The weekend of the 7-9th of November saw the eleventh matchday in yet another exciting round of fixtures in the German Bundesliga. Callum Connolly reviews all the action.
Borussia Dortmund began in the relegation zone and faced 18-match unbeaten side Borussia Mönchengladbach, flying high in third place under Lucien Favre.
Schalke were hoping to overturn a poor Champions defeat in Lisbon at SC Freiburg, whilst Werder Bremen faced VfB Stuttgart in a six pointer at the bottom.
SC Freiburg 2-0 Schalke
Freiburg recorded their first win last weekend over resurgent Köln and were looking to build on that against an unpredictable Schalke side.
Roberto di Matteo was seemingly a breath of fresh air after a turbulent couple of years under Jens Keller, but two victories either side of a defeat to Leverkusen, and a win and loss at home as well as an away defeat to Sporting Lisbon left more than a few unconvinced that the Champions League winning manager was such a good appointment as first thought.
The loss to Freiburg only strengthens this feeling. Sidney Sam was dispossessed in midfield, and Admir Mehmedi’s cross was deflected into the path of Günter, who finished neatly past Ralf Faehrmann in the Royal Blues’ goal.
Faehrmann kept his side in the game, producing eye-catching saves from Vladimir Darida, before winger Jonathan Schmid’s effort was brilliantly tipped onto the bar by the German shot-stopper.
Schmid was not to be prevented from adding his name on the score sheet; making the most of another Schalke error, this time a mistimed Dennis Aogo header, Faehrmann was left helpless as Freiburg doubled their lead and their amount of wins this campaign. Di Matteo will have food for thought over the international break.
Werder Bremen 2-0 VfB Stuttgart
Bremen recorded their first home win under Viktor Skrypnyk, beating fellow strugglers Stuttgart on Saturday evening. Zlatko Junuzović was the perennial man for Werder in the first half; the Austrian’s drive at goal being held by Thorsten Kirschbaum.
Sercen Sararer often caused Gebre Selassie problems in the opening 45′, his impressive run and square ball just missed the feet of lone-striker Martin Harnik. Sebastian Prödl nodded his side into the lead from Junuzović’s corner, the ball colliding off German international Antonio Rüdiger on it’s way in.
Stuttgart almost pulled themselves level before the half time break, Christian Gentner missing a sitter from a gorgeous Sararer cross before Harnik waltzed his way into the box beating several Bremen players, but goalkeeper Raphael Wolf smartly denied him.
Skrypnik’s side made it 2-0 just before the hour mark. Junuzović collecting a second assist with a clever ball just outside the box, which summer signing from St Pauli, Fin Bartels converted on the turn, off the post. A fine victory for Bremen, who look better under their Ukrainian manager after last week’s impressive triumph over Mainz.
Hoffenheim 3-4 Köln
By far the most entertaining match this weekend, we saw a deja vu of Hoffenheim’s entertaining matches last season. The home side sprung on the newly promoted opponents straight from the kick-off. A coupling of awesome attacking combined with catastrophic defending resulted in the opening goal. Adam Szalai’s slightly deflected shot just beating one of Germany’s finest young goalkeepers, Timo Horn.
However, Pawel Olkowski stunned the ground with a superb equaliser, beating Oli Baumann into the top corner from the edge of the box. There was barely time for the away fans at the Rhein-Neckar Arena to take their seats before being sent into raptures; Matthias Lehmann’s near post free-kick putting the Billy Goats ahead.
Anthony Ujah made it 3-1, breaking past the defence and rounding Baumann before tapping in. Roberto Firmino made sure he dragged his team through the mud, despite his partner in crime Kevin Volland missing.
Firmino, 23 has capped a very memorable year by earning himself a call up to the Brazilian national team, and gave his adoring fans two more reasons to love him with a clinical finish with his right foot outside the box into the bottom left hand corner, before a brilliantly timed run and header beat Horn to make it 3-3 as the game drew to a close in the first half of a pulsating game.
The second half was, as expected not nearly as exciting as the first, but there was another goal to win the game, and despite Firmino and co’s efforts, Olkowski scoring his second of the game and of his season with another outstanding strike, this time on his left.
Markus Gisdol will be appreciative of the international break in which he can organise his thoughts following Hoffenheim now recording consecutive defeats after going the season unbeaten beforehand.
Bayer Leverkusen 0-0 Mainz
It was a case of Bellarabi against Karius in Leverkusen, with the winger and his team mates being frustrated continuously by Mainz’s No.1.
Mainz were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty as Jairo Samperio was pulled down by Emir Spahic as he ran onto a cross, but his cries were ignored by the referee.
Karius was on hand to stop everything and anything Bayer threw at him, intervening a Julian Brandt cross into the box, before producing a stunning save to deny Bellarabi, the former beating the usually reliable Stefan Bell before shooting to Karius’s right, the keeper feinting a save to his left, before clawing the Moroccan-born attacker’s effort away.
Calhanoglu look destined to win the match, curling the ball towards the bottom corner but somehow Karius tipped it around for a corner. A well fought point for the 05’ers.
Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Borussia Mönchengladbach
The battle between the Borussia’s was won by Jürgen Klopp’s side. Die Borussen headed into the game BOTTOM of the table following Bremen’s 2-0 win over Stuttgart, whilst Die Fohlen had established a new unbeaten record, beating the 17-match unbeaten run set in the 1970s.
Marco Reus, playing against his former side, raced into the box and narrowly missed placing the ball into the far corner. Yann Sommer, Marc Andre ter Stegen’s replacement, pulled off two extraordinary saves; Henrikh Mkhitaryan doing well to evade the ‘Gladbach defence out wide before playing the ball into a pocket of space which Reus took advantage of. His first time shot being magnificently tipped onto the post by the outstretched hand of the Swiss No.1, before tipping a unique Aubameyang free-kick over the bar.
After the first half, either side rarely threatened before a freak own goal by the normally outstanding Christoph Kramer, misjudging Tony Jantschke’s pass and kicking the ball over Sommer in the goal.
Reus then smashed a shot off the opposition’s bar, and the closest Favre’s team came to equalising came courtesy of Patrick Herrmann, who slipped whilst shooting. A disappointing way for Mönchengladbach’s run to end.
- Hertha 0-2 Hannover (Briand 44′ Kiyotake 76′)
- Eintracht Frankfurt 0-4 Bayern (Müller 22′ 64′ 67′ , Shaqiri 86′)
- FC Augsburg 3-0 SC Paderborn (Werner 7′ 47′ , Callsen- Bracker 68′)
- Wolfsburg 2-0 Hamburg (Olic 27′ Hunt 63′)
Performance of the weekend – Loris Karius (Mainz)
A stunning week for Karius who is surely catching the eye of Joachim Loew. For a man who came into the Mainz team only last season, his progress has been phenomenal and deservedly picks up the performance of the weekend in the Bundesliga.
Hope you enjoyed, this writer and other writers will be adding more Bundesliga content to the already brilliant football coverage on Pundit Arena.
Callum Connolly, Pundit Arena
Featured image By V&A Dudush (Panoramio) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons