Author Archives: Archie

Bundesliga Review – Bayern in pole despite Dortmund draw by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Germany’s record champions may have drawn on Saturday but the Bavarians are well on their way to yet another Bundesliga title

There was a strange sensation going into the year’s fourth edition of Bayern Munich against Borussia Dortmund, especially given the importance with which recent encounters have been laced. This game was shaping up as the least significant one of 2012 and that says something when one of the matches was the German Super Cup, a seemingly irrelevant pre-season encounter.

Yet it was even then that Bayern Munich laid down the law to the Champions for this season. The Bavarians newly found strength in depth was prominent that day. Still, few expected there to be an eleven point gap between Bayern and Borussia by the time they next played.

After all, Borussia Dortmund had been all conquering for the last two seasons but have been left in Bayern’s wake, as they’ve suffered something of a European hangover. But in order to acquire this hangover, boy, have the Black and Yellows had some good nights. They’ve cruised through the Champions League’s Group of Death, impressively taking four points off Real Madrid in the process.

But the high standards of their European performances haven’t been matched domestically. Injuries haven’t helped but if anything, it’s just shown how well Bayern did in their effort to strengthen over the summer, with the likes of Mandzukic, Shaqiri and Dante performing with distinction. With Dortmund dropping points at home to newly promoted Fortuna during the week, Bayern’s lead over the champions moved into double figures.

No matter what Saturday brought, Bayern were going to be in a strong position after the game. Even though the title looked (and indeed looks) a foregone conclusion, it was a match Borussia Dortmund could not afford to lose, and they didn’t – just.

The away side had the better chances in the first half with Marco Reus testing Manuel Neuer but the game didn’t have many clear-cut opportunities. It opened up after Bayern centre back Holger Badstuber was carried off towards half time with a cruciate ligament injury – a painful blow to the home team, with the defender expected to miss the rest of the season. It was in the second half when Badstuber’s absence became more apparent.

That said, Bayern were getting into good positions but failing to provide that killer pass. Dortmund meanwhile were creating chances at more regular intervals. Adventurous centre back Mats Hummels scuffed a volley from Marcel Schmelzer’s quick free kick, whilst Schmelzer and Marco Reus also missed opportunities. You can’t do that against Bayern this season and not expect ramifications, as Toni Kroos proved. He showed seamless technique as he fired in the opener low, from the edge of the box after good work from Thomas Müller.

Kroos has been one of the stars of the season so far, if not the star and this strike midway through the second half only affirmed this. So with Bayern a goal up at the Allianz Arena, there’s usually one outcome but for the first time in nearly three years, the Bavarians didn’t win a Bundesliga home game when taking the lead.

Bayern found out first hand last season that Jürgen Klopp’s side don’t do “giving up,” after the way BVB caught them in the title race. Just in case this was doubted in any way, Borussia Dortmund equalised seven minutes after Kroos’s strike.

Marco Reus’s corner found its way to the edge of the box where Mario Götze was placed. Before the game, he said he thought the Champions could still retain their title. Judging by the conviction with which he struck the ball for Dortmund’s equaliser, he wasn’t joking either. The teenage prodigy sent a crisp half volley into the corner of Manuel Neuer’s goal. With just a quarter of an hour to go, Borussia looked to have the momentum but it was Bayern who finished the game in much stronger fashion.

So much so that Roman Weidenfeller became the hero for Dortmund, receiving praise from opposition coach Jupp Heynckes after the game. He added that he couldn’t believe that Weidenfeller had not been capped by Jogi Löw for Germany. This feeling of disbelief stemmed from three outstanding saves the Dortmund keeper made late on. First came an instinctive block, followed by an acrobatic tip over the bar before finishing with a one handed dive to his left from a Javi Martinez header.

Still, it ended up just being an exercise in preservation for Weidenfeller and Borussia Dortmund. Because as much as the Champions will say there’s still life left in the title race, it’s hard to see anyone stopping Bayern Munich. Bayer Leverkusen are the nearest side to them but they won’t hit the consistency required to topple Heynckes’s team.

Borussia Dortmund are the only club who have what it takes to come close but with Champions League football guaranteed in the second half of the season, they currently lack the resources to mount a challenge on both fronts. And whilst it’s sad as a neutral to be writing off the title race in December, you just have to applaud the way Bayern Munich have responded to last season.

Runners up in the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal and the Champions League, their focus has been unmatched in Germany this time round as they’ve torn through the division. You could only criticise their performances on the European stage which, despite seeing them through the group stages, will need to improve after Christmas. Still, after crushing defeats at the hands of Borussia Dortmund in the year’s first two editions of der Klassiker, Bayern Munich have responded well in the second half of 2012. Jupp Heynckes will be all the more satisfied knowing that Bayern won’t just be clear of Dortmund at Christmas, they’ll be top of the Bundesliga too.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga:

  • Markus Babbel is out of a job again for the second December running. He was sacked after Hoffenheim’s 4-1 drubbing at home to Werder Bremen. The ex-Liverpool defender had just one win in his last ten games. Otherwise at the bottom, not a lot changed with Augsburg sharing the points with Freiburg and Fürth losing at home to Stuttgart.
  •  At the top, Bayer Leverkusen closed the gap on Bayern after a slender win over Nuremberg whilst Schalke stuttered to a draw with Gladbach – teenager Julian Draxler scoring an 86th minute winner to bail them out at the VELTINS-Arena. Mainz continued their recent good run of form as they beat off Hannover, despite having 10 men in the second half after goalkeeper Christian Wetklo handled outside the box.
  • On Friday night, Fortuna Düsseldorf thumped Eintracht Frankfurt though they can thank Karim Matmour for that after the Eintracht player was sent off for the second time in seven days – a new Bundesliga record! And finally, in Sunday’s game, Wolfsburg came from behind to draw with Hamburg. The away side were rescued late on by goalkeeper René Adler too who put in another good performance.

Matchday 15 Results:

Fortuna Düsseldorf 4-0 Eintracht Frankfurt

Augsburg 1-1 Freiburg

Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 Nuremberg

Fürth 0-1 Stuttgart

Mainz 2-1 Hannover

Schalke 1-1 Gladbach

Bayern Munich 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

Hoffenheim 1-4 Werder Bremen

Wolfsburg 1-1 Hamburg

Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 15 12 2 1 41:6 +35 38 CL*
2 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 15 9 3 3 28:19 +9 30 CL*
3 Borussia Dortmund 15 7 6 2 30:16 +14 27 CL*
4 FC Schalke 04 15 7 4 4 25:19 +6 25 CL* Qual.
5 Eintracht Frankfurt 15 7 3 5 27:26 +1 24 EL* Qual.
6 1. FSV Mainz 05 15 7 2 6 21:18 +3 23 EL* Qual.
7 VfB Stuttgart 15 6 4 5 17:24 -7 22
8 SV Werder Bremen 15 6 3 6 26:24 +2 21
9 Hamburger SV 15 6 3 6 16:18 -2 21
10 Borussia Mönchengladbach 15 5 6 4 22:25 -3 21
11 SC Freiburg 15 5 5 5 20:17 +3 20
12 Hannover 96 15 6 2 7 28:27 +1 20
13 Fortuna Düsseldorf 15 4 6 5 18:19 -1 18
14 1. FC Nuremberg 15 4 4 7 14:21 -7 16
15 VfL Wolfsburg 15 4 4 7 14:23 -9 16
16 1899 Hoffenheim 15 3 3 9 22:36 -14 12
17 FC Augsburg 15 1 5 9 11:26 -15 8
18 Greuther Fürth 15 1 5 9 10:26 -16 8

Table taken from official Bundesliga website

This article was originally written on Football Fan Cast

Bundesliga Review – Low-key Freiburg Surge Into Top Six by Archie Rhind-Tutt

 They may not be the most high profile club in the Bundesliga but having been down in the doldrums a year ago, Freiburg have made great progress

What a year it’s been for Freiburg coach Christian Streich. Twelve months ago, he was Marcus Sorg’s assistant as the club slipped to the foot of the Bundesliga by Christmas. So the Black Forest side did something they hadn’t done for 20 years – they sacked the coach. So into the breach stepped Christian Streich at the very end of December.

