After the second international break of the new season it was a welcome return to Bundesliga action this weekend. The curtain went up on matchday 8 with a fascinating press conference at Bayern where Messers Hoeness and Rummenigge went to town on the press criticism of the champions.
On the pitch Niko Kovac’s side ended their poor run, but with Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Werder Bremen all winning, the Bavarians are still out of the top three.
Elsewhere we had goals aplenty with Luka Jovic bagging five, Jonas Hofmann three and Paco Alcácer continuing his rich vein of form. There were red cards, tough debuts, a return to form and much more. So just who were the winners and losers from matchday 8?
Gute Woche? I think Eintracht Frankfurt’s Luka Jovic deserves his own little section of his own this week titled ‘ausgezeichnete Woche’ (extraordinary week) after his goalscoring exploits on Friday against Fortuna Düsseldorf.
The Serbian striker joins an elite list of players to have scored five goals in a single Bundesliga match, but at just 20 years and 300 days old, he has become the youngest player to achieve the incredible feat.
The absence of Ante Rebic through suspension was hardly felt as the Adler destroyed the promoted Fortuna largely thanks to Jovic. Having missed a relatively simple chance after 18 minutes, he more than made up for it with a five-goal salvo. His first was probably the pick of the bunch as he acrobatically volleyed in.
After that it seemed that every chance that came his way was put away with ease. Frankfurt trainer Adi Hütter now has the uneviable task of trying to shoe-horn three in-form strikers into his starting XI with Sebastian Haller, Rebic and Jovic all in top form right now.
“I’m obviously utterly delighted. It was an emotional evening, not just because of my five goals but also because the whole team played sensationally” Jovic told the club’s website after the match.
“I’m very happy that the fans were singing my name. They were fantastic and showed us incredible support. My goals were my way of repaying them. My second goal was a sensational strike. I hit the ball, fell to the ground and only then realised that the ball had gone in. It was just perfect!”
Bremen are showing right now that their bold pre-season ambitions of a top six finish were more than mere bravado. Fans of the Grün-Weißen have been more accustomed to hovvering above the relegation zone at the start of recent seasons, but their 2-0 away win over Schalke on Saturday sees them in the heady heights of second!
Florian Kohfeldt has got his side playing some really good football and inspired by the goals of in-form midfielder Maxi Eggestein, were able to come away from the Veltins Arena with a fully deserved three points. Jiri Pavlenka was his usual commanding self, while the experience of 40-year-old Claudio Pizarro showed in the second half when he came on.
“We’re constantly living up to our potential at the moment. There’s a good mix between young and experienced players” said manager Frank Baumann post-match. “We were therefore able to win a difficult away game against a top team today.”
Right now it seems as if Nelson and Jadon Sancho are having their own little competition as to which English youngster can grab the most headlines in the Bundesliga. While Sancho scored against VfB Stuttgart to continue his top form, 18-year-old Nelson went one better with a brace in Hoffenheim’s 3-1 win over Nürnberg.
With the Kraichgauer 1-0 down and with Club keeper Christian Mathenia in fine form, it looked like it was going to be a poor afternoon for Julian Nagelsmann’s men until Nelson volleyed in after an inviting ball from Pavel Kaderabek five mintes into the second half.
He added a fine second seven minutes later after he fired past Mathenia at his near post following good combination work involving Kaderabek and Kerem Demirbay. The loan signing from Arsenal now has four goals already this season and holding his own in his mini-battle with Jadon Sancho.
Now that’s more like it. Fans of the Bundesliga and Bayern in particular were growing a little unaccustomed to seeing the usually regular goalscoring celebration from Robert Lewandowski. The Pole had gone a full 206 minutes without a league goal prior to the visit to VfL Wolfsburg (a drought by his standards), but normal service was duly resumed at the Volkswagen Arena.
With all eyes on the Bavarians following their mini-slump and the bizarre Uli Hoeness/ Karl-Heinz Rummenigge press conference, a win was desperately needed and two goals from Lewandowski set them on their way to the three points.
