Tag Archives: Rafael van der Vaart

Bundesliga Review – Hamburg shock Borussia Dortmund, again by Archie Rhind-Tutt

bvb_scoreboard

According to Hamburg’s official website: “Nobody in his right mind would have predicted HSV’s superb 4-1 win away to double winners Borussia Dortmund.” As you’d expect from a club publication commenting on their own fortunes, this description could be accused of glorifying their achievements. On this occasion though, it was justified.

Earlier this season, Hamburg prevented history by bringing Borussia Dortmund’s 31-match unbeaten run to an end but on Saturday, die Rothosen (“the red shorts”) made history by becoming the first side to beat Borussia Dortmund home and away since February 2010.

Saturday’s encounter was just as nonsensical and surprising as September’s 3-2 win, providing controversy and another five goals too. This time, it started as expected with the Champions scoring first. Heiko Westermann thought it would be a good idea to let a high ball bounce as it travelled back towards his own goal. Sadly for Westermann, Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski agreed as he punished the defender by finishing neatly past Rene Adler.

Lewandowski has been subject to much transfer speculation in the press and intriguingly he has been linked to Bayern Munich. The chatter about the Polish striker was to continue after the game too but it would be for another contribution that would come later. Lewandowski’s finish was impressive, yet neither he nor the Dortmund defence were prepared for Hamburg to strike back 93 seconds later.

The visitors moved the ball forward with the speed and precision you’d usually associate with the Champions. Marcell Jansen’s one touch pass down the left hand side found Dennis Aogo. He immediately squared it into the box where Artjoms Rudnevs finished first time past Roman Weidenfeller, completing a slick response from the visitors. That goal demonstrated the coherence lacking in last week’s defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt. Eight minutes later, it was time for Hamburg to show the individual talent they possess.

Step forward Son Heung-Min, the 20-year-old South Korean who has been in great form for Hamburg, netting a series of wonder goals for the Northerners this season. One of those came against Borussia Dortmund back in Hamburg and on Saturday he scored a very similar effort. As he did in September, Son stormed down the right hand side before cutting inside on the edge of the penalty area and shooting. The ball found its intended target on both occasions – September’s effort curled into the net without any woodwork assistance but Saturday’s strike swerved inwards before smacking off the post and bouncing into the goal.

Away at the Champions, Hamburg were a goal up, and soon they were a man up too thanks to Robert Lewandowski and their very own Rafael van der Vaart. Whilst attempting to win the ball, the Polish striker caught HSV midfielder Per Ciljan Skelbred as he carelessly swung his right foot. Enter van der Vaart stage right.

Not being involved in the incident didn’t stop the Dutchman from falling to the floor dramatically in the resulting melee. His comments after the game confirmed his intentions to get Lewandowski sent off. He admitted: ‘I had the feeling that he would not otherwise have been sent off. It was a clear red card.’ Still, at the same time he sounded like a bad sitcom actor discussing his performance as he said: “In the scene with Lewandowski I had to do a bit of theatre.”

Either way, the Polish striker was off with van der Vaart settling for a yellow card (having missed out on an Oscar). However, Hamburg’s one man advantage was gone 15 minutes into the second half after Jeffrey Bruma brought down Marco Reus as he went through on goal.

Perhaps that gave Borussia Dortmund a false sense of security as within minutes, Hamburg had extended their lead with Rudnevs heading in van der Vaart’s brilliant cross. Three became four just minutes before the end of the game when Son Heung-Min slid in from a couple of yards, rounding off a magnificent victory for the visitors.

The 1-4 score line condemned Dortmund to their worst home defeat since a 5-1 drubbing to Bayern in September 2009. The result was all the more confusing given the assured start they’d made to 2013 and it certainly ended any dreams of BVB becoming Champions for a third year in a row. Saturday’s result will have added some unnecessary anxiety prior to this week’s Champions League game in Donetsk.

Talk of the Champions League has become relevant to Hamburg, even if some of their performances this season haven’t been worthy of a side challenging for Europe. They’re six points behind Eintracht Frankfurt who currently occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot. Greater consistency is needed in their performances for that to happen but on what was his return to his hometown club Saturday’s result is definitely the high point of Thorsten Fink’s time as coach.

