Under-fire Werder Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt explained why he quickly went to the dressing room after his side's important 1-0 win over Freiburg.

A first-half goal from Leonardo Bittencourt was enough to lift Werder Bremen to a much-needed victory as they continued their fight against relegation in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Kohfeldt, who has faced criticism because of his side's position in the table, quickly left the field and said it was due to the circumstances amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Self-protection, because I would have liked to take one or the other player in my arms, but I'm not allowed to do that at the moment," he told a news conference when asked about his move.

"I thought that I don't want to provide such pictures, because we are still in an exceptional situation. We are not allowed to cheer as usual.

"So I went into the changing room, sat down on my chair and was happy."

Werder Bremen are still two points behind Fortuna Dusseldorf, who occupy the relegation play-off spot, and six adrift of 15th-placed Mainz.

Since the Bundesliga was founded in 1963, Werder have spent every season bar one in the top flight, and Kohfeldt was pleased with his team's response at Freiburg.

"They gave all the emotions they have. It wasn't 99 per cent, it was 101 per cent of emotions. It's the base for what we need in the next weeks. We had to fight back," he said.

"On Monday it seemed so that we're nearly gone. That was the public perception. We didn't want to accept it. The players showed that we want to stay in this league.

"Christian [Streich, Freiburg coach] already said it that it was a lucky win but it was a win. We needed that now no matter in what way. It showed us that we can gain something, if we gave our best. Now we have to work on in order to play better."

Werder Bremen face fourth-placed Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday.

Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick lauded David Alaba's performance in a 5-2 Bundesliga win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

Usually a left-back, Alaba continues to impress in the centre of defence for Bayern, who are four points clear at the top.

While Martin Hinteregger's double brought Eintracht back from 3-0 to 3-2 early in the second half, Bayern claimed an eighth consecutive win in all competitions.

Flick was satisfied with Bayern's display, but he had special praise for Alaba – and goalscorer Thomas Muller.

"I was very satisfied with the first half. We were very concentrated. We made a lot of chances to score," he told a news conference.

"Unfortunately, we did not score enough goals. You just have to say that. There could have been even more goals. We also didn't allow our opponents any chances.

"You can also highlight two players. One is Thomas Muller, who plays very intelligently and occupies the space well. But then, of course, there's the head of defence, David Alaba, especially in the first half he played outstandingly. I'd just like to say that here.

"In the second half we let the opponent come back. There we were careless in the five, 10 minutes … we must defend better and more consistently. We knew that this is a great strength of Frankfurt. We allowed them to score two goals, unfortunately.

"But the reaction afterwards was good and I liked it. Then we tried to score again. And then we could decide the game with the fourth and fifth goals."

Leon Goretzka, Muller, Robert Lewandowski and Alphonso Davies were also on the scoresheet for Bayern to go with a Hinteregger own goal.

Bayern are next in action in Der Klassiker, facing Borussia Dortmund in a top-of-the-table clash on Tuesday.

Bayern Munich are planning an inquest into the two goals they conceded against Eintracht Frankfurt, with Hansi Flick calling for a clean sheet against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

Thanks to goals from Leon Goretzka, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski, Bundesliga leaders Bayern looked comfortable with a 3-0 lead after 50 minutes at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

However, they were caught napping at two set-pieces in the space of three minutes, with Hinteregger allowed space to bundle a volley past Manuel Neuer before powering a header into the back of the net.

Alphonso Davies quickly put Bayern back in control before a comical own goal from Hinteregger secured a 5-2 triumph for Flick's men.

The Bayern coach hopes to see better defending when his team take on Dortmund, who sit four points back in second, at Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday.

"After 3-0 we switched off. Frankfurt set very good standards, we knew that. We didn't look good there. We have to talk about it," Flick told Sky.

"We want to keep a clean sheet against Dortmund. It will be difficult because Dortmund have a very good team. We all hope for a good game of football."

Muller, who registered his 17th assist and seventh goal of the Bundesliga season, acknowledged Hinteregger is a significant threat from dead balls but felt Bayern should have been more alert.

"You never know how to get into games without fans, but I still expect us to go to the maximum," said Muller.

