The league that just keeps giving gave us more of the usual this weekend as the next round of Bundesliga matches were played. We had debut goals, late goals, a double goalkeeping howler at Schalke, and a couple of red cards to round things off.
So just who were the winners and losers of matchday 21?
Pierre-Emerick Aubama-who? Well as far as Bundesliga debuts go, that was an absolute dream for Michy Batshuayi on Friday against Köln at the Signal Iduna Park. Brought in from Chelsea following the sale of Aubameyang to Arsenal, the 24-year-old striker was put straight into the starting XI by Peter Stöger.
It took the Belgian just 34 minutes to score his first Bundesliga goal and he bagged his second in the 62nd minute to restore BVB’s lead against Köln. Batshuayi could even have scored a hat-trick, but VAR ruled out a goal in the 44th minute for offside. Not content with scoring, Batshuayi also laid on the assist for Andre Schürrle’s winner.
He then endeared himself to Schwarzgelben fans even more with a brilliant post-match interview. “I love Borussia Dortmund. Black and yellow are my favourite colours because I love Batman and Spongebob.”
Freiburg’s 0-0 draw with Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday may at first glance look rather nondescript, but the point gained extended the Breisgauer’s unbeaten record to nine games (their last defeat came way back on matchday 12 against Wolfsburg).
The draw against the Werkself was all the more impressive as they kept one of the leagues most potent attacks goalless. It was the first time this season that Heiko Herrlich’s side have failed to score and it testament to the work being done by Christian Streich at the Schwarzwaldstadion.
Freiburg now find themselves in 12th place and five points clear of the relegation places.
Ademola who? That was the call from many Bundesliga observers when RB Leipzig made the last-gasp transfer window signing of Ademola Lookman on loan from Everton. Seen as a rather desperate move in the final hours of the window, the signing now looks very astute following his match winning cameo appearance against Borussia Mönchengladbach.
With the game at the Borussia Park seemingly set to end in a goalless stalemate with both sides below their best, the 20-year-old was sent on in the 78th minute in place of Bruma. The winger rewarded Ralph Hasenhüttl by scoring the winning goal in the 89th minute to clinch an important three points for the Rote Bullen.
The goal was also the first scored by an Englishman in the Bundesliga since Owen Hargreaves for Bayern Munich way back in 2005!
With one eye on the midweek DFB Pokal clash with Bayer Leverkusen, Werder Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt chose to leave captain Zlatko Junuzovic on the bench against Schalke, but the talismanic Austrian was still to have a key role to play.
New signing Milot Rashica took his place but Junuzovic was brought on for Jerome Gondorf for the final twenty minutes as Werder looked to exploit their man advantage over the Königsblauen. The decision to send him into the fray paid dividends right at the death when he got on the end of Maxi Eggestein’s goalbound effort to snatch a potentially vital three points for the Grün-Weißen in their battle against relegation.
The Fuggerstädter extended their unbeaten run at the AWD Arena to six games with a comprehensive 3-0 win over a high-flying Eintracht Frankfurt side on Sunday.
Without their leading scorer Alfred Finnbogason and key defender Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, Manuel Baum’s side made light work of dispatching the Adler 3-0 with goals from Koo, Michael Gregoritsch and a debut goal from youngster Marco Richter. Augsburg (many people’s tip for a fight against relegation) are now 7th and just two points outside the European places.
“It was a really good performance from us – we never let up” said Baum after the match. “Unfortunately, we let a few big chances slip, although we still deserved to win. I’m especially happy that in Marco Richter we have another homegrown talent who has celebrated his home debut.”
Arguably the best goalkeeper of the Hinrunde (our very own Abel Meszaros did a splendid job arguing just that here), it came as a huge surprise to see the normally reliable Czech custodian dropping a massive clanger against Schalke to hand to Königsblauen a first half lead at the Veltins Arena on Saturday.
With Schalke struggling to create clear-cut chances, a speculative shot from distance from Yevhen Konoplyanka looked like a routine save for Pavlenka as the ball sailed harmlessly towards his open gloves. Not so!
For an unexplained reason, the keeper lost focus and allowed the weak effort from the Ukrainian to slip through his hands and into the net. Luckily for him, Werder managed to turn things around and spare Pavlenka’s blushes.
Matija Nastasic/ Ralf Fährmann
It wasn’t just Werder keeper Pavlenka who was to suffer at the Veltins Arena on Saturday. Schalke centre-back Matija Nastasic did his side no favours by picking up two yellow cards leading to his dismissal in the 78th minute.
The Königsblauen keeper then tried to out-do Jiri Pavlenka in the blooper stakes by spilling Ludwig Augustinsson’s free-kick (a result of the Nastasic foul) and then getting mixed up with Thilo Kehrer to allow Max Kruse to score from close range.
The Schalke captain then failed to cover himself in glory in the final minute when he allowed Maxi Eggestein to poke the ball past him to allow Zlatko Junuzovic to score the late winner.
Having been linked with a host of clubs during the transfer window, it was back to Bundesliga duty with Hoffenheim for midfielder Kerem Demirbay on Saturday. However, his day was to end with him in hospital after a horrendous-looking injury against Hertha Berlin.
Demirbay was caught by Jordan Torunarigha as the Berlin player cleared the ball and went down in agony. Tests later revealed that the Hoffenheim midfielder had ruptured the anterior ligament and partially torn the syndesmosis ligament in his right ankle. He will now be out for the foreseeable future.
“This isn’t good news, although we were worried it might be a more serious injury” TSG trainer Julian Nagelsmann explained. “We now need to support Kerem as much as we can to help him recover as quickly as possible.”
Having picked up nine yellow cards in his previous games, it was time for Hamburg’s no-nonsense Greek defender to receive his first red card of the season against Hannover.
Booked in the 63rd minute by referee Sascha Stegemann, he then picked up his second caution in stoppage time when he brought down Niclas Füllkrug right on the edge of the penalty area. The only saving grace was that Iver Fossum failed to punish them further with the resulting free-kick.
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