THE SOCCER REPORT

Bayern demolish Dortmund to retake Bundesliga; Hazard moves Chelsea into PL top three

FC Bayern Munich retook the lead in the Bundesliga as they look for their seventh straight league title. Credit: adidas

A little under two months to go in the European soccer season means plenty to play for and, with the number of games winding down, every match is crucial. Here are the top stories from Europe to North America and South America:

English Premier League

Every goal from Premier League Matchweek 33 | NBC Sports www.youtube.com

  • Tottenham Hotspur open new stadium with 2-0 win over Crystal Palace
  • Manchester City behind Liverpool with one game in hand
  • Hazard lifts Chelsea to third; Spurs, Arsenal, Man Utd all with an extra game to play
  • Fulham joins Huddersfield as clubs that have clinched relegation

It was a though week for Manchester United and Arsenal, two sides in top six that have dropped dropped out of the four Champions League qualifying spots. Tottenham opened their new stadium, which will house two NFL games this coming season, with a win over Crystal Palace before they host Manchester City in the Champions League quarterfinals on Tuesday. Eden Hazard scored three goals this week, including a double in the 2-0 win over London rivals West Ham United on Monday. Liverpool extended their undefeated match to twelve straight in the league but it's their last defeat, a 2-1 loss to Manchester City back in January, that could end up deciding the league when all is said and done.

Speaking of City, the defending league champions continue to be eligible for a clean sweep of all available trophies as they advanced to the FA Cup Final thanks to a 1-0 win over Brighton. Watford will be their opponent after their 3-2 win in the semifinal against Wolves.

Top six: 1. Liverpool (82), 2. Manchester City (80), 3. Chelsea (66), 4. Tottenham (64), 5. Arsenal (63), 6. Manchester United (61)

Scoring leader: 19 - Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

Assists leader: 12 - Eden Hazard (Chelsea FC)

Spain's La Liga

Highlights FC Barcelona vs Atlético de Madrid (2-0) www.youtube.com

Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi continued their dominance of Spain by scoring in the final five minutes of regulation, turning what would've been a scoreless draw with second place Atletico Madrid into a 2-0 win for FC Barcelona. Messi picked up his 335th La Liga win to pass Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas for most by any player in the history of the league. As far as the top six, Alaves was the biggest loser this week with their drop to seventh place.

Top six: 1. FC Barcelona (73), 2. Atlético Madrid (62), 3. Real Madrid (60), 4. Getafe (50), 5. Sevilla (49), 6. Valencia (46)

Scoring leader: 33 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Assists leader: 12 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

90 in 90: Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund | 2019 Bundesliga Highlights www.youtube.com

The Bundesliga also had it's own match of one vs. two in the standings. This one with higher implications as the two remain separated by a point after Saturday's match. It didn't look it on the field, however, as Bayern demolished rivals Dortmund in a 5-0 home victory for the edge in the standings. Fans in Houston celebrated this one with one of the biggest watch parties to take place stateside.

Top six: 1. Bayern Munich (64), 2. Dortmund (63), 3. RB Leipzig (55), 4. Eintracht Frankfurt (52), 5. Monchengladbach (48), 6. Wolfsburg (45)

Scoring leader: 21 - Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Assists leader: 13 - Jadon Sancho (Dortumund)

Italian Serie A

Juventus inched closer to the title thanks to their 2-1 win over Milan and Napoli's 1-1 draw against Genoa.

Top six: 1. Juventus (84), 2. Napoli (64), 3. Inter Milan (57), 4. Milan (52), 5. Atalanta (52), 6. Roma (51)

Scoring leader: 21- Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria) / Krzysztof Piątek (A.C. Milan)

Assists leader: 9 - Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta) / Dries Mertens (Napoli)

French Ligue 1

PSG's 2-2 draw against Strasbourg means the defending champions will have to wait one more match to celebrate their newest league championship.

Top six: 1. PSG (81), 2. Lille (61), 3. Lyon (56), 4. Saint-Étienne (50), 5. Marseille (48), 6. Stade Reims (47)

Scoring leader: 27 - Kylian Mbappé (PSG)

Assists leader: 10 - Angel Di Maria (PSG)

Dutch Eredivisie

Top three: 1. Ajax (71), 2. PSV Eindhoven (71), 3. AZ Alkmaar (53)

Belgian First Division A

Championship Round: 1. Genk (38), 2. Club Brugge (37), 3. Standard Liege (33), 4. Antwerp (31), 5. Anderlecht (26), 6. Gent (25)

Portuguese Primeira Liga

Top three: 1. Benfica (69), 2. Porto (69), 3. Sporting CP (61)

Scottish Premier League

Top three: 1. Celtic (77), 2. Rangers (66), 3. Kilmarnock (58)

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Concacaf Champions League

It looks as though this will not be the year for an MLS team to win the regional Champions League after Sporting Kansas City's humbling 5-0 defeat at Monterrey. Tigres UANL defeated Santos Laguna 3-0 in the opening match of the other semifinal series, potentially setting up the Monterrey rivals for an epic home-and-home series in the final.

