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Five Bundesliga things you may have missed

Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich are on course for a sixth straight German league title after finishing the weekend 13 points clear thanks to Friday’s 3-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen.

Second-placed RB Leipzig have told Liverpool Naby Keita will not join them before next season after the midfielder scored a superb goal in the 3-1 win over Schalke amidst rumours the Reds want him in this transfer window.

Borussia Dortmund drew a blank in Sunday’s goalless draw at home to Wolfsburg minus their star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was dropped again for missing a team meeting.

Here are five things you may have missed from the 18th round of Bundesliga matches:

Ribery on a roll

French winger Franck Ribery rolled back the years with a superb goal following a trademark darting run at Leverkusen.

Ribery, who turns 35 in April, demonstrated why Bayern are likely to extend his contract, which expires in June along with that of Arjen Robben.

Both veterans want to renew, but Bayern bosses are staying tight-lipped, especially as Ribery and Robben — nicknamed “Robbery” — are injury prone.

“I want to stay in Munich as long as possible,” said Ribery, who has been at the club for a decade, while Robben took a harder line.

“I don’t want to talk about it every week, I am relaxed about it, for me it is really simple, the club must decide,” said the Dutchman, who signed for Bayern from Real Madrid in 2009.  

Aubameyang dropped again

Aubameyang, last season’s Bundesliga top scorer, is testing Dortmund’s patience.

He was dropped for Sunday’s draw with Wolfsburg for missing a team meeting, bad timing after being labelled a “total professional” by Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke in an interview with German daily Die Welt on Saturday.

Aubameyang’s latest disciplinary breach follows November’s suspension for an unauthorised video shoot at the club’s training ground.

He was also dropped last season for flying to Milan just before a Champions League game.

The 28-year-old has hit 13 goals in 15 league games this season, amidst reports of offers from China and interest from Arsenal.

“If he doesn’t want to be here, we will give his position to another guy,” said Dortmund coach Peter Stoeger.

Stoeger plumped for Swedish teenager Alexander Isak to play up front, but Aubameyang’s finishing skills were missed in the goalless draw.

Gomez’s tumble

Germany striker Mario Gomez had plenty to celebrate on his first game for Stuttgart since 2009 after his tumble led to the own goal that gave his team a 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin.

In the 78th minute burly Gomez sprinted into the area and was sent flying by Hertha defender Niklas Stark.

While Gomez shouted for a penalty, the ball flicked off Stark’s boot and looped into the Hertha net.

It broke Stuttgart’s run of 503 minutes without a goal, a club record.

Stuttgart are laughing all the way to the bank with the return of Gomez.

They sold the striker to Bayern in 2009 for a then-league record 30 million euros ($36.6m), and bought him back from Wolfsburg in December for 3.5m.

Racism in Hanover

Mainz’s Nigeria internationals Leon Balogun and Anthony Ujah were victims of racist abuse in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Hanover 96.

Visitors Mainz threw away a two-goal lead as Hanover striker Niclas Fuellkrug scored a hat-trick before Balogun revealed the abuse.

“Anthony Ujah and I were insulted by monkey noises from the Hanover 96 fans while we were warming up,” Berlin-born Balogun wrote on Twitter, which Ujah retweeted.

“I’m shocked that such behaviour exists in the Bundesliga in 2018.”

Hanover has apologised, while the German Football Association (DFB) set to investigate.

Motivated Cologne

“The league has written us off — that’s an incentive!” said Cologne’s new CEO Armin Veh before the bottom club shocked Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-1 on Sunday.

New signing Simon Terodde hit a 95th-minute winner as Cologne made it two victories in a row, having gone winless in their first 16 games of the campaign. 

They remain eight points from safety but Saturday’s opponents Hamburg, second-bottom with 15 points compared to Cologne’s nine, will be feeling the pressure after three straight defeats, the latest 1-0 at Augsburg on Saturday.

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