Category Archives: Bundesliga

The Bundesliga Show Episode 95 – Schalke’s Managerial Blues

With no fresh match day to mull over on this week’s Bundesliga Show, Matt Hermann sets the pod’s sights on doings beyond the Bundesliga’s borders. The Yellow Wall podcast’s Matthias Suuck tells us how he spent the international break in a blizzard and talks Borussia Dortmund’s prospects in the Champions League against Malaga. European football expert Andy Brassell, meanwhile, fills us in on what the dang deal with Malaga is over a coffee. Then Matt and Matthias get pumped for match day 27.
Dig in!

The Bundesliga Show Episode 94 – Nuri Sahin Strikes Back

On the Bundesliga Show this week, Jon Hartley and Matt Hermann reflect on the action from Matchday 26. The pair discuss the rousing return of Nuri Sahin to scoring ways, Bayern’s step closer to the title and the prospects for the teams vying for 4th place.

All that, plus Terry’s Duffelen’s weekly report on the 2.Bundesliga.

Enjoy the show!

The Bundesliga Show Episode 93 – Derby Joy & Champions League Disappointment

Matt Hermann and Jon Hartley are back to run the rule over matchday 25 from the Bundesliga. There was derby joy and Champions League disappointment for Schalke, while at the bottom of the table Hoffenheim made ground on Augsburg.

All that, plus Terry Duffelen‘s review of the 2.Bundesliga.

Enjoy the show!

Bundesliga Review – Buoyant Bayern all set for Arsenal by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Arsène Wenger may claim his side have a chance of qualifying for the Champions League quarter finals. The truth is, they don’t. The Gunners first leg against Bayern Munich proved just how much stronger the Bavarians are. And even if the Bundesliga leaders may have stuttered ever so slightly at the weekend, Bayern still look the strongest side in Europe.

Now for this season’s Bayern, a stutter qualifies as a win – just not in the swashbuckling style that we have come to expect of the champions-elect. Their opponents on Saturday could count themselves unfortunate too. In the last two seasons, scoring twice against Bayern usually guarantees victory. So, poor old Fortuna Düsseldorf, who became the first away team to score two and not win a Bundesliga game at the Allianz Arena since Freiburg in October 2010. They can take solace in the fact they played a side on course to become the greatest team in Bundesliga history.

Coach Jupp Heynckes didn’t put out much of a weakened team on Saturday either. Even when you include injuries, Heynckes played a side which was just three players off what has become the acknowledged full strength team for Bayern this season – those missing being Holger Badstuber, Javi Martinez and perhaps the signing of the season, Dante.

Saturday was the first Bundesliga game the Brazilian centre back has not started this season as he was rested for Wednesday’s game against Arsenal. That there was a certain fragility to the Bayern defence against Fortuna  was testament to the impact Dante has had since signing from Borussia Mönchengladbach in the summer.

Twice Fortuna Düsseldorf took the lead (sparking wild, yet understandable celebrations in the away end of the stadium ) and, when they did so for a second time through Andreas Lambertz’s strike, just 18 minutes remained in the game. Still, it was naïve to think there wasn’t enough time for Bayern to turn round the deficit. Within minutes Franck Ribery had equalised and with just a few to spare, Jerome Boateng made sure that the team’s dinner was on Jupp Heynckes by nodding in his first ever Bundesliga goal.

More importantly, it was the winner, taking Bayern 20 points clear at the top of the division. Forget the title race (if you haven’t already) because Bayern Munich are now up against history – and they’re even on course to thrash that too. Jupp Heynckes’s team have five more points than any other side has had at this stage of a Bundesliga season.

Win their next three games and they’ll clinch their first league title since 2010 at Eintracht Frankfurt on April 6th. Yet, perhaps the sweetest domestic prospect for Bayern lies in early May. Because, should they take 16 points from their next six games, they will go to Borussia Dortmund, not just as Champions but having broken the record points total set just last season by BVB. And if they could even win at Signal Iduna Park, having already surpassed 81 points, it would further legitimise their status as Deutscher Meister once more.