He knew the club well having coached the youth team for 16 years but less than a few weeks into the job he’d lost the team’s talisman, Papiss Demba Cissé, to Newcastle. And even though they won their opening game under the new coach, a five match winless run culminated in a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of local rivals Stuttgart, leaving Freiburg bottom of the Bundesliga, again.

To date, it’s the nadir of Christian Streich’s time in charge, because after the Stuttgart match, things rapidly improved for the Black Forest outfit. Freiburg went on a ten match unbeaten run, before finishing the season in 12th place. After a few summer tweaks, they’ve continued their impressive form from the last campaign. And this Sunday marked the high point in the Streich reign.

Exactly seven months to the day after Stuttgart had demoralised them, Freiburg had the chance for revenge against their provincial rivals. Stuttgart is the capital city in Baden-Württemberg and Christian Streich was keen to play up his side’s role as underdogs prior to the game. “VfB were German champions and we are the little neighbours who try to annoy the great capital city,” he said in an interview with Badische Zeitung.

On Sunday, Freiburg annoyed Stuttgart in some style. Streich wouldn’t have needed to do much motivating beforehand either, with Stuttgart’s sporting director Fredi Bobic saying that Freiburg was not a proper derby for the Swabians.

But the “little neighbours” swept aside their more illustrious opponents, who seemed to tire having been in Bucharest for Europa League action on Thursday. Acknowledging that the visitors would be tired after the midweek travels, Streich’s move to give his players two days off before the game worked a treat too.

Despite a frantic opening, the home side were ahead midway through the first half as Jan Rosenthal beat Sven Ulreich with a low effort from just outside the box. Chances followed for both teams either side of half time but Freiburg were the ones in control. Half way through the second half, it showed too as Pavel Krmas doubled Freiburg’s lead.

Stuttgart failed to deal with a free kick, allowing the Czech to round Ulreich and shoot past the defenders on the line.  With Stuttgart fading, summer signing Max Kruse grabbed a third ensuring Freiburg moved into the top six on Sunday.

Since that Stuttgart game in February, Streich’s side are unbeaten in 19 of their last 24 Bundesliga games, showing the progress the team have made under his guidance. That’s the thing about Freiburg too – it really is about the team.  That togetherness and organisation is a testament to the magnificent work of Christian Streich, as he approaches his first anniversary as Freiburg coach.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga

  • Let’s start with the side Freiburg play in midweek – Bayern Munich. They cruised past Hannover with Javier Martinez netting an overhead kick and Mario Gomez scoring just 26 seconds into his return from injury. Yes, they were playing a Hannover side that’d only had a day’s rest having played in the Europa League in Thursday but Bayern continue to turn on the style in the Bundesliga.
  • Champions Borussia Dortmund are now the side directly behind them. That’s after Jürgen Klopp’s men came from behind to win at his former club, Mainz. One of the main talking points though was how much more restrained Klopp was on the touchline. He’s had a very public fall out with the head of German referees in the last week. However, BILD put Klopp’s more dignified appearance down to the presence of a policewoman, Bibiana Steinhaus – she was the 4th official on Saturday.
  • Dortmund rose to second as Schalke and Eintracht Frankfurt drew on Saturday. There was some off field controversy too with the majority of Schalke fans booing and whistling against some of their own supporters who lit flares in one corner of the Veltins Arena. They weren’t the only fans to have flare troubles as Hamburg supporters accidentally set their own flag on fire before their game with Fortuna Düsseldorf, delaying the game by a few minutes. It got worse for HSV too as Fortuna went on to secure their first home win of the season.
  • Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen closed on the top four. Despite a below-par performance against Hoffenheim, they held on for an away victory. Die Hoffe though are teetering above the automatic relegation places. The teams below them, Greuther Fürth and Augsburg, drew with Nuremberg and Gladbach respectively. Finally, Wolfsburg’s new sporting director Klaus Allofs was unable to see his side overcome his former charges as the Wolves played out a draw with Werder Bremen.
For more on the Bundesliga on Twitter, follow @archiert1

Matchday 13 Results:

Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-0 Hamburg

Bayern Munich 5-0 Hannover

Fürth 0-0 Nuremberg

Mainz 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

Schalke 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

Wolfsburg 1-1 Werder Bremen

Freiburg 3-0 Stuttgart

Augsburg  1-1 Gladbach

Hoffenheim 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen

Table:

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 13 11 1 1 38:5 +33 34 CL*
2 Borussia Dortmund 13 7 4 2 28:14 +14 25 CL*
3 FC Schalke 04 13 7 3 3 23:15 +8 24 CL*
4 Eintracht Frankfurt 13 7 3 3 26:19 +7 24 CL* Qual.
5 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 13 7 3 3 23:18 +5 24 EL* Qual.
6 SC Freiburg 13 5 4 4 19:14 +5 19 EL* Qual.
7 SV Werder Bremen 13 5 3 5 21:19 +2 18
8 Hannover 96 13 5 2 6 25:25 0 17
9 1. FSV Mainz 05 13 5 2 6 16:16 0 17
10 Hamburger SV 13 5 2 6 12:16 -4 17
11 Borussia Mönchengladbach 13 4 5 4 19:24 -5 17
12 VfB Stuttgart 13 4 4 5 14:23 -9 16
13 VfL Wolfsburg 13 4 3 6 13:20 -7 15
14 Fortuna Düsseldorf 13 3 5 5 13:18 -5 14
15 1. FC Nuremberg 13 3 4 6 10:18 -8 13
16 1899 Hoffenheim 13 3 3 7 19:28 -9 12 Play-offs
17 Greuther Fürth 13 1 5 7 10:23 -13 8 Relegation
18 FC Augsburg 13 1 4 8 9:23 -14 7 Relegation

Table from official Bundesliga Website

This piece was originally written on FootballFanCast

Bundesliga Review – Wolves howl with joy after Magath leaves by Archie Rhind-Tutt

After Felix Magath’s departure in October, it’s no coincidence that Wolfsburg have hit form since.

Popularity and respect are two important things for a coach to have. You don’t have to necessarily be popular but if you have the respect of the players, you’ve got a decent chance of succeeding. The problem for Felix Magath is that he had neither by the time he left Wolfsburg for a second time in October.

Then again, popularity is not something which Magath has been renowned for and that’s not surprising. After all, this is a guy who threatened to cancel Christmas for his squad last year. He’s also been known to send his players running in the woods and fined them for individual mistakes during games.

Most spectacularly, in his time at Stuttgart, he once had his players, during training, stand in a circle for 90 minutes in near freezing temperatures after a defeat the day before. This season, his antics have continued. Here’s Raphael Honigstein’s account of what he did to his players in September. (

“Magath had them running through the Wolfsburg woods (again) and when they had finished, they found that most of their water bottles had been emptied on purpose by the coach. Magath tried to justify this exercise in sadism as an “educational measure” afterwards – “I wanted them to learn to share resources as a team.””

