Thoughts on Bundesliga MatchDay 14

On MatchDay 14 weekend, there were 26 goals scored despite two scoreless draws being played.  Of the seven German clubs involved in midweek European play, none were defeated this weekend, but only two, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, were able to earn victories.

Nil-Nils Trending

During the first two weeks of this Bundesliga season, there were no scoreless draws recorded and only three nil-nils were played through Week Eight.  Since MatchDay 9, though, there have been eight, even including a goalless match that included mighty Bayern Munich !!!

Stop this trend…now.  Although a 0-0 scoreline doesn’t always correlate to a drab, boring match, it usually does.  1.FC Koln, Eintracht Frankfurt and 1899 Hoffenheim have been the worst offenders, with each being involved in three of these dismal, dull affairs, while eight clubs have not at all been involved.

Strikers Who Should Know Better

You’d think that they would know better.

Forty minutes into Eintracht Frankfurt’s match with Mainz,  Frankfurt Fußballgott Alex Meier, 32, proved less than godlike, messing up on a second challenge and seeing red with Mainz already holding a 1-0 lead.  Two minutes later, Mainz had a second goal courtesy of Yunus Malli, and although Haris Seferovic brought 10-man Frankfurt back into the game with a goal just past the hour mark, Frankfurt went on to lose once again.  Meier’s first yellow was an arm around Danny Latza’s neck, which Latza sold pretty well to the referee, while the second was an ill-advised trip of Jairo Samperio — neither foul was particularly harsh or violent, but Meier was gone, and so were Frankfurt.

With Hertha Berlin down only 0-2 at the Allianz Arena Saturday at halftime, Vedad Ibišević, 31. also proved that age doesn’t always provide wisdom.  The veteran began the second half with a hard sliding tackle attempt on Arturo Vidal, and after a long lecture by the referee, responded moments later with a two-handed push to the back of Mehdi Benatia, earning Ibišević a yellow card in his first game back following a red card suspension that caused the Bosnian international to miss four matches.

I have a lot of respect for what both Meier, during fourteen Bundesliga seasons, and Ibišević in ten seasons have accomplished.  But two 30-something players whose main strengths are scoring goals should just know better than continue on with clumsy challenges that hurt their clubs.

Speaking of Hertha and Bayern Munich….

Hertha Berlin have been on a good run this season.  After their 2-0 loss to Bayern Saturday, Berlin Coach Pál Dárdai  had this to say….

We have nothing to be ashamed of.  Our attitude and our efforts were exemplary, but Bayern are simply twice as fast and two leagues better than we are.

Dárdai deserves a great deal of credit for the Old Lady’s fine run so far this season, but the 2-0 scoreline Saturday really flatters the visitors.  Pep’s boys were in control all the way, and finished with a 24-4 edge in shots taken, with a 9-1 margin of shots on goal (Robert Lewandowski attempted nine shots himself).  The Bavarians had 70% of possession, a 9-1 edge in CKs, a 11-2 advantage in crosses and even won 57% of tackle attempts.  And the stats were just as one-sided at halftime.

Bayern scored both its goals (Thomas Müller and Kingsley Koman doing the honors) between the 34th and 41st minute, but Hertha keeper Rune Jarstein played above and beyond in denying Bayern even more goals during that period. Dárdai may claim that his club don’t have a lot to be ashamed of at the Allianz, especially considering the season they are enjoying, but they were on the receiving end of a one-sided beatdown by Bayern, and there’s no way around that fact.

HSV Roll along Merrily

Hamburger SV Coach Bruno Labbadia certainly is a coach who also deserves credit this year.  The red-shorts 3-1 nordderby win over Werder Bremen Saturday lifted HSV’s season mark to 6-3-5, and who would have believed, based on HSV’s poor quality the last two seasons, that they would have only five losses so late in the Hinrunde.  The win also has HSV lurking right outside a European berth in the table, but perhaps we shouldn’t talk about that yet.

Ivo Iličević was a Hamburg hero Saturday, staking the club to an early lead when he scored in the second minute of the match.  Later, when a well-taken Anthony Ujah goal had put Bremen back into the match just past the hour mark, Iličević deflated any chance of the home side’s comeback when he delivered a perfect clearance from deep in his own territory six minutes later to an onrushing Nicolai Müller, who calmly delivered Hamburg’s third goal and put Werder Bremen out of the match.  Along with strong seasons from goalkeeper René Adler and midfielder Lewis Holtby, both down and out not too long ago.  Iličević is helping HSV supporters forget the sufferings of the last two seasons and keep the dinosaurs’ stadium clock a-ticking.

Fun Facts

Bayern Munich have still only allowed five league goals this season, almost 2/3 less than the total of the next stingiest BuLi side, FC Ingolstadt’s 14.  At the other end of the spectrum, VfB Stuttgart have allowed 35, SEVEN times as many as the champions.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace against Stuttgart Saturday puts him atop the Bundesliga scoring charts with 17 goals, three ahead of Lewandowski and four ahead of Thomas Müller.  Douglas Costa, who missed Saturday’s match, and Raffael lead the league with seven assists each.

Eintracht Frankfurt hold the dubious honor of accumulating the most yellow cards in 2015/2016, with 37, one more than either Stuttgart or FC Ingolstadt.

Lewandowski’s nine shots led the league this weekend, while Aubameyang was second with six attempts on goal.  Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting, who had Schalke’s only goal in their 1-1 draw at Leverkusen Sunday, led the league with 25 tackles won, two more than runnerup Holtby.


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Gerry Wittmann

Gerry is the founder of the Bundesliga Fanatic. Besides loving German football, he also enjoys the NBA, collecting jerseys and LPs, his pets and wishes he had more time for fishing, bicycling and learning the bass guitar.