A dirty weekend in Germany with passion high on the agenda may give you the wrong impression of what happened in the Bundesliga, but – honestly – some officials couldn’t contain themselves, determined to paint the Matchday red with a record eight dismissals handed out across the weekend. For the football sadist, a dream. For Ibrahima Traoré, a nightmare.
The Stuttgart substitute had been on barely six minutes before referee Tobias Welz took centre stage, banishing him from proceedings for one of the meekest tackles you will see this season. Some won’t even classify it as a tackle. Such was Traoré’s confusion, he thought that Welz had originally produced it for a dive with Ronny Philp, the Augsburg player (and Oscar nominee), writhing about in mock agony.
Incredible incompetence does not do it justice, but to be fair, the Bundesliga had a quite a bit of it at the weekend both from players and officials. Schalke’s set piece defending ranks pretty highly on that list, as does Adam Szalai’s open goal miss. But return to that Augsburg-Stuttgart game for the true miss of the weekend as Sascha Mölders rounded the keeper and fired spectacularly into the side netting.
Perhaps you’re yearning though for something with a mixture of madness, something a little bit more unique. For you, dear friend, there’s Hoffenheim’s Sejad Salihovic, who converted his penalty against Freiburg before giving a cheeky slap to opponent Julian Schuster in the celebrations – with referee Tobias Stieler no more than a foot away. Victory then to those of the “footballers aren’t clever” school of thought as Salihovic trudged bemused down the tunnel.
Trudging down the tunnel though is SO last season as was illustrated in Lower Saxony. Why not watch on askance from the tunnel after you’ve received your marching orders? Introducing from left to right Schalke’s duo of Benedikt Höwedes (contentious professional foul, 14 minutes) and Christian Fuchs (second yellow card, 85 minutes) before completing the picture on the right, Hannover’s Szabolcs Huszti (grazing the nose of his opponent with a high boot, 74 minutes).
What’s also great about this is that we can see the different stages of dismissal. Höwedes has already acclimatised to his red card with club tracksuit adorned along with the flat cap for good measure. Then there’s Huszti, arms crossed and shirt removed, wearing a “well at least I scored” expression before we finally move to Fuchs who is still very much in the indignant stage of dismissal – regarded by many as the first stage having walked off the pitch just seconds beforehand.
Those three red cards at Hannover means in the 96’s two homes games this season, the HDI-Arena has already seen five different players sent off – accounting for half of the Bundesliga’s entire tally for the season so far.
Impressive stuff all in all and in terms of entertainment value this weekend, the Bundesliga surpassed itself. To think that there was even some good football played as well. Credit in particular to Mainz’s Nicolai Müller – a player in exceptional form with four goals in three games and leading the Bundesliga’s scoring charts. (Then again, he’s fortunate because you’ve always got a chance of succeeding in German football if you’re second name’s Müller.)
But talking about good football might mean we’d end this weekend of football sadism on a high note. So here’s to you, VfB Stuttgart, for sacking coach Bruno Labbadia on Monday morning after a pointless start to the season.
Facts and Figures
FC Augsburg have yet to lose a match in which Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker scored a goal. The double hyphenated defender scored a header to give FCA a 2-0 lead at home following an early goal from Halil Altintop.
Bayern Munich notched a club record, extending their unbeaten streak to 28 matches Saturday after dropping 1. FC Nurnberg in the Bavarian derby 2-0. Pep’s boys still have a way to go to break the Bundesliga record of 36 games unbeaten, set by HSV 31 years ago. One thinks that may be a reachable record this season.
Stefan Kiessling scored his 100th Leverkusen goal Saturday.
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