November 21, 2017

2014-15 Bundesliga Power Rankings: Match Day 24

We are back with the 2014-15 Bundesliga Power Rankings – the post-Match Day 24 edition. Since our last edition, Bayern have been Bayern – dolling out the “Bayern treatment” and being all “mia san mia” along the way – Werder are hanging in there, BVB are zooming upwards and onwards, Eintracht and Hoffenheim are in midtable purgatory, Paderborn’s foretold prophecy is being fulfilled, and the table cellar is settling in (hello VfB and Hertha!).

The Power Rankings do not necessarily reflect the current table standings, since they account both for form and expectations, all the while acknowledging the fluctuation and random effects riddled through a single match day weekend, yet also acknowledging that the weekly randomness  does something like work itself out over the long run.

Thus, we proudly present our Match Day 24 Power Rankings. Debate. Discuss. Rinse and repeat!

Key: RH = Randall Hauk, TT = Travis Timmons.

Rank Movement Form Club Comments

1

(same)

 5-0-0  Bayern Munich

08262012_preview_bayern_header

Call it the Bayern-Dusel or call it the perseverance of champions or even call it awful officiating . . . if the weekend showed anything, it’s that Bayern is more capable of getting three points from a sub-par performance than is Wolfsburg. The winning streak has now reached five. If they just opted to play only their European matches, the lowest they could finish (excluding punishment for not showing up to matches) would be ninth, and even that would require Frankfurt to go undefeated AND close a 60-goal deficit. It may not always look how some want it to look, but the results keep rolling in. They may not be celebrating a title as early as they did last season, but they’re not going to care about any of that. Bayern = unflappable . . . it’s all part of that mia san mia thing. (RH)Bayern, Bayern, Bayern. Sometimes you look like an outer galaxy force attempting to annihilate football itself (i.e. wiping your ass with HSV or Shaktar) or sometimes you like tantalizingly mortal (e.g. Köln and H96 taking you deep). Above all, you’re at the top. Here, and probably in all of Europe. How does it feel, you Bavarian bullies? Gawd, I admire you. (TT)

2

(same)

 4-0-1  VfL Wolfsburg

VfL Wolfsburg

 Uh . . . what? Someone started reading their press clippings, methinks (Looking at you, Bas Dost!). Enough possession, but not enough vigor. You couldn’t help but get the impression there were eleven players on the pitch thinking of beating Wolfsburg and eleven who were thinking about Inter Milan. Fair enough. Wolfsburg is pretty much locked into second place at this point, so Europa League is a noble focus, but with the talent collected there, performances like this one simply shouldn’t happen. (RH)Shocking, right? Geez, we love controversy! VfL maintain #2 even after sneaky, sneak FCA gave the Wolves their first taste of defeat in 2015. Even so, one loss does not a Rückrunde. VfL was bound to lose eventually, yet give me no reason to dethrone them from #2. This club is good. Real real good. Really good. (TT)

3

(same)

3-1-1

 Werder Bremen

Werder Bremen

There’s no shame in drawing at Schalke and losing to Wolfsburg. Werder fans seem to know this as they move past their 0:1 win at Freiburg and look forward to the challenge of a visit from Bayern this weekend. The champions didn’t exactly dazzle last weekend in Hannover and will also be coming off a big win-or-go-home Champions League match. The stars are aligned in Werder’s favor, but Bayern generally has little regard for such things. Either way, it should be fun. (RH)Randall and I are all in on the Werder boys, especially form-wise. They won a key away battle at SC Freiburg, after the wild 3-5 home loss to VfL. Rebound wins, no matter who the opponent, mark clubs as winners. Werder’s attack still looks awesome – that di Santo goal … – I still believe in the defense, especially as Vestergaard finds his way. I’m pulling for Werder to hang in there. (TT)

4

(up 6)

