As we slowly enter the final phase of the 2017-18 season, the excitement and drama doesn’t seem to want to stop as the Bundesliga season continues to deliver and matchday 24 was not a disappointment.
We had a bottom of the table Nordderby clash, Bayern held goalless at home for the first time, another Montagsspiel, and the end of a lengthy Fohlen goal-drought.
So just who were the winners and losers of matchday 24?
So for the first time this season Bayern Munich were held goalless at the Allianz Arena and their 0-0 draw with Hertha Berlin means that they didn’t beat the long-standing record set by Pal Csernai’s side in the 1980’s of fourteen competitive matches won in a row.
On Saturday Pal Dardai’s Hertha side put in a superb defensive performance to shut out the normally prolific Bavarians. Yes, Bayern were a little wasteful at times (Franck Ribéry!), but the Old Lady’s back-line held firm despite plenty of pressure.
Although a collective team effort, special mentions should go to both goalkeeper Rune Jarstein and centreback Jordan Torunarigha. Jarstein pulled off a number of top saves- notably to deny Robert Lewandowski and free-kicks from David Alaba and Arjen Robben. 20-year-old defender Torunarigha was also a top performer making four tackles, five interceptions, eight clearances and three blocked shots (two off the line).
The Berlin Wall held firm.
The drought is over! Gott sei dank! After 431 Bundesliga minutes without a goal, Borussia Mönchengladbach finally found the back of the net on Saturday at the AWD Arena as they beat Hannover 1-0. And what a goal it was!
After wasting a host of chances, it looked like a case of déjà-vu for Dieter Hecking’s side, but up stepped Kramer in the 72nd minute to finally get the Fohlen on the scoresheet after four a run of four barren games.
Having failed to hit the back of the net earlier following a mazy Maradona-esque run, the World Cup winning midfielder controlled a Lars Stindl pass with his right, before unleashing a sensational volley with his weaker left into the top corner of the Hannover net.
Beating rivals Hamburg in the Nordderby is always hugely satisfying, but to do so with a late winner and with so much at stake for both sides makes it even more so. With both sides perilously close to the drop-zone, three points were going to be extremely important for both clubs, but it was the Grün-Weißen, who emerged victorious at the Weser Stadion.
The manner of the goal was more than a little controversial, but Werder fans will point to other dubious VAR-assisted decisions that have gone against them this season as a counter-argument to any HSV bleating.
Those Geißböcke just will not lay down and accept a return to the second tier! After the heartache of their disallowed goal against Hannover on matchday 23, many expected a futile trip to the Red Bull Arena and a long trip back to the Rheinland empty-handed for Köln.
Not so! Despite going behind to an early Jean-Kevin Augustin goal, Stefan Ruthenbeck’s bottom of the table side, turned the league on its head with second half goals from Vincent Koziello and Leonardo Bittencourt.
The Great Escape is still on!
Tick tock, down runs the clock! It was no exaggeration to state that the Saturday evening Nordderby was a massive six-pointer, and sadly for HSV the result went the way of their fierce local rivals.
Controversial as the Werder goal was, the Rothosen were once again uninspired and didn’t really ever look like they had it in them to take all three points from the Weser Stadion.
There are ten games to go for Fireman Hollerbach to put out the flames that are threatening to engulf Hamburg in their first-ever demotion to the second division.
The Bayern wide-man has been adding to his reputation of late, but will be disappointed to be forced into a rest following an injury against Hertha Berlin.
Coman suffered an ankle injury shortly after coming on as a substitute for Franck Ribéry and according to L’Équipe, the winger underwent surgery on Monday to treat a partial ligament rupture.
The minimum diagnosis would see him out for two months, but the fear is that the season could very well be over for Coman, which would be a massive blow for both the player and Bayern Munich as the chase the Treble.
More dropped points for Hoffenheim this weekend as they once again gave up a lead in a game to ultimately have to share the spoils. Despite taking the lead against Freiburg, the Sinsheim side had to settle for just a solitary point as Nils Petersen’s penalty denied them the win.
The relative poor run of form from Hoffenheim is also starting to cause a modicum of friction with their fans, who have begun to vent their frustration much to coach Julian Nagelsmann’s disdain.
“We’ve never been worse than ninth” the Hoffenheim coach bemoaned after witnessing his side being whistled by sections of the home supporters. “What do the fans of the teams behind us do? They don’t run onto the pitch after the first backpass.
“At tenth, they’ll storm the pitch, at eleventh they’ll take a player home, at twelfth they’ll smash up the team bus. If they start whistling in ninth place, we have a problem.”
There is bad luck and then there is just pure rotten luck. Hannover captain Edgar Prib certainly falls into the category of suffering rotten luck. The 28-year-old defensive midfielder only recently returned to full first-team training following a knee ligament injury, but horribly suffered another ligament injury last week.
A successful knee operation has been performed, but it is feared a lengthy lay-off of around nine months is on the cards for the Hannover skipper.
Gute Besserung Edgar Prib!
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