The return of the Bundesliga following the first international break certainly delivered on all fronts with plenty of drama, goals, and talking points. RB Leipzig stay top after their draw with Bayern Munich, while Borussia Dortmund posted the ideal reaction to their previous loss at Union Berlin with a big win over Bayer Leverkusen.
Schalke were amongst the goals, Mainz bagged their first points although things aren’t looking to rosy for Hertha Berlin, who have slumped to the bottom of the table. So just who were the winners and losers from matchday 4?
There were plenty of question marks raised over Dortmund’s mental strength following their 3-1 loss to Union Berlin on matchday 3, but the Schwarzgelben showed the perfect response at home to Bayer Leverkusen with a 4-0 win.
The opening part of the game was a real surprise with the visitors dominating possession and BVB finding it difficult to get a foothold in the match. That all change though on the half-hour mark when Paco Alcacer got the first, slight sniff of the goal. His well-dispatched goal got the home side into their stride and Marco Reus’ goal five minutes after the break put them in control. Further late goals from Raphael Guerreiro put a real shine on the performance.
Thomas Delaney had a good game shackling Kai Havertz, while Jadon Sancho provided two more assists to further enhance his stellar reputation. If Union Berlin showed BVB’s weakness, this display showed their strength in all its glory.
Mainz/ Robin Zentner
The Nullfünfer’s decision not to release keeper Robin Zentner in the summer when he was looking for a move now looks like a masterstroke. An injury to Florian Müller meant the 24-year-old was called-up to the first team and he was a major factor in them winning their first match of the season and moving off the bottom of the table.
Sandro Schwarz’s side have endured a sorry start to the season with three successive defeats and it had looked grim for them. Goals from Robin Quaison and Jeremiah St. Juste (an 88th minute winner) brought a massive burst of emotion and relief at the Opel Arena when referee Fritz blew his final whistle.
Schalke/ Amine Hart
Struggling for goals? The Schalke of old maybe, but not the side that appeared on Sunday away at Paderborn. Their 5-1 win sees them climb to sixth in the table and with them playing Mainz in next Friday’s matchday 5 opener, it is within the realms of possibility that the Königsblauen could sit (temporarily) top of the table should they beat the Nullfünfer. Crazy days!
Amine Harit was the start of the show for David Wagner’s side scoring a brace and earning the Man of the Match award. In a new role on the left of Schalke’s attack, he worked hard, put in a good defensive shift and was a constant threat going forward. After the disappointment of last season, when his form dipped sharply, Harit will seem like a new signing. His goals ended a nine-month goal drought for the Moroccan.
Schalke score five and are poised to go top of the Bundesliga. Yes, you read it correctly, you are not seeing things!
With Marc-Andre ter Stegen grumbling about not being given a chance with the German national team, Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer gave a superb indication as to just why Nationaltrainer Joachim Löw keeps the Barcelona keeper as back-up.
Neuer was excellent away at RB Leipzig in the weekend’s big game and produced three superb saves to deny Julian Nagelsmann’s side. He denied Nordi Mukiele (50 min), Marcel Sabitzer (62 min) and Timo Werner (89 min) to keep Bayern in the game and help take a point back to Bavaria.
Sorry Marc-Andre, this is why he’s number 1.
Mainz’ 2-1 win on Saturday saw them pick themselves off the bottom of the Bundesliga table, but that had the inverse effect that poor Hertha (their opponents) dropped to the foot of the table. It had all looked so optimistic for Hertha after holding Bayern to a 2-2 draw on the opening weekend at the Allianz Arena, but since then it’s all gone wrong for Ante Covic.
They will feel hard done by after this loss and it was mostly down to Robin Zentner that they didn’t emerge with a point. They had their chances, but the fact remains that they sit bottom of the table with just a solitary point having lost three games on the bounce.
Sitting in the VAR bunker in Cologne on a Friday night sounds like quite a cushty job, with the rest of the weekend open to you to enjoy as you see fit. The trouble for Video Referee Günther Perl is that he didn’t actually do his job all that well, and probably didn’t enjoy the rest of the weekend with the controversy he caused.
His decision to rule Fortuna Düsseldorf’s opener as valid when the ball looked to have crossed the side-line caused bafflement amongst Wolfsburg players and fans.
Neven Subotic/ Nuri Sahin
On matchday 3 Subotic was celebrating a famous win over Borussia Dortmund, but on matchday 4 he wasn’t celebrating at all with Union losing to Werder Bremen and him seeing a red card late in the game after picking up a second booking.
The dismissal of Subotic in the 89th minute wasn’t the end of the discipline handed out by referee Tobias Welz with Nuri Sahin getting his marching orders in stoppage time. Both players will feel their sendings-off were a little excessive by the official, but both will now be suspended- something Werder in their current injury crisis can ill-afford.
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