Funnily enough, the players were not reacting to the coach’s “techniques” and after a 2-0 home defeat to Freiburg, the Wolfsburg hierarchy decided it was time for Magath to go. It’s no real surprise that since then the Wolves have improved markedly.

Interim coach Lorenz-Günther Köstner has been at the helm for the last four games but judging by the results, the players have just been happy to have someone who isn’t Felix Magath. Their third win in four games came on Sunday as they won away at Hoffenheim.

Seven minutes in, Makoto Hasebe headed the opener after some poor defending. Hoffenheim lost the ball just outside their own box soon after, allowing Bas Dost to double Wolfsburg’s lead. The home side did press but Diego Benaglio was relatively comfortable in any save he had to make. This was in part down to the surprisingly shot-shy Joselu. He blazed over from a matter of yards in the second half, epitomising his and Hoffenheim’s day in front of goal. With just over ten minutes to play, Naldo made it three for Wolfsburg with a well struck free kick before Eren Derdiyok scored a late consolation for the hosts.

Hoffenheim  were left with nothing after a master class in clinical finishing from the visitors – not bad for a team who netted just twice in their opening eight games.

The win on Sunday was made all the sweeter as new Sporting Director Klaus Allofs watched on for the first time since arriving from Werder Bremen during the week. He spent 13 years at the Weserstadion and Wolfsburg need that sort of stability after a destructive second reign of Felix Magath.

His first tenure at the club brought a maiden Bundesliga title but the results from this latest spell have tainted Magath’s legacy at Wolfsburg. Players such as Diego have openly welcomed his departure but like quite a few in Magath’s coaching career, he didn’t see eye-to-eye with him.

Diego is likely to help Wolfsburg climb further into a mid-table position this season but it’s hard to foresee another Bundesliga club appointing Felix Magath anytime soon.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga

  • The unthinkable happened this weekend – Bayern Munich didn’t just concede a goal away from home, they also failed to win. Nuremberg were the team to stop them as they claimed an unlikely point against the Bundesliga leaders. There was controversy too after Mario Mandzukic’s celebration prompted claims he was showing support to two Croatian generals who had convictions overturned on Friday.
  • Bayern’s stumble allowed the chasing pack to close the gap and Borussia Dortmund were only too happy to do so. Inspired by Mario Götze, they overcame Greuther Fürth and surprise package Eintracht Frankfurt were also victorious as Alexander Meier continued his rich vein of form. He scored two as the Eagles beat Augsburg. No such luck for Schalke who were lacklustre in a 2-0 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen – the highlight of that was André Schürrle’s stunning opener.
  • Meanwhile in mid table, Son-Heung Min ensured Hamburg beat Mainz. Freiburg continue to chug away quietly after they won at Hannover and Stuttgart recovered from their collapse last weekend to win at Gladbach. Werder Bremen were the weekend’s other victors, coming from behind to beat Fortuna Düsseldorf at the Weserstadion.
For more on the Bundesliga, follow @archiert1 on Twitter

Matchday 12 Results:

Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Fürth

Eintracht Frankfurt 4-2 Augsburg

Gladbach 1-2 Stuttgart

Hamburg 1-0 Mainz

Hannover 1-2 Freiburg

Nuremberg 1-1 Bayern Munich

Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Schalke

Werder Bremen 2-1 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Hoffenheim 1-3 Wolfsburg

Table:

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 12 10 1 1 33:5 +28 31 CL*
2 FC Schalke 04 12 7 2 3 22:14 +8 23 CL*
3 Eintracht Frankfurt 12 7 2 3 25:18 +7 23 CL*
4 Borussia Dortmund 12 6 4 2 26:13 +13 22 CL* Qual.
5 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 12 6 3 3 21:17 +4 21 EL* Qual.
6 Hannover 96 12 5 2 5 25:20 +5 17 EL* Qual.
7 SV Werder Bremen 12 5 2 5 20:18 +2 17
8 1. FSV Mainz 05 12 5 2 5 15:14 +1 17
9 Hamburger SV 12 5 2 5 12:14 -2 17
10 SC Freiburg 12 4 4 4 16:14 +2 16
11 Borussia Mönchengladbach 12 4 4 4 18:23 -5 16
12 VfB Stuttgart 12 4 4 4 14:20 -6 16
13 VfL Wolfsburg 12 4 2 6 12:19 -7 14
14 1899 Hoffenheim 12 3 3 6 18:26 -8 12
15 1. FC Nuremberg 12 3 3 6 10:18 -8 12
16 Fortuna Düsseldorf 12 2 5 5 11:18 -7 11 Play-offs
17 Greuther Fürth 12 1 4 7 10:23 -13 7 Relegation
18 FC Augsburg 12 1 3 8 8:22 -14 6 Relegation

Table thanks to official Bundesliga website

Article originally written on Football Fan Cast

Bundesliga Review: Hannover spectacular in second half show by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Hannover embarked on a 17-minute goal blitz on Sunday despite a continuing saga over Mirko Slomka’s contract

It’s half time at the Mercedes-Benz Arena early on Sunday evening. Stuttgart lead by two goals to nil having been in control for nearly the whole of the first half. The away side, Hannover, have been particularly limp thus far. Coach Mirko Slomka needs something special to turn around this deficit, especially with his side’s recent record away from home. “The 96” only won twice on the road last season but had already been victorious away once this year, beating Lower Saxony rivals Wolfsburg 4-0.

That day Szabolcs Huszti set up all four goals. The Hungarian has undoubtedly been Hannover’s star man this season. No player has more assists in the Bundesliga but on Sunday, he was having a shocker. Shackled effectively by Stuttgart’s Zdravko Kuzmanovic, the diminutive playmaker was struggling to have an impact. To make matters worse, he gave away the penalty which led to the Swabians second goal.

Mirko Slomka’s seen enough. Huszti comes off at half time with Jan Schlaudraff replacing him. Now, if you’d said in September that Hannover would be able to mount a comeback from two down without Huszti, you would have been afforded a patronising expression. On Sunday though, Mirko Slomka’s side learnt to fly without this season’s talisman. Looking at the attacking talent Hannover have at their disposal, that’s not too surprising. The manner in which they did it was.

Three minutes from the hour, Artur Sobiech capitalised on Sven Ulreich’s parry to halve the deficit, as the Pole set in motion a 17-minute blitz. Seven minutes later came a penalty, which substitute Jan Schlaudraff stroked into the top corner and Hannover President Martin Kind revealed after the game that he would have been happy with a draw. Thankfully for him, the players weren’t.

Just over two minutes later, Hannover led for the first time as another substitute, Mohamed Abdellaoue prodded home. After more clumsy defending from Stuttgart, the man nicknamed “Moa” added a fourth from the penalty spot as the Norwegian completed a most remarkable turnaround – 4-2 to Hannover.

Whilst it would be great to say it was all down to Hannover’s brilliance, it was an equally spectacular implosion from hosts Stuttgart. Bruno Labbadia’s side suffered their first defeat in six and they certainly did it in some style. This was the first time the Swabians had lost after having a two goal lead in 457 Bundesliga games – a run that stretches back to 1999. This result shouldn’t derail their season but uncertainty will remain so long as the contract situation of Coach Bruno Labbadia is unresolved, with his contract expiring at the end of the season.

That situation is mirrored in Hannover where Mirko Slomka is yet to agree terms with the 96. According to Kicker, contract talks have been put on hold until the winter break and Slomka has until the 20th December to decide if he wants to stay in Lower Saxony or move on to pastures new.

