Bayern claim the boasting rights in the Nord-Süd-Klassiker

Bayern travelled to the Imtech Arena late on Saturday to take on their northern rivals Hamburg in Germany’s traditional North-South Derby. Table toppers Bayern had suffered their first loss in the current league campaign last week and were keen to get back to their winning ways. The Bavarains were travelling without injured defenders Badstuber and Van Buyten but were boosted by the return of Ribery who had sat out the midweek Pokal clash. The hosts have been on a fine run of form winning 3 out of their last 4 games led by inspirational performances from van der Vaart and Son.

Both sides were gunning for a win before the kick-off and this was clearly seen in the lively exchange that followed. An entertaining first half hour saw both sides press hard to take the first initiative with some excellent end-to end action and hard tackles flying in to maintain possession. Rafael van der Vaart’s effort in the 13th minute was blocked by Dante and Rincon followed that with a 30 yard stinger that whistled past Neuer’s post. Mandzukic and Ribery were meanwhile denied by Rene Adler on the other end of the pitch. Much of Bayern’s early attacks came from the left side of the pitch with Ribery and Alaba tormenting Dennis Diekmeier.

Scored Bayern’s first

In spite of the energetic exchange, Bayern slowly started grabbing the initiative towards the end of the half and their dominance paid off 5 minutes before the break. A Thomas Muellar header found the run of Kroos who seemed to have wasted the chance by taking the ball to far wide. But the playmaker composed himself and rather than take a shot from a tough angle and provided a delightful chip to find the head of the diving Schweinsteiger at the far post to give Bayern the lead.

Muellar didn’t have the same thoughts though in the 48th minute when he curled one past the stranded Adler from an almost impossible angle. Ribery’s cross into the box found the run of Muellar who like Kroos seemed to have messed up the opportunity by failing to control the ball and did well to keep the ball in. But as Jansen and Adler came forward to block Muellar’s view, the attacker produced a breathtaking shot past Adler and into the back of the net.

The Coup de grâce was hammered in by Kroos from a close range after some delightful interplay from Bayern inside Hamburg’s box. Bayern’s third seemed to have sapped Hamburg’s energy and drive and the closest the hosts came to a goal after that was a van der Vaart drive to Neuer. Bayern’s midfield and defense shut shop after that to hand them their 9th win of the season and take them 7 points clear of the 2nd placed Schalke.

Schipplock breaks Royal Blue hearts

The Rhein-Neckar Arena crowd were treated to a Saturday night thriller as they saw their home team clinch an injury time winner to beat Schalke ending their 4 match winless run. 20 year old German U-21 international Volland gave the hosts the lead in the 13th minute when he raced on to a through ball from American Fabian Johnson to slot in past Unnerstall. Schalke could not really get into their stride after that as Hoffenheim’s midfield kept things tight in the middle of the park. But Schalke’s persistence paid off in the 37th minute when midfielder Neustädter headed in a corner to level things for the visitors.

Tim Wiese’s hadn’t so far justified his move from Bremen to Hoffenheim this season, but gave a full display of his potential towards the end of the first half. After an Afellay goal was disallowed due to foul play in the 42nd minute, Wiese pulled of string of amazing saves from Jones, Farfan and Afellay in the last 2 minutes before the break to keep things even.

Schalke kept up the pressure when play resumed, with Huntelaar, Farfan, Afellay and Jones coming close to putting the Royal Blues into the lead. Wiese was once again the hero here, keeping out Farfan and Afellay in the 52nd minute. Schalke continued dominance but it was Hoffenheim who scored again against the run of play. The hosts were awarded a controversial penalty when Schalke were penalized for an alleged Matip foul on Volland. Firmino stepped up to give Hoffenheim a 2-1 lead.

Schalke came back from behind a second time, when Farfan’s pin-point cross was tapped in by an advancing Uchida 8 minutes from time. Romanian Marica almost gave Schalke all three points but saw his headed effort go just over the bar.

Hoffenheim though had the last laugh as substitute Sven Schipplock latched on to a ball from Firmino to score the winner to send the home crowd jubilant into the injury time. The result sees Hoffenheim climb up to 13th place while Schalke hold on to 2nd, 7 points behind leaders Bayern.

