Week 9 in the Bundesliga provided plenty of talking points both on and off thee pitch. The Dortmund juggernaut was slowed by a valiant Hertha, although off the field incidents took the gloss off of their display. Bayern returned to winning ways, Heiko Herrlich breathed a huge sigh of relief, while Domenico Tedesco was left scratching his head once more.
We had goals, red cards, riots, and a whole lot more, so just who were the winners and losers from matchday 9?
Having secured successive and important draws against both Bayer Leverkusen and Hertha Berlin in their last two matches, it was a impressive three points that Freiburg won on Friday in some style.
In-form Borussia Mönchengladbach were the visitors to the Schwarzwaldstadion, but Christian Streich’s side were no respecters of form or league position and emerged with a 3-1 win.
They couldn’t have imagined a better start with a penalty (dispatched by Nils Petersen) won after just 11 seconds. Thorgan Hazard’s penalty equaliser didn’t throw them off course and Luca Waldschmidt deservedly restored the lead in the 57th minute. Then, with Gladbach chasing a late equaliser, Lucas Höler scored from the centre circle with a spectacular effort with Yann Sommer caught way out of his goal.
“It was a high-intensity game and I’m delighted to come away with the three points” beamed Christian Streich at the final whistle. “We were up against a very energetic Gladbach side and even with the early goal it was an incredibly difficult match for us.
“However, we played with a lot of passion and put them under pressure, which allowed us to break down their attacks through the centre fairly quickly.”
If Jadon Sancho was a company on the stock exchange, traders would be rushing to buy his stock, because right now his value is rising and looks set to continue to do so for a while yet. The 18-year-old seems to be on a continual upward trajectory this season as he makes himself a first-choice starter at Borussia Dortmund and on Saturday against Hertha Berlin his stock took another leap.
With BVB looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season, the winger scored both of his sides goals at the Signal Iduna Park, but was unable to celebrate victory with Hertha securing a 2-2 draw. Sancho’s first came after a blistering counter-attack saw him steer home a Mario Götze pass, before he had the easiest of tap-ins after Marco Reus had fired the ball goalwards.
The brace saw Sancho take his league tally to four goals and six assists. He therefore joins some elite company across Europe’s top five league having been involved in ten or more goals this season (Messi 12, Mbappe 12, Neymar 11, Ronaldo 11, Hazard 10).
Having scored in the 4-0 Champions League win over Atletico Madrid in midweek as well, it’s been quite the week for the rising star.
Dortmund’s awesome attacking power was once more on display at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday, but the fact that they left with just a point can be attributed in a big way to Hertha striker Salomon Kalou.
The Ivorian had yet to score in the Bundesliga prior to matchday 9, but he matched Jadon Sancho’s two-goal haul with a brace of his own. His first came just before halftime when he got on the end of a fantastic pass from Maxi Mittelstädt after Hertha had capitalised on a poor pass from Mahmoud Dahoud.
Kalou then broke Schwarzgelben hearts by keeping his cool and sticking away a penalty in the 91st minute. “I only had one thought on my mind when I took the penalty” he revealed after the match. “After all the practice penalties, there was no way I could miss. I was concentrating and I thought that I would put it in the right corner.
“The point was important for us as it was against such a strong opposition. We played very well; stayed disciplined, defended as a team and used the chances that we created. I’ve been waiting to score again and it’s even better that it was against such a strong opposition!”
Now that’s how you save your coaches job! With rumours circulating that Heiko Herrlich’s position as Leverkusen trainer was in jeopardy if the Werkself lost to Werder on Sunday, his side went out and produced their best performance of the season to win 6-2.
Last season saw a similarly bad start to the campaign followed by a great display on matchday 9 (5-1 away at Mönchengladbach) and history repeated itself at the Weser Stadion. 3-0 up at half-time, Leverkusen did give their travelling fans a fright when allowing Werder back to 3-2, but brace from Kai Havertz and one from Aleksandar Dragovic saw them through.