Hamburg’s result against Dortmund in September changed their season, though Thorsten Fink will be hoping the score line at Signal Iduna Park will help define their season as HSV push for an unlikely place in the Champions League.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga:

  • With Dortmund losing, it gave Bayer Leverkusen the chance to overtake them if they could win at Borussia Mönchengladbach but they ended up drawing 3-3 in another entertaining encounter. Even 4th placed Eintracht Frankfurt couldn’t win as they were held to a goalless draw by Nuremberg.
  • That gave Bayern Munich the chance to extend their lead to 15 points at the top of the Bundesliga, which they did as they thrashed sinking Schalke. It’s the first time the Royal Blues have entered the bottom half since the first match day of last season as they continue their poor start under interim coach Jens Keller.
  • The only side in worse form than Schalke are Stuttgart. They were thumped at home by Werder Bremen meaning they’ve now lost five consecutive games in the Bundesliga – something they hadn’t done for nearly 26 years. Still, Stuttgart can take solace in the fact that none of the sides below them won at the weekend.
  • Hoffenheim were edged out by Hannover thanks to Heurelho Gomes’s first Bundesliga blunder, picking up from where Tim Wiese left off. Augsburg fought back to earn a draw against 10-man Mainz. Greuther Fürth were unable to follow up last week’s historic win at Schalke as they lost at home to Wolfsburg whilst Fortuna Düsseldorf lost late on at high-flying Freiburg.

Matchday 21 Results:

Borussia Dortmund 1-4 Hamburg

Eintracht Frankfurt 0-0 Nuremberg

Gladbach 3-3 Bayer Leverkusen

Hannover 1-0 Hoffenheim

Fürth 0-1 Wolfsburg

Stuttgart 1-4 Werder Bremen

Bayern Munich 4-0 Schalke

Augsburg 1-1 Mainz

Freiburg 1-0 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Table:

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 21 17 3 1 55:7 +48 54 CL*
2 Borussia Dortmund 21 11 6 4 47:26 +21 39 CL*
3 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 21 11 5 5 41:29 +12 38 CL*
4 Eintracht Frankfurt 21 11 4 6 38:31 +7 37 CL* Qual.
5 SC Freiburg 21 8 7 6 26:20 +6 31 EL* Qual.
6 1. FSV Mainz 05 21 9 4 8 28:25 +3 31 EL* Qual.
7 Hamburger SV 21 9 4 8 26:27 -1 31
8 Borussia Mönchengladbach 21 7 9 5 31:32 -1 30
9 Hannover 96 21 9 2 10 39:39 0 29
10 FC Schalke 04 21 8 5 8 33:35 -2 29
11 SV Werder Bremen 21 8 4 9 36:38 -2 28
12 VfL Wolfsburg 21 7 5 9 22:30 -8 26
13 1. FC Nuremberg 21 6 7 8 20:27 -7 25
14 VfB Stuttgart 21 7 4 10 23:39 -16 25
15 Fortuna Düsseldorf 21 6 6 9 26:29 -3 24
16 1899 Hoffenheim 21 4 4 13 26:45 -19 16 Play-offs
17 FC Augsburg 21 2 9 10 17:33 -16 15 Relegation
18 Greuther Fürth 21 2 6 13 13:35 -22 12 Relegation

Table thanks to official Bundesliga website

With thanks to @timbotania for the image

Article originally published 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.
For more on the Bundesliga, follow @archiert1 on Twitter

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

Bundesliga Review – Yet ANOTHER entertaining weekend in Germany by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Talking up the Bundesliga – it’s very chic at the moment, isn’t it? It’s really hard not to especially after another engaging and entertaining weekend in Germany. Now, that might not seem apparent were you to focus on the fact there were two goalless draws and that last season’s top three all secured relatively comfortable victories. Delve deeper though, look to some of the division’s supposed lesser lights and there’s entertainment aplenty.

Saying lesser lights is perhaps a bit harsh.  After all Eintracht Frankfurt are effectively standing shoulder to shoulder with Bayern Munich at the moment, with only an inferior goal difference keeping them off the top of the table. Eintracht’s win on Sunday ensured their best start to a season since 1966 – a great achievement when you consider they were relegated from the Bundesliga in May 2011. Relegation may not be too far away for the side Frankfurt overcame on Sunday either – Hamburg. The northerners were edged out 3-2 as some appalling defending cost them.