They may have looked weaker defensively without Dante at the weekend but, that aside, the quality in Bayern’s squad has been shown to be so interchangeable, that it will be surprising if Jupp Heynckes’s side do anything but breeze through to the quarter finals of the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga:

  • Whilst Jupp Heynckes got away with leaving out his summer signing from Gladbach, Jürgen Klopp wasn’t so fortunate. Marco Reus was on the bench for the Revierderby as Schalke raced into a first half lead thanks to goals from Julian Draxler and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. The emergence of Reus in the second half wasn’t enough to spark a revival as Schalke held on for their second derby win of the season, despite Robert Lewandowski’s goal just before the hour.
  • However, there was concerning injury news for both Dortmund and Schalke after the game. Mats Hummels tore an ankle ligament which will put him out for four weeks whilst Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will miss Tuesday’s Champions League game with Galatasaray. He’s out for eight weeks having torn a ligament in his knee after an innocuous collision with his own goalkeeper, Timo Hildebrand.
  • That result for Schalke pushed them back into the top four for the first time since the beginning of December. But, there are quite a few sides behind them. Take Mainz who won for the first time in 2013 by overcoming Bayer Leverkusen. Eintracht Frankfurt are level on points with Schalke but their run of games without scoring was extended to five in their goalless draw at Hannover.
  • Goals were not a problem for Wolfsburg though as they scored five in a surprise victory at Freiburg which included a pair of superb strikes. First came Vieirinha’s thumping volley from 25 yards before Ivica Olic tried to top that with an overhead kick. Alternatively there was a powerful volley by Hamburg’s Artjoms Rudnevs on Sunday. That earned his side the win against Stuttgart, putting HSV within two points of fourth place. Their local rivals, Werder Bremen, had to settle for a draw at Borussia Mönchengladbach.
  • And, in the scrap to avoid relegation, Augsburg’s recent good form came to an end as they were beaten by Nuremberg -that allowed Hoffenheim to gain some ground on the Bavarians as they overcame bottom club Greuther Fürth.

Matchday 25 Results:

Augsburg 1-2 Nuremberg

Bayern Munich 3-2 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Freiburg 2-5 Wolfsburg

Greuther Fürth 0-3 Hoffenheim

Mainz 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen

Schalke 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

Gladbach 1-1 Werder Bremen

Hannover 0-0 Eintracht Frankfurt

Stuttgart 0-1 Hamburg

Table:

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 25 21 3 1 67:10 +57 66 CL*
2 Borussia Dortmund 25 13 7 5 55:30 +25 46 CL*
3 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 25 13 6 6 45:32 +13 45 CL*
4 FC Schalke 04 25 11 6 8 43:40 +3 39 CL* Qual.
5 Eintracht Frankfurt 25 11 6 8 38:35 +3 39 EL* Qual.
6 Hamburger SV 25 11 5 9 30:33 -3 38 EL* Qual.
7 1. FSV Mainz 05 25 10 7 8 33:29 +4 37
8 SC Freiburg 25 9 9 7 32:28 +4 36
9 Borussia Mönchengladbach 25 8 11 6 34:35 -1 35
10 Hannover 96 25 10 4 11 47:45 +2 34
11 1. FC Nuremberg 25 7 10 8 26:32 -6 31
12 VfL Wolfsburg 25 8 6 11 29:39 -10 30
13 SV Werder Bremen 25 8 5 12 40:49 -9 29
14 VfB Stuttgart 25 8 5 12 26:43 -17 29
15 Fortuna Düsseldorf 25 7 7 11 31:35 -4 28
16 FC Augsburg 25 4 9 12 22:38 -16 21 Play-offs
17 1899 Hoffenheim 25 5 4 16 30:49 -19 19 Relegation
18 Greuther Fürth 25 2 8 15 14:40 -26 14 Relegation

Table thanks to official Bundesliga website

Article originally written at Football Fan Cast

The Bundesliga Show Episode 92 – Dortmund in Dreamland

This week on The Bundesliga Show, Jon Hartley and Matt Hermann are joined by journalist Mark Lovell.