"Hinteregger is a very good player in set-piece situations, but if the ball comes in and no one feels responsible for it, of course we have to talk about it.

"We have made it our goal to have three victories this week. This is a very crucial week for us. We are marching, Dortmund are marching, we can look forward to Tuesday.

"We want to bring the championship to Munich, where it belongs."

Goretzka added: "I think Hinteregger is one of the strongest players when it comes to set-pieces, but, of course, we have to talk about it. That is not possible. It does not work that way."

Bayern Munich can make a fool of you. Ask Niko Kovac.

How, for instance, did he lead Bayern to a 5-1 defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt back in November?

Kovac, who was head coach of Frankfurt before landing the Bayern job, cleared his desk at Sabener Strasse shortly after that aberration and would have been forgiven for giving Saturday's rematch a swerve.

What he missed in the battle of his former teams was a sometimes confusing 90 minutes, and further proof that Bayern can make one feel a fool.

At the 50-minute mark, they looked an unstoppable force, 3-0 to the good against a Frankfurt side who had lost four Bundesliga games in a row before arriving at the Allianz Arena.

Leon Goretzka, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski punished increasingly feeble defending, and Bayern were rampant. It would have been easy to lionise them at that point.

Tuesday's Klassiker clash with Borussia Dortmund looked like a fixture they could tackle without any questions asked over their levels since the league resumed.

Enter Frankfurt's Martin Hinteregger, whose most memorable involvement to that point had been landing an accidental blow that caught Lewandowski near the eye.

In the space of three minutes, he twice embarrassed Bayern's defence, first when allowed far too much space on the edge of the six-yard box to bundle beyond Manuel Neuer, and then when he jumped between a gang of red shirts to head home a corner.

Game on? Not really. Order was restored as Alphonso Davies danced through a dithering Frankfurt defence for a gift of a fourth Bayern goal.

And then came another reminder of how Bayern can make even a towering footballer cringe, as Hinteregger made it onto the scoresheet for the third time in the half, albeit this time at the wrong end.

Attempting some clever footwork to fend off another Bayern raid, he contrived to trickle the ball into an empty net with some of the ditsiest defending seen this side of Djimi Traore.

Bayern finished up with five goals and have beaten Frankfurt 11 times in a row at home now, while Eintracht have now lost 10 of 13 away games in the Bundesliga this term.

Their coach, Adi Hutter, had the bragging rights in November but might now be fearing for his job.

Dortmund will analyse Bayern's performance and search for conclusions, noting those moments of vulnerability that Frankfurt exploited. There were weaknesses to be found, but it would not seem prudent to read too much into those.

The logical conclusion is that Bayern switched off, believing the game to be already won, and will be far more wary of Dortmund from the first to the last whistle at Signal Iduna Park.

So four points separate the top two again, with the Hansi Flick revolution at Bayern still sweeping all aside in Germany, regardless of the odd bump in the road.

Dortmund might take some heart from the cracks in Bayern's backline, but equally Muller and Lewandowski looked primed to exploit any weakness in any side, any day of the week. Tuesday? They can do Tuesday.

Five goals and a mid-match nap was not a bad primer for the biggest match of the Bundesliga season.

Kai Havertz was unwilling to risk ruining his time at Bayer Leverkusen by discussing speculation surrounding his future. 

Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Barcelona and Juventus are among the clubs to have been linked with a move for Germany international Havertz, who Leverkusen have made clear they will be unwilling to sell for anything less than €100million. 

The 20-year-old scored a double for the second week in succession in a 3-1 win over Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday, sending Peter Bosz's side up to third in the Bundesliga table. 

Havertz has now played a part in nine goals (six scored, three assisted) over his past six Bundesliga appearances. 

Asked about the talk surrounding his situation after the match, Havertz told Sky: "I do not like to say, of course, that there is a lot of speculation. 

"I'm concentrating on this season and will see what happens afterwards. 

"I am very grateful to Leverkusen and I don't want to mess it up in any way." 

He added: "We're happy about the win. We put it on ourselves to win here and we did that. 

"We had to really give everything today and I think we deserved to win in the end." 