 4-1-0

 Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund

Ugh . . . bogey teams. Nobody ruins a party like a bogey team. Not only did the HSV end Dortmund’s four-match winning streak, but inflicted some physical punishement along the way to match the psychic pain of being unable to continue the run against a fairly poor side. That said, tenth place and looking at a nine point gap to Europe is much better than holding the red lantern and looking at even a small, but unsurmoutable, gap to 15th place. Besides, it’s still an “unbeaten” run that would be nice to have at seven when Bayern pays a visit in a few weeks. (RH)I’m trying to be more form-conscious, as opposed to table-conscious with these rankings, a mindset that makes Power Rankings more interesting, as a study of  what I’ll call “streak movement.” Outside of Bayern, BVB have the Bundesliga’s top run of five matches. And they looked damn svelte doing it. Four wins in a row, broken by a physical “niller” draw (0-0) in Hamburg. The attack is clikcing and Hummels and Subotic are playing more precisely. #Winning. (TT)

5

(down 2)

 2-2-1

 Borussia Mönchen-gladbach

Borussia Monchengladbach

Gladbach quietly has lost just one Bundesliga match this year. They’ve won four of seven. They are third in the table. So why the frustration? Well, even if you’re at Mainz and even if Mainz is improved, blowing a two-goal lead is not acceptable, especially for a club that had been struggling to score since returning from winter break. It feels like a lack of a killer instinct that would show that die Fohlen are willing and able to control their own fate. Still, they’re leading the race for the final group stage spot in Champions League until they aren’t. That’s still worth something. (RH)On form alone, Gladbach are hanging in there. However, it hasn’t looked pretty (1-0, 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, and 2-2 are their five most recent scorelines). The attack seems stuck in teenage adolescence. Where the hell is former superman Max Kruse? Scoring goals actually and truly look difficult for the Foals. At the least the defense is as life-sucking as Harry Potter Dementors. (TT)

6

(same)

 2-1-2 Schalke 04 

Schalke 04

 

Did Roberto DiMatteo finally decide to take the muzzle off the Schalke offense? After the 3:0 loss at Dortmund that was even more lopsided and disheartening than the score could ever indicate, the 3:1 victory had to feel pretty good. Schalke had just four goals from their prior seven matches, but Max Meyer and EMCM, when given the chance, have the look of an incredibly dangerous dynamic duo. After this week’s performance at Real Madrid, you have to believe DiMatteo will continue to have the Royal Blues push the issue, because any more failure while playing mostly defense is going to be a problem with the supporters. When people are calling for a return of Jens Keller, they are not complementing the former coach as much as telling you they’re about done with your time. (RH)I’m going with S04 in this spot instead of B04. The former have played a tougher run of five opponents (Gladbach, Eintracht, Werder, BVB, and Hoffenheim) and come out decently. Perhaps more expansive tactics from di Matteo could’ve seen even better results? Because the attack at Real Madrid on Tuesday (in UCL) play looked vicious. The rest of the Bundesliga has been warned! (TT)

7

(same)

 2-1-2

 Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen

Whatever was ailing Bayer to start 2015, maybe a visit from SC Freiburg and a trip to Paderborn were just what was needed. Roger Schmidt will like his chances of making it three wins in a row when Stuttgart comes calling Friday night. Can that be the springboard for die Werkself to stay in the top four? Overcome Mönchengladbach for third? Right now, we have a race on our hands, for which we can thank all involved. (RH)Sure, the SCF and SCP trips helped, but Leverkusen struggled through the Paderborn visit until the scoring dam broke open late. Otherwise, the B04 visitors looked frustrated and likely to concede to the debutantes. With Leverkusen, I still see a side struggling with Bundesliga consistency and struggling to find the right answer on top – the Kießling-Drmic partnership is dead. (TT)

8

(down 3)

 1-2-2  FC Augsburg

FC Augsburg

Augsburg finally won again since celebrating wildly their early February victory in Dortmund. And why wouldn’t it be the hottest team in the league made their victim? Wolfsburg had been riding high and Augsburg had not, so of course it’s a 1:0 for the FCA? All you need to know is: NEVER count out Markus Weinzierl’s gang. (RH)You’re not hallucinating, Hoffenheim does have better form in the last five. However, these rankings aren’t totally about form. Besides, form itself is somewhat the product of good/bad luck. And since their heralded win at BVB last month, FCA have had some bad luck – in very close matches. However, despite the seemingly close score, the 1-0 win over Wolfsburg didn’t look close on the pitch. FCA were easily the better team – a remarkable feat, given the Wovles rampant form. (TT)

9

(same)

