As winter starts to bite in Germany and the orange ball makes its first appearance of the season, we reflect upon another eventful weekend of Bundesliga action.
We now know the identity of the Herbstmeister, we had another coaching casualty, an even bigger surprise in his successor, and an amazing comeback from 3-0 down to surpass even Schalke in the Revierderby. There were goals, thrills, spills and a lot of snow. So, just who were the winners and losers of matchday 15?
So Stuttgart finally lost their amazing home record this season, but the Swabians will be casting frustrated glances towards local boy Bernd Leno as the main reason they lost their near 100% start at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
The Bietigheim-Bissingen-born Leverkusen goalkeeper pulled a number of brilliant saves on Friday evening to help the Werkself to a 2-0 win. On a different day against a different keeper, Hannes Wolf would be walking away with his unbeaten home record intact, but not with Bernd Leno in this form.
Leno made 56 appearances for Stuttgart II during his time at the club as a youngster and they will be rueing the day they let him go. The 25-year-old was deservedly named Man of the Match and is staking his claim to make it into the World Cup squad. On this display, he’s a dead-cert.
For the seventh year on the trot Bayern Munich will go into the Winterpause as Herbstmeister following their 1-0 in over Eintracht Frankfurt and results elsewhere going in their favour. It certainly wasn’t a walk in the park at the Commerzbank Arena, but a first half goal from Arturo Vidal (his fourth in four games) was sufficient to seal the win.
Bayern had to change things in the minutes before kick-off with keeper Sven Ulreich pulling out injured, so veteran Tom Starke came in for his 100th Bundesliga appearance.
The stand-in Werder coach has done his chances of getting the job on a permanent basis the world of good with Bremen’s best performance of the season in their 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park.
Kohfeldt went with a game plan and boy did the game plan work. Dortmund were a club under pressure and he cleverly identified their weaknesses and exploited them superbly.
The Grün-Weißen deservedly took the lead and showed great character to retake the lead after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had bundled home the ugliest of equalisers. The only real downside was that Freiburg’s win at Köln keeps Werder in the bottom two, but Kohfeldt will be seeing only the positives from matchday 15.
It’s a funny old game this football isn’t it? No sooner are you sacked for going fourteen games at the start of the season without a win, than you are swiftly hired by arguably the second biggest club in Germany and handed the reins of a stellar squad. In the case of Peter Stöger, he’s quite literally fallen in the sh** and come out smelling of roses.
The sacking of Peter Bosz on Sunday following yet another debacle against Werder Bremen would have surprised few people, but the immediate appointment of Peter Stöger to the BVB hot seat certainly did take many by surprise.
Speaking at the press conference to unveil Stöger sporting director Michael Zorc said, “He continuously developed 1. FC Cologne. The team demonstrated great stability. That is what we are missing at the present moment. Peter can bring the team together once more where there is confusion.”
Freiburg/ Nils Petersen
Stand back Schalke, the new comeback kings are in town. When the snow was finally cleared from the pitch at the Rhein-Energie Stadion and Köln raced into a 3-0 lead, Freiburg could have been forgiven for thinking it wasn’t going to be their day in the basement battle.
Getting a goal back before half time gave them a boost as did Janik Haberer’s 64th minute header. Could they grab an equaliser? You bet they could as Nils Petersen fired home from the penalty spot in the 90th minute to complete the fightback. Enough? Satisfied? Not Freiburg and another penalty in the 96th gave Petersen the chance to miraculously win the game with the final kick of the match.
He kept his nerve to completely turn the game on its head and give the Breisgauer a famous three points.
Well the good news is that after becoming an almost permanent fixture in the ‘Schlechte Woche’ side of this feature in recent weeks, Peter Bosz makes what should be his final appearance this week. The bad news is that the reason for that is he’s been sacked by Borussia Dortmund.
Bosz himself described Saturday’s loss to Werder as ‘inexplicable’ and that is just what he must be thinking as he looks back at the opening seven weeks of the season. How can BVB have gone from impressive table-toppers to the depths of this crisis in a matter of weeks? Played seven, won six, drawn one, 21 scored, two conceded and a five-point lead over Bayern was their initial record.
Fast forward to matchday 15 and BVB remain on six wins, but have lost five and have fallen to 8th, a full 13 points behind Bayern.
“Due to the given circumstances, we unfortunately did not manage to achieve the desired results,” Bosz said following his dismissal. “I am extremely sorry about this.
“I would like to use this opportunity to thank Borussia Dortmund, the club leadership, the team and the fans. I wish the club all the very best for the future and will be keeping my fingers firmly crossed.”
Much like the hapless Peter Bosz, Köln have been a regular feature in this bottom end of the feature. At around 15:48 (BST) I was starting to compose a wholly different take on the Billy Goats feting their first win of the season. But then they went and shot themselves in the foot by conceding a late penalty to throw away a 3-0 lead and once again forgo the much-needed first win of the season.
You can cite bad luck and referee calls, but how on earth can you factor in throwing away a three goal lead. When the footballing gods are against you, they are against you. In Köln’s case the footballing gods have quite literally brought Armageddon down upon them.
On this run of luck form/ fortune they’ll end up going a whole season without a single win.
Stuttgart’s summer signing has been cruelly nicknamed the ‘poisoned dwarf’ by elements of the German press and the feisty midfielder is quite frankly doing nothing to deter people from using the moniker with his disciplinary record.
Against Leverkusen on Friday he picked up his seventh booking of the season in only his twelfth appearance in the Bundesliga. To be fair the Argentinean was very lucky not to see a straight red for his reckless late challenge on Julian Brandt.
TV pundit Matthias Sammer saw it as “a clear mistake, this decision was totally wrong. It was a brutal foul!” Santa Claus is busily employing elves right now, but there will be no room for a ‘poisoned dwarf’ like Santiago Ascacibar in his toy workshop. The South American would no doubt be smashing children’s toys left, right and centre.
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