It is remarkable to think that we are already a quarter of the way through the season and another excellent week of Bundesliga action has passed by ahead of the DFB Pokal fixtures next week.
We had Bayern and Leipzig closing the gap on Dortmund, a stunning comeback from Leverkusen, and Köln and Werder Bremen still waiting for their first win. So, just who were the winners and losers of matchday 8?
In the words of the oft quoted Ron Burgundy, “That escalated quickly”. 1-0 down at half-time at Borussia Mönchengladbach, Leverkusen trainer Heiko Herrlich changed his line-up at the break with Julian Brandt replacing Lucas Alario and going on the left. Leon Bailey moved to the right with Kevin Volland through the middle.
There was an immediate change in fortunes as Dennis Zakaria was forced into a last-ditch block from Volland straight after the restart. Two minutes later and the Werkself were level with Sven Bender poking home an untidy goal off his knee from a corner.
Gladbach were very open at the back and were careless in giving the ball away and Bayer capitalised fully on those faults scoring three further goals in a ten minute blast. Kai Havertz set up both Bailey and Brandt to make it 3-1 before Kevin Volland profited from an assist from Wendell for the fourth.
Joel Pohjanpalo came on for Volland in the 79th minute and made it 5-1 two minutes later to put the icing on a superb Leverkusen second half comeback.
Füllkrug was the hero of the hour for Hannover as they came from behind to beat Augsburg at the WWK Arena. Sent on in the 65th minute replacing Iver Fossum, the 24-year-old managed to get his side on level terms twelve minutes later.
A cross from the right by Julian Korb saw him take an almighty swing at the ball and miss. Luckily the ball fell nicely for him to have another go and he lashed home at the second attempt. He should have had an easier second five minutes later when he and Jonathas were clean through on goal, only for the Brazilian to selfishly take the shot himself rather than rolling it to his partner for a simple tap-in.
He learned his lesson though in the 89th minute when in a similar situation he did in fact lay the ball off to partner Füllkrug, who fired past Marwin Hitz to seal the three points.
Füllkrug, a 24 year-old native of Hannover, had only scored two previous Bundesliga goals (for Werder Bremen) with one of those coming against (you’ve guessed it) Augsburg
Sometimes a save is as important as scoring at the other end and keepers this weekend have pulled off some fantastic saves which at the time had a huge bearing on the direction of the game.
At 2-1 down against Dortmund, Frankfurt stopper Lukas Hradecky pulled off a top save just two minutes after Sebastien Haller’s penalty had got them back in the game. Maximillian Philipp played in Christian Pulisic, but the US attacking midfielder couldn’t beat the Finnish keeper to make it 3-1. Two minutes later Marius Wolf scored to make it 2-2.
BVB’s Roman Bürki then stopped Frankfurt from coming back to make it 3-2 when he denied Haller’s volley following a corner. The strikers get most of the headlines, but sometimes you have to tip your hat to the huge contribution a good goalkeeper can make.
Then on Sunday Hertha Berlin’s Rune Jarstein pulled off a fantastic last-minute save to prevent a direct free-kick from Julian Schuster destined for the top corner as the Old Lady drew 1-1 with SC Freiburg.
Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann then produced a marvellous penalty save against Wolfsburg early in the first half. Facing Maxi Arnold, he dived to his left, but then stuck out a leg to keep the ball out of the net. Sadly for him and Hoffenheim, a late, late equaliser was conceded to hand Wolfsburg a point.
After a wobbly start to the season, Leipzig are getting back to their form that saw them take the Bundesliga by storm last season. As a newly promoted side, they were the surprise package, but this season expectations have been raised.
Saturday’s 1-0 win over VfB Stuttgart wasn’t the prettiest, but it took their winning streak in the league to four. As English manager Ian Holloway once said, “To put it in gentleman’s terms if you’ve been out for a night and you’re looking for a young lady and you pull one, some weeks they’re good looking and some weeks they’re not the best. Our performance today would have been not the best looking bird but at least we got her in the taxi.
“She wasn’t the best looking lady we ended up taking home but she was very pleasant and very nice, so thanks very much, let’s have a coffee.”
Pal Dardai’s substitutions
A coach can often be judged on the success or otherwise of the substitutions he makes and on the basis of Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Freiburg, Pal Dardai is a top coach.
