We had an additional Christmas treat of an ‘Englische Woche’ for matchday 16 in the Bundesliga and Germany’s finest we certainly providing plenty of festive cheer.
Dortmund finally achieved their long-awaited win with Peter Stöger at the helm, Bayern were in no mood to gift Köln anything, while Leverkusen’s defence played the role of Scrooge with a miserly display against Werder.
So just who were the winners and losers of matchday 16?
Such is often the way when a club sacks one trainer and replaces him with another, a win and an immediate change in fortunes arises. That’s just what happened for BVB and Peter Stöger on Tuesday as they finally won a Bundesliga match for the first time since matchday 7.
Goals from Sokratis and Shinji Kagawa were enough to down Mainz although the margin of victory could have been higher. That won’t bother those of a Schwarzgelb persuasion as the atrocious run is at least over.
“It was gratifying, and important for both parties: both BVB and myself have finally got our first Bundesliga win for quite some time. That’s a good combination” Stöger said in his post-match comments.
“Lots of the positive aspects that were on show today also belong to Peter Bosz, who has left behind something really good here. A part of this match and this victory belongs to him.”
The Königsblauen continue to develop, impress and above all deliver results under Domenico Tedesco, who would certainly be a favourite if there was such an award for ‘Trainer of the Hinrunde’.
In midweek his Schalke side gave up a two goal lead to Augsburg before ultimately triumphing thanks to a late penalty from Daniel Caligiuri. With one match left before the Winterpause, the Gelsenkirchen side are set to finish second in the table. They would certainly have snapped your hand off if you had offered them that proposition at the start of the campaign.
Hertha Berlin’s coach celebrated his 50th home match in charge of die alte Dame with a much-needed win over Hannover. The capital club needed three points as they found themselves a little too close to the foot of the table for comfort going into the final stretch of the first half of the season.
A double for Salomon Kalou and a second half goal from substitute Jordan Torunarigha saw off Hannover, although much credit also goes to keeper Rune Jarstein, who pulled off a number of fantastic saves.
The prolific Pole remains on course to finish the Hinrunde with a ratio of a goal per game after he netted the only goal in the 1-0 win over Köln on Wednesday. His cool finish to beat Timo Horn took him to 15 goals in 16 matches this season.
His incredible scoring form in the first half of the season is oft overlooked as people become a little blasé, but the prospect of two goals against Stuttgart is not out of the question and would complete an awesome run of scoring.
Just when you thought Köln’s Sehrou Guirassy had the award for miss of the season totally sewn up, along comes Wolfsburg striker Divock Origi to unbelievably produce a howler of even more preposterous proportions.
Wolfsburg and RB Leipzig shared the points in a 1-1 draw in midweek, but all everyone was talking about post-match was the amazing miss from the Belgian. Words don’t do it justice, so i’ll post the video here for you to relive one of the dumbest misses of all-time let alone this season. Liverpool may not be keen on taking him back once his loan spell has ended based on this, while Wolfsburg will also be thinking twice about any deal.
Please, please, please, if there is a football God, could you just give the Geißböcke a break? Yet again, a decent enough display showed courage against Bayern, but that elusive win still eludes Köln.
Normally a 1-0 loss at the Allianz Arena would be totally respectable, but not when the win drought stretches back to the previous season and with just one game remaining before the Winterpause.
Stuttgart on the road
The Swabians home form puts them sixth in the table, but their form on their travels puts Hannes Wolf’s side rock bottom with just a single point picked up away from the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Yet again this week, any Stuttgart fans making the voyage to Hoffenheim would have left with a familiar feeling of despondency. It takes a lot of time and commitment to follow your team the length and breadth of Germany, but Stuttgart fans are getting very little satisfaction from their road trips this season.
It wasn’t a Christmas card that referee Guido Winkmann had for Leipzig’s defender on Tuesday, but a yellow/red one as the French centre-back was sent off in injury time for a second booking. Where is your Christmas spirit Herr Winkmann?
The sending off and the draw with Wolfsburg is a little symptomatic of the inconsistency of the Red Bulls this season. Perhaps because expectations are sky-high following last season, but third place and ten points behind Bayern Munich seems a little unsatisfactory
The Foals are ending the Hinrunde with a whimper rather than a bang after their loss to Freiburg. Dieter Hecking’s side looked to have turned a corner with their impressive win over Bayern Munich on matchday 13, but they haven’t won since, losing to both Wolfsburg and Freiburg.
The pressure is on for them to end the first half of the season with a win as they open matchday 17 in the Friday night match against Hamburg.
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