The pod crew get to grips with Dortmund’s win over Shahktar, the Bundesliga matchday 24 action…and a nod to the promotion race in the 2.Bundesliga.

Enjoy the show!

Bundesliga Review – The Augsburg escape is on once more by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Barack Obama’s famous 2008 election slogan “Yes We Can” was meant to inspire. Yet did the President realise it would influence one Augsburg fan’s choice of lettering on their replica shirt. The words “Jos We Can” are adorned on the back of one supporter’s top in honour of now former coach Jos Luhukay.

Alas, as this particular fan trudged away into the night after a 3-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen earlier this season, he might have had his doubts about whether Augsburg could compete in their second year in the Bundesliga without the man who’d made the club’s dreams come true.

Not only did Luhukay take Augsburg into the Bundesliga for the first time; the Dutchman kept the club in the division too, on what was the smallest budget in the Bundesliga. This was all the more remarkable given the fact the club were in the relegation zone at Christmas. An improbable run in the Rückrunde,  combined with the downfall of Cologne and Hertha Berlin, saw Augsburg survive. Jos Luhukay was seen as the mastermind of this triumph but at the end of the season, feeling he could take the team no further, he left for relegated Hertha Berlin.

If Augsburg thought it had been difficult surviving with Luhukay, they’d now have to do it without their hero. In stepped Markus Weinzierl, a relatively unknown coach in Germany but nevertheless fresh from getting SSV Jahn Regensburg promoted to the second division.

And for a second season running, the first half of a Bundesliga season proved tricky for Augsburg. Weinzierl’s squad was not too different to Luhukay’s. Still, the newcomer was failing to produce the same results with injuries to key players such as skipper Paul Verhaegh not helping his cause. Just nine points were gained in the Hinrunde including a solitary win against Werder Bremen.

But crucially, things looked to have changed for the better at half way for a second consecutive year. In fact, after Saturday’s victory at Werder Bremen, Augsburg would be fourth, based solely on their performance in the second half of the season. And whilst every win for Augsburg could be described as significant, success at Werder really was a fillip for the Bavarians. Tobias Werner, who scored in the reverse fixture earlier this season, was the hero for Augsburg, heading in the game’s only goal just before the half hour mark.

Even more remarkably, Augsburg played out the remaining hour without conceding thanks to a mixture of astute defending, toothless finishing from Werder and goalkeeping heroics from Mohammed Amsif. This performance though formed just another part of the spring recovery by Augsburg.

And like their win on Saturday, this recovery has come about for a couple of reasons. Since the winter break, Markus Weinzierl has played a 4-1-4-1 formation in all but one game, which interestingly enough brought about their only loss in 2013 so far (against Bayer Leverkusen). By chance, that man Jos Luhukay had some success using the formation in the second half of last season too.

On a technical note though, as Cristian Nyari said in January: “The formation adds greater variety to Augsburg’s attacks and puts them in a better position to play a proactive game as opposed to reacting to opponents” – something that cannot be underestimated, considering only Greuther Fürth had scored less goals than Augsburg at Christmas.

Add to this the appointment of Stefan Reuter as Sporting Director in December; which has been followed by a few shrewd signings in January such as forward Ji Dong-Won on a loan deal from Sunderland and American defender Michael Parkhurst from Danish Champions Nordsjaelland and you have the crux of Augsburg’s ascent in 2013.

The club are still some way from complete safety with the Bavarians currently occupying the relegation/promotion playoff spot. Were Augsburg to survive, it would be arguably be an even bigger achievement for the club than last season and indeed a great endorsement for the coaching ability of Markus Weinzierl.

This weekend’s win over Werder Bremen meant Weinzierl did something Luhukay never did in winning back-to-back Bundesliga games. With Nuremberg visiting the SGL-Arena on Friday night, you wouldn’t bet against Augsburg extending that run either.