After Sunday’s showing, Slomka said the contract is not ready to be signed but with Hannover performing well under his guidance, the club will be keen to keep him. There have been rumours of fall outs with general manager Jorg Schmadtke but Hannover has reached new heights with the Slomka/Schmadtke combination. Reports have linked Slomka with Bayern Munich, such has been his success in Lower Saxony. The Stuttgart result has put them within two points of the top four and in turn a Champions League spot. That’s the aim for ambitious Hannover and they’ll have a better chance of achieving that if Mirko Slomka stays with them.

For more on the Bundesliga, follow @archiert1 on Twitter

Eleswhere in the Bundesliga

  • As if one six goal thriller wasn’t enough on Sunday, Greuther Fürth and Borussia Mönchengladbach served up another. This one had two red cards, two penalties and Gladbach recovering from 2-1 down to win 4-2, leaving their promoted opponents struggling in the relegation zone. The other game on Sunday wasn’t bad either as Wolfsburg swept past the in-form Bayer Leverkusen with Diego turning on the style for the Wolves. He struck twice in the first half as Wolfsburg raced into what would prove an unassailable three goal lead.
  • The rest of the weekend went largely by the coupon. Dortmund beat Augsburg with Marco Reus’ stunning free kick the highlight. Bayern went past Eintracht Frankfurt with Bastian Schweinsteiger’s dive for a second half penalty the lowlight. Second place Schalke came from behind to get past Werder though there was controversy towards the end. Bremen’s Theodor Gebre Selassie had a back heel flick just cleared off the line. Some claimed it had crossed, some people thought it hadn’t. You know the drill with goal line technology, right?
  • Meanwhile in mid-table, Mainz beat Nuremberg on Friday night whilst Fortuna and Hoffenheim shared the points on Saturday. In bore draw news, Freiburg and Hamburg played out a goalless draw but Paul Scharner (remember him!?) was sent off.

Matchday 11 Results:

Mainz 2-1 Nuremberg

Augsburg 1-3 Borussia Dortmund

Bayern Munich 2-0 Eintracht Frankfurt

Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-1 Hoffenheim

Freiburg 0-0 Hamburg

Schalke 2-1 Werder Bremen

Wolfsburg 3-1 Bayer Leverkusen

Fürth 2-4 Gladbach

Stuttgart 2-4 Hannover

Table:

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 11 10 0 1 32:4 +28 30 CL*
2 FC Schalke 04 11 7 2 2 22:12 +10 23 CL*
3 Eintracht Frankfurt 11 6 2 3 21:16 +5 20 CL*
4 Borussia Dortmund 11 5 4 2 23:12 +11 19 CL* Qual.
5 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 11 5 3 3 19:17 +2 18 EL* Qual.
6 Hannover 96 11 5 2 4 24:18 +6 17 EL* Qual.
7 1. FSV Mainz 05 11 5 2 4 15:13 +2 17
8 Borussia Mönchengladbach 11 4 4 3 17:21 -4 16
9 SV Werder Bremen 11 4 2 5 18:17 +1 14
10 Hamburger SV 11 4 2 5 11:14 -3 14
11 SC Freiburg 11 3 4 4 14:13 +1 13
12 VfB Stuttgart 11 3 4 4 12:19 -7 13
13 1899 Hoffenheim 11 3 3 5 17:23 -6 12
14 Fortuna Düsseldorf 11 2 5 4 10:16 -6 11
15 1. FC Nuremberg 11 3 2 6 9:17 -8 11
16 VfL Wolfsburg 11 3 2 6 9:18 -9 11 Play-offs
17 Greuther Fürth 11 1 4 6 9:20 -11 7 Relegation
18 FC Augsburg 11 1 3 7 6:18 -12 6 Relegation

Table from official Bundesliga Website

Article originally written @Football Fan Cast

Bundesliga Review – Entertaining Hoffenheim rewarded with a win by Archie Rhind-Tutt

 

Markus Babbel secures a vital win as Schalke are hassled by die Hoffe…

Hoffenheim’s season so far has been eventful to say the least. On the pitch, there’s been plenty of entertainment with the matches involving die Hoffe averaging just under four goals per game – the Bundesliga’s highest. That’s impressive when you consider they’ve even had a goalless draw against Augsburg, though that was one of the more sombre moments of the season.

It came just a day after Hoffenheim midfielder Boris Vukcevic was nearly killed in a car crash. Thankfully, he’s no longer in a critical condition and is now recovering out of hospital. Vukcevic’s team hadn’t won in his absence but they didn’t get off to the best of starts with him either, picking up six points in five games. Going into this weekend’s game against an in-form Schalke, Markus Babbel’s side were lurking just outside the relegation zone.

At the beginning of this season, Babbel was both the coach and the director of football. However, as results caved in, Andreas Müller arrived to allow him to focus on coaching the team. The pressure hasn’t relented. Babbel made fourteen signings in the summer and with results not picking up, rumours have circulated that he was close to losing his job. A win in the Bundesliga was imperative. Somehow it arrived on a weekend when Hoffenheim faced one of the division’s best teams.

In true Hoffenheim style, it was a most crazy victory, encapsulating the bizarre nature of their season. That comes in itself by having Tim Wiese in goal. The German goalkeeper is one of the Bundesliga’s more eccentric characters but he’s been a figure of ridicule this season after some of his performances. Wiese though was able to answer some of his critics on Saturday.

But for a goalkeeper to do this, he needs to be tested a fair amount. Schalke’s dominance at the Rhein-Neckar Arena provided this opportunity as Wiese made some crucial saves. Even so, Hoffenheim weren’t faultless defensively. Then again, what would you expect from the worst defence in the Bundesliga?Twice the home team went ahead. Twice they were pegged back by Schalke. In their previous home game against Fürth, they managed to do this “trick” three times. Saturday was to prove different.

With the game just about to enter stoppage time the seemingly luckless Babbel made one last roll of the dice by bringing on striker Sven Schipplock. Minutes later, he was celebrating an unlikely win. Schipplock combined with another substitute, Vincenzo Grifo, to send the ball past Lars Unnerstall and lifting Hoffenheim away from the relegation zone.

It might not be long until they’re back near it. After all, this was their first victory since September. Hoffenheim are having to work hard for their wins this season too. On the three occasions they have won in the Bundesliga, they’ve scored three. Already they’ve netted three in two other instances and not emerged victorious – there’s still plenty of work to do for Coach Markus Babbel.

He talked of Saturday providing another exciting game but what he could really do with is his side grinding out a few more results and gaining some consistency. Neutrals will be hoping otherwise as Hoffenheim are proving to be one of the Bundesliga’s most entertaining teams this season.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga

  • There was increased attention on Bayern Munich this weekend – what would happen after their first league defeat of the season? Well, a win of course. They beat Hamburg 3-0 as their challengers slipped up.
  • With Schalke beaten in Hoffenheim, Borussia Dortmund failed to close the gap on either Bayern or their rivals. The Champions were held at home by an ever improving Stuttgart. Armin Veh’s Eintracht Frankfurt had to settle for a point too against a fellow promoted side, with Greuther Fürth drawing at the Commerzbank Arena. No need though to get the Veh-olin’s out just yet…
  • For some, it was a case of getting back on track this weekend. Nuremberg won for the first time in six games beating Wolfsburg in Franconia. Hannover on the other hand recovered from their first home defeat in over a year by defeating Augsburg. For Borussia Mönchengladbach though, it was disappointment after last weekend’s heroics in Hannover. The Foals slipped to a 1-1 draw against a Freiburg side progressing well under Christian Streich.
  • And finally, Sunday proved to be another entertaining day in the Bundesliga. Leverkusen and Düsseldorf played out a five goal thriller with Bayer coming out on top. Werder were the day’s other winners despite Mainz’s Adam Szalai becoming the joint top goal scorer in the division.
For more on the Bundesliga, follow @archiert1 on Twitter

