October 23, 2017

Gute Woche/ Schlechte Woche Matchday 5 Edition

Hot on the heels of an enthralling matchday four, we had matchday five in the Bundesliga thanks to the ‘Englische Woche’. All eighteen sides were called into midweek action for the first time and once again it didn’t disappoint in terms of thrills and spills.

We had Bayern returning to top form, Dortmund staying top of the table, and Köln continuing to struggle at the bottom. So who were the hits and misses of Bundesliga matchday five?

Gute Woche

James Rodríguez

On his first Bundesliga start for Bayern, it is safe to say the summer arrival from Real Madrid stole the show and demonstrated just why coach Carlo Ancelotti rates him so highly.

James David Rodríguez Rubio to give him his full name, scored one of Bayern’s three goals at the Veltins Arena and had a hand in the other two to help continue the Bavarians recovery from their defeat at Hoffenheim.

The Colombian was involved in the penalty which saw Naldo handball for Bayern’s opener in the 25th minute before adding the second himself four minutes later as he slid in at the near post to score past Ralf Fährmann.

It was his delightfully lofted pass fifteen minutes from the end that saw substitute Arturo Vidal put the game well and truly past the Königsblauen. Not bad for a player not deemed as being 100% fit.

“He did well, he had a good performance,” Carlo Ancelotti said after the game. “He played with the team, for the team, together with others with a good combination.  I think he has to improve his physical condition because he is not 100% but what he did today was really good.”

You have been warned Bundesliga! Just wait till he is at optimum level!

Augsburg

What are they putting in the water over at the Függerstadt? Three wins on the bounce has pushed Augsburg up into the top five and made it the best start to a Bundesliga season since their promotion in 2011.

Their 1-0 win over RB Leipzig on Tuesday followed on from wins over Eintracht Frankfurt and Köln. Considering they lost to HSV on the opening day, it’s been quite a recovery from Manuel Baum’s side. Against last season’s Vize-Meister FCA won thanks to an early Michael Gregoritsch goal which our very own Abel Meszaros has ably analysed.

Dortmund’s back line

‘You shall not pass’ Gandalf roared as he faced the Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm (or should that be the Bridge of Khazad Eric Durm?) in the Lord of the Rings film. The ability to stop anyone breaching their defence is also something we’re getting used to with BVB.

Their 3-0 away victory against HSV on Wednesay saw the Schwarzgelben keep a clean sheet for a fifth successive league game to lead the way in Europe’s top leagues not just the Bundesliga. Unlike against Tottenham in the Champions League, Roman Bürki has looked sound and the four defenders in front of him have also performed well. Dan-Axel Zagadou continues to impress as a temporary left-back, while Lukasz Piszczek at right-back is Mr. Reliable personified.

Sokratis has marshalled the centre superbly, alongside Ömer Toprak on Wednesday, but with Marc Bartra in earlier games. BVB have made a more than impressive start to this season, built upon a very firm foundation. This is the other ‘Yellow Wall’.

Andre Breitenreiter

Or should we call him ‘the man who can’t lose’? Since succeeding Daniel Stendel last season, the former Schalke trainer has yet to experience defeat. In nine games in Bundesliga II, Breitenreiter was undefeated, and in five games in the top flight so far, Hannover have also yet to face defeat.

A 1-1 draw at home to Freiburg on Wednesday extended the lucky streak of the 43-year-old and consolidated the club’s place in the top four. Andre Breitenreiter just keeps surfing that Hanoverian wave.

Martin Schmidt

Ironic that a former mechanic has been brought in to remedy things at VfL Wolfsburg- the Volkswagen backed club. Out of work since being fired at the end of last season by Mainz, the 50-year-old Swiss trainer seems at first glance to be a better fit than his immediate predecessor Andries Jonker, but it will remain to be seen whether he has the tools in his box to turn around the fortunes of die Wölfe and get them back to challenging for the title.

He began his tenure at the Volkswagen Arena with a point against Werder Bremen with Divock Origi getting his first goal for the club.

Schlechte Woche

Andries Jonker

Instead of spending the Englische Woche trying to steer his Wolfsburg side to victory over Werder Bremen, poor Andries Jonker was probably sending out feelers to North London to see whether he could possibly have his old job back at the Arsenal academy.

Jonker became the first coaching casualty of the season after being fired on Monday after just one win from the first four matches. It has baffled many why such a decision was not taken in the summer, if the board didn’t feel he was the right man for the job.

Yes he was Inexperienced, but he was deemed the right man at the time to stave off relegation. He was however not seen as the right man to take Wolfsburg forward long-term and it was a case of ‘Danke, aber Auf wiedersehen’.

Manuel Neuer

Having missed the end of last season and the first few games of the new campaign with a broken foot, the Bayern and German number one was back between the posts and seemingly none the worse for the time off. The 31-year-old produced a fantastic save from Fabian Frei against Mainz at the weekend and it was all systems go.

However, on Monday during training Neuer suffered an injury which has subsequently been diagnosed as a repeat of the broken foot suffered originally during the Champions League quarter-final second-leg defeat by Real Madrid last April.

He will now miss the rest of the Hinrunde, with Bayern having to call once again on the services of back-up keeper Sven Ulreich. One step forward, two steps back.

Celina Scheufele

The girlfriend of Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder Christoph Kramer will hardly recognise the battered face of her World Cup winning better half after the past week. Kramer has quite simply been disfigured over the past two games and the Englische Woche just gave further opportunity for Bundesliga rivals to beat up on him.

After being kicked in the face by Naby Keita last weekend, he then had a clash of heads with Stuttgarts’s Anastasios Donis on Tuesday which ultimately forced him off at half-time bleeding from the nose and with a cut to his forehead.

Much more of this and poor WAG Fraulein Scheufele will hardly be able to recognise her beloved.

Daniel Baier

Augsburg may have won their midweek clash with Champions League participants Leipzig, but the victory came at a price for Daniel Baier who has been hit with a one-match ban from the DFB as well as €20,000 fine.

This all follows on from an unsavoury incident at the end of the game when Baier was tackled near to the technical areas. The 33-year-old spat in the direction of RB coach Ralph Hasenhüttl and was then caught on camera making an obscene gesture.

Baier approached Hasenhüttl after the game, but the Leipzig coach refused his handshake. “It wasn’t an apology. You saw the action on TV. I don’t need to comment or judge it” the RB trainer said afterwards.

A review of the incident by the DFB ruled against Baier and he has been hit both in the wallet and with a suspension.

1FC Köln

Oh dear, it just goes from bad to worse for the poor Geißböcke. Five games played, five defeats, no points, one goal scored, thirteen conceded, low on confidence and no sight of those elusive first points.

The 1-0 home loss to Eintracht Frankfurt came via a slightly controversial penalty decision, which saw VAR playing a decisive role for the second game in a row. Sebastien Haller tucked away the spot kick in genuine Lewandowski style to heap more woe on the Rheinlander.

They visit high-flying Hannover at the weekend desperately in need in a change of fortunes.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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