Bosz felt Havertz showed signs of improvement from Leverkusen's first game back after two months off during the coronavirus suspension.

However, the Dutchman was at pains to point out the victory over Gladbach was the result of a team effort.

"Kai played a little better than against [Werder] Bremen. But it's not about Kai," said Bosz.

"We at Bayer did a great job and Kai was one of them. There were 13 others who played as well as Kai."

Thomas Muller and Alphonso Davies were once again pivotal figures for Bayern Munich as the champions saw off Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2 on Saturday, restoring their four-point cushion at the Bundesliga summit ahead of Tuesday's Klassiker. 

Muller and Davies have been revelations for Bayern this term and both were as crucial as ever with a goal and an assist each, though their side's defending left plenty to be desired prior to a potentially pivotal match against Borussia Dortmund. 

There was nothing surprising about the pattern of the first period at the Allianz Arena, however, and Bayern were fully deserving of their comfortable half-time lead of 2-0, the excellent Muller setting up Leon Goretzka before then getting on the scoresheet himself. 

Defensive lapses early in the second half showed a chink in Bayern's armour, however, as Martin Hinteregger netted twice in quick succession from corners after Robert Lewandowski had made it 3-0, but Davies' well-taken goal in the 61st minute was followed by an own goal by Frankfurt's Austrian centre-back to ensure a home victory. 

Although Frankfurt managed to avoid a repeat of last week when they were behind after just 34 seconds, they were fortunate to keep Bayern at bay for as long as they did, Lewandowski hitting the crossbar and Benjamin Pavard going close in the early exchanges. 

But there was no denying Goretzka in the 17th minute, the Germany international emphatically steering in a first-time effort after arriving on to Muller's inch-perfect cross. 

Muller made it 2-0 just before the break, running clear of Frankfurt's offside trap as he collected Davies' left-wing delivery and squeezing the ball past the approaching Kevin Trapp, despite an awkwardly high bounce. 

Lewandowski headed Kingsley Coman's cross in within a minute of the restart, seemingly wrapping up the points, but Bayern conspired to give Frankfurt a chance. 

Hapless defending allowed Hinteregger to tee himself up for a close-range finish in the 52nd minute - and he then netted again a few moments later from another corner. 

Yet Davies restored a modicum of calm to the Bayern bench just past the hour, finding the bottom-left corner after the ball broke kindly for him. 

Hinteregger converted for a third time with 16 minutes to go, albeit it came in the wrong net as the ball ricocheted on to him and then into the goal following a driving run from Serge Gnabry. 

 

What does it mean? Der Klassiker set up nicely 

If any single match is to determine where the Bundesliga title ends up, it will surely be Tuesday's meeting of the top two – and what a contest we have in prospect. 

Dortmund have looked solid upon the resumption, and while Bayern appear ruthless going forward, their defending on Saturday left a lot to be desired. Goals are surely guaranteed. 

Coman keeps it classy 

While Davies and Muller were obvious stars for Bayern, Coman was also impressive. The France international was a constant threat out wide and supplied six key passes, the most in the game. He also got himself a goal, too. 

Ndicka hooked

Frankfurt full-back Evan Ndicka failed to make a single tackle or interception before his half-time withdrawal. Though, to be fair to him, the visitors were not much better without him.

What's next? 

The big one is on the horizon for Bayern – Tuesday sees them go to title rivals Dortmund in the Klassiker, and a victory will take them seven clear of BVB. As for Frankfurt, they will be hosting Freiburg on the same day. 

Borussia Dortmund are hoping Mats Hummels will recover from an Achilles problem to take on former club Bayern Munich on Tuesday, but Lucien Favre revealed Jadon Sancho is not guaranteed to start.

Hummels had to be withdrawn at half-time in Dortmund's 2-0 win over Wolfsburg on Saturday, as Emre Can made his return from the bench.

BVB sporting director Michael Zorc later revealed the World Cup winner was suffering with a long-standing issue.

Dortmund face defending Bundesliga champions and leaders Bayern at Signal Iduna Park in midweek.

