We are back with the 2014-15 Bundesliga Power Rankings – the post-Match Day 12 edition. Since our last edition, Bayern Munich is that much closer to wrapping up yet another league title, while BVB still languish close to the relegation spots. Meanwhile Gladbach and Hoffenheim taste some reality, as FC Augsburg climbs the table. Hannover continues to baffle. And Paderborn won’t let go of our hearts.
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 12 Power Rankings. Debate. Discuss. Rinse and repeat. Huzzah!
Key: RH = Randall Hauk, TT = Travis Timmons.
Match Day 12 Power Rankings
FC Bayern München
|9-3-0||One world champion (Lahm) out to injury. Another world champion (Schweinsteiger) returns. Ho hum. The Bundesliga juggernaut rolls on. Such is the life at FC Bayern. Do you realize they’ve allowed just three goals in twelve league matches? Absurd! When your dominance is so readily observable that nobody even bothers to mention the measures that prove that dominance. . . well, that pretty much says it all. (RH)No Lahm? No problem. Fussballgott Basti is back! Despite being absolutely battered by injuries, Bayern roll on, winning their last couple matches (against Eintracht and Hoffenheim) by the collective score of 8-0. Yikes. Seemingly, as long as Ribéry and Robben start, nothing can stop Die Roten. The GD is already 31-3 in favor of Bayern incredibly. Away-and-Home matches against Hertha and B04 are next. The title chatter around Bayern will only get louder in coming weeks. (TT)|
|7-2-3||If anyone can figure a way to keep the VfL players from standing around looking only half-interested in the early stages of the occasional match, please give Dieter Hecking a call. As Wolfsburg fell behind by three goals during the first half hour in Schalke, you could see Hecking’s annoyance and helplessness to combat the apathy. For all the talent on this squad, VfL would do well with some sort of fire-brand leader among them to give the squad a collective boot in the rear when needed to get rolling, rather than standing around with a “well, I guess this just isn’t our day today” looks on their faces. (RH)|
|5-5-2||Die Werkself are on level with Gladbach on table points, as they ascend our our rankings again. As if a harbinger of things to come, Stefan Kießling finally, finally broke out of his career-long scoring spell. Heung-Min Son finally looks really settled into his role, after a year+ of bedding in. B04 get a home match tune-up against Köln before traveling to Bavaria for a big showdown with Bayern. Time to buckle up. (TT)|
|5-5-2||Tough two-match run for Lucien Favre’s gang. First, the long unbeaten run ends on Christoph Kramer’s long own goal. Now the long unbeaten streak at home goes down by a 1:3 loss to a side which came to town on a four-match losing streak. A win over Villareal CF Thursday in Europa League would not only secure first place in Group A, but also a nice and timely confidence boost heading into Sunday’s showdown at Wolfsburg. (RH)Thanks to that long unbeaten run, Die Fohlen remain in our top four. However, back-to-back losses – at BVB and to Eintracht – necessarily tamper everyone’s effusive love for Favre’s attacking side. But let’s not get too deflated: although BVB deserved the win, it wasn’t as if the Foals were swept off the pitch, as Kramer’s gaffe of the season (own goal!) was the difference, while Gladbach opened the Eintracht match brightly, only to collapse in uncharacteristic fashion. My hunch is that the collapse was uncharacteristic, indeed. Forward ho. (TT)|
|6-0-6||Winners of three of their last four, Augsburg’s early defensive woes are somewhat forgotten as the FCA have allowed just one goal over this hot streak. Offensively, there are still issues to be ironed out, as the lack of a finishing touch was the only thing keeping them from having gotten a point at Schalke. And, although Sunday’s win may have been deserved, but the only goal came through a questionable penalty award. Still, Augsburg’s success is good for the Bundesliga’s soul. Danke, Herr Weinzierl! (RH)I love this side. Somehow, despite losing both Andre Hahn and Bellarabi, FCA has reinvented its attacking play, as the incredible Mr. Tobias Werner became the club’s all-time leading top flight scorer, and the swift Baba Rahman emerges as Augburg’s answer along the left flank. These two men raise the play of other mediocre parts, like Feulner, Esswein, Mölders, Caiuby, or even Altintop. Perhaps the most important element of FCA’s recent success has been their criminally underrated backline, as Callsen-Bracker and Klavan simply cannot be praised enough for their organization. (TT)|
