What a weekend of Bundesliga action! We had the Klassiker between Dortmund and Bayern, third playing fourth in Leipzig, as well as the usual woes for those at the wrong end of the table.
We had late goals, a six-goal thriller, comedy goalkeeping, young starlets bursting onto the scene as well as controversial red cards and even off-field woes with African forgeries.
This weekend had it all. So, just who were the winners and losers of matchday 11?
Sebastien Haller took the immediate glory on Friday night for his late winner against Werder Bremen, but in the cold light of day, a rather large spoonful of that glory should be dished out to Frankfurt goalkeeper Lukáš Hrádecký
The Finnish keeper almost single-handedly kept the Adler in the game after they conceded the equaliser in the first half. He pulled off at least five superb saves to deny the visitors what they considered to be huge chances.
Towards the end of the first period, with the visitors really piling on the pressure Hrádecký denied Zlatko Junuzovic, Max Kruse and Max Eggestein with top stops.
The 27-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and is said to be considering his options. Based on this display, he will have plenty of potential suitors should he decide to move away from the Commerzbank Arena in the summer. Frankfurt on the other hand will be desperate to keep the keeper nicknamed ‘the Spider’.
After successive defeats to Bayern Munich, and a midweek Champions League loss, the pressure was on Leipzig to show what they were made of on Saturday as they took on the surprise package of the season so far- Hannover.
With the top two of Bayern and Dortmund meeting later in the evening, the Roten Bullen knew they could make up some ground with a win. Ralph Hasenhüttl’s decision to start with Emil Forsberg and Naby Keita on the bench raised some eyebrows, as did Hannover’s pressing approach and the visitors deservedly took a 56th minute lead.
Character (and the introduction of Forsberg and Keita) was needed and Leipzig turned the game around in the second half with goals from Yussuf Poulsen and Timo Werner. Dortmund’s loss to Bayern meant that RB now sit second and are just four points behind leaders Bayern.
Its two weeks running in the Gute Woche section for Hamburg’s teenage sensation so he must be doing something right. Following last week’s debut Bundesliga goal as a substitute against Hertha Berlin, the 17-year-old was handed a first start for the Rothosen’s home clash with VfB Stuttgart.
The U-17 international capped HSV’s 500th Bundesliga home win with another goal making it two in two for him, and it was some goal. With Hamburg 2-1 up, Arp took a great touch to turn Benjamin Pavard on the edge of the penalty area before tricking Timo Baumgartl into a challenge. He then picked his spot to fire in a low right-foot shot.
Arp is the third youngest player with two Bundesliga goals to his name. Only Christian Pulisic and Timo Werner were younger.
Bayern Munich/ Arjen Robben
Well, that was clearly a message to the rest. To win der Klassiker is always satisfying, but to do it in the manner Bayern achieved on Saturday evening is doubly so. Jupp Heynckes side dominated the game and confirmed they are once again the top dogs in the Bundesliga with a sumptuous display.
Robert Lewandowski’s goal was exquisite, but it was Arjen Robben’s 17th minute opener that was the history maker. That goal (a Robben special) was his 93rd Bundesliga goal for the Bavarians makes him the all-time leading non-German in the club’s illustrious history one ahead of Brazilian Giovane Elber.
As Jupp Heynckes said after the final whistle at the Signal-Iduna Park, “It was a superb performance! Four weeks ago you couldn’t have foreseen we’d be six points clear of Dortmund and four clear of Leipzig now.”
Like a racehorse coming up on the inside rail, Schalke have appeared in the leading pack following a hard-fought 1-0 win at Freiburg. Domenico Tedesco’s side currently sit fourth in the table with 20 points and are unbeaten in the last five games. The victory over the Breisgauer came courtesy of a second half Daniel Caligiuri goal. Freiburg hit the woodwork twice, but in the end the Königsblauen held out for an important three points. Enjoy it while it lasts Knappen fans!
There is never a good time to be sent off, but surely early in the first half has got to be one of the worst? VfB Stuttgart were forced to play 77 minutes at the Volksparkstadion against Hamburg a man light following the sending off of Dzenis Burnic in the 13th minute.
The defender was rightly booked after just five minutes for a dangerously high foot on Jann-Fiete Arp. He can however be justifiably annoyed at the second caution he picked up just eight minutes later. What referee Guido Winkmann saw is anyone’s guess as it looked quite obvious that Burnic had taken the ball cleanly against Aaron Hunt. Perhaps Hunt’s theatrical collapse to the ground helped the decision.
So, Burnic was off for an early shower and to make matters worse, it was Hunt who stepped up to score from a free-kick some minutes later. A bad day at the office for both Burnic and ref Winkmann.
A real case of jeepers-keepers this weekend!
Just when you think you have seen everything in football that belies belief, up steps a Bundesliga keeper to befuddle your brain even more. Mainz may have come away from the Borussia Park with a hard-fought draw, but the day was all about the crazy antics of the Nullfünfer keeper Robin Zentner.
Remember the great Ronaldinho’s no-look pass? Well the Mainz number one invented his own version, but it just wasn’t anywhere near as impressive as the Brazilian maestro’s.
“In the corner of my eye, I could see something white and I thought it was the ball — but it was the penalty spot and the ball was somewhere else. I went to play a pass into the centre but I didn’t make contact with the ball, and then I realised it wasn’t even there.”
Words don’t really do the absurdity of the situation justice, so just take a look for yourself. What a @#*@#*@*!
Not that Friday’s match-up with Eintracht Frankfurt was an interview of sorts for interim Werder Bremen trainer Florian Kohfeldt, but a first win of the season would have gone a long way to convincing Frank Baumann and the club’s hierarchy that he was a genuine contender to succeed Alexander Nouri on a permanent basis.
After going behind, the Grün-Weißen responded well equalising with a real scruffy effort from Niklas Moisander, but yet again the three points were to prove elusive for Werder. Not for the first time this season Sebastien Haller popped up with a late winner for Frankfurt to spoil Kohfeldt’s and Werder’s evening.
By all accounts the young trainer had a positive week as interim coach, but now it could be that Werder go for (heaven forbid!) Bruno Labbadia!
The honeymoon is well and truly over for Peter Bosz over at Dortmund. BVB’s last seven games do not make the best of reading: LDLWDDL and the one win in that sequence came in the DFB Pokal against Magdeburg. Conversely, the first seven games in the Bundesliga saw five wins and a draw.
The Schwarzgelben are like a bag of Revels. It is akin to opening the bag and getting all the good chocolates first- the orange, the toffee, the peanut one. Delicious! Then you pick out a coffee one. Eughh! Then another, and another and the lovely taste in your mouth has gone. Dare you stick your fingers into that bag and try another? In Dortmund’s case their next opportunity will come after the international break. Surely there can’t be that many coffee ones left.
The RB Leipzig midfielder’s on-field disciplinary problems this season have been well documented with three red cards received already this season for club and country.
He now faces the wrath of the German authorities and could face a €100,000 fine after trying on two occasions to use counterfeit Guinean driving licenses to obtain one in Germany.
“Both documents were identified as complete forgeries,” a court official told the Bild newspaper. The RB midfielder is also reportedly being investigated for driving in Germany without a valid license.
‘Taxi for Keita?’
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