Matchday 10 Results:

Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 Fürth

Borussia Dortmund 0-0 Stuttgart

Gladbach 1-1 Freiburg

Hannover 2-0 Augsburg

Hoffenheim 3-2 Schalke

Nuremberg 1-0 Wolfsburg

Hamburg 0-3 Bayern Munich

Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 Düsseldorf

Werder Bremen 2-1 Mainz

Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 10 9 0 1 30:4 +26 27 CL*
2 FC Schalke 04 10 6 2 2 20:11 +9 20 CL*
3 Eintracht Frankfurt 10 6 2 2 21:14 +7 20 CL*
4 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 10 5 3 2 18:14 +4 18 CL* Qual.
5 Borussia Dortmund 10 4 4 2 20:11 +9 16 EL* Qual.
6 Hannover 96 10 4 2 4 20:16 +4 14 EL* Qual.
7 SV Werder Bremen 10 4 2 4 17:15 +2 14
8 1. FSV Mainz 05 10 4 2 4 13:12 +1 14
9 Hamburger SV 10 4 1 5 11:14 -3 13
10 VfB Stuttgart 10 3 4 3 10:15 -5 13
11 Borussia Mönchengladbach 10 3 4 3 13:19 -6 13
12 SC Freiburg 10 3 3 4 14:13 +1 12
13 1899 Hoffenheim 10 3 2 5 16:22 -6 11
14 1. FC Nuremberg 10 3 2 5 8:15 -7 11
15 Fortuna Düsseldorf 10 2 4 4 9:15 -6 10
16 VfL Wolfsburg 10 2 2 6 6:17 -11 8 Play-offs
17 Greuther Fürth 10 1 4 5 7:16 -9 7 Relegation
18 FC Augsburg 10 1 3 6 5:15 -10 6 Relegation

Table thanks to Official Bundesliga Website

Article orginally published on Football Fan Cast

Bundesliga Review – Bayer humble leaders Bayern by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Sami Hyypia claimed anything was possible before Bayer Leverkusen’s trip to Bayern Munich as he insisted his side could win at the Allianz Arena. Hyypia’s comments would have no doubt surprised the Bayern hierarchy. After all, going into Sunday’s encounter, Bayern had won all eight of their Bundesliga games this season. To say that Jupp Heynckes’s side had been merely winning doesn’t give the Bavarians enough credit, because the Bundesliga’s record champions have been dominating in each and every game. It’s not like they didn’t have the majority of the play either on Sunday but for the first time this season, Bayern were humbled at the Allianz Arena.

Now in situations where big teams suffer shock defeats, it’s very easy to focus on the woes of the losers, so let’s credit Bayer Leverkusen here. The coaching duo of Sascha Lewandowski and Sami Hyypia are doing a good job at the BayArena. The weekend’s result was not only momentous for them but for the club as well, because Bayer hadn’t won at Bayern for just over 23 years. Add into the mix that this was a win over former coach Jupp Heynckes and this victory was all the sweeter for Leverkusen – a team with the talent to push on into the top four. They certainly showed its well within their reach with their performance on Sunday.

Most teams struggle to get out of their own half when they travel to Munich, yet Bayer were managing to create chances. Yes, they had to endure prolonged spells of pressure on their goal. Bernd Leno though was equal to anything Bayern had. When they ventured into what’s seen as uncharted territory in the Allianz Arena, that being Bayern’s half, they were causing problems. Stefan Kiessling had a goal harshly ruled out for an infringement in the box. The visitors carried on regardless. Leverkusen were rewarded when that man Kiessling finished off a good passing move just before half time.

Cue the inevitable Bayern bombardment which follows any opposition goal. The visitors kept their discipline for much of the second half but their resistance was broken when Mario Mandzukic headed in from super sub Claudio Pizarro’s cross. From there, Bayern looked the only winners with just over ten minutes to go. Bayer’s chance looked to have gone, especially with André Schürrle spurning a glorious opening just before Bayern’s equaliser. Fortune looked to be with the league leaders in the final stages. Yet the slice of luck they needed came at the wrong end of the pitch.

Sidney Sam’s header was drifting wide three minutes from time. Then the ball hit an object, namely Jerome Boateng’s face, wrong footing Manuel Neuer before bouncing tamely into the corner of the goal – Leverkusen were ahead. When Sami Hyypia said anything was possible prior to the game, this probably wasn’t what he would have had in mind.

Nor would he have envisioned Manuel Neuer dribbling past players outside the Bayer Leverkusen box during stoppage time. That’s exactly where Germany’s number one was, and he nearly grabbed an astonishing assist too but Pizarro’s strike struck the bar. It wasn’t to be as Hyypia’s words were to ring true.

It’s not really surprising that he held such an attitude before the game. This is a man who was part of a team that came from three goals down in a Champions League final. Just getting into that competition again would suit Hyypia and his coaching partner Sascha Lewandowski. More consistency is required for that to happen but as Bayer Leverkusen proved this weekend – anything is possible.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga…

  • So with Bayern Munich losing, it was catch-up time for the chasing pack. Schalke made sure of this with a 1-0 win against Nuremberg, meaning they’re just four points off the top. Champions Borussia Dortmund also secured an important win at Freiburg. That’s the Black and Yellows first away win of the season too but they’re still nine points behind Bayern.
  • Bayern losing at home wasn’t the only shock on Sunday. Borussia Mönchengladbach finally found some form as they came from 2-0 down to win at Hannover. The Bundesliga’s favourite Venezuelan, Juan Arango, was the star of the show in Lower Saxony. It’s the first time Mirko Slomka’s side have been beaten at home in the Bundesliga since April 2011. Who beat them that day? Gladbach! It’s a funny old game isn’t it?
  • Mainz have crept into the top six after a low key but good start to the season. Hungarian striker Adam Szalai grabbed a hat trick on Saturday against toothless Hoffenheim. Toothless was the word of choice too at Stuttgart’s 2-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. Defender Georg Niedermeier lost a tooth after a challenge with Alexander Meier, before playing on, of course.
  • With Felix Magath in charge this season, Wolfsburg had only scored two goals in 8 games. In their first game without him, they scored four as they thrashed Fortuna Düsseldorf. Enough said.
  • Hamburg, the side who have the unenviable task of playing an angry Bayern Munich next week, won 2-0 at Augsburg. And finally, in a weekend when quite a few records were broken, Greuther Fürth broke two themselves. They scored their first home goal of the season against Werder Bremen in a 1-1 draw – thus securing their first point at the Trolli Arena in the Bundesliga.