Zorc said of Hummels, who spent three seasons at Bayern before returning to Dortmund: "I spoke briefly to the doctor. Mats has a complaint with his Achilles tendon.

"He has had this from training for a long time. But we hope that he can play again on Tuesday."

Head coach Favre added: "I can't tell if he will play or not. I hope that he will be back on Tuesday."

Sancho's involvement in the crunch top-of-the-table clash is also in some doubt despite an impressive cameo at Wolfsburg.

The England winger earned his 16th assist of the season as he teed up Achraf Hakimi for the second goal, adding to the in-form Raphael Guerreiro's first-half opener.

But Sancho was again only appearing from the bench, as he had against Schalke, following a calf injury upon his return from the coronavirus-enforced break.

Any assumptions Sancho was simply being rested in order to start against Bayern were seemingly dismissed by Favre.

"He's only been training with the team for 10 days. That is not much," Favre said. "I can't say for sure if he will play on Tuesday."

On the day it was announced that Mario Gotze will be leaving Borussia Dortmund again, it was Erling Haaland who played the role of forgotten man in a 2-0 win at Wolfsburg.

It's the stunning rise of players such as Haaland that has brought Gotze's second spell at his boyhood club to an end. Last time, he was leaving for Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich; seven years on, nobody is sure of his next move.

He does not suit the flowing 3-4-3 in which Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt are thriving - head coach Lucien Favre admitted as much on Friday. While not exactly a relic at 27, Gotze needs a new lease of life in fresh pastures. His career has drifted for too long for a player of his talent.

Sitting as an unused substitute on Saturday, he might have sympathised as Dortmund's latest young superstar went missing.

Between joining from Salzburg in January and facing Wolfsburg this weekend, Haaland had scored 10 goals in six starts in the Bundesliga. His latest came in last week's 4-0 derby of thrashing of Schalke, in which he set up Raphael Guerreiro for the fourth. The 19-year-old has been in Germany barely five months and is already in high demand, lined up for a move to Real Madrid and touted as the heir to Brazil great Ronaldo.

All this made his performance against Wolfsburg surprising. He managed 29 touches, only one more than goalkeeper Roman Burki, won under half of his duels and lost possession nine times. His 20 attempted passes was the lowest number of any outfield player to start the match bar Daniel Ginczek, who was withdrawn after 64 minutes.

The explosive turn of pace, the power with which he can make defenders look amateurish, was not there. He was closed down, eased off the ball and tripping over too easily against Wolfsburg centre-backs John Brooks and Marin Pongracic, who pushed high to keep him far from goal. They didn't exactly bully Haaland, but he might want to check if they at least pilfered his lunch money.

He still managed to play his part in the opening goal, despite his best efforts. The Dortmund right flank was their best avenue throughout and it was from there that Brandt, Achraf Hakimi and Hazard combined, the latter given space to cut the ball back across the box. Haaland stepped, turned and swung his foot, missed the ball completely, and thumped down on his backside, giving Guerreiro a tap-in.

Dortmund's lead was comfortable, but largely by virtue of Wolfsburg's tepid early efforts. After half-time, Oliver Glasner got his side playing the sort of football that had set them on a seven-game unbeaten league run. Renato Steffen should have scored when he bustled his way into space, beat Burki but only found the crossbar, and his compatriot did well to parry a second effort from 25 yards out that swerved dangerously towards the left-hand post.

In the end, Dortmund only made the win safe as Wolfsburg went for broke, with substitute Sancho racing away on the break and teeing up Hakimi to bury the second. Haaland had a half-chance for a third, but it petered out when he stood on the ball and watched it run for a goal kick.

Strikers are, by their nature, often isolated figures, and Haaland has set such extraordinarily high standards that he's allowed an off-day, particularly in what was only the second game back after a substantial break caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Yet Dortmund will hope for a sharper display in Tuesday's Klassiker. Whether you're playing for or against Bayern, anonymity is never tolerated. Gotze can attest to that.

Jadon Sancho has not yet returned to Borussia Dortmund's starting line-up since the Bundesliga's restart, but his stunning season shows no signs of slowing.