Pressure? What pressure?
His Werder side may have crumbled against Bayer Leverkusen, but Bremen striker Claudio Pizarro did have a moment of personal celebration as he became the the second oldest Bundesliga scorer ever with his goal in the 60th minute at the Weser Stadion.
Aged 40 years and 25 days he has overtaken Mannfred Burgsmuller in the rankings of oldest scorers and now only has fellow Werder veteran Mirko Votava ahead of him. The Peruvian has now scored a Bundesliga goal in every one of the past 19 seasons.
It looks like it is going to be a long, hard season for Fortuna Düsseldorf as yet another poor performance and defeat has kept them in the bottom two of the table.
Friedhelm Funkel would have been fully aware of the huge task facing his newly promoted side, and the start of the season has lived up to expectations with six defeats from their first nine matches. Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat to VfL Wolfsburg had little to be positive about with Fortuna largely toothless in attack and disorganised and easy to bypass in defence.
“After the heavy defeat in Frankfurt, we played well until Wolfsburg’s first goal” Funkel explained in the press zone. “Until they made it 1-0 we closed off the space so that they had very few chances.
“We wanted to take more risks, but unfortunately that didn’t pay off. We conceded the second and third goals due to individual errors. My team is of course very disappointed.”
Life doesn’t get any easier either with their next three games coming against Borussia Mönchengladbach, Hertha Berlin and Bayern Munch.
Signal Iduna Park riot police
The fantastic game of football seen on the pitch at the Signal Iduna Park was somewhat overshadowed by the ugly scenes witnessed from the Hertha Berlin block at the away end in the first half.
With away fans letting off pyros just before kick-off and at the start of the match, riot police attempted to remove a large Hertha flag that they suspected was concealing a large quantity of fireworks and flares. The BSC ultras responded by attacking the police with broken off flag poles, punches, kicks and a flare was even thrown.
40 people were reportedly injured in the violence with some fans also being treated for breathing difficulties. Hertha ultras also smashed up the toilets during the half-time interval and proceeded to attack police with pieces of porcelain, broken doors and pieces of security fencing.
Hertha’s sporting director Michael Preetz said: “This is a day which damages both football and our club. The pyro-orgy was followed by significant physical clashes. It leaves a bitter taste, and not just an aftertaste.”
VfB Stuttgart/ Emiliano Insua
Swapping Tayfun Korkut out and bringing in Markus Weinzierl was supposed to stop the rot at VfB Stuttgart, but the change in coach has not had the desired effect yet.
A second defeat for the new trainer and second dismal display (okay the second half against BVB was okay) means that the Swabians are still bottom of the table and still searching for answers to the many questions facing the side. After fullback Emiliano Insua’s eighth minute red card for dangerous play, it was always going to prove a difficult game and although it took Hoffenheim a while to adapt to their man advantage, they powered past Stuttgart with relative ease.
Three goals within 12 minutes of the start of the second half did the damage and the 4-0 scoreline could have been even worse. The stats from the game don’t make pretty reading from a Stuttgart perspective and it is a case of ‘back to the drawing board’ for Markus Weinzierl, who might be wishing he’d extended his sabbatical a little longer.
Augsburg’s Brazilian midfielder was dropped from the matchday squad to face Hannover after further disciplinary misdemeanours during the week. Trainer Manuel Baum lost patience with the 29-year-old after he’d twice turned up late to team meetings/ training.
Caiuby is no stranger to the naughty corner at Augsburg having incurred the club’s ire at the start of the season after he returned late from his summer holiday back in Brazil. He was fined a reported €25,000. Then, only last week, the player was involved in yet more controversy when he was caught on a train from Munich to Augsburg without a ticket and faces a whopping fine of €22,500!
His latest indiscretions have been ‘forgiven’ by coach Baum, but it remains to be seen how much more the club are prepared to let the player push the disciplinary boundaries.
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