But the question is, even without Jos Luhukay as coach, can Augsburg achieve survival?

Well, Jos they can.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga:

  • Staying with the battle for survival, bottom club Greuther Fürth gained another unlikely point, this time at Hamburg on Saturday. It means they’re undefeated in the two games they’ve had without sacked coach Mike Büskens. One of Büskens former clubs, Schalke look to have regained some form of late, with Julian Draxler particularly influential in their thrashing of Wolfsburg at the weekend.
  • Now, for those who like a good bit of word play, this weekend was momentous in the Bundesliga. Bas Dost faced Bastos for the first time in German football – the winner being Bastos with Schalke beating the Wolves. But there was more on Sunday when Hoffenheim’s game against Bayern saw Gomes take on Gomez. And as destiny would have it, they came face-to-face for the defining moment of the match as Gomez of the Mario variety slipped it past Heurelho to seal a surprisingly slender win for the league leaders. And as is dictated now when Mario Gomez scores a goal, you just have to push the button
  • But enough frivolity and back to the weekend’s action where Borussia Dortmund prepared for their Champions League game with a relatively comfortable win over Hannover. The team just behind BVB, Bayer Leverkusen, recorded an impressive victory against Stuttgart, scoring twice in the last eight minutes to overturn a one goal deficit.
  • And in the race for that final Champions League spot, Gladbach shocked 4th placed Eintracht on Friday night, Freiburg recovered to draw at Nuremberg whilst former Bolton striker Ivan Klasnic netted the equaliser as Mainz were held at Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Matchday 24 Results

Eintracht Frankfurt 0-1 Gladbach

Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Hannover

Hamburg 1-1 Fürth

Nuremberg 1-1 Freiburg

Werder Bremen 0-1 Augsburg

Wolfsburg 1-4 Schalke

Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Stuttgart

Hoffenheim 0-1 Bayern Munich

Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-1 Mainz

Table:

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 24 20 3 1 64:8 +56 63 CL*
2 Borussia Dortmund 24 13 7 4 54:28 +26 46 CL*
3 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 24 13 6 5 45:31 +14 45 CL*
4 Eintracht Frankfurt 24 11 5 8 38:35 +3 38 CL* Qual.
5 SC Freiburg 24 9 9 6 30:23 +7 36 EL* Qual.
6 FC Schalke 04 24 10 6 8 41:39 +2 36 EL* Qual.
7 Hamburger SV 24 10 5 9 29:33 -4 35
8 1. FSV Mainz 05 24 9 7 8 32:29 +3 34
9 Borussia Mönchengladbach 24 8 10 6 33:34 -1 34
10 Hannover 96 24 10 3 11 47:45 +2 33
11 VfB Stuttgart 24 8 5 11 26:42 -16 29
12 Fortuna Düsseldorf 24 7 7 10 29:32 -3 28
13 1. FC Nuremberg 24 6 10 8 24:31 -7 28
14 SV Werder Bremen 24 8 4 12 39:48 -9 28
15 VfL Wolfsburg 24 7 6 11 24:37 -13 27
16 FC Augsburg 24 4 9 11 21:36 -15 21 Play-offs
17 1899 Hoffenheim 24 4 4 16 27:49 -22 16 Relegation
18 Greuther Fürth 24 2 8 14 14:37 -23 14 Relegation

Table thanks to official Bundesliga website

Article originally published on Football Fan Cast

The Bundesliga Show Episode 91 – Bayern Bulldoze On

This week on The Bundesliga Show, Matt Hermann and Jon Hartley are joined by Deutsche Welle’s Mark Hallam to talk about plenty of issues surrounding German football.

For starters there was Matchday 23 to dissect, as well as what is happening in the 2.Bundesliga. There is also a debate about ‘works clubs’ and a look forward to Matchday 24.

Enjoy the show!

