Following a lengthy international break the league was back with a bang. 19 goals were scored in Saturday’s five matches, which also saw some pretty incredible results. In the weekend’s big match, Dortmund got the best of Bayern München for the third time running while this season’s surprise package Mönchengladbach got their biggest win of the season against a lifeless Bremen. Elsewhere Hamburg got their first home win of the season and escaped the drop zone for the first time in months and Freiburg and Hertha Berlin battled it out to a thrilling conclusion.
Here is our selection of the best of the best of Matchday 13:
Jaroslav Drobny – Your eyes are not deceiving you, that is indeed Hamburg’s Czech goalkeeper in our Team of the Week, and for good reason. Hamburg managed their first win at home since March and even more remarkably, their first clean sheet in 16 matches and Drobny played a big part in making that happen. The 32-year old made 7 saves, including a fine reflex save against Babel, helping his side move out of the relegation zone for the first since Matchday 1.
Mats Hummels – Gomez, Robben, Müller and Ribery were all anonymous in large part because of Dortmund’s disciplined and thorough defensive performance. Leading that effort was Dortmund’s “abwehrchef”, Hummels. Few defenders have been able to keep Gomez at bay this season but Hummels kept him in complete check, never giving him the time or space to move or receive the ball all while winning crucial challenges and just about every aerial ball.
Kyriakos Papadopolous – Just 19 years old but with the build of a veteran boxer, the Greek center back is one of the toughest players to knock off the ball but can also be quite nimble in the tackle. Against Nürnberg, Papadopolous won 75% of his tackles and had a firm hold on Esswein and Eigler throughout the match all without committing a single foul over 90 minutes.
Jeffrey Bruma – The Dutch center back was Hamburg’s standout defender against Hoffenheim, winning an impressive 15 tackles and ensuring that Ibisevic had a relatively quiet day at the office. Bruma’s awareness and timing was particularly impressive, making the right challenge at the right time and always looking to build up play. With 38 completed passes, Bruma was Hamburg’s best passer on the day.
Hasan Salihamidzic – The last time Salihamidzic scored a brace in the Bundesliga was over 10 years ago. Back then Wolfsburg had just gotten promoted to the first division for the first time. This is telling of how much can happen in that course of time but also of Salihamidzic’s longevity and quality as a player. His industrious effort in central midfield and threat in front of goal ensured Wolfsburg got their best win of the season in the derby against Hannover.
Juan Arango – Quite possibly the most underrated player in the Bundesliga this season, the Venezuelan is the league’s assist leader and Gladbach’s primary playmaker. Arango is key in setting the platform for players like Reus and Hermann and is more of a provider than finisher but he too got on the scoresheet against Bremen with a fantastic half volley. Above all else, his game intelligence and creativity is what distinguishes Arango and what has separated him from most other players this season.
Patrick Hermann – Already labeled the “next Reus”, 19 year old Hermann was involved in three goals against Bremen, scoring the first and setting two others up and had more shots on goal than any other player on the pitch. His link up play with Arango and Reus and sheer industry against Bremen added to his growing reputation as one of this years breakout young players.
Sven Bender – It is no coincidence that Sven and his brother Lars ran more than any other player this weekend in the Bundesliga, as both are known for their great industry and never say die attitude. It is Sven who finds himself in our TOTW this time thanks to his outstanding performance against Bayern. His intense pressing allowed little room for Kroos and Ribery all while having time to initiate his own attacks. It was a complete all around performance from a player whose incredible output does not appear human at times.
Marco Reus – Prior to the Bremen match, Reus scored 4 goals in 2 matches. Against Bremen he added a hattrick to make it 7 in 3 games, a remarkable statistic from the league’s hottest player. Few players play with more confidence and bravado than Reus and when he is on his game, he is virtually unstoppable as Bremen found out first hand. He was rightfully given a standing ovation for what is sure to be one of the season’s best individual performances and his second goal would make Maradona supporters proud.
Martin Harnik – When good things happen for Stuttgart on the pitch it is no exaggeration to state the Austrian is behind most of it. Harnik was Stuttgart’s match winner against Augbsurg, scoring the first before the break and a world class solo goal shortly after to seal the result. Harnik’s speed of thought and constant desire to get forward has made him one of the best attackers in the league and invaluable to Stuttgart.
Stefan Reisinger – Freiburg will look to get their goals from anyone they can get that isn’t named Cisse. This weekend the 30 year old Reisinger stepped up and led his side from behind to get a valuable point against Berlin. His last minute goal came in dramatic fashion but Reisinger was present throughout, scoring two other times (one disallowed) and was the most dangerous player on the pitch.
Coach of the Week
Jürgen Klopp – No other side has managed back to back wins against Bayern in their stadium before so Dortmund’s win was quite significant other than just keeping the title race wide open. More important though were Klopp’s tactical decisions that set his team up to win. Taking a more cautious and defensive approach proved to be the perfect formula against Bayern. His decision to keep his fullbacks further back for example was one of those decisions.
Roman Weidenfeller, Dante, Felipe Santana, Christian Träsch, Marcel Schmelzer, Lukasz Piszczek, Lars Bender, Lewis Holtby, Sidney Sam, Robert Lewandowski, Mario Götze, Mike Hanke, Klaas Jan Huntelaar
Images courtesy of spox.com