Major League Soccer

D.C. United vs. Los Angeles Football Club | HIGHLIGHTS - April 6, 2019 www.youtube.com

The two conference leaders faced off in the nation's capital as part of a doubleheader with Bayern Munich vs. Dortmund on national FOX. Unfortunately for D.C. United, LAFC continue to plow through the competition with 19 goals scored through the first six games of the season. Zlatan and LA Galaxy picked up three points to start the weekend, jumping the Houston Dynamo in the standings due to the latter's week off.

East top seven: 1. Columbus (13), 2. D.C. United (10), 3. Toronto (10), 4. Philadelphia (10), 5. Cincinnati (8), 6. Orlando (8), 7. Montreal (7

West top seven: 1. LAFC (16), 2. Seattle (13), 3. LA Galaxy (12), 4. Houston (10), 5. FC Dallas (10), 6. Minnesota (9), 7. Sporting KC (8)

Scoring leader: 7 - Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Assists leader: 4 - Nani (Orlando) / Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Liga MX

Top eight: 1. Leon (32), 2. Tigres UANL (29), 3. Monterrey (23), 4. Club America (22), 5. Cruz Azul (22), 6. Tijuana (22), 7. Necaxa (21), 8. Pachuca (21)

Scoring leader: 11 - Angel Mena (Leon) / Brian Fernandez (Necaxa)

Assists leader: 8 - Angel Mena (Leon)

Superliga Argentina

Argentina's top division concluded this past weekend with the top two teams facing off in a 1-1 draw. Racing Club then celebrated their league title in front of the home fans.

Final Top Four: 1. Racing Club (57), 2. Defensa y Justicia (53), 3. Boca Juniors (51), 4. River Plate (45)

Scoring Champion: 17 - Lisandro Lopez (Racing)

Assists Champion: 9 - Walter Montillo (Tigre)

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U.S. Women's National Team

The U.S. Women took part in their last two friendlies before the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup roster announcements. Alex Morgan picked up her 100th goal in a 5-3 win over Australia in Denver. On Sunday, the defending World Champions defeated Belgium 6-0 in Los Angeles on a night where the 1999 World Cup winning team was honored due to the 20th anniversary of their conquest at the Rose Bowl.

National Women's Soccer League

The top division of Women's club soccer kicks off in it's seventh season when the defending champion North Carolina Courage hosts the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday (6:00 p.m. CT). The Houston Dash open their season on Sunday (5:00 p.m. CT) when they host Seattle Reign FC at BBVA Compass Stadium. All matches this season will be broadcast on YahooSports.com.

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Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, Apr. 9

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Liverpool vs. Porto (B/R Live, UniMas/Univision Deportes)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Tottenham vs. Manchester City (TNT, Galavision)

7:00 p.m. - [MLS] D.C. United vs. Montreal Impact (ESPN+)

7:30 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] Peñarol vs. LDU Quito (beIN Sports)

Wednesday, Apr. 10

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Manchester United vs. FC Barcelona (TNT, UniMas/Univision Deportes)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Ajax vs. Juventus (B/R Live, Galavision)

7:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Santos Laguna vs. Tigres UANL (YahooSports.com, Univision Deportes)

7:30 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] Boca Juniors vs. J. Wilstermann (beIN Sports en Español)

8:00 p.m. - [MLS] Colorado Rapids vs. Seattle Sounders FC (ESPN+)

Thursday, Apr. 11

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Arsenal vs. Napoli (B/R Live, Univision Deportes)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Slavia Prague vs. Chelsea (B/R Live, Galavision)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Villarreal vs. Valencia (B/R Live, UniMas)

5:00 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] River Plate vs. Alianza Lima (beIN Sports)

8:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Sporting KC vs. Monterrey (YahooSports.com, Univision Deportes)

Friday, Apr. 12

1:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Nuremberg vs. FC Schalke 04 (FS2)

1:45 p.m. - [Ligue 1] Nantes vs. Lyon (beIN Sports)

2:00 p.m. - [Premier League] Leicester City vs. Newcastle (NBC Sports)

7:30 p.m. - [MLS] Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (ESPN+)

Saturday, Apr. 13

6:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Tottenham vs. Huddersfield (NBC Sports)

8:30 a.m. - [Budesliga] RB Leipzig vs. VfL Wolfsburg (FS1, Univision Deportes)

9:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Southampton vs. Wolves (NBC Sports)

9:15 a.m. - [La Liga] Huesca vs. FC Barcelona (beIN Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Manchester United vs. West Ham (NBC Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [Budesliga] Borussia Dortmund vs. Mainz 05 (FS1)