The Guardian European Paper Review with Raphael Honigstein

Here at the Bundesliga Lounge, we regularly enjoy the puns and wit of James Richardson and his European Paper Review at The Guardian. However, with James partaking in a little break on the slopes, the task of humour and headlines this week fell to German football guru Raphael Honigstein.

As this is a Bundesliga-centric edition of the ‘Paper Review’, we thought it was only right to share it.

Take it away Rafa!

The Bundesliga Show Episode 90 – Bayern Bomb The Gunners

This week on The Bundesliga Show, Jon Hartley and Matt Hermann separate the wheat from the chaff from the Matchday 22 action.

It is also a Champions League week so Matt grabbed a word about the Bavarians from Bayern blogger at ESPN.com, Susie Schaaf.

All that, plus Terry Duffelen with his 2.Bundesliga wrap.

Enjoy the show!

Bundesliga Review – 4th place race to provide exciting finale by Archie Rhind-Tutt

As you probably know by now, the Bundesliga’s great. In fact, such is the extensive coverage it has recently received, you can probably recite off by heart all of the reasons for it being so. But, from a competitive point of view, the end of this season could be an anti-climax. The title race is over (unless Bayern Munich appoint Michael Skibbe) and at the bottom, it’s just a case of Hoffenheim, Augsburg and Greuther Fürth sorting out who plays in the promotion/relegation play off.

Fortunately, the battle for the final Champions League spot, known more dourly as fourth place, looks intriguing as we enter the final 12 games of the season. Seven points separate seven teams, though there’s a few who are unlikely to make it such as Gladbach, Hannover and Schalke.

Borussia Mönchengladbach may have done it last season but Lucien Favre’s team haven’t quite recovered from losing players like Marco Reus and Dante, who have been brilliant since moving on to Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich respectively. Losing to Hamburg this weekend leaves them seven adrift of fourth but playing in the Europa League has been a bit of a hindrance as Hannover can perhaps testify too.

The 96’s main problems though are away from home. Mirko Slomka’s side only won twice on the road last season and whilst they’ve matched the total this time around, Hannover had lost their previous four away games before drawing at lowly Nuremberg. That result may sound encouraging but Slomka saw his team lose the lead twice on Sunday, including a 91st minute equaliser from the home side’s Sebastian Polter. Still, Hannover are 8th meaning they’re above Schalke.

And when it comes to surprises, the Royal Blues’s capitulation ranks alongside the resignation of a certain German holy figure in the last week. Because much like the Pope, thousands gather to watch Schalke each week but in contrast, those decked in blue have been leaving bitterly disappointed. They’ve witnessed just one win in their last 11 games, yet new signing Michel Bastos seems to be on a solo crusade to drag Schalke forward. He scored twice in the weekend’s draw against Mainz, however, after little impact from new coach Jens Keller, fourth place looks very unlikely given their recent form.

Their opponents on Saturday, seventh placed Mainz, aren’t exactly front runners either but they are not a team to be underestimated. In Thomas Tuchel, they have one of the best, if not the best, young coaches in the country. He’s had relative success on a small budget and the fact that they are even close to a Champions League place is testament to Tuchel and Mainz as a club. Even so, the lack of a clinical touch at the weekend, against a weak Schalke side, showed why fourth may be beyond them for now.

For Hamburg, Freiburg and Eintracht Frankfurt though, the Champions League spot is a realistic possibility – and that’s surprising in each case. Hamburg finished fourth from bottom last season and have recovered from a nightmarish start this time around. Freiburg, like Mainz, are the provincial low budget outsiders who are overachieving spectacularly under Christian Streich. A year ago, they were bottom of the Bundesliga but Streich guided them to safety and even greater heights this season. Meanwhile, the current occupants of fourth place, Eintracht Frankfurt weren’t even in the Bundesliga last season. Since their promotion from the second tier though, they’ve looked very comfortable in the higher echelons of the top flight.

