It was an unusual weekend in the Bundesliga to say the least. Most prominent in the minds of Bundesliga viewers was Hannover’s historic win over Bayern. Bayern conceded their first goal in 770 minutes. Ironically enough, the goal to end their spell came on a weekend that was one of the lowest scoring in recent months. Only two matches saw more than three goals scored. Dortmund made up a large chunk of the 19 goals scored with their emphatic win against Köln. Bremen, Augsburg, Mainz, Hertha Berlin, Nürnberg, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Wolfsburg all had to split the points while Hoffenheim, Schalke and Kaiserslautern managed narrow wins.
Here is our Best 11 of Match Day 10:
Simon Jentzsch – Arguably Augsburg’s best player this year, the veteran goalkeeper single handedly earned his side an important point against Bremen. Going into the game with a broken ring finger, the 35 year old played with considerable pain and made 4 crucial saves to deny Bremen. In a year where Augsburg will fight for every point having a determined goalkeeper like Jentzsch is going to go a long way in their quest to remain in the league.
Mats Hummels – After arguably his poorest showing for Dortmund in a long time midweek against Olympiakos, the center back redeemed himself with an outstanding performance against Köln. Involved in three goals, the center back/playmaker was one of the most creative players on the pitch. Hummels was the most active player on the pitch (104 ball touches) and completed more passes than anyone else (71). He has been more involved in initiating attacks in the wake of Sahin’s departure and his influence on the team has grown steadily over course of the season.
Naldo – Oh how Bremen have missed the finesse and influence of the Brazilian in their backline. With their midfield visibly flustered and unable to get a foothold in the match, Naldo took it upon himself to initiate most of Bremen’s attacks all while maintaining a sense of composure and stability at the back. Strong in the tackle and assured in his distribution Naldo was Bremen’s best player against Augsburg. His team may not have won but Naldo’s performance was a personal victory and a reason to be hopeful for Bremen supporters.
Martin Amedick – Kaiserslautern have not provided much to extol about this season so performances like the one against Freiburg are quite significant. Freiburg may have one of the most porous defenses in the league but offensively they are one of the most potent and Amedick’s stolid performance went a long way in keeping Cisse from adding to his already impressive tally. Although inadvertently, Amedick also assisted Kaiserslautern’s winning goal.
Zdenech Pospech – There may be more worthy inclusions but Pospech’s couragous and hard working performance against Hertha Berlin deserves a mention amidst a very disappointing season for Mainz. The right back ran more than any other player on the pitch aside from Kirchoff and won an impressive 16 of his duels, the most important of which came against the dangerous Ben-Hatira. Pospech was the most active player on the pitch with a match high 88 touches and 51 completed passes, an encouraging performance in a season where there is little be excited about for Mainz supporters.
Lars Stindl – Quite possibly the performance of the match day, Hannover’s right midfielder was at the forefront of his side’s huge win over Bayern. Stindl had to fill in in center midfield in the Europa League but against Bayern was put back in his preferred position and outplayed the best left side pairing in the Bundesliga. The midfielder covered an incredible 12.24 km, won most duels (17) and completed more passes (26) than his teammates. It is very rare that Lahm and Ribery get outplayed but Stindl was possessed, determined to win and ensured that the Bayern players had a day to forget.
Sebastian Kehl – Dortmund’s captain has come under heavy scrutiny for his performances this season and has even become a symbol for their stuttering start. All that was brushed aside for 90 minutes though as Kehl put on his best performance in long time. Winning 70% of his tackles and having 5 shots on goal, Kehl was solid defensively and intrepid in attack. Always involved and confident on the ball, Kehl led by example and provided the stability Dortmund have been lacking in midfield this season.
Jefferson Farfan – The Peruvian winger celebrated his 100th Bundesliga match with one of the goals of the season. His 77 meter sprint across the length of the pitch and cool finish decided the match but more importantly, Farfan provided the kind of threat that Schalke lacked against Leverkusen. His speed, strength, and willingness to take players made Farfan a constant threat. No wonder that almost everything positive went through the winger.
Shinji Kagawa – The Japanese playmaker has struggled to replicate his great first season and waned after his opening day performance. Fortunately for Dortmund Kagawa rediscovered that form against Köln and was one of the primary reasons Dortmund put on one of the team performances of the season. Always mobile and difficult to mark, Kagawa’s clever movement and eye for goal made it impossible for Köln to settle into the game. His goal kickstarted the black and yellow avalanche that suffocated the hapless Billygoats.
Robert Lewandowski – The Polish striker continued his fine form and cast aside doubts about his early season jitters with two classy finishes against Köln. Lewandowski moved up to third in the goal scoring charts with his brace and now has 5 goals and 3 assists in his last 5 Bundesliga matches. He may be more timid in front of goal but his skill and link up has been a big reason for Dortmund’s upturn in form and ability finish their chances.
Vedad Ibisevic – Perhaps not the most memorable performances by either Hoffenheim or Ibisevic but his goal decided one of the more scrappy and hard fought matches of the season. Games like this with chances few and far between leave players with relatively little opportunities to score, making goals all that more valuable. Ibisevic scored his first goal in over half a year and had to drop deep to defend a lot more than he is normally accustomed to but did it all rather well, especially for a player that just returned from a lengthy spell out with injury.
Coach of the Week
Mirko Slomka – The most underrated coach in the Bundesliga? Quite possibly. Slomka and Hannover have gone from strength to strength over the last year and a half and where sides like Mainz and Dortmund have struggled, Hannover have maintained a cool consistency that has resulted in several impressive results across all competitions. His win against a Bayern out to set a league record was no coincidence, having also beaten them last season, but indicative of the great work of the humble and capable Slomka.
Rob-Robert Zieler, Lukas Piszczek, Philipp Wollscheid, Christian Pander, Manuel Schmiedebach, Sven Bender, Toni Kroos, Moa Abdellaoue, Mario Götze, Gojko Kacar, Gökhan Töre, Martin Harnik, Timmy Simmons, Axel Bellinghausen, Itay Shechter
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