|5-2-5||Again, Schalke get three points but not without some questions. All credit to the the Royal Blues for sprinting to a 3:0 lead thirty minutes in, but they were certainly guilty of letting Wolfsburg back into the match last Saturday, just barely holding onto all three points. The jury is still out on Roberto DiMatteo’s Bundesliga start, but his 0-5 debacle of a loss at Chelsea in UCL play to his former coaching boss, leaves a very sour taste in supporters’ mouths. (RH)|
|3-7-2||Stefan Bell saved the carnival with a last minute equalizer against resurgent SC Freiburg last weekend, as M05’s clutch of a league-high seven draws bulges. In a parallel universe, Mainz wins a majority of these draws and is sitting pretty in a UCL spot. In another parallel universe Mainz loses a majority of these draws and Hjulmand is in hot water. So I’m not sure what to make of Mainz’s game of standings roulette leaves much clouded. Meanwhile, reality is pleasant for M05. (TT)|
|6-1-5||I continue to not understand how this side is contending for European competition rather than battling against relegation, but they are, even after getting man-handled by Leverkusen over the weekend. Scoring is not the only part of the game, but it’s fairly important. Nine goals from twelve matches and a minus-two differential . . . not sustainable. (RH)|
|4-4-4||Four wins, four losses, and four draws . . . not bad for a promoted side with a 15,000 seat arena, eh? Paderborn’s 18 goals have come from twelve different players. If that doesn’t tell you that Andre Breitenreiter is a coach who will eventually be tempted with big money from big clubs, I don’t know what will. He’s the hipster Markus Weinzierl! (RH)Paderborn! F— yeah! SCP continues to play active matches, rather than shelling up and clinging to defensive preventive measures. To whit, last matchday’s come-from-behind 2-2 draw to BVB. Sure, that Schwarzgelb transitional and set piece defense was horrid, but SCP did their part to capitalize. It’s becoming progressively harder to imagine this side being relegated come May. (TT)|
|4-5-3||It’s happening, folks. Not just the back-to-back losses, but the Hoff have conceded eight goals in two matches. Suddenly, all that new-found (simply imagined?) defensive prowess evaporates. Sure, getting the “Bayern treatment” is understandable, but conceding four to the attack-challenged Billy Goats? Embarrassing. This Saturday’s home match against paper tiger H96 is crucial for securing points – a trip to the Yellow Wall (in Dortmund) looms the week after. The Hoff’s mettle will be clarified these next two weekends. (TT)|
|2-6-4||Nobody likes an “I told you so.” That said . . . See?! I told you so! It was always a matter of “when” for Christian Streich’s club, than if. They’re far from safety, but SCF has been very consistent and workman-like. Roman Bürki has been more than adequate a replacement for Oliver Baumann in goal and garnished his Bundesliga success with his first start for Switzerland over the break. A lucky glance off the crossbar is likely the only thing that kept Freiburg from extending their winning streak to three in Mainz. Their final two home matches before the break are against relegation competitors. Streich’s crew could be moving further upwards. (RH)|
1. FC Köln
|3-5-4||Köln remains atop the “away table,” but can’t do much at home. They did get their third goal in front of their home faithful, but just their third! Even Hamburg has scored more at home than the Billy Goats. The defense is good enough to play in the Bundesliga, but as long as the offense is a question mark, Köln can lose matches on weird free kick deflections and the odd penalty, which is precisely what they’ve been doing lately … but just for the home fans. (RH)Not even Anthony Ujah’s loving pat of Hennes after scoring a goal could save the Billy Goats last matchday, as Köln lost what could have been a home statement match to Hertha 1-2. At least Köln out-shot (didn’t think they had it in’em!) Hoffenheim the week before. Thus far, results have been pretty inconsistent, and the B’goats need to break out of a win-loss-win-loss cycle. However, upcoming matches against Leverkusen and in-form FC Augsburg won’t help. (TT)|