For more on the Bundesliga on Twitter, follow @archiert1

Matchday 9 Results:

Augsburg 0-2 Hamburg

Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-4 Wolfsburg

Freiburg 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

Fürth 1-1 Werder Bremen

Mainz 3-0 Hoffenheim

Schalke 1-0 Nuremberg

Stuttgart 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

Bayern Munich 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen

Hannover 2-3 Gladbach

Table:

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 9 8 0 1 27:4 +23 24 CL*
2 FC Schalke 04 9 6 2 1 18:8 +10 20 CL*
3 Eintracht Frankfurt 9 6 1 2 20:13 +7 19 CL*
4 Borussia Dortmund 9 4 3 2 20:11 +9 15 CL* Qual.
5 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 9 4 3 2 15:12 +3 15 EL* Qual.
6 1. FSV Mainz 05 9 4 2 3 12:10 +2 14 EL* Qual.
7 Hamburger SV 9 4 1 4 11:11 0 13
8 VfB Stuttgart 9 3 3 3 10:15 -5 12
9 Borussia Mönchengladbach 9 3 3 3 12:18 -6 12
10 Hannover 96 9 3 2 4 18:16 +2 11
11 SV Werder Bremen 9 3 2 4 15:14 +1 11
12 SC Freiburg 9 3 2 4 13:12 +1 11
13 Fortuna Düsseldorf 9 2 4 3 7:12 -5 10
14 1899 Hoffenheim 9 2 2 5 13:20 -7 8
15 1. FC Nuremberg 9 2 2 5 7:15 -8 8
16 VfL Wolfsburg 9 2 2 5 6:16 -10 8 Play-offs
17 FC Augsburg 9 1 3 5 5:13 -8 6 Relegation
18 Greuther Fürth 9 1 3 5 6:15 -9 6 Relegation

Table thanks to Official Bundesliga Website

Article originally written @ Football Fan Cast

Super Schalke show off the Bundesliga’s strength by Archie Rhind-Tutt

“They will pose a threat this evening to Arsenal’s proud record of never having lost a Champions League encounter to foreign opposition at the Emirates.”

These words from the Arsenal programme were all too poignant come the end of Wednesday night. That proud record of the Gunners had disappeared by then, as Schalke continued what has been a glorious last week.

So they’d won away at their arch rivals and Champions of Germany, Borussia Dortmund – impressive. Their victory at the Emirates wasn’t too bad either. Because for the second time in five days, Schalke came away from home and outclassed top opposition. It’s easy to write off Arsenal’s performance as insipid but in all honesty, the side from Gelsenkirchen made them look that way. Schalke kept their discipline so well that it wasn’t until a minute before the end of the game that goalkeeper Lars Unnerstall had to make a save.

The home side had threatened in the first half. Atsuto Uchida looked vulnerable at times as the Gunners poured down the left hand side but anything that went into the box was dealt with by Joel Matip or Benedikt Höwedes. Any hopes Arsenal had of breaking down their visitors were effectively ended when Huub Stevens brought on Jermaine Jones for Marco Höger at half time.

Jones was unlucky to not be picked for the Revierderby at the weekend, having been in good form this season. His presence on the pitch at the Emirates seemed to fix any leaks there were in the first half as Arsenal could not create a clear-cut chance in the second.

Schalke weren’t having such problems as they probed down either flank, and it was down the right hand side where they were having most joy. André Santos cut a lonely figure as time and again, Jefferson Farfan, or Uchida, found space down the right to deliver into the box. It should have produced a goal at the end of the first half but last season’s top scorer in the Bundesliga, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar put wide from just a few yards – an altogether puzzling experience.

If Arsenal expected to get away with giving another great chance to a man with the nickname “The Hunter,” then they were mistaken. Huntelaar lashed in a one-on-one in the second half to give Schalke a deserved lead in London.

Suddenly the home side had an urgency about them which hadn’t been present for the previous 75 minutes. Schalke weren’t worried though as they killed off the hosts five minutes from time. As on Saturday in Dortmund, their second came from a simple counter attack. This time Ibrahim Afellay finished off Jefferson Farfan’s cross, setting off a silent fire alarm across the Emirates as the home faithful disappeared swiftly into the night. In one noisy corner of the stadium, celebrations were under way. It had been another great night for Schalke.

In truth, it had been a great night for the Bundesliga as well, especially with Borussia Dortmund’s victory over Real Madrid. It’s commonplace to hear the division being praised for its fans, for its atmosphere, for the stadiums and in general, for the sensible policies in place in German football. Yet performances in Europe, excluding Bayern Munich, have belied the quality of football in the country. Wednesday night proved to Europe just how capable the likes of Schalke are.

Domestically, the Gelsenkirchen outfit are seven points behind Bayern in the Bundesliga title race but having ended Arsenal’s proud record at the Emirates, Schalke showed they have nothing to fear.

Article originally written @ Gone With The Rhind

Bundesliga Review – Schalke delight in Dortmund derby win by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Despite some success, the last two seasons have been difficult ones for Schalke fans. Within the last eighteen months, they’ve reached a Champions League Semi-Final and won the DFB-Pokal. Yet these achievements have been eclipsed significantly by the dominance of their arch-rivals, Borussia Dortmund.

With back-to-back Bundesliga titles, as well as a DFB-Pokal triumph, the Black and Yellows have outclassed all that have come before them. Ruhr rivals Schalke have been left firmly in their shadow, though Saturday’s Revierderby provided an opportunity to hurt their rivals. That’s something “fans” of both teams did quite literally with 200 arrested after clashes prior to kick off.

Scenes outside Signal Iduna Park were spectacular for all the wrong reasons with the police even using pepper spray and water cannons in an effort to break up the trouble. Scenes inside the stadium were to prove equally spectacular but this time for footballing reasons.

For the first time in over a year a side came to the Westfalenstadion and emerged victorious. Last time it was Hertha Berlin, a team who would go on to be relegated. This time around, and much more painfully for Borussia Dortmund, it was Schalke. And how sweet it was for the Royal Blues.

They were in control for much of the encounter and in recent times, controlling the play against Dortmund is just unheard of. With injuries to key players, Jürgen Klopp decided to gamble tactically by moving away from a 4231 formation. It backfired badly as Dortmund conceded within the opening quarter of an hour.

Schalke’s loan signing from Barcelona, Ibrahim Afellay, provided a touch of class synonymous with his parent club as the Dutchman volleyed in off the post. Klopp reverted back to the warm comforts of 4231 after half an hour but by then Dortmund were unsettled. Even if the odd chance came for the Champions, there wasn’t the usual conviction to their play.

Their rivals didn’t need any encouragement, doubling their lead early in the second half through some simple counter attacking play. Marco Höger was the beneficiary as he raced onto Lewis Holtby’s through ball, sending Roman Weidenfeller the wrong way with a calm finish.

That secured victory for Schalke, though it should have been more comfortable. Joel Matip somehow missed from a few yards at a corner which in turn encouraged Dortmund. Robert Lewandowski pulled one back for the Champions by flicking in Reus’s free kick. Yet even at two one down, the barrage of pressure you’d have expected never really arrived from the home side.

It completed a worrying display for Borussia Dortmund, left 12 points behind Bayern Munich after this latest setback. Even with eight games played, the title looks out of reach of the Champions. That’s both an indictment on how they’ve not matched the incredible standards they’ve set over the last two years and crucially how they lack the strength in depth which Bayern have proudly shown off so far. No team has ever come from 12 points down to win the Bundesliga. If Jürgen Klopp was to mastermind that, it would no doubt be his greatest title as a coach but that’s likely to stay as a distant fantasy.

Yet Huub Stevens side are in a position where thoughts of a title aren’t so unrealistic. Catching Bayern though even with a seven point gap looks a daunting prospect. Still, Saturday was important for the Royal Blues. Last season, they did not show up in any of the big Bundesliga games. They failed against Bayern in September too but finally, in their rivals’ back yard, Schalke did it.

It’s the sort of result which might persuade star player Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, in the final year of his contract, to sign an extension. Talks were said to have reached a standstill in September according to general manager Horst Heldt but Saturday showed the Royal Blues mean business this season.

Expectations are high at one of Germany’s biggest clubs but a first Bundesliga title is likely to prove elusive again this season. Still, the weekend’s result could well prove a watershed moment for Schalke, as they firmly stepped out of Borussia Dortmund’s shadow.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga:

• Bayern Munich just keep chugging away at the top of the table. This week, they thrashed Fortuna Düsseldorf to set a new Bundesliga record for consecutive wins at the start of the season (8). Their closest rivals are still newly promoted Eintracht Frankfurt. The Eagles are five points behind after overcoming Hannover.