2:00 p.m. - [MLS] Houston Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes (Univision)

4:00 p.m. - [MLS] Minnesota United vs. New York City FC (ESPN2)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Morelia vs. Chivas Guadalajara (Univision)

Sunday, Apr. 14

8:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City (NBC Sports)

8:30 a.m. - [Budesliga] Dusseldorf vs. Bayern Munich (FS1, Univision Deportes)

10:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Liverpool vs. Chelsea (NBC Sports)

12:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Pumas vs. Tijuana (Univision)

5:00 p.m. - [NWSL] Houston Dash vs. Seattle Reign FC (YahooSports.com)

6:00 p.m. - [MLS] Sporting KC vs. NY Red Bulls (FS1)

6:30 p.m. - [Liga MX] Cruz Azul vs. Club America (Univision)

Monday, Apr. 15

2:00 p.m. - [Premier League] Watford vs. Arsenal (NBC Sports)

2:00 p.m. - [La Liga] Leganes vs. Real Madrid (beIN Sports)

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Composite photo by Jack Brame

Former Astros manager Andrew Jay Hinch is on a short list of candidates to become manager of the Detroit Tigers in 2021.

The question is, after being suspended and later fired for his role in the Astros sign-stealing scandal, does A.J. Hinch deserve to manage again in baseball?

It's weird to think because so much has happened in 2020, but Hinch was suspended and fired only nine months ago. His banishment, however, ends in a matter of weeks with the final out of the upcoming World Series. At that point, he will be available to manage the Tigers or any other team. There's a possibility that the Mets are interested. Some were hoping it'd be the Astros, but the Astros are committed to manager Dusty Baker for next year. After that … never say never.

Shortly after getting the Astros ax, Hinch went on MLB TV and apologized for his role in the Astros cheating scandal. Although baseball's investigation said the garbage can banging scheme was "with the exception of (Astros coach Alex) Cora, player-driven and player-executed," Hinch took responsibility as manager and didn't challenge his punishment. No players were punished.

"I still feel responsible and will always feel responsible as the man out front," Hinch said. "As the leader, I was in charge of the team. I put out a statement to apologize. But there is something different to doing it on camera and putting a face to an apology, and saying I'm sorry to the league, to baseball, to fans, to players, to the coaches.

"It happened on my watch. I'm not proud of that. I'll never be proud of it. I didn't like it. But I have to own it. And the commissioner's office made very, very clear that the GM and the manager were in position to make sure that nothing like this happened. And we fell short."

In effect, while Hinch didn't authorize or participate in the sign-stealing scandal, he didn't do enough (really anything) to stop it. He is the rare case of being a guilty bystander.

To be clear, Hinch has not been offered the Detroit manager job. However, he has more experience and more wins under his belt than most of the other candidates being considered.

Hinch's reputation is blemished, but his credentials can't be disputed. During his five years as Astros manager, the team never had a losing season, won 100 or more games three times, including a team record 107 wins last year, made the playoffs three times and won a World Series.

Has baseball forgiven Hinch, and does he deserve another chance to manage in the big leagues? This is America, the land of forgiveness and second chances.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

Hinch knew his team was cheating and didn't do enough to stop it. There's no defense for that. But I think he's paid enough of a price to get back in baseball.

Mike Tyson raped a woman, went to jail, and now he's practically America's sweetheart. Hillary forgave Bill. We not only forgave Confederate leaders, we built schools and statues to honor them. Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading, now she's back on TV baking crumpets. Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for pee'ing on a monument outside the Alamo, there is no more sacred place in Texas, and now he sells out concerts at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

Pee-wee Herman, well, let's not say what he was caught doing, but he's planning to tour the U.S. celebrating the 35th anniversary of Pee-wee's Big Adventure movie.

Remember, Hinch was suspended for a year. It could have been worse. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to ban people for life. Since becoming the commish, Manfred has permanently banished two people: former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa for hacking into the Astros computer database, and former Atlanta Braves general manager, John Coppolella for signing international players illegally.

Manfred also has temporarily banned Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman for shouting inappropriate comments at female reporters last year. Taubman is eligible to apply for reinstatement after this year's World Series. However, if he commits one more violation of baseball rules, he will be banned for life.

Lifetime bans aren't as unusual as you might think. Since baseball's beginnings in the 1800s, dozens of players, managers and team owners have been banned, mostly, like Pete Rose and the Chicago Black Sox, for gambling-related offenses.

A.J. Hinch copped to his crime, suffered the consequences, now it's time for him to manage a baseball team again. It's not like he'd be landing a plum job with Detroit. The Tigers are out of this year's playoff picture. They lost 114 games last season. And were 64-98 the two years prior. Managing the Tigers will be punishment enough.

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