For the second week running, Sancho was named among the substitutes at Wolfsburg ahead of Dortmund's huge midweek clash with title rivals Bayern Munich.

But the England winger was introduced in the second half on Saturday as BVB protected a one-goal lead secured by the in-form Raphael Guerreiro.

With 12 minutes remaining Sancho slid in Achraf Hakimi to double Dortmund's lead and register his 16th Bundesliga assist of the season.

That figure represents a new record for Dortmund players since detailed data collection began in 2004-05, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan's 15 in 2015-16 the previous benchmark.

Only Bayern's Thomas Muller has as many assists this term as Sancho, with the 20-year-old also scoring 14.

The Bundesliga record belongs Kevin De Bruyne after his 20 assists for Wolfsburg in the 2014-15 season.

Kai Havertz grabbed another double as Bayer Leverkusen leapfrogged Borussia Monchengladbach to go third in the Bundesliga with a 3-1 win at Borussia-Park.

Havertz enhanced his reputation further amid talk over a big-money move to the Premier League by scoring twice in a 4-1 thumping of Werder Bremen last weekend when the Bundesliga resumed.

The 20-year-old starred again on Saturday, helping himself to a goal in each half as Leverkusen stretched their unbeaten run to 12 matches in all competitions.

Forward Havertz opened the scoring early on and struck again with a contentious penalty to take his tally for the season to 14 after Marcus Thuram equalised early in the second half.

Sven Bender's header made sure of the points for Peter Bosz's impressive side in a game played behind closed doors, with Gladbach supporters probably glad to it was cardboard cutouts rather than actual fans watching on in the stands.

 

Borussia Monchengladbach fans might have spotted familiar faces in the stands during Saturday's Bundesliga clash with Bayer Leverkusen.

Although all Bundesliga matches are being played behind closed doors, Gladbach unveiled thousands of cardboard cutouts that were ordered by supporters.

It was a move that brought much-needed colour to the otherwise empty stands, even if the fans could not contribute to the atmosphere.

Gladbach gave supporters the chance to buy a 'cardboard you' for €19, with profits going to local charities, and said over 12,000 had been ordered.

The cutouts occupied large areas behind each goal, with some swaying in the wind and none raising the slightest complaint over a VAR penalty decision that went against Gladbach in the second half.

Similarly, there were also no groans at full-time as Leverkusen finished 3-1 winners, moving above Gladbach in the table.

Borussia Dortmund kept the heat on Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich ahead of Der Klassiker with a 2-0 win at 10-man Wolfsburg on Saturday.

A sixth straight league victory for Dortmund was not nearly as impressive as last weekend's crushing of rivals Schalke but again moved Lucien Favre's challengers to within a point of Bayern prior to the late kick-off between the defending champions and Eintracht Frankfurt.

Raphael Guerreiro struck twice in the Revierderby and was on target once more, breaking the deadlock with his eighth Bundesliga goal of the season – his best return in a single league campaign.

Wolfsburg – who saw substitute Felix Klaus controversially dismissed with eight minutes remaining – stayed in the game and Dortmund toiled, but Achraf Hakimi's counter-attacking second clinched a precious triumph before Bayern visit Signal Iduna Park for a mammoth meeting on Tuesday.

With that distraction looming on the horizon, unchanged Dortmund scarcely troubled their hosts here before the 32nd-minute opener came courtesy of Guerreiro's clinical left boot.

Wolfsburg were picked apart by neat work down the right that freed Thorgan Hazard at the byline, with a low centre just evading a tumbling Erling Haaland and instead reaching Guerreiro at the far post for a simple tap-in.

Hazard miscued from the edge of the area as the visitors pushed for a second before the break, yet they might have been pegged back within three minutes of the restart.

Mats Hummels - reportedly nursing a foot injury - made way for Emre Can at half-time, and Dortmund's reshuffled defence failed to halt Renato Steffen's run onto a smart Wout Weghorst pass, only for his powerful finish to clip the top of the crossbar.

Roman Burki swatted away a thumping Steffen volley as Wolfsburg maintained an improved second period, although Guerreiro drilled across the face of goal at the other end.

