Wow! What an eventful and week. The Bundesliga is the gift that just keeps giving. For some it has been a week of turmoil and woe, while for others it has been a week of joy.
We had a second coaching casualty, European misery, spectacular goals, late drama, records broken and Köln remaining winless. So just who were the hits and misses of matchday 7?
Shinji may just have saved the best till last. By scoring against Augsburg on Saturday Shinji Kagawa became the all-time leading Japanese goalscorer in the Bundesliga with 38 goals taking him one ahead of Shinji Okazaki.
His exquisite chip from inside the penalty box was a moment of sublime skill and a goal worthy of breaking the record. Kagawa netted his first Bundesliga goal back in 2010 in an early season 2-0 win over Wolfsburg. The first Japanese import to score in the German top flight though was midfielder Yasuhiko Okudera, who was a trailblazer back in the 1970’s for Köln.
V.A.R penalty decisions
Sure there has been controversy this season as the Bundesliga has trialled the use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), but at the weekend there were four separate penalty incidents that were all correctly adjudicated by the technology and justice done.
In Augsburg, Dortmund were given a second half penalty after referee Marco Fritz had missed a pull-back in the box by Koo on Lukasz Piszczek. It was referred to him by the sidelines and BVB were awarded the spot kick, which Aubameyang missed. The only real problem was the fact that they had to wait for a break in play to look at the replay, by which time Augsburg were preparing to take a corner at the other end.
Over in Frankfurt, a penalty was initially awarded in the 64th minute by referee Felix Brych when Simon Falette pulled back Simon Terodde, but on consultation it was deemed to be a free-kick right on the edge of the box. Falette however was still red carded.
Borussia Mönchengladbach were able to score a late winner against Hannover when Thorgan Hazard scored from the penalty spot in the 94th minute. A foul by Salif Sané on Vincenzo Grifo was initially called as a spot-kick by referee Christian Dingert, but once again the decision was confirmed by a video replay at the side of the pitch, so no dispute from a clearly disappointed Hannover.
Finally on Sunday Bayern Munich were rescued from a wrong call when referee Harm Osmers overturned his decision to award Hertha a penalty following a coming together between Javi Martinez and Vladimir Darida. On all four counts justice ultimately prevailed.
Who thought they’d seen the last of Claudio Pizarro in the Bundesliga? After three spells at Werder Bremen, and two at Bayern Munich sandwiched around a couple of seasons at Chelsea, the Peruvian striker was released at the end of last season by the Grün-Weißen and was seemingly all set for a well-earned retirement.
The record foreign Bundesliga goalscorer is however not ready for the pipe and slippers yet and a few days short of his 39th birthday has earned himself a contract with 1FC Köln. Bottom of the table with just a single point and a single goal, the Geißböcke have turned to Pizarina to rescue them.
Despite not training with the club, despite being far from match fit, Pizarro made the matchday squad on Sunday and came on as a second half substitute in the 2-1 home defeat to RB Leipzig. Could Pizarro really have more Bundesliga goals in his ageing legs? Could this be an inspired move from Köln? Time will tell, but a Bundesliga legend is back!
The drought is over! The weekend didn’t look good for Simon Terodde when the team sheet was released for Stuttgart’s trip to face Eintracht Frankfurt at the Commerzbank Arena on Saturday. After failing to score in any of his first six Bundesliga appearances, he was dropped to the bench to be replaced by Daniel Ginczek.
The scorer of 25 and 28 goals in his previous two seasons in Bundesliga 2, was benched by trainer Hannes Wolf in a move to get Stuttgart’s first away points. The decision must have pained the 29-year-old, but he responded in the perfect way. He came off the bench in the 61st minute with the Swabians trailing 1-0 to score with his first touch of the ball. A mere 37 seconds had elapsed between him entering the field of play and getting his head on the end of a Dennis Aogo corner to equalise.
