The soccer news starts with the Bundesliga on winter break. If it's anybody but Bayern Munich top of the table, that's the story. Borussia Dortmund is the team currently telling it, six points ahead after 17 games and still alive in the Champions League. The January transfer window looms, with Bayern Munich well aware that Dortmund is now the team to beat.
"I feel we're the FC Bayern from the start of the season again, that we've restored our ease and confidence," Bayern's Niko Kovac said. "And that the lads are fired up to give it everything and put up a fierce fight against Borussia Dortmund."
The emergence of Jadon Sancho in the Borussia Dortmund midfield is one of the biggest stories in the Bundesliga so far. It helps that the Dortmund attack has Paco Alcacer tied for the league lead with 12 goals and Marco Reus right behind him with 11. It's hard to overstate the level that Dortmund's offense is reaching already this season, leading the league with 44 goals scored and a +26 differential.
Meanwhile, Fabian Johnson's Gladbach, Tyler Adams's new club RB Leipzig, John Brooks's Wolfsburg, and Timmy Chandler's Eintracht finish out the top six in Germany. Chandler's knee injury has kept him out of the squad since August. Once healthy, he'll be rejoining a team that has figured out how to score. Eintracht's Luka Jovic is the other player with a dozen goals and Sebastien Haller is in 6th-place with 9 goals and 8 assists.
Aron Johannsson and Josh Sargent's Werder Bremen is in 10th-place, two points behind Bayer Leverkusen in 9th and Hertha BSC in 8th. Weston McKennie's Schalke is in 13th, tied on points with Alfredo Morales's Fortuna Dusseldorf. Both clubs are four points above the relegation playoff spot. Bobby Woods's Hannover 96 is in the relegation zone in 17th, three points out of the playoff spot.
In a season where there aren't a lot of opportunities for USMNT in the Premier League, it's the Bundesliga giving playing time to Americans. That should only increase during the second-half with Sargent emerging with Werder Bremen and Adams trying to break into the RB Leipzig lineup.
Also in the soccer news, Ethan Horvath's Club Brugge shutout KSK Lokeren 1-0 on the road in the Belgian First Division A. Ruud Vormer scored the game's only goal in the 69th minute. Kenny Saief subbed on in the 83rd minute for Anderlecht's 3-0 home win over Waalsand-Beveren. Landry Dimata opened the scoring in the 9th minute with Sebastiaan Bornauw doubling the lead in the 51st. Dimata scored again in the first minute of stoppage time. Thomas Didillon kept the clean sheet for Anderlecht.
The Athletic's Mike Goodman looks at the Premier League table. The Guardian's Jonathan Wilson works through the year in soccer tactics. MLSsoccer's Greg Seltzer on the standout players in MLS last season.
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