 2-1-2

 Hoffenheim

1899 Hoffenheim

Hoffenheim is in the midst of their most-advantageous stretch of schedule in 2015. The 3:1 loss to Schalke ended the good times of a three-match unbeaten run, but just as it was a trio of struggling clubs leading to the trip to Gelsenkirchen, there are fixtures with Hamburger SV and SC Paderborn on deck. Markus Gisdol’s crew should be focused on a very realistic goal of moving into European placement, but will need to make the best of the next two weekends to potentially pull close. (RH)A club still in the Bundesliga’s purgatory, wandering to and fro, looking for the European slots, but staying away from the relegation slough. Before last week’s 1;3 loss at S04, Hoffenheim were looking stronger, hinting at their bright Hinrunde form. I dunno, I can see Hoffy staying in this spot for the rest of the season. They’re good enough to menace a couple top table sides, but washy enough to cough it up anywhere right now. (TT)

10

(up 1)

 1-2-2  

1.FC Köln

FC Koln

A four-goal explosion against Eintracht Frankfurt has the potential to have resolved issues with both the club’s poor February run and their incredibly poor home results, but club leadership would likely be quick to point out there is plenty of work to be done in securing the goal of staying in the league. With the next two opponents being two of the league’s most in-form sides (BVB and Werder), Sunday’s three-pointer probably just provides a little bit of breathing room for the time being. If Stöger can get the defense to return to its previously ultra-stout organization, the new-found offensive vigor brought by newcomer Deyverson paired with Anthony Ujah could keep the Karneval vibe rolling all the way into spring. (RH)Randall, uh, Randall? I’m losing my word-space in this table cell. But you know, what? Preach it, brother, preach it! (TT)

11

(down 3)

 2-1-2  

Eintracht Frankfurt

EIntracht Frankfurt

Frankfurt might want to think about bringing their defense with them on the road in the future. They’ve conceded 13 goals over their last four road matches, taking just one point from them. Thomas Schaaf’s side has been good enough at home, though, to stay balanced in the middle of the table, looking a threat to neither Europe nor the second division. Considering Köln had managed just five goals from their preceding eleven home matches, though, seeing them score four might tell that there are defensive issues to be exploited. (RH)The two recent wins are against S04 and HSV, but the two losses to Mainz (1:3!) and a spanking (2;4) at Köln, in which the scoreline flattered the Flyin’ Eagles. The pinions are falling off a bit for Eintracht. At one time, I imagined Schaaf’s boys could challenge for Europe. Now? Midtable malaise – you just never which Eintracht you’ll get each week. (TT)

12

(up 2)

 1-1-3  Mainz 05

FSV Mainz 05

Under Martin Schmidt, Mainz has certainly looked improved and done enough to avoid dropping further into the relegation muck. If the effort continues, there’s enough talent here to get the needed results to avoid a completely disastrous end to a season that started with high hopes and Europa League dreams. (RH)Life has to be better with “family man” Martin Schmidt bossing around the red-clad boys. The 3:1 win over Eintracht looked good, as did the 2:2 draw with Gladbach last weekend. But man, the Dortmund and Hoffenheim losses were ugly. Speaking of losses, that Hertha loss looks like water under the bridge – another place and time for M05. I predict solidification and building for next year in the works for Mainz. (TT)

13

(down 1)

 0-2-3

Hannover 96

Hannover 96

Hannover has not won a match since mid-December, which made their having taken a lead on Bayern last weekend all the more surprising. Unfortunately for the red shirts, a few highly questionable officiating decisions submarined the home side’s upset bid just minutes later. We’ll never know how it would have played out otherwise, but we’ve seen enough from Hannover this year to know they would have been capable of dropping the points without help from the referee. Still, Tayfun Korkut’s side is a stubborn one. They don’t go down easily and will likely spring a few surprises between now and season’s end. (RH)Whoof – what a tough call. I go H96 here. The Bayern loss was a small heartbreak on the heels of two tough draws. Decent results for a side that looked quasi-dead. H96’s five match form is ugly, but I’m focusing on their last three (0-2-1) in my rankings. Hannover’s “true” position is toward the relegation slough, but Korkut’s men wanna fight it out first. They’ve got some spark right now. But how will it all turn out? (TT)

14

(up 3)