That’s what you call an entrance. He also very nearly set up a second goal for partner Ginczek, but he wasted the golden opportunity and it was Terodde’s powerful run that led to Falette’s red card and almost a penalty.
Last week saw Dennis Geiger score his first Bundesliga goal for Hoffenheim, and this week it was the turn of 19-year-old Robin Hack to score on his full Bundesliga debut. With Julian Nagelsmann putting his faith in the left-sided youngster, he instantly repaid that faith 14 minutes into his first start.
A ball over the top from Sandro Wagner was brought under control with a superb first-touch before firing an unstoppable low drive past a helpless Oliver Baumann.
Sadly for him it became a debut he might not remember as he was forced off five minutes before half time after a clash of heads with Kevin Vogt that saw counting stars. If it was a Led Zeppelin song it would be ‘Dazed and Confused’.
There were those that say they saw the writing on the wall, but for most, the sacking on Thursday of Bayern Munich trainer Carlo Ancelotti came as a shock. A highly disappointing 3-0 defeat to Paris St Germain poured fuel on an already simmering fire under the Italian and following a far from Bayern-like start to the season, last year’s title-winning coach was fired.
The loss to Hoffenheim, the draw with Wolfsburg, the benching of Ribéry, Robben and Hummels on Wednesday all contributed to the discontent surrounding the boss and Bayern faced Hertha Belin on Sunday with Willy Sagnol in caretaker control of the team.
Bundesliga clubs in Europe
Not since 1981 have we had a week where six German clubs suffered defeat in Europe, but that’s what we got this week. Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig got the week off to a bad start on Tuesday losing to Real Madrid and Beşiktaş respectively in the Champions League before Bayern were comprehensively beaten by PSG on Wednesday.
Surely the Europa League would provide a little respite? No. Köln fans packed out the Rhein-Energie Stadion for their first home European fixture for 25 years only to see their side lose 1-0 to Red Star.
Hertha Berlin then lost on their travels to Sweden where a first half penalty was enough to see Östersunds FK to victory. Then to finally put the icing on a not very pleasant European cake, Hoffenheim somehow conspired to throw away an early lead to succumb 2-1 away at Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgrad.
All in all a disastrous week for German clubs and to make matters worse, wins for Roma, Napoli and Juventus in the Champions League this week have seen Italy move above Germany in UEFA’s five-year rankings for the first time in seven years.
How times change! Last week a hat trick in the 6-1 demolition of Borussia Mönchengladbach saw Aubameyang in the ‘Gute Woche’ section, but seven days later Dortmund’s Gabon striker ends up in the ‘Schlechte Woche’ section following a below-par display against Augsburg.
For sure BVB ended up winning the game, but for ‘Auba’ it was an afternoon to forget on what was his 200th Bundesliga appearance. Twice in the first half last season’s Torschütztenkönig missed two clear chances- the first with a header planted right at Marwin Hitz and the second where he delayed too long when put clean through on goal before being denied.
Never mind, a controversial VAR-assisted penalty with Dortmund under the cosh gave the BVB number nine to chance to make amends in the 79th minute. It really wasn’t Aubameyang’s day as he completely bombed with his ‘Panenka’ spot-kick. When they go in, you look the coolest dude in the stadium, when you mess up the ‘Panenka’, you just look like a complete muppet. ‘Taxi for Aubameyang?’
Stuttgart’s away day blues
It was so very nearly an end to Stuttgart’s abysmal away record in this season’s Bundesliga. With consecutive defeats to Hertha Berlin, Schalke and Mönchengladbach on the road, the Swabians found themselves drawing 1-1 against Eintracht Frankfurt at the Commerzbank Arena with the Eagles down to ten men. Surely, they’d be heading back south with their first away point?
Frankfurt and in particular Sebastien Haller had other ideas and with the last kick of the game in the 93rd minute, the French forward produced a stunning bicycle kick to score the winner to ruin VfB’s day and extend their losing streak on the road to four games. Their next away trip is to RB Leipzig.
For the same reasons as the previous six weeks. Sorry!
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