa last Sunday – a reverse that significantly dented Arsenal’s title hopes, with the Gunners now two points behind Manchester City who, after this weekend, will have a game in hand.

    Arsenal face Wolves on Saturday and, with City in FA Cup action, a win would see them move back to the top of the table, at least temporarily, so Arteta offered a reminder that all is not lost.

    “I can guarantee you we are fully focused on Wolves and everybody's lifted,” he said following the loss in Munich.

    “What we still have to play is beautiful and I said before, it's time to be next to our players and in this moment, not when you win 10 in a row and a draw, that's easy to prize our players and to be behind them and to say really nice things. The moment is now to be next to them.”

    On Friday, in his pre-match press conference, Arteta added: “As an experience, [the Champions League was] the best one.

    “I am now fully focused on the times ahead of us. We are now behind Manchester City and will give it a good go. The context is clear. If we win we are top of the league.”

    Wolves sit 11th, though they could do with snapping a four-game winless streak in order to get their European hopes back on track.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Wolves – Matheus Cunha

    Cunha has been involved in nine goals in his last nine Premier League games, scoring six and assisting three. His 11 goals overall this season is the fourth most by a Wolves player in a single Premier League campaign after Raul Jimenez (17 in 2019-20, 13 in 2018-19) and Steven Fletcher (12 in 2011-12).

    Arsenal – Bukayo Saka

    Saka has been involved in eight goals in his last seven Premier League away games, scoring seven and assisting one. His 13 away goal involvements overall this term (eight goals, five assists) is the most by an Arsenal player in a single Premier League campaign since Alexis Sanchez’s 20 in 2016-17.

    MATCH PREDICTION: ARSENAL WIN

    Arsenal lost a Premier League game for the first time in 2024 against Villa last time out. Since the start of last season, only twice have the Gunners suffered consecutive league defeats, doing so in May 2023 (v Brighton and Nottingham Forest) and December this season (v West Ham and Fulham).

    Wolves are winless in their last four Premier League games (D2 L2), though they have won their last two at Molineux against sides starting the day in the top two of the table, beating Man City 2-1 in September and Spurs by the same score in November.

    Arsenal have scored in their last 32 meetings with Wolves in all competitions.

    Wolves have now lost each of their last five against the Gunners, failing to score in both home defeats in that run.

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    Wolves – 21.5%

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  • Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool can secure Premier League crown with perfect finish Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool can secure Premier League crown with perfect finish

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp remains positive about their place in the title race and still believes if they win all remaining six matches they will be Premier League champions again.

    A difficult run of results – starting with a draw at Manchester United and followed by home defeats to Atalanta and Crystal Palace – ended with a 1-0 Europa League victory in Bergamo but that could not prevent their exit from the Europa League 3-1 on aggregate at the quarter-final stage.

    A first clean sheet in 10 matches was a boost to confidence, especially as they continue to struggle to find their best form at the other end of the pitch, and Klopp thinks the two-point gap to leaders Manchester City can be overhauled with a perfect run in.

    “It’s not obviously in our hands, it is not about that,” said Klopp.

    “I think if we would win all our games there is a good chance we will be champion. If not there is a good chance someone else will be champion.

    “Maybe we only have to win five, but nobody knows. Who would have thought that Arsenal lose against Aston Villa?

    “We all sit here and think ‘OK, yeah. City will win all their games’ and that’s happened quite frequently, but they have a lot of games to play and difficult opponents as well.

    “We don’t think about that. We don’t think about them. It is just how can we make sure we start wining games again.”

    Over the course of their recent rivalry, Liverpool have had a couple of seasons where the race to the line with City has seen them miss out by just a point despite matching each other win-for-win for the majority of the run in.

    But Klopp said that experience was not necessarily as positive as onlookers may believe.

    “When we were in the position we didn’t win the league in the end. We lost by a point and stuff like that. What kind of experience is that?” he added.

    “We know how to get there – and then don’t (win). It’s not about that.

    “It’s good to know that you are good and you can cause other teams problems.

    “But the thing is clear: if you want to be champion in the Premier League you have to be close to perfect and if you are not perfect you have to deal with the setbacks in the best possible way or in a perfect way.

    “That is what we are now doing. We had a setback week with three games we didn’t like too much, the results especially, and now we have to start turning it around.”

    Key to turning things around will be a change in fortunes in front of goal.

    Three goals in their last four matches has stalled their progress with the forwards failing to take numerous opportunities they have created.

    Mohamed Salah, whom Klopp defended after he missed a key chance to make it 2-0 against Atalanta, has scored six – two of which were penalties – in 11 matches since returning from two months out with a hamstring injury.

    Luis Diaz has two in eight games, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo have just one in their last seven, while Diogo Jota has yet to find the net in three appearances since returning injury.

    “We had good moments and had an awful lot of chances, and didn’t use one of them more of less,” said Klopp.

    “That’s not great but the worst thing in football is not to have chances. It is better you deal with chances you miss than you have no chances.

    “That’s why I’m absolutely positive and after processing things properly, yeah, I’m more than happy with the situation.”

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