 2-1-2

 Hertha Berlin

Hertha Berlin

For the second consecutive week, Pal Dardai’s team managed to keep the opponent off the scoreboard, but were unable to snag three points through a late goal in Stuttgart as they did the week prior from Augsburg. It was an unattractive match that could really have gone either way, but Dardai clearly was happy to play for the point as he wants and needs only to tread water above the bottom three. (RH)The escape is on – for now. Surprising wins over Mainz, and especially, FC Augsburg have pulled die Alte Dame out of the cellar, but the rot is still there, as manifested back-to-back losses to Freiburg and VfL. However, in BSC’s defense, the Wolves had to work very hard for a 2:1 win. Not had, yet obviously not safe for the Berliners. And last weekend’s “niller” at Stuttgart revealed nothing. Hosting Schalke this weekend probably will though. (TT)

15

(down 2)

 1-1-3  SC Freiburg

SC Freiburg

Reaching the quarterfinals of the DFB Cup is certainly an accomplishment worth celebrating, but the more-urgent issue for Freiburg right now is getting out of the bottom three. They’ve lost four of six since their pummeling of Frankfurt to open the Rückrunde. They’ve played some strong teams close, but still came away empty-handed. Still, five of the last six matches on the Freiburg schedule are against direct competition at the bottom. In all likelihood, if Freiburg is going to make a move, it won’t come until that final stretch. Trust in Streich? (RH)Really, we want to love SCF in these rankings. We always accuse Streich’s kids of underperforming. Yet as the season enters its final quarter, the truth emerges: SCF is a bottom third side. No bones about it. Freiburg struggles to create offense (shots, shots on target, etc.) and struggles to prevent shooting attempts (one of the league’s worst in this regard). I still think they’ll survive this season, but it’ll be a damn close shave. (TT)

16

(same)

 1-2-2  Hamburger SV

Hamburg SV

Hamburger somehow got their point from BVB over the weekend, which is their duty as Dortmund’s bogey team. It was, of course, a scoreless draw because the HSV continues to be bafflingly poor in attack. Floated by consecutive wins over struggling sides, they currently sit above the bottom three, but they’re going to feel better about upcoming head-to-head battles with relegation competition if they can ever find some offense. (RH)What a long season it’s been for the beleaguered HSVers. Everything just looks hard for the Dinosaurs on the pitch – even, as the bogey team, drawing BVB at home last weekend. HSV have still scored a league worst 16 goals and average only 3-ish shots on target a match. At least the defense has been decent, the Bayern debacle aside. For now, it’s hold on and pray for others to be worse. (TT)

17

(down 2)

 1-1-3

 SC Paderborn

SC Paderborn 07

Paderborn has now lost three consecutive matches by a total count of 11:0. Now, all three opponents are likely headed to Europe next season, which may give coach Andre Breitenreiter extra opportunity to be thankful for the opportunities to even participate in matches against such class, but if he wants to get more such opportunities next season, he’s going to need better from his side on both ends of the pitch. (RH)Sorry, SCP. It’s time for you to enter the Power Rankings relegation slough of despair. You fought really really really well for 70+ minutes against Leverkusen last weekend, but you’ve lost three in a row and been outscored 0:11 in the process. Please prove us wrong, but Bundesliga 2 is suddenly looming very near, as we all suspected back in August. (TT)

18

(same)

 0-2-3  VfB Stuttgart

VfB Stuttgart

Stuttgart never really look all that bad, but they are also utterly unconvincing on a consistent basis. Without question, Stuttgart had the better of the bulk of play in Friday’s scoreless draw with Hertha BSC, but Hertha’s few chances were the more dangerous. Timo Werner continues to shine, but there is not enough happening in attack to make it of much use. Stuttgart could potentially lose few if any of their remaining matches, but none of them look like potential victories. The light is flickering! (RH)I agree with Randall: VfB haven’t looked like steaming rubbish during this loooong winless stretch, but they’ve looked just bad enough to not win for months on end. Until they earn those elusive 3 points, the Swabians can expected to stay mired in the relegation slough’s mud. By many metrics, VfB are wimpy, but not worst in the league (like offensive production or defensive containment, etc.). Really, they should be sitting anywhere from 13th-15th in the rankings, if only their results spoke differently. (TT)
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