• Friday night can be a dreary experience for Bundesliga watchers. Hoffenheim and Greuther Fürth ensured it wasn’t this time around, serving up six goals in Sinsheim. It included three goals in the last 5 minutes and Fürth equalised with the final kick of the game. Cue coach Mike Büskens rushing immediately onto the field to celebrate with his team – only in the Bundesliga…

• Pressure continues to grow on Wolfsburg boss Felix Magath as the Wolves lost 2-0 at home to Freiburg. Disappointment is the overriding feeling at Gladbach too, as they were thrashed by Werder Bremen. And just as Hamburg looked to have turned a corner, they flattered to deceive, as Stuttgart sneaked a 1-0 win at the Imtech Arena. Elsewhere in mid-table, Bayer Leverkusen had to come from behind to secure a 2-2 draw with Mainz. Finally, Nuremberg and Augsburg played out a goalless draw on a sleepy Sunday afternoon.

If you’d like to read more about what’s going on in Germany, follow @archiert1 on Twitter

Matchday 8 Results:

Hoffenheim 3-3 Fürth

Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Mainz

Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Schalke

Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1 Hannover

Fortuna Düsseldorf 0-5 Bayern Munich

Wolfsburg 0-2 Mainz

Werder Bremen 4-0 Gladbach

Nürnberg 0-0 Augsburg

Hamburg 0-1 Stuttgart

Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 8 8 0 0 26:2 +24 24 CL*
2 Eintracht Frankfurt 8 6 1 1 19:11 +8 19 CL*
3 FC Schalke 04 8 5 2 1 17:8 +9 17 CL*
4 Borussia Dortmund 8 3 3 2 18:11 +7 12 CL* Qual.
5 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 8 3 3 2 13:11 +2 12 EL* Qual.
6 Hannover 96 8 3 2 3 16:13 +3 11 EL* Qual.
7 SC Freiburg 8 3 2 3 13:10 +3 11
8 1. FSV Mainz 05 8 3 2 3 9:10 -1 11
9 SV Werder Bremen 8 3 1 4 14:13 +1 10
10 Hamburger SV 8 3 1 4 9:11 -2 10
11 Fortuna Düsseldorf 8 2 4 2 6:8 -2 10
12 VfB Stuttgart 8 2 3 3 8:14 -6 9
13 Borussia Mönchengladbach 8 2 3 3 9:16 -7 9
14 1899 Hoffenheim 8 2 2 4 13:17 -4 8
15 1. FC Nuremberg 8 2 2 4 7:14 -7 8
16 FC Augsburg 8 1 3 4 5:11 -6 6 Play-offs
17 Greuther Fürth 8 1 2 5 5:14 -9 5 Relegation
18 VfL Wolfsburg 8 1 2 5 2:15 -13 5 Relegation

 

Table thanks to Official Bundesliga Website

Article orginally written @ FootballFanCast

Bundesliga Review – Lift Off For Last Season’s Overachievers by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Success can be hard enough to attain but following it up is often the real challenge of a team’s abilities. Until this weekend, two of the Bundesliga’s overachievers from the previous campaign, Augsburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach, had shown just how difficult it can be. In May, Gladbach earned an unlikely top four place, and in turn a shot at Champions League qualification whilst Augsburg’s mere presence outside the relegation zone was surprising.

Both clubs lost significant figures in the summer, severely denting their chances on building on last season’s good work. Roman Neustadter, Dante and Marco Reus joined the three clubs which finished above the Foals last season whereas last year’s Bundesliga debutants lost coach Jos Luhukay. Respective replacements were found but neither has been able to carry on regardless.

That’s shown by the fact that until this Friday, Augsburg were yet to win in the Bundesliga this season under new coach Markus Weinzierl. He was working in the third tier of German football last year and had struggled to adjust to life in the top flight. The visit of bipolar Werder Bremen on Friday could well prove a seminal moment in his reign at the SGL-Arena, or so Weinzierl will hope.

This was a game Werder were expected to win with relative ease and judging by the performance of Thomas Schaaf’s side on Friday night, the Northerners thought they’d be able to do so with minimal effort too. As much as Augsburg deserved credit for their subsequent 3-1 victory, their opponents were toothless.

Tobias Werner scored the fastest goal of the season (94 seconds) with a diving header after a great cross from Captain Paul Verhaegh. The Bavarians were pegged back by a Kevin De Bruyne free kick soon after but strikes from Stephan Hain and Daniel Baier either side of half time secured a first win of the season for Augsburg. That was enough to lift them out of the automatic relegation places and as if that wasn’t enough, the players were even rewarded with a trip to Munich for Oktoberfest.

Mention the word Munich though to Gladbach fans and it might rekindle memories of their two victories over Bayern last season. As such, those results were just a small part of a cracking campaign under Lucien Favre but, going into their game against in-form Eintracht Frankfurr, the Foals were hovering nervously above the relegation zone after just a solitary win in their first six games.

They didn’t necessarily return to their best as a team on Sunday either but a 2-0 win was just what Gladbach needed. Juan Arango provided a contender for goal of the season in scoring the Foals first. The man with the sweetest left foot in the division struck a 31 yard thunderbolt early on before new signing Luuk De Jong netted his second of the campaign. This in turn ensured Frankfurt’s first defeat of the season, though Oliver Occean’s contender for miss of the season didn’t help their cause on a difficult day in North Rhine-Westphalia.

What next then for Gladbach and their fellow overachievers from last season, Augsburg? Survival remains the aim for Augsburg and it still looks like it will be very difficult to achieve. The same doesn’t apply to Lucien Favre’s side, even if they have lost key players over the summer. The club has invested heavily in an effort to ensure more than a temporary revival of fortunes. Their weekend win will have come as a relief – an emotion Augsburg will understand too. Yet as they continue without significant figures from the last campaigin, both clubs are probably just realising now the extent of which they have been victims of their success.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga

• Bayern Munich pulled further clear at the top of the Bundesliga as they saw off Hoffenheim 2-0 at the Allianz Arena. Franck Ribery scored both and victory at this time could only mean one thing for Bayern – getting down to Oktoberfest.

• There was no celebrating for Champions Borussia Dortmund. Despite an encouraging midweek Champions League performance, they slipped to a 1-1 draw at Hannover. That’s by no means shabby – Hannover’s unbeaten home record stretches back more than a season now. However, conceding another late goal, this time from Mame Biram Diouf, will hurt Jürgen Klopp after doing the same in Manchester on Wednesday. Dortmund’s local rivals Schalke kept their good start to the season going with a 3-0 victory against Wolfsburg, who dropped into the bottom two.

• Meanwhile in mid table, Freiburg beat Nürnberg 3-0, Bayer Leverkusen were held 2-2 at Stuttgart and promoted Fortuna Düsseldorf lost for the first time this season. Mainz became the first side to breach the side’s defence on their travels in a 1-0 victory for the home side. And finally, Hamburg continued their recent revival as the in-form Son Heung-Min scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory at Greuther Fürth.

