A first-ever top-flight goal for 19-year-old Jonathan Burkardt on Wednesday saw German minnows FSV Mainz all but secure Bundesliga survival with a surprise 2-0 victory at Borussia Dortmund.
Local boy Burkardt, making only his second start of the campaign, gave his side a shock lead when he headed in Ridle Baku’s cross after a drab first 30 minutes.
“I told Jonny before the game to believe in this chance. He’s a very hard-working guy. His heart is in the right place, but he has had to be patient this season,” Mainz coach Achim Beierlorzer said.
The goal sparked a season-saving performance for Mainz, who later doubled the lead through a Jean-Philippe Mateta penalty to put clear daylight between themselves and the drop zone.
“These three points are worth double. It’s not over yet, but we took a huge step in the right direction,” Mainz defender Jean-Paul Boetius said.
With UEFA Champions League qualification secured and Bayern crowned champions, second-placed Dortmund had little to play for. They barely threatened the visitors’ goal as the clock ticked down.
With two games left, Mainz have a five-point lead over the bottom three, after Fortuna Duesseldorf snatched a 2-2 draw at RB Leipzig.
Two curling strikes from Kevin Kampl and Timo Werner appeared to have condemned Duesseldorf to the bottom three, but late goals from Steven Skrzybski and Andre Hoffmann saw Uwe Roesler’s side rescue a crucial point.
They remain third from the bottom in the relegation playoff place, just a single point above Werder Bremen in the race to avoid automatic relegation.
Elsewhere, Bayer 04 Leverkusen broke back into the top four with a 3-1 win over local rivals Cologne.
Sven Bender turned in a low corner from Leon Bailey at the near post to give Leverkusen an early lead, while talisman Havertz added a second shortly before halftime.
Sebastiaan Bornauw’s second-half header briefly gave Cologne hope, but it was extinguished late on by a fine individual goal from Moussa Diaby.
The race for the Champions League is tight, with just a single point separating Leverkusen and fifth-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach ahead of the final two games.
Earlier, a 2-1 defeat away to Eintracht Frankfurt saw David Wagner’s Schalke 04 side extend their winless streak to 14 games.
A new club record as of last weekend, the dismal run has seen Schalke plummet from the top four to the middle of the table.
Goals either side of halftime from Andre Silva and David Abraham saw a dominant Frankfurt take a comfortable two-goal lead, before US international Weston McKennie headed Schalke back into the game on the hour mark.
While Schalke continue to sink, Frankfurt are hoping to make a late charge for European qualification. They now sit four points behind the coveted seventh spot.
“Our aim has to be to pick up six points and hope that the two teams ahead of us slip up,” Frankfurt midfielder Sebastian Rode told broadcaster DAZN.
Yet, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim appear to be the favorites to claim the final UEFA Europa League spot, after they fought to a 3-1 win over Augsburg on Wednesday.
A quick-fire brace from Munas Dabbur and a late prod from Ihlas Bebou were enough to take the three points from Augsburg, who were briefly given hope by Ruben Vargas’ second-half header.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on