Wednesday’s soccer news starts with Borussia Dortmund. Gio Reyna is working his way back to game fitness, eventually rejoining a squad with a cushion in 2nd-place in the Bundesliga. Dortmund came back to beat Eintracht 3-2 away on Saturday, returning from the Bundesliga’s winter break with a strong showing. They finished the first-half of the season with a 3-2 loss at Hertha BSC, part of a difficult December where they also lost 3-2 at home to league leaders Bayern Munich and drew 1-1 at VfL Bochum. Their lone win came at home against last-place Furth on December 15.
“At half-time, everyone was calm and realistic,” Borussia Dortmund coach Marco Rose said. “The lads listened, and we discussed a few little things. I got the impression that they believed in it. We want to tackle any situation, and we did that well today. When we pulled one back at 1-2, we believed again. Turning a game like that on its head should now show the guys that a good attitude really pays off. I am calling on them to keep showing that attitude and hope that victory will give us something extra. On Friday, we have the next chance against Freiburg, and then we will see in which direction we are heading.”
Using 4th-place Freiburg as a measuring stick makes sense. Seven points separate the two teams, with Freiburg also running into trouble prior to the winter break. They drew 2-2 at home with 17th-place Arminia Bielefeld in their last game and have only won twice since the start of November. That included losing all three of their November games.
Both teams are playing against creating openings for other clubs to exploit. For Dortmund right now, it’s more about keeping that gap in points between 2nd and 3rd than realistically catching Bayern Munich six points ahead of them. Freiburg is a point behind 3rd-place Hoffenheim and a point ahead of 5th-place Bayer Leverkusen. It’s only a three-point difference between 3rd-place and 7th, with more than one club trying to figure out the latest version of Bundesliga parity.
Moving to the soccer scores, Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson’s Fulham shutout Reading 7-0 on the road in the Championship. Harry Wilson opened the scoring in the 13th and Aleksandar Mitrovic doubled the lead three minutes into stoppage time. Wilson scored again in the 60th. Kenny Tete (68th), Neeskens Kebano (70th), and Tosin Adarabioyo (75th) added goals with Mitrovic finishing off the scoring in the 89th minute.
“I think it an important score, but it is just three points,” Fulham head coach Marco Silva said. “I told my players that then. We are happy, we need this type of performance, we need goals, we need to boost the confidence for our front line, the defenders. All these situations are important for us but at the end, it is just three points.”
Lynden Gooch’s Sunderland lost 3-1 at home to Lincoln City in League One. Down 1-0 to a 31st minute goal, Sunderland’s Carl Winchester saw red in the 56th. Lincoln City converted the ensuing penalty. Sunderland’s Ross Stewart scored in the 68th, but Lincoln City finished off the goals in the 75th minute.
“It wasn’t good enough from all of us,” Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson said. “We win together. We’ve won some good games and played well, but today it wasn’t good enough. We started sloppy. I think we had good possession, good territory, but every time we played a straight ball they snapped it”
In the soccer news, Soccer America’s Mike Woitalla profiles top MLS draft pick Ben Bender. MLSsoccer’s Travis Clark works through the rest of the SuperDraft. ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle on the USSF presidential election. The Guardian’s Sid Lowe asks about FC Barcelona.
THURSDAY’S SOCCER TV
Cup of Nations on beIN Sport: Cameroon vs Ethiopia at 11am and Cape Verde Islands vs Burkina Faso at 2pm. Primeira Liga on GolTV: Famalicao vs Belenenses at 1pm. Supercopa de Espana semifinals on ESPN2: Atletico Madrid vs Athletic at 2pm ET.
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