|4-3-5||The Bundesliga’s Jekyll-Hyde side. One week, the Eagles stun Gladbach 3-1 on the road, but get a 0-4 “Bayern treatment” the matchday before. Or lose to Hannover 0-1 the matchday before that. Boss Thomas Schaaf’s stomach must be churning. When the Eagles bring their “A” game, they’re a top half table side, easily. When not, ugh. For now, Eintracht enjoys the singular services of Alex Meier, the Bundesliga’s tied-leading scorer (7 goals). (TT)|
|4-2-6||Hertha ended their two-match point drought with an away victory in Köln. The BSC defense had one of their better days, earning their first away victory this season, but did they show enough to weather their upcoming trio of opponents: Bayern and the Borussias? It’ll be a surprise if the Jos Luhukay hot seat isn’t completely in flames by then. For now, enjoy the win, but prepare for stormy weather. (RH)|
|3-2-7||The best player for anyone playing against Borussia Dortmund has to be the ghost of Robert Lewandowski. The BVB loves to generate chances and does so quite nicely, but the finishing touch just isn’t there the way it used to be with Lewa. Once again, Dortmund had several near-misses while compiling their two-goal lead. They blew the lead, of course, and now are without Reus until January. Just one win from the last nine matches, and the game-winning goal was provided by the opponent. This has to correct at some point, doesn’t it? (RH)The “Get Out of Jail” card is slow in coming. The win over Gladbach helps, but blowing a 2 goal lead (and losing Marco Reus again) at Paderborn blows. Amazingly, BVB is still in relegation territory. At least UCL business is knit up. For now, BVB must focus on consolidating Bundesliga defensive play with their highish back line, and scrambled transitional defense. Hopefully Gündogan’s continued return to healthy form calms down the midfield. (TT)|
|3-3-6||And here I thought the Dinosaur was bound for midtable after grinding out some positive results. Nope. We still have a relegation candidate on our hands here, folks. Yes, HSV won the latest installment of the Nordderby, but this victory almost qualifies as a diminutive moral victory. The upcoming matches against FC Augsburg and Mainz 05 will reveal a lot about in which direction this club is heading. Lewis Holtby, seize the reins, lad! (TT)|
|2-4-6||It was fun while it lasted, eh? Werder’s two-match winning streak under new coach Viktor Skripnik came crashing to a halt at the hands of rival and fellow relegation contender Hamburger SV. The derby was a relatively even match, as would be appropriate considering the contestants, but eventually Werder’s propensity for self-harm in defense was greater than Hamburg’s fear of scoring goals. Skripnik got a contract extension into 2017 despite the loss, and he certainly remains aware that there’s plenty of work to do. (RH)|
|2-3-7||Where is the bottom for this club? Stuttgart is in as much need of a “blow it up and start over” as anyone else in the league. Whether that figured into Armin Veh’s decision to step down as coach, I have no idea, but it seems unlikely to help much. Veh says he knows his team is better than their point total and table position, but that’s been true of Stuttgart for a while now, and no number of coaching changes seems to really push the needle on that idea. Relegation might be the best thing for the club to finally move forward, but that’s a steep price to pay to come to terms with the fact that your collection of talent just doesn’t work. (RH)Armin Veh is out. And VfB is mired in the slough of despair. Can it get any worse? Perhaps we shouldn’t press our luck. While VfB might hope for the illusory success of the “new coach bump”, longer and deeper structural problem lurk. No one wants to lead this team, which underscores the on-field chaos that marks VfB’s matches. Lacking talent is really not the problem here. Everything else is. (TT)|
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