Tag Archives: Max Kruse

Bundesliga Review – Same old Bayern, taking the Piz by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Dinosaurs may now be extinct but when they did roam the planet they were said to be fearsome creatures. Now, by definition of the fact Hamburg have been in the Bundesliga for all 50 seasons, they are renowned for being the division’s dinosaur. Sadly for Thorsten Fink, they were more like Barney the Dinosaur at a time when they could least afford it; because any team who puts in a weak performance against this Bayern Munich side risks a thrashing.

The Bundesliga record champions displayed on Saturday why they’re on course to become the greatest team in the competition’s 50 year history. After a series of poor performances by the high standards they’ve set themselves this season, Bayern responded by annihilating Hamburg. The away side have had eyes on a Champions League place of late but their 9-2 thrashing at the league leaders should end those dreams.

Four of those goals came from third choice front man Claudio Pizarro. He has been something of a “Cash and Carry” striker this season as when he’s scored, he’s done so in bulk. The Peruvian played a part in six goals on Saturday, a Bundesliga record for a single game and he also moved into the list of the top ten Bundesliga scorers of all time. His performance alone showed how this season even players who warm the bench at Bayern do not disappoint when they’re let loose in the red shirt.

Pizarro’s return to Bavaria in the summer seemed strange though. He was never going to be the first choice striker, yet he had been one of the top scorers in the division last season, netting 18 for Werder Bremen. His quadruple on Saturday makes it harder to pick holes in his logic of moving back to Bayern. Whilst he could have played regularly for another club in the Bundesliga, it takes a very strong character to turn down Bayern Munich. When you’re averaging a goal every 72 minutes or so, as Pizarro has done this season, it’s unlikely he’ll have any regrets, especially after Saturday evening.

Both the Peruvian and die Roten were majestic, in contrast to visitors Hamburg who equalled their worst ever defeat in the Bundesliga, 49 years after they were beaten by the same scoreline at Bayern’s neighbours, 1860 Munich. Saturday’s apocalyptic performance also came 49 days after Hamburg thrashed Borussia Dortmund 4-1 at Signal Iduna Park. After Bayern’s nine though, you have to question whether a 4-1 score line even qualifies as a thrashing.

If it had a been a bout, the blue corner would have thrown in the towel at half time, though Thorsten Fink’s side effectively did, conceding another four after the league leaders had planted five past them in the first half. Still, there were a few positives for HSV. At least they scored (not many have done so against this Bayern side), at least their opponents didn’t get into double figures and at least Hamburg won’t have to travel to the Allianz Arena until August at the very earliest – in their last three visits, they’ve conceded 20.

As for Bayern, they will bounce into their Champions League quarter final with Juventus on Tuesday. The team that started on Saturday was lacking a few first choice members such as Alaba, Ribery and Mandzukic but they comprehensively outplayed a team challenging for a European place in the Bundesliga. A win next week at Eintracht Frankfurt will seal their 23rd Bundesliga title and never has it been more deserved for Bayern Munich.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga:

  • Despite being constantly linked to Bayern Munich, Robert Lewandowski ensured his potential employers would have to wait until next week to seal the title. He scored the winner as Borussia Dortmund overcame Stuttgart. The side behind BVB, Bayer Leverkusen, were much more comfortable in Düsseldorf, as they swept past Fortuna thanks to two from Stefan Kiessling and two from André Schürrle.
  • Speaking of doubles, Max Kruse also netted a pair against Borussia Mönchengladbach ensuring Freiburg kept in the hunt for a Champions League place. And wouldn’t you just know it, he’s been linked with a move recently to… Borussia Mönchengladbach! Another fine pair could be found in Augsburg as Konstantin Rausch got both goals in a rare away triumph for Hannover.
  • However, it is Schalke who now lead the race for that final Champions League place after a 12 minute treble salvo saw them past lowly Hoffenheim. Level on points with the Royal Blues though are Eintracht Frankfurt. The Eagles won their first game in six and more poignantly, since Armin Veh signed a new contract during the week. They snuck past Greuther Fürth in an entertaining encounter on Sunday afternoon.
  • Mainz scored the quickest goal in their history when Adam Szalai scored after 12 seconds. Coincidentally, it was the fastest goal Werder Bremen have ever conceded too but Thomas Schaaf’s side recovered to grab a share of the points. As fate would have it, Sokratis and Marko Arnautovic, fresh from scuffling on the training ground, combined well to set up Aaron Hunt for the equaliser.
  • And finally, in what should have been labelled as the Dieter Hecking derby, Wolfsburg and Nürnberg played out a draw on Sunday. Hecking’s current side took a two goal lead before generously letting it slip as his former charges fought back to secure a draw. It included what can only be described as a “Thundercracker” from Belgian defender Timmy Simons.

Matchday 27 Results:

Augsburg 0-2 Hannover

Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-4 Bayer Leverkusen

Freiburg 2-0 Gladbach

Mainz 1-1 Werder Bremen

Schalke 3-0 Hoffenheim

Stuttgart 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

Bayern Munich 9-2 Hamburg

Wolfsburg 2-2 Nürnberg

Greuther Fürth 2-3 Eintracht Frankfurt

Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 27 23 3 1 78:13 +65 72 CL*
2 Borussia Dortmund 27 15 7 5 62:32 +30 52 CL*
3 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 27 14 6 7 50:35 +15 48 CL*
4 FC Schalke 04 27 12 6 9 46:43 +3 42 CL* Qual.
5 Eintracht Frankfurt 27 12 6 9 42:39 +3 42 EL* Qual.
6 1. FSV Mainz 05 27 10 9 8 34:30 +4 39 EL* Qual.
7 SC Freiburg 27 10 9 8 35:33 +2 39
8 Borussia Mönchengladbach 27 9 11 7 35:37 -2 38
9 Hamburger SV 27 11 5 11 32:43 -11 38
10 Hannover 96 27 11 4 12 49:46 +3 37
11 1. FC Nuremberg 27 8 11 8 31:34 -3 35
12 VfL Wolfsburg 27 8 8 11 32:42 -10 32
13 VfB Stuttgart 27 9 5 13 29:46 -17 32
14 SV Werder Bremen 27 8 7 12 43:52 -9 31
15 Fortuna Düsseldorf 27 7 8 12 33:40 -7 29
16 FC Augsburg 27 5 9 13 23:40 -17 24 Play-offs
17 1899 Hoffenheim 27 5 5 17 30:52 -22 20 Relegation
18 Greuther Fürth 27 2 9 16 18:45 -27 15 Relegation

Table thanks to official Bundesliga website

Originally written at 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