Werder take a hit, Union gain breathing space after 1-1 draw

Union Berlin’s German midfielder Robert Andrich, right, gets to the ball first during their Bundesliga match against FC Schalke on Sunday. (AFP)
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Updated 07 June 2020

Werder take a hit, Union gain breathing space after 1-1 draw

  • Bremen travel to bottom side Paderborn next weekend in a match that could be decisive for their survival

BERLIN: Werder Bremen’s relegation fears increased on Sunday following a 1-0 home defeat to Wolfsburg that started with a renewed show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.

Wout Weghorst headed home the decisive goal eight minutes before the end to push Wolfsburg back up to sixth and into the Europa League spots.

The Dutch international’s 12th league goal of the season came just seconds after Xaver Schlager crashed a shot off the bar and leaves Werder, the team with the most seasons in the Bundesliga, staring at the drop.

With four matches left, Florian Kohfeldt’s side are second-from-bottom, six points from safety and three from the relegation playoff place following back-to-back home defeats.

Werder are the league’s lowest scorers with 30 goals and have won just once at home all season, losing 11 times. Their performance on Sunday highlighted the problems that could see them down come the end of the season.

They travel to bottom side Paderborn next weekend in a match that could be decisive for their survival, with league leaders Bayern Munich the following weekend and relegation rivals Mainz, who are just outside the drop zone and won 2-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, three days later.

“It is very disappointing, but everything is still possible. We will give everything until the end,” said Werder captain Niklas Moisander to DAZN.

The match began after both starting elevens gathered round the center circle at the Weser Stadium before dropping to one knee, echoing a gesture made by Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin players and Mainz midfielder Pierre Kunde Malong on Saturday.

Union Berlin and Schalke players then did the same before their 1-1 draw in the German capital, which gives Union breathing space in the relegation battle.

Favorites to go down in their first ever Bundesliga season, Union are 13th on 32 points, seven ahead of Werder who occupy the final automatic relegation place, and four away from the playoff spot.

However their Nigerian striker Anthony Ujah failed in his attempt to score and take the knee himself, as he had promised he would do on Saturday. Ujah did set up Robert Andrich’s neat 11th-minute opener

Schalke, who grabbed a point thanks to a fierce Jonjoe Kenny strike in the 28th minute, have failed to win in 12 league games but stay 10th and are seven points from the European places.

“It’s a tough situation we’re in but it’s a good step to come away and get a point at a difficult place to come,” said English goalscorer Kenny.

With protests against police brutality and for racial equality taking place around the world on Sunday, the Bundesliga has become a stage for tributes to Floyd, a black American man who died last month at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

On Saturday, Dortmund players also wore messages on their T-shirts during their warm-up in honour of Floyd.

Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi wore the messages “no justice, no peace”, while midfielders Axel Witsel and Emre Can’s T-shirts displayed the words “black,” “white,” “yellow” and “red” crossed out, with the word “human” below.

Prior to their 4-2 win at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, Bayern Munich players warmed up in T-shirts bearing both the Black Lives Matter hashtag and the slogan of the club’s official “Reds Against Racism” campaign.


Lakers roll in Game 1 of NBA finals, top Heat 116-98

Updated 01 October 2020

Lakers roll in Game 1 of NBA finals, top Heat 116-98

  • LeBron James has become the seventh player to appear in 50 NBA Finals games

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida: LeBron James finally got an easy Game 1 in the NBA Finals.
A very easy one, at that.
Anthony Davis scored 34 points in his finals debut, James had 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists and the Los Angeles Lakers rolled past the Miami Heat 116-98 on Wednesday night.
The Heat left beaten and battered.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 13 points, Danny Green had 11 and Alex Caruso finished with 10 for the Lakers. They returned to the finals for the first time in a decade and sent a very clear message. James’ teams had been 1-8 in Game 1 of past finals, with losses in each of the last seven openers.
Not this one.
“We kind of picked it up on both ends of the floor,” Davis said.
Jimmy Butler fought through a twisted left ankle to score 23 points for Miami. The Heat lost point guard Goran Dragic at halftime to a left foot injury and saw All-Star center Bam Adebayo leave in the third quarter after apparently aggravating a left shoulder problem.
Kendrick Nunn scored 18 points for the Heat, Tyler Herro had 14 and Jae Crowder 12. Adebayo was held to eight points in 21 minutes, and Miami went with subs for a fourth-quarter burst that turned a total rout into something only slightly more palatable in terms of final margin.
Game 2 is Friday night.
The Lakers did whatever they wanted. They outrebounded Miami 54-36, led by as many as 32 points, and made 15 3-pointers — a big number for a team that doesn’t necessarily count on piling up that many points from beyond the arc. They’re 21-3 this season when making at least 14 3s.

Miami Heat's Jae Crowder, right, tries to grab the loose ball as Los Angeles Lakers' Dwight Howard (39) rolls on the floor during the first half of Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals on Sept. 30, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The only stretch that provided hope for Miami came in the first six minutes. The Heat scored on six consecutive possessions in what became a 13-0 run to take a 23-10 lead midway through the opening period.
So, the first six minutes were fine for Miami.
Everything else was all Lakers.
The simplest way to sum up what happened over the rest of the opening half is this: Lakers 55, Heat 25. The Lakers came into Game 1 ranked 21st out of the 22 teams that spent time in the bubble from 3-point range, making only 33.6% of their tries from deep at Disney. They were the only team in the postseason to have two games shooting less than 25% on 3s.
Perhaps they were due. The Lakers went 9-for-11 on 3’s in the final 16 minutes of the first half. Of the nine Lakers who played in the first two quarters, eight tried a 3-pointer — and all eight made at least one.
They closed the first quarter on a 19-3 run. Herro banked in a 3 from a sharp angle for a 43-41 Miami lead with 7:33 left in the half, and then the Lakers took off again, this time on a 24-5 burst to go into the break with a 65-48 lead.
And if things weren’t already bad enough for Miami, the Heat determined at the half that Dragic — playing in his first finals game — couldn’t keep going in Game 1 because of a left foot injury.
The Lakers started the third on another run, this one 18-3, and the rout was officially underway.

TIP-INS
Heat: Butler turned his left ankle in the final seconds of the first half, remained in the game and started the second half. ... It was the 19th time that Miami lost a game this season after leading by double digits at some point.
Lakers: The Lakers improved to 17-15 in Game 1s of title series. ... Davis was 10 for 10 from the foul line, plus added nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

JAMES’ RECORDS
The NBA Finals record book is basically a James scrapbook of career achievements, and he raised his spot on some of those lists Wednesday. He became the seventh player to appear in 50 NBA Finals games (he could climb all the way to a tie for third on that list if this series goes seven games) and passed Michael Jordan and George Mikan for fifth in finals free throws made.


FAMILIAR SPOT
The Heat fell to 1-5 in Game 1 of title series. All three of Miami’s championships have come after dropping the opener.