Tag Archives: Mario Götze

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

Match Report – Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Werder Bremen by Archie Rhind-Tutt

There were some neat parallels to Borussia Dortmund’s opening game with Werder Bremen. In what is the Bundesliga’s 50th season, the two teams also met on the opening day in the competition’s first season. BVB were Champions of Germany then but lost 3-2 on that day. Forty nine years later, history didn’t repeat itself in North Rhine-Westphalia, as Jürgen Klopp’s side edged past Werder.

Dortmund didn’t have the swagger which they ended last season with. Still, they were able to spark into life when it mattered most as they punished Thomas Schaaf’s team for missing some great opportunities. Marco Reus returned to Borussia with greater status than when he left in 2006. Much greater in fact – now he’s the German Player of the Year.

Reus showed why Dortmund paid €17 million for him as he took advantage of some poor defending after 11 minutes. Jakub Blaszczykowski poked the ball towards Reus which should have been cut off by Aleksandar Ignjovski. Instead, Ignjovski got his legs in a tangle, as he would do for most of the night, allowing the ball to roll through to Reus who finished nonchalantly.

Werder responded despite characteristic pressing from Die Schwarzgelben. Soon after, Aaron Hunt slipped Eljero Elia through on goal down the left hand side but he could only fire at Weidenfeller. Minutes later, they were to come closer. BVB failed to clear a corner as the ball looped up towards Marko Arnautovic. His well executed volley could only find the base of the post.

Thomas Schaaf’s side couldn’t break the Dortmund defence in the rest of the half, even if debutant Eljero Elia was continually getting the better of Oliver Kirch down the left hand side. Kirch wasn’t the only full back having problems as Ignjovski toiled at left back for Werder. Most who faced Blaszczykowski last season did too but the Serbian cut an isolated figure on Friday night.

His exit from the pitch mid way through the second half helped his side, though it wasn’t before Dortmund threatened to double their lead. Sebastian Mielitz tipped over Neven Subotic’s header five minutes after the break with the Champions seemingly finding their rhythm.

Yet, they dropped off and the 65th minute substitution of striker Nils Petersen for the struggling Ignjovski gave Bremen some much needed momentum. With Dortmund offering little, Werder took advantage of some poor defending.

With just over 15 minutes to go, Borussia thought the ball had drifted out. Goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller appealed in vain before the ball was squared to Marko Arnautovic wide on the right hand side. He chipped in to the centre where Euro 2012 star Theodor Gebre Selassie flicked a header into the far corner – not a bad finish for a right back.

Then came the response of Champions five minutes later. The skilful Mario Gӧtze was subbed on quickly by Jürgen Klopp and minutes later, he was celebrating the winning goal. As Werder couldn’t retain the ball, Gӧtze played a one-two with Robert Lewandowski before the 20-year-old found himself through on goal. He rolled the ball past Mielitz to the delight of a relieved Signal Iduna Park.

Nils Petersen (or as he’s a loanee from Bayern Munich, perhaps it should be Agent Petersen) missed Werder’s only other chance to equalise on 85 minutes. He failed to guide in the lively Arnautovic’s cross as it bounced off his body and wide.

It was a tame end for a Werder Bremen side that looked promising in patches. Borussia Dortmund weren’t at their swashbuckling best by any means but they had a clinical touch in front of goal proving why they’re Champions. Improvement is needed if they’re to retain their crown for a third season running but they’re unbeaten in 29 league games – an achievement not to be sniffed at.

Article originally written @ Gone With The Rhind