This was despite the return of Rafael van der Vaart. The Dutchman was keen to make clear last week on his homecoming that he was not the messiah. It’s worth asking then if he’s not the messiah, is he a very naughty boy? The answer is no because that was left to Petr Jiracek, sent off during Sunday’s game for a dangerous lunge and one word too many to referee Wolfgang Stark. As much as Hamburg look in heaps of trouble, credit must be paid to the offensively impressive Frankfurt who punished HSV’s errors, in what was a very open encounter. Still, it could be worse for Hamburg – they could be bottom of the Bundesliga.

That’s where Hoffenheim are as they were involved in another Sunday game where the defending was rather generous. Die Hoffe may have taken the lead early on but their match against Freiburg proceeded to ebb and flow in a manner you wouldn’t have expected prior to kick off.  With the game standing at 3-3 with ten minutes to go, Freiburg finally won the game, but not before they were given a helping hand from the Hoffenheim defence. An unmarked Cedric Makiadi was allowed to slam home from a corner before super sub Sebastian Freis, on for less than five minutes, rounded the erratic Tim Wiese to seal victory. The words “it’s five for Freiburg” have not been heard all too often in the Bundesliga – in fact it was the first time they’d hit five in the top flight in just over 11 years. For Hoffenheim, it was another result that belied pre-season optimism about them being the division’s dark horses.

That honour instead falls to Hannover, another team who were involved in a “crazy game,” as Coach Mirko Slomka called it. He would have been thrilled by the 96’s great start against Werder Bremen. They raced into a two goal lead after just ten minutes courtesy of Szabolcs Huszti and Leon Andreasen. Werder would eventually draw level, after Aaron Hunt’s first half penalty was followed by a Kevin de Bruyne equaliser with just less than 15 minutes to go.

Yet just like in their last away game at Bourssia, they were unable to stay level until the end. In fact this time round, they had two disallowed goals but they were defeated in injury time by Hannover’s man of the moment – Szabolcs Huszti. Into the net flew his (deflected) ove head kick and then came the celebration. Off came the shirt, over the advertising hoardings Huszti went and rapidly he climbed the fence. (BILD even labelled him the “fence king”.) However, referee Deniz Aytekin wasn’t prepared to be lenient with Hannover’s Hungarian hero. When Huszti, already on a yellow card, eventually returned to the pitch, Aytekin sent him on his way. It is the only stain on what has otherwise been a magnificent return to Lower Saxony for Huszti. At this rate, Hannover look like they could be outsiders in the title race – something  Borussia Mönchengladbach did so well last year.

Gladbach so far haven’t been able to match their stunning performances of last season. They’re still entertaining though – just not in the way fans of the Foals quite want them to be. In what was the weekend’s fourth Bundesliga game to produce five goals or more, Gladbach were unable to hold off Nuremberg at Borussia-Park. The Bavarians were another side this weekend to take a two goal lead and to have it erased. The difference on Saturday though was Hiroshi Kiyotake. He’s one of quite a few players of an Asian persuasion to be excelling in the Bundesliga at the moment. Having set up Nuremberg’s first two goals, Kiyotake scored the third as Der Club became only the second team to win at Gladbach in 2012.

This game, along with the other three highlighted, did help to show off the best of the Bundesliga on a weekend the DFL were keen to show what was great about the league. (Every club in the division wore the slogan “Geh Deinen Weg” (Go Your Way) on their shirts as the Bundesliga looked to promote integration.) Still, it’s always good when the main focus of the weekend’s action is on the football and not the politics surrounding it. Whereas handshakes dominated the agenda elsewhere, Germany offered quite the footballing spectacle this weekend, even if the standard of defending left something to be desired for.

Matchday 3 Results:

Augsburg 0-0 Wolfsburg

Bayern Munich 3-1 Mainz

Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen

Gladbach 2-3 Nuremberg

Hannover 3-2 Werder Bremen

Stuttgart 0-0 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Fürth 0-2 Schalke

Freiburg 5-3 Hoffenheim

Eintracht Frankfurt 3-2 Hamburg

Table:

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

Table thanks to the Bundesliga Official Website

For more on the Bundesliga, follow @archiert1 on Twitter

Article originally posted on Football Fan Cast