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Sunday 29 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
Alamy Stock Photo Thomas Müller dejected.
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Bayern suffer first Bundesliga loss of the season, Dortmund go top
Elsewhere in Europe, their former striker Robert Lewandowski struck again to earn Barcelona top spot in La Liga.

TEENAGE SUBSTITUTE YOUSSOUFA Moukoko fired Borussia Dortmund top of the Bundesliga on Saturday with a 1-0 derby win over Schalke, as Bayern Munich suffered their first defeat of the season at Augsburg.

Bayern’s 1-0 loss was the fourth time in a row they have dropped points in the league, after three successive draws.

In Dortmund, the home side looked set to lose another chance to capitalise on Bayern’s slip-up, before a late goal from 17-year-old striker Moukoko saw them claim all three points.

In Augsburg, the home side roared out of the blocks, clearly motivated for a big showing against their Bavarian neighbours.

Augsburg’s Florian Niederlechner had a golden opportunity to open the scoring after 11 minutes, but a crucial intervention from Bayern defender Dayot Upamecano saw his shot scuffed into the hands of Manuel Neuer.

As the half continued, Bayern began to find their rhythm, with Sadio Mane looking certain to score after 32 minutes before being denied by a last-ditch lunge from Augsburg’s Max Bauer.

Augsburg, who beat Bayern 2-1 in the corresponding fixture last year, were not content to play for a draw and continually opened Bayern up on the counter.

The deadlock was eventually broken from an Augsburg free-kick, with a miscue from Brazilian defender Iago landing perfectly for Mergim Berisha, who tapped the ball home.

Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann reacted immediately, bringing off right-back Noussair Mazraoui for forward Serge Gnabry.

The visitors continued to press for an equaliser as the match went on, but Augsburg held on for a deserved victory. 

- Reus injured again - 

Dortmund’s victory over their bitter derby rivals was tempered by a potentially serious ankle injury to captain Marco Reus.

Reus, who missed Germany’s 2014 World Cup triumph due to an ankle injury, was stretchered off in tears in the 30th minute after a clash with Schalke defender Florian Flick.

Jude Bellingham went close to the opener after play resumed, but his glancing header was kept out by a fingertip save from visiting keeper Alexander Schwolow.

Dortmund striker Anthony Modeste nearly scored with a header of his own in first-half injury time, but his attempt at a first home goal for Dortmund bounced just wide.

Modeste was subbed out in the 64th minute for Moukoko, who immediately added speed and directness up front.

Dortmund’s continued pressure on the Schalke goal finally paid off in the 79th minute, when Moukoko headed in a superb cross from Marius Wolf.

American forward Gio Reyna – brought on for Reus in the 30th minute – almost added a second when his gliding effort hit the post two minutes later.

The victory was Dortmund’s fourth 1-0 win in seven games this season.

Elsewhere, Eintracht Frankfurt made it three wins in their last four games with a comfortable 3-1 victory at Stuttgart.

In Leverkusen, a 57th-minute goal from Kerem Demirbay looked set to have secured the home side just their second win of the season, but Milos Veljkovic salvaged a 1-1 draw for Werder Bremen.

In Saturday’s late game, RB Leipzig travel to Borussia Moenchengladbach.

- La Liga -

In Spain, relentless striker Robert Lewandowski pounced twice as Barcelona hammered 10-man Elche 3-0 to move a point clear at the top of La Liga on Saturday.

robert-lewandowski-of-fc-barcelona-celebrates-a-goal-during-the-spanish-league-la-liga-santander-football-match-played-between-cadiz-cf-and-fc-barcelona-at-nuevo-mirandilla-stadium-on-september-10 Alamy Stock Photo Robert Lewandowski (file pic). Alamy Stock Photo

The Polish forward continued his sensational form since joining from Bayern this summer, with a brace taking him to 11 goals in eight appearances across all competitions.

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With Real Madrid, who boast a 100% record after five games, visiting Atletico Madrid in the Sunday night capital derby clash, this was a chance for Barcelona to provisionally depose their rivals for the first time this season, and they took it.

Barca coach Xavi Hernandez rotated in midfield after the Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich on Tuesday, with Frenkie de Jong and Franck Kessie stepping in, while Memphis Depay was handed a rare start in attack.

Elche, bottom of the table, made the job significantly easier for the hosts when Gonzalo Verdu hauled down Lewandowski as he burst through on goal after 14 minutes and was swiftly dismissed.

Lewandowski, top of the division’s scoring charts with eight goals, had been uncharacteristically profligate against his former club, but he did not extend that generosity to the visitors at Camp Nou.

Barcelona racked up the chances and inevitably Lewandowski broke the deadlock after 34 minutes.

Pedri set Alejanrdo Balde in down the left and the young defender cut a ball across the six-yard box for the veteran striker to simply cushion into the net.

Memphis doubled the lead with a sharp individual turn and powerful strike which flew past Edgar Badia, and Pedri added a third shortly before half-time but it was disallowed for offside.

Barcelona only had to wait three second half minutes for it, with Lewandowski pouncing on a loose ball in the box and finishing clinically to put the game far beyond Elche’s reach.

After Cadiz’s late win over Real Valladolid on Friday night, Francisco Rodriguez’s side were left bottom of La Liga on one point, and never looked like changing it against Xavi’s sparkling Barca.

Badia denied Lewandowski his hat-trick with a fine save and the striker fired fractionally over the bar before being replaced by Ferran Torres, to an ovation from home supporters already under his spell.

Long after Lewandowski had been replaced, his name continued to ring around the stadium. In the forward, Barcelona finally have a player to replace Lionel Messi’s goal contributions and help them compete for the title again, which they last won in 2019.

Lewandowski’s arrival and the club’s summer signings spree have given supporters a reason to watch again, as the 85,000 strong crowd testified to, compared to last season’s languishing attendances.

– © AFP 2022

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