And from an unbiased viewpoint, what’s not to like about seeing three teams who would have been considered unlikely candidates at the start of the season all with genuine chances of reaching at least the qualification stage of the Champions League. Which team that will be is difficult to judge especially due to the lack of consistency each has shown. Still,  it was unsurprising to see Eintracht Frankfurt defeated comprehensively at Borussia Dortmund this weekend (and more specifically, by the magnificent Marco Reus who netted a hat-trick). That allowed Hamburg and Freiburg to close in on the Eagles.

Rafael van der Vaart, a player who has been a significant catalyst in Hamburg’s charge up the table, swerved a spectacular effort into the top corner to defeat Borussia Mönchengladbach in an otherwise dull affair. In contrast, Freiburg won an entertaining five goal thriller away at Werder Bremen in a game characterised by suspect defending. That’s not been typical of Freiburg this season, with only Bayern Munich conceding less goals. However, Streich’s team showed their character, having been pegged back twice after taking the lead, by scoring a third and decisive goal through Mathias Ginter. With Freiburg taking on Eintracht Frankfurt this Friday night, the race for that final Champions League spot could be even tighter come next Saturday.

But who will make it to fourth? Well, where’s the excitement in football when you know what’s going to happen. The fact each team has its flaws is part of what will make the race for fourth the most exciting aspect of the final games of the Bundesliga’s 50th season.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga:

  • Bayern shaped up for their Champions League trip to London with a win at Wolfsburg on Friday night. The leaders weren’t as free flowing as they have been for most of the season, but the discipline they displayed showed why the Bavarians will be Bundesliga Champions come May. There were flashes of brilliance from Jupp Heynckes’s side too with Mario Mandzukic’s overhead kick the undoubted highlight of his return to former club Wolfsburg.
  • At the bottom of the table, Augsburg suffered their first defeat of 2013 at the BayArena with Bayer Leverkusen inspired by Stefan Kiessling. The joint top-scorer in the division headed in the first before setting up the second. Augsburg scored a late consolation through Sascha Mölders. The result didn’t affect Augsburg’s predicament at the bottom though as the side below them, Greuther Fürth, lost away at Fortuna Düsseldorf and the team above them, Hoffenheim, were beaten at home by Stuttgart.

Matchday 22 Results:

Wolfsburg 0-2 Bayern Munich

Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Augsburg

Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-0 Fürth

Hamburg 1-0 Gladbach

Mainz 2-2 Schalke

Werder Bremen 2-3 Freiburg

Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Eintracht Frankfurt

Nuremberg 2-2 Hannover

Hoffenheim 0-1 Stuttgart

Table:

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 22 18 3 1 57:7 +50 57 CL*
2 Borussia Dortmund 22 12 6 4 50:26 +24 42 CL*
3 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 22 12 5 5 43:30 +13 41 CL*
4 Eintracht Frankfurt 22 11 4 7 38:34 +4 37 CL* Qual.
5 SC Freiburg 22 9 7 6 29:22 +7 34 EL* Qual.
6 Hamburger SV 22 10 4 8 27:27 0 34 EL* Qual.
7 1. FSV Mainz 05 22 9 5 8 30:27 +3 32
8 Hannover 96 22 9 3 10 41:41 0 30
9 FC Schalke 04 22 8 6 8 35:37 -2 30
10 Borussia Mönchengladbach 22 7 9 6 31:33 -2 30
11 SV Werder Bremen 22 8 4 10 38:41 -3 28
12 VfB Stuttgart 22 8 4 10 24:39 -15 28
13 Fortuna Düsseldorf 22 7 6 9 27:29 -2 27
14 1. FC Nuremberg 22 6 8 8 22:29 -7 26
15 VfL Wolfsburg 22 7 5 10 22:32 -10 26
16 1899 Hoffenheim 22 4 4 14 26:46 -20 16 Play-offs
17 FC Augsburg 22 2 9 11 18:35 -17 15 Relegation
18 Greuther Fürth 22 2 6 14 13:36 -23 12 Relegation

Table thanks to official Bundesliga website

Article originally written at Football Fan Cast