Bundesliga MatchDay 20: What Did We Learn? Part One

The Bundesliga Fanatic team weigh in with their individual takes on what we learned on MatchDay 20.  In Part One, Niklas considers the fates of Hamburg and St. Pauli while Cristian looks at Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich.  In Part Two Zulquar shares his thoughts on Leverkusen’s Michael Ballack and Arturo Vidal while Gerry gives props to Freiburg’s Robin Dutt and wonders if American players leaving the Bundesliga is becoming a trend.

Hamburger SV
After two successive 1-0 victories, Hamburg lost away against Der Club from Nürnberg. Hamburg head honcho Armin Veh looked like a beaten man at the press conference after the game, making Shakespeare’s King Lear look like a quite cheerful man by comparison. Veh told the press that Hamburg were lacking balance in their team. Too many defenders are out on injuries, and. Kacar’s red card against the Bavarians will add to Veh’s trouble in the coming weeks.

The scariest part for Veh and the Hamburg fans, it has to be said, wasn’t even Hamburg’s rather dreadful display in defense. Having all their options available upfront, Hamburg didn’t manage to create one clear cut chance against a Nürnberg side without their two best players, Mehmet Ekici and İlkay Gündoğan.

Hamburg certainly have much work to do in the weeks to come. Armin Veh managed to keep the press in the Germany’s second biggest town quiet after the victories in recent weeks, but it has to be expected that Veh’s position at the club will be discussed vividly in the coming week.

FC St. Pauli
Everybody’s second favorite club got off to a good start against FC Koln. Charles Takyi scored one of the prettiest goals so far this season. St. Pauli have had their troubles at home, taking only nine points at the Millerntor before their match against Koln. What was uplifting for the fans of St. Pauli was that the team outperformed the Billy Goats in all areas. Lukas Podolski was an invisible man for most of the game, FC Koln’s defense seemed like traffic combs every time a St. Pauli striker came near the goal. It was only Billy Goats’s keeper Micheal Rensing who saved Koln from a nastier result.

 What has been promising for “The buccaneers of the league” is that their offensive midfielders and strikers have started to score important goals in recent games. Gerald Asamoah and Marius Ebbers have each scored two goals after the winter break. If the club from the legendary “Reeperbahn” can keep this up, they will be rewarded with a place in next year’s Bundesliga. The chances for an away victory against their arch rival, the Hamburger SV, have never been better. Next week’s game will show if St. Pauli really have what it takes to stay in the Bundesliga.   —Niklas


 Bayern’s makeshift side continues great run

“Robbery” was the term coined when Robben was signed last season as the potential of two of the games’ best wingers playing alongside each other wet the appetites of many in the football world.  A year and a half later “Robbery” has been nothing but a myth, neither being able to simultaneously remain fit.  The departure of Demichelis and Van Bommel along with the injuries to Kroos, Olic and recently Breno and Klose left Van Gaal with no choice but to readjust his lineup and gameplan.
Amidst these changes criticism arose about the effectiveness of said changes but if one thing counts above all others in football it is results and Bayern, with the win over Bremen, have gone on a great run, losing just twice in 18 matches.  This weekend Bayern weathered an early storm from Bremen and left it late to get an impressive 3-1 on the road.  The win lifted Bayern into third place and right on path for their 2nd place goal for the season.
Bremen continue their unprecedented season.

Things haven’t gone this bad for Bremen since 1980 when they were relegated.  Not only is Bremen losing games left and right and in front of their home crowd but there is no seeming solution to their woes.  Bremen General manager Klaus Allofs stated that he saw improvements from last week’s debacle in Köln and when asked if his team will be active in the remaining hours of the transfer market replied that there are no viable options that would improve the team.  The bleak nature of his response is representative of the overall hopelessness that has come to define Werder’s season this year. — Cristian
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Gerry Wittmann

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