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Borussia Dortmund must lick wounds after derby defeat, prepare for Leverkusen visit

Marco Reus looks on during Borussia Dortmund's derby defeat to Schalke.
Marco Reus' Borussia Dortmund were tactically exposed in the derby defeat to Schalke last weekend.

DORTMUND, Germany -- When Borussia Dortmund captain Marcel Schmelzer was asked on Sunday if he couldn't wait for the season to be over. He froze for a few seconds to ponder on his answer. "If we reach the Champions League, then yes," he ultimately said.

The left-back was standing in the mixed zone of the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, talking to reporters after what had been a bitter 2-0 defeat in the Revierderby against second-placed Schalke and had apologised moments before for his mistake...

Bayern Munich continue to rule Germany as Bundesliga's brain drain stifles progress

Thomas Muller scores three as Bayern Munich hit Leverkusen for six in the DFB Pokal semifinals.
Eintracht Frankfurt beat Schalke in a match not without controversy and will meet Bayern Munich in the DFB Pokal final.

If Bayern Munich's 6-2 win at Bayer Leverkusen was "an advert for German football," as Thomas Muller put it, the second DFB Pokal semifinal between Schalke and Eintracht Frankfurt (0-1) was perhaps the opposite: an attritional game, low on skill, high on VAR controversy and off-the-pitch talking points.

Both matches couldn't have been more different. But in their totality, they were also neatly emblematic of the state of the play in Germany's top flight.

Bayer Leverkusen 2-6 Bayern Munich

There...

Naldo, one of the Bundesliga's greatest imports, deserves Brazil World Cup call

Naldo as played in every minute in the Bundesliga this season at the age of 35.

It was an unstoppable thunderbolt. Naldo's magnificent long-range free kick -- powerful but swerving at the same time -- left Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki little chance on Sunday. The Brazilian defender made it 2-0 for Schalke in the Ruhr derby, ensuring the points and almost certainly a Champions League spot for next season. That was Naldo's seventh goal of the season, as he equaled his personal record.

Dortmund don't like facing Naldo. He's scored six goals against them already throughout...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Mainz vs. Freiburg affected by VAR farce, toilet-roll torrent

A bizarre VAR decision caused mayhem in a Bundesliga game on Monday night when teams were ordered back on to the pitch at half time when the referee decided to award a penalty after watching a replay.

Where to start with this one... On Monday night, relegation-threatened Mainz and Freiburg met in a vital Bundesliga clash. 

The game kicked off and, for 45 minutes, not a great deal happened. And then, after the teams had gone for their half-time cup of tea:

And so, after a lengthy delay, the players returned and Pablo de Blasis opened the scoring for the hosts.

Half-time duly resumed but, when it came time to restart:

Just when you thought you'd seen it all... You can't make this stuff up!...

Leon Bailey's meteoric rise, from Kingston to Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen's Leon Bailey gives ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes a course in the art of dribbling and reveals his influences.
ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes catches up with Bayer Leverkusen's Leon Bailey about life in Germany and his future for both club and country.

Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey has been one of the Bundesliga's breakout stars this season. The Jamaica-born midfielder's performances have been attracting a lot of attention from Europe's elite, while there could also be an international tug-of-war for his services in the future.

But why is he so highly-rated? Here are five things to know.

1. He arrived in Europe with nothing but a small bag

Kingston-born Bailey joined Craig Butler's Phoenix All-Star Academy at the age of six. Some eight years...

Marcel Schmelzer, Dortmund collapse in derby; UCL hopes now in jeopardy

 Michy Batshuayi's injury could spell trouble for Dortmund's UCL hopes.
Michy Batshuayi's injury summed up Dortmund's day in a 2-0 loss to rivals Schalke.

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany -- Borussia Dortmund's Champions League ambitions are in peril after Sunday's 2-0 defeat to bitter foes Schalke 04 in the Revierderby. An announced 61,786 spectators at the Veltins Arena did not see a high-quality game of football even though it was second against third with teams lurking for their rivals to make a mistake.

It was the visitors who complied, as BVB captain Marcel Schmelzer lost the ball to Daniel Caligiuri in the 50th minute. Yevhen Konoplyanka finished off...