Dortmund soon settled the match as substitute Jadon Sancho raced into the final third and fed Hakimi for a simple second.

A VAR review saw Felix Klaus dismissed for a challenge on Manuel Akanji, bringing an end to any faint hopes of a Wolfsburg comeback.


What does it mean? Six in a row, Bayern next

Only the result really mattered for Dortmund, and the three points were duly delivered. BVB will have to be better against Bayern in midweek, yet Sancho should be back in the XI for that game, while minutes for Can represented another boost here. Favre's men must now back themselves to attack their title rivals.

Guerreiro the goal-getter

Two superb finishes helped Dortmund embarrass Schalke last time out, and Guerreiro was soon at it again. This vital opener was a far simpler effort but illustrated the threat BVB possess across the field. Wing-back Hakimi was involved in the build-up before Guerreiro, on the opposite side, provided the telling touch.

Wolfsburg cannot wield Wout

Sixth-placed Wolfsburg might have sensed an opportunity to upset a Dortmund outfit still not risking Sancho from the start. But 11-goal Weghorst was dominated by Akanji, aside from the second-half passage that resulted in Steffen's miss. With the striker starved of quality service, that was Wolfsburg's one big chance.

What's next?

No Dortmund supporter needs reminding of their next test at home on Tuesday. Wolfsburg are in action the same day with a similarly challenging encounter at Bayer Leverkusen.

Kai Havertz showed again why he is drawing attention from many of Europe's top clubs when he continued his purple patch with Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

The 20-year-old Germany forward put the finishing touch to a swift counter-attack in the seventh minute at Borussia Monchengladbach.

It meant that Havertz played his part in a Leverkusen goal for the sixth successive game, achieving such a streak for the first time in his career.

Havertz then scored his second goal of the game from the penalty spot in the 58th minute, restoring visitors Leverkusen's lead after Gladbach had pulled level.

That meant he had scored six times and claimed three assists across his past half a dozen appearances.

The brace boosted Havertz's figures for 2020 to 18 goal involvements - 11 goals and seven assists - a higher combined total than any other player in the Bundesliga since the turn of the year.

Havertz has been linked with English giants Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool in recent weeks.

Mario Gotze will leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season, sporting director Michael Zorc has confirmed.

The midfielder confirmed in April that he was planning to leave Signal Iduna Park as he sought a new direction for his career, although CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke later suggested Gotze could decide to sign a new contract.

Head coach Lucien Favre placed Gotze's future back in doubt this week when he admitted the player was not suited to their preferred system.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's Bundesliga clash with Wolfsburg, Zorc confirmed Gotze will leave on a free transfer at the end of 2019-20.

"We will finish our work with Mario this summer," Zorc told Sky. "It's a decision made by mutual consent after a good conversation. Mario is a great guy."

Gotze returned to Dortmund in 2016 having left his boyhood club to join Bayern Munich three years earlier.

The 2014 World Cup winner, who scored the decisive goal in the final against Argentina, has struggled for regular form and fitness in recent years partly due to a debilitating metabolic condition.

Hertha Berlin are reported to be interested in keeping him in the Bundesliga, but Serie A clubs including Milan, Roma and Lazio have also been linked.

 

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge revealed the Bundesliga champions have not activated their purchase option for Philippe Coutinho and the clause has now expired.

Coutinho joined Bayern on a season-long loan deal from LaLiga holders Barcelona at the start of the 2019-20 campaign but he has struggled to establish himself in Munich.

The Brazil international arrived with the option to buy for €120million but Bayern have opted not to exercise the deal, though Rummenigge did not close the door on Coutinho.

"The option expired and we haven't activated it," Rummenigge told German magazine Der Spiegel.

"We're going to plan our squad for next season and we'll see if he still has a role to play with us or not."

Coutinho has failed to live up to the hype since swapping Liverpool for Barca in a blockbuster transfer in 2018.

The 27-year-old has scored eight goals and set up another six goals in 22 Bundesliga matches for Bayern this season, which has been disrupted by coronavirus.

As Bayern reportedly eye Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz and Manchester City's Leroy Sane, Coutinho does not appear to be at the top of the club's list.

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