He drilled his first past Koen Casteels on the half-hour mark after runing onto Mats Hummels through ball and helped himself to a simple second after right-back William’s poor header back to the keeper was snaffled up.
With Luka Jovic and Paco Alcácer on the scoresheet again this weekend, Lewandowski’s goals see him keeping pace with the new challengers to his scoring crown.
Gladbach forward Jonas Hofmann grabbed the very first hat trick of his career in the Fohlen’s 4-0 win over Mainz and it seems that it was very, very overdue, The former Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund man’s talent has been on the radar for so long now (he’s now 26), but he has never really kicked on to the next level.
Against Mainz though he helped himself to three goals and grabbed all the headlines. Having played on loan at the Nullfünfer in the 2015-15 season, he gave Dieter Hecking’s side the lead with an angled finish. He added his second from close range following a corner early in the second half.
He completed his hat trick with another clinical finish in the 63rd minute to seal another good win for the Fohlen.
Okay, so it’s happened twice to fellow promoted side Nürnberg, so it should be slightly easier to take for Fortuna. A 7-1 hammering at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt is a bitter pill to swallow for Friedhelm Funkel and he will now have to follow the example of Michael Köllner and attempt to rally his troops after this debacle.
Three first half goals put the Adler in firm control, but their was a glimmer of hope for the visitors when substitute Dodi Lukebakio made an instant impression pulling a goal back in the minute.
A glimmer was all it was as the hosts made the most of their chances and some poor defending to knock in a further four goals of their own. Luka Jovic helped himself to five and like Nürnberg before them, the promoted side were given a real lesson in the hardships of the Bundesliga if you are not 100% on your game.
To make matters worse, Fortuna have now replaced Stuttgart as the bottom side in the league- a schlechte Woche indeed.
The question was asked prior to kick-off whether this was going to be a baptism of fire for new VfB Suttgart coach Markus Weinzierl, and the answer after the game was a resounding yes!
Whatever defensive plan he sent his side out with at the Mercedes-Benz Arena clearly didn’t work as a rampant Dortmund ran riot in the first 45 minutes. It took the Schwarzgelben just three minutes sto slice through the VfB defence for Jadon Sancho’s opener and they had added two more before half an hour was on the clock with Marco Reus and Paco Alcácer on target.
It could have been a lot worse for the new trainer but 3-0 at the break was all the damage BVB inflicted. Granted his side were much better in the second period and found Roman Bürki in fine form, but BVB took their foot off the gas somewhat and still manged to add a fourth via Maximilian Philipp late on.
It is a case of back to the drawing board for Markus Weinzierl and he will now turn his attentions to getting his first points on the board next weekend. That however will be easier said than done with a tricky looking trip to face Hoffenheim.
Bayern may have ended their poor run of results, but it wasn’t a great afternoon for their Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who was sent-off by referee Guido Winkmann. Having been cautioned in the first half for a dive, the 34-year-old caught midfieler Elvis Rexhbecaj a little late and received his second booking and the dreaded Ampelkarte.
It Bayern had to play half an hour with a man less and Wolfsburg profitted with their goal from Wout Weghorst as they exploited the extra space. It was Robben’s first sending-off since April 2011 when he saw red against Nürnberg. He will now miss Bayern’s away clash with Mainz next week.
Schalke/ Ralf Fährmann
Just when it looked like Schalke had put their miserable start behind them and turned the corner, they produced another dull, uninspred performance losing 2-0 at home to Werder Bremen.
Werder controlled the game and there was very little from the Königsblauen in an attacking sense and coach Domenico Tedesco will once again have to back to the drawing board and come up with a way out of this crisis.
After 117 consecutive starts in the Bundesliga it was also a bad for goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann, who was injured in the pre-match warm-up and had to be replaced by rookie replacement Alexander Nubel.
“We had no presence in their penalty area” defender Naldo admitted after the final whistle. “We stood very compact in the first 45 minutes and then concede from their first chance. Last season we are also very solid at the back, but were more clinical taking our chances. We were too naïve for the second goal, we just fell asleep.”
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