For more on the Bundesliga, follow @archiert1 on Twitter

Matchday 7 Results:

Augsburg 3-1 Werder Bremen

Bayern Munich 2-0 Hoffenheim

Freiburg 3-0 Nürnberg

Fürth 0-1 Hamburg

Mainz 1-0 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Schalke 3-0 Wolfsburg

Gladbach 2-0 Eintracht Frankfurt

Hannover 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

Stuttgart 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen

 Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 7 7 0 0 21:2 +19 21 CL*
2 Eintracht Frankfurt 7 5 1 1 16:10 +6 16 CL*
3 FC Schalke 04 7 4 2 1 15:7 +8 14 CL*
4 Borussia Dortmund 7 3 3 1 17:9 +8 12 CL* Qual.
5 Hannover 96 7 3 2 2 15:10 +5 11 EL* Qual.
6 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 7 3 2 2 11:9 +2 11 EL* Qual.
7 Fortuna Düsseldorf 7 2 4 1 6:3 +3 10
8 Hamburger SV 7 3 1 3 9:10 -1 10
9 1. FSV Mainz 05 7 3 1 3 7:8 -1 10
10 Borussia Mönchengladbach 7 2 3 2 9:12 -3 9
11 SC Freiburg 7 2 2 3 11:10 +1 8
12 SV Werder Bremen 7 2 1 4 10:13 -3 7
13 1899 Hoffenheim 7 2 1 4 10:14 -4 7
14 1. FC Nuremberg 7 2 1 4 7:14 -7 7
15 VfB Stuttgart 7 1 3 3 7:14 -7 6
16 FC Augsburg 7 1 2 4 5:11 -6 5 Play-offs
17 VfL Wolfsburg 7 1 2 4 2:13 -11 5 Relegation
18 Greuther Fürth 7 1 1 5 2:11 -9 4 Relegation

Table thanks to Official Bundesliga Site

Article originally written on Football Fan Cast

Bundesliga Review – Birthday Boys Hamburg Must Take Care by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Organising a birthday party usually means you have to do a few things. Get a cake, send out the invites and a few balloons shouldn’t go amiss either. Hamburg’s special anniversary was a little different. They celebrated 125 years of history on Saturday evening with 1000 guests and 10,000 fans in attendance for a gala at the O2 World Arena. That’s situated next to HSV’s very own Imtech Arena, a place where Hamburg were performing poorly at the start of this season. With the anniversary fast approaching, the Hamburg hierarchy must have been worried. After all, the mood of this weekend’s celebration was always going to be heavily dependent on how Hamburg were performing in the Bundesliga.

President Carl E. Jarchow joked on Saturday night that he was thankful Hamburg’s founding fathers hadn’t launched the club two weeks earlier. Indeed, it would have been a much more sombre and embarrassing occasion had the club’s anniversary been a fortnight ago after the horror start the Northerners made – three games, three losses.

The return of Rafael van der Vaart, dubbed the Messiah by some, coupled with the most unlikely of victories against Champions Borussia Dortmund lifted spirits tremendously. Throwing away a midweek lead against Borussia Mönchengladbach checked Hamburg’s adulation and on their anniversary weekend, they had high-flying Hannover to contend with in a Northern derby.

Come Saturday evening though, Hamburg had reason to celebrate their 125 years of existence with gusto, after a slender victory over their Lower Saxony counterparts. The only goal of the game was provided by HSV favourite van der Vaart. The Dutchman volleyed Artjom Rudnevs through on goal and he  smashed past Ron-Robert Zieler with aplomb.

As has become customary this season when playing Hamburg, the opposition will always have quite a few opportunities but what is becoming equally constant is how René Adler will also be present to save his side on numerous occasions. Saturday’s encounter with Hannover was no different as Adler made a string of fine stops to ensure his first clean sheet of the season – something he deserves for his endeavours since his summer move from Bayer Leverkusen.  Most importantly, the goalkeeper’s performance helped to secure a second Bundesliga win for Hamburg, as Thorsten Fink’s side climbed away from the relegation zone.

Slipping out of the top tier hasn’t been unthinkable such has been the quality of performances in recent months. Naturally the club are proud of the fact they are the only team in the Bundesliga to have never been relegated. What’s more, since 1919, Hamburg have always played in whatever has been Germany’s top flight.

This weekend did help to show what is special about the club but despite their recent resurgence, HSV are not out of the woods. Asides from René Adler, their defence looks poor and that continues to be a major worry but since van der Vaart’s arrival, goals haven’t looked hard to come by.

Prior to the Dutchman’s return, Hamburg had gone 6 hours in the Bundesliga without a goal but when van der Vaart’s played, they average two goals per game. So long as that statistic continues, the Bundesliga’s dinosaur will remain in the top flight for yet another season. Still, Saturday showed how big a club Hamburg are and there won’t (or shouldn’t) be any celebrations for a mid-table finish come the end of the campaign. The weekend’s anniversary was enjoyable for Hamburg but there’s quite a way to go until there’s reason to properly celebrate the efforts of the current team.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga

  • Bayern Munich continued their perfect start with a clinical 2-0 win at Werder Bremen. Newly promoted Eintracht Frankfurt, somehow, remain just two points behind them after recording their fifth victory of the campaign against Freiburg.
  • Borussia Dortmund bounced back from their recent away day misery by thrashing last season’s surprise package Borussia Mönchengladbach 5-0. Dortmund’s Ruhr rivals weren’t so ruthless as Schalke threw away a two-goal lead at the impressive Fortuna Düsseldorf, another promoted side yet to lose this season.
  • Stuttgart finally got their first win of the campaign, winning 2-0 at Nuremberg whilst Bayer Leverkusen won by the same scoreline against lowly Greuther Fürth. Mainz were another team to win by two goals, shocking pre-season dark horses Wolfsburg in Lower Saxony.
  • However, what marred this weekend’s Bundesliga action was a car crash involving Hoffenheim’s Boris Vukcevic. The midfielder sustained serious injuries and is still in an induced coma. Vukcevic’s parents insisted Hoffenheim’s game against Augsburg went ahead but as the 0-0 scoreline suggests, thoughts were probably elsewhere on both sides.
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Matchday 6 Results:

Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-2 Schalke

Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Fürth

Hamburg 1-0 Hannover

Hoffenheim 0-0 Augsburg

Nuremberg 0-2 Stuttgart

Werder Bremen 0-2 Bayern Munich

Borussia Dortmund 5-0 Gladbach

Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Freiburg

Wolfsburg 0-2 Mainz

Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 6 6 0 0 19:2 +17 18 CL*
2 Eintracht Frankfurt 6 5 1 0 16:8 +8 16 CL*
3 Borussia Dortmund 6 3 2 1 16:8 +8 11 CL*
4 FC Schalke 04 6 3 2 1 12:7 +5 11 CL* Qual.
5 Hannover 96 6 3 1 2 14:9 +5 10 EL* Qual.
6 Fortuna Düsseldorf 6 2 4 0 6:2 +4 10 EL* Qual.
7 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 6 3 1 2 9:7 +2 10
8 SV Werder Bremen 6 2 1 3 9:10 -1 7
9 1899 Hoffenheim 6 2 1 3 10:12 -2 7
10 Hamburger SV 6 2 1 3 8:10 -2 7
11 1. FSV Mainz 05 6 2 1 3 6:8 -2 7
12 1. FC Nuremberg 6 2 1 3 7:11 -4 7
13 Borussia Mönchengladbach 6 1 3 2 7:12 -5 6
14 SC Freiburg 6 1 2 3 8:10 -2 5
15 VfB Stuttgart 6 1 2 3 5:12 -7 5
16 VfL Wolfsburg 6 1 2 3 2:10 -8 5 Play-offs
17 Greuther Fürth 6 1 1 4 2:10 -8 4 Relegation
18 FC Augsburg 6 0 2 4 2:10 -8 2 Relegation

Table thanks to the official Bundesliga Website

Article originally written at Football Fan Cast