There is never a dull moment where the Bundesliga is concerned, and this week has been no different, with the action coming thick and fast both on and off the pitch, topped off with the latest news that Jurgen Klopp will be leaving BvB at the end of the season. Matchday 28 saw no fewer than 29 goals, with three 3-2 thrillers, and only Schalke and Freiburg letting the league down with a goalless draw. While there were thrills and spills on the pitch, the action was also happening off it, with clubs (Hamburg) and players (Emir Spahić) involved in physical battles. While the league’s bottom placed side also had an interesting week in terms of managerial headlines. It’s all coming to the boil rather nicely.
Robert Lewandowski – It would be fair to say that Robert Lewandowski has not exploded into life at Bayern Munich quite as their supporters may have hoped. He is, however, coming into form at a crucial moment in Bayern’s season. While the Bundesliga was wrapped up months ago, the Bavarians are about to enter a tricky period in which they will seek to advance in both the Champions League and DFB-Pokal, and at a time when they will be without their star performer, Arjen Robben. It is imperative that the likes of Lewandowski respond in turn. Fortunately for Bayern, their centre forward is coming to the fore at exactly the right time. The Polish international has five strikes in his last four games, including a sensational effort at the weekend against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Patrick Herrmann – While on the subject of players coming into form, it would be foolish not to take this opportunity to sing the praises of Patrick Herrmann. Since signing a new contract at Borussia Monchengladbach, the right-sided player has been in excellent form, though truthfully his season as a whole has been impressive. As his side crushed Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, the 24-year-old was superb, causing Dortmund non-stop problems on the flank. It has been five Bundesliga games since Herrmann failed to make a telling contribution, with the weekend’s assist joining one against Bayern, and a couple of braces against Hannover and Hoffenheim. Who knows – Jogi Low could be calling soon.
Julian Draxler – Sticking with individuals, there was a pleasing sight for fans of Schalke and German football in general this weekend, with Julian Draxler returning to the field after a lengthy period out injured. Draxler’s return almost certainly comes too late to have any impact on Schalke’s Champions League hopes, but if he can stay fit for the rest of the campaign, there is sure to be joy had in watching the midfielder. How Schalke have missed his quality in recent months.
Relegation Battlers – Clearly not all the sides enduring a relegation scrap had the best of times this weekend, but for some there were incredibly positive signs. On Saturday Paderborn stopped the rot with a vital victory at home to a disappointing Augsburg (more on them later), scoring their first goals in nearly two months in their 2-1 win. Not to be outdone though, fellow strugglers Stuttgart secured one of the results of the weekend a day later with a dramatic, last-gasp Daniel Ginczek strike earning his side a 3-2 win over Werder Bremen. Those three points leave Stuttgart three points off safety, and just one behind fellow winners Augsburg in the play-off spot. With several of the sides at the bottom still to play each other, it is going to be a very exciting climax to the season.
Hamburg – But yes, it has also been another dreadful week for Hamburg. Their defeat to Wolfsburg was not too disappointing in itself, but the performance which accompanied it was dire. Insipid and lacking any sort of desire, Hamburg were awful on Saturday, in a game which takes them closer to relegation from the Bundesliga. While for many years they have been able to take solace from the fact that there have always been other sides worse off, this season Hamburg may not be so lucky. Now they’ve brought in Bruno Labbadia to right the ship but the former Stuttgart manager has just a so-so coaching record in the Bundesliga and has little time to create a turnaround in the red-shorts fortunes.
Johan Djourou – It may be harsh/difficult to target one particular individual in such a dreadful side, but Johan Djourou’s performance against Wolfsburg, by and large summed up both his, and his club’s season. Djourou yet again looked shaky and culpable in Hamburg’s defence, while he also managed the near impossible in getting himself booked twice within minutes for dissent. When your team is struggling, the one thing you must do is keep your head, something the defender was unable to do against Wolfsburg. According to rumours the same can be said in the dressing room, with the Swiss international believed to have been involved in a bust up with team-mate Valon Behrami.
Emir Spahić – Ah. What was that about players losing their heads? That is exactly what happened with Bayer Leverkusen’s Emir Spahic this week. Already disappointed to have been knocked out of the DFB-Pokal in unfortunate circumstances to Bayern Munich, Spahic managed to make his night even worse. With security guards allegedly refusing to allow the Bosnian’s friends to make their way to the dressing room, the defender completely lost his cool, head butting one of the ‘protagonists’. Suffice to say Leverkusen were not going to stand for such a misdemeanour and swiftly sacked Spahic.
Markus Weinzierl – All seemed very rosy in the Augsburg garden a couple of months ago. Having outplayed Borussia Dortmund, they were very much among the contenders for the Champions League spots. Fast forward, and not only are those dreams almost certainly over, but they may well struggle to hold down a Europa League spot too. In the middle of all this is Markus Weinzierl, who up until recently had proved himself to be a very clever and versatile manager with an excellent set of differentiating tactics. While it would be wrong to suggest these abilities have gone, Weinzierl has allowed his players to tail off, and the 40-year-old will need to instill the right attitude in them quickly or Augsburg’s fairytale season may end in a nightmare.
Hoffenheim – Oh Hoffenheim. Where to start? Firstly they saw their cup hopes extinguished in midweek after falling to defeat against Borussia Dortmund, this despite leading 2-1. Then on Sunday they slipped to defeat at Cologne. The frustration is that this is a very talented side packed with excellent individuals, but their inconsistency is putting doubts over their chances of a Europa League spot. While they remain just two points off Augsburg in sixth, defeats like the one experienced at the weekend will end up putting irreparable dents in their bid if they continue. Hoffenheim have not won since the middle of March and must rediscover their form soon, before it is too late.
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