All three of his changes made an impact at the Schwarzwald Stadion as they came from behind to draw the Breisgauer. Davie Selke won the first penalty which Salomon Kalou blasted over the bar. Valentino Lazaro brought energy and drive, while Arne Maier then went on to win the second of Hertha’s penalties, which happily Kalou managed to convert.
Mainz on the road
That Mainz travelled to Gelsenkirchen on Friday and came away empty-handed should have come as no surprise to those with a keen eye. The Nullfünfer have got used to getting nothing for their troubles at the Veltins Arena and it was more of the same for Sandro Schwarz’s men again this week. Mainz have only managed a single win away at Schalke now in their last twelve visits. That solitary victory came in May 2011 when a 3-1 win secured their place in the following season’s Europa League.
Seven of the twelve clashes have seen Mainz kept goalless. It isn’t just at Schalke where they have struggled. Away from the Opel Arena, Mainz have won none of their last ten outings.
When a player goes down in obvious pain with nobody near him, you know something serious is up. That’s just what happened to Eintracht Frankfurt right back Timothy Chandler on Saturday during the 2-2 draw with Dortmund.
The 27-year-old US international has been impressive for the Adler so far this season playing every minute, but now looks set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines with the club confirming he has suffered a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee and will require surgery.
I’m not sure what Dieter Hecking’s half-time team talk involved against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t involve asking his side to give the ball away more and play with an open defence inviting the opposition onto them.
That however is what he got in the second 45 minutes at the Borussia Park as Gladbach were helpless to stop the Werkself hitting five second half goals. The performance left the coach scratching his head in bafflement.
Getting anything from Bayern Munich is hard enough with eleven players, but it is next to impossible with only ten. So when Gideon Jung saw red in the 39th minute, he gave his Hamburg side an even tougher task at the Volksparkstadion.
There will be debate as to whether it warranted a red, but it cannot be denied that it was a cynical, professional foul. Kingsley Coman was sent through by a great pass from Arjen Robben and the young Frenchman was away. Trailing in his wake, Jung had two option- let him go or chop him down in full flight. Jung took the latter option.
Referee Marco Fritz pulled out the red card and Jung was off. Hamburg played well to stifle Bayern, but a Correntin Tolisso goal in the 52nd minute ultimately clinched a 1-0 win.
“Of course I hit my opponent very hard. I didn’t intend to hurt him, I wanted to play the ball” Jung said after the game. “I have to apologise to Kingsley Coman. It’s a foul, it’s a hard but justifiable decision. But if you ask me it wasn’t necessarily a red card.”
Probably the most unpopular man in Cologne right now. I’d be staying in and avoiding people if I was him. Luck has not been on Köln’s side this season, but against Werder Bremen it wasn’t luck that let them down- it was striker Guirassy (I use the term striker here in the loosest terms).
Only handed his first Bundesliga start due to an injury in the arm-up to Claudio Pizarro, the French forward had two absolutely massive chances to finally get Köln’s first win of the season, but completely fluffed both opportunities. In the 81st minute he was played in on goal by Yuya Osako, but dithered with his shot before being blocked.
His big moment of glory then came in the 87th minute when substitute Tim Handwerker fizzed the ball across from the right into the six-yard box for the simplest of tap-ins. How he managed to miss will baffle many people for a long time. It seriously looked impossible to miss, but somehow he managed to screw his shot nowhere near its intended target.
If a huge hole had opened up in the Rhein-Energie Stadion to swallow him up, Guirassy would have probably missed jumping into that too.
One reason why Köln are bottom of the Bundesliga with two points from nine games…pic.twitter.com/jIdcSTNZcb
— Archie Rhind-Tutt (@archiert1) October 23, 2017
The Bundesliga goalkeeper blooper DVD is getting longer with probably the best entry yet yesterday from Hannover keeper Philipp Tschauner. Just how do you concede a corner from a goal-kick? Is that even possible?
Well, Tschauner did just that in his side’s 2-1 away win at Augsburg in the first half. Looking to play the goal kick short to Waldemar Anton, he instead totally mis-kicked it out behind the byline.
The rules state that the ball has to leave the penalty area to be deemed in play, but Tschauner’s hash was made even worse by the fact that it did leave the penalty area before going out meaning a corner for Augsburg. Whoops!
Augsburg presst hoch und Tschauner mit der wohl besten Lösung. Ein Geniestreich! pic.twitter.com/d5x0orVMMa
— Kitto (@Kitto_1896) October 21, 2017
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