Champions frustrated at home

Dortmund were held to a goalless draw by an improving and resilient Stuttgart at the Westfalenstadion that sees them occupying 5th place and 11 points from the top. Stuttgart after a poor start to the season came into the game hoping to upset the champions given their good run of recent form. Dortmund on the other hand were looking to build up on their hard fought victory against Frieburg last time around.

Frustrating night for Dortmund

Things started brightly and Stuttgart to their credit came out with their own guns blazing to match the home team. The exchanges were lively and both teams created opportunities throughout the game. Sven Ulreich’s brilliant reflexes denied Mat Hummels from 3 meter out and full back Schmelzer wasted his chance by shooting wide. Hummels was yet again denied when his effort was cleared of the line by Boka.

Stuttgart’s counter attacks were channeled through Vedad Ibisevic who could not take advantage of Weidenfeller’s weak parry at his feet towards the end of first half. He saw another effort of his, this time a one-on-one with Weidenfeller, saved by the keeper in the second half. Dortmund though never took their foot off the gas and started the second period with same fervor. Stuttgart old boy Julian Schieber saw his shot denied by an excellent save by Ulreich again on the hour mark and Lewandowski came the closest by hitting the crossbar to cap a night of frustration for the two time defending champions.

Bruno Labbadia will be quite pleased to see his side sit 10th after the result while Klopp has to work his magic around in motivating his boys if he wants to see his side win the championship for a third consecutive time.

Bremen ‘Hunt’ Mainz down

Bremen moved up to seventh place and level on points with Mainz with a 2-1 win over the visitors in a closely fought encounter. It took the hosts just 10 minutes to open the scoring, when Nils Peterson squared up a ball to the onrushing Aaron Hunt. The midfielder made no mistake in smashing his effort into the roof of the net. Winger Elia almost made it 2-0 but saw his effort strike the post.

Bremen kept their lead into the second half, but Mainz had other plans after the break. Die Nullfünfe forward Ádám Szalai has been on an excellent goal scoring run,scoring 4 goals in his last two games and he got his fifth when he headed in to level things up.

The game opened up after this with both sides going for the winner. Hunt scored his second and Bremen’s winner in the 85th minute with a brilliant free kick into the top corner of the net to seal all three points for his side.

Elsewhere

Last week’s hero Sidney Sam was the star again as Leverkusen ran out 3-2 winners over Fortuna Dusseldorf at the Bay Arena. Sam scored the first with a delicate chip over after being set up by Kiessling. Mainz’s reply through Nando lasted only for a minute before Sam set up Schurrle for Leverkusen’s second. Castro added a third and Bodzek’s effort for Fortuna was a mere consolation. Leverkusen move up to 4th spot leaving Fortuna 15th after an excellent start to the season.

Mame Biram Diouf and Stindl gave Hannover a 2-0 victory over Augsburg which sees them occupy 6th place and level on points with Bremen and Mainz. Gladbach and high flying Frankfurt were held to disappointing home draws by Frieburg and Greuther Fürth respectively while Nurnberg edged out Wolfsburg in a bottom of the table battle at home.

Random Five

  1. Schalke’s loss to Hoffenhiem was their first away defeat of the season.
  2. Ádám Szalai scored his eighth goal of the season in the 2-1 defeat of his side and is now on par with Bayern’s Mario Mandzukic.
  3. Fortuna Dusseldorf have conceded 15 goals in their last five games after conceding none in their first five.
  4. The bottom two, Augsburg and Fortuna don’t feature in the top five of the worst defensive record in the current campaign with 13th place Hoffenheim leading the table with 22 goals conceded.
  5. Augsburg though have the worst offensive record averaging 0.5 goals every game.

Player of the Week

Tim Wiese – Despite letting in two goals, Wiese was the star of Hoffenheim’s surprise victory over 2nd placed Schalke. Schalke’s goals were sandwiched between some excellent saves from the German international who denied both Afellay and Farfan (each twice) to keep Hoffenheim in the game which eventually saw his team running out 3-2 victors. Wiese’s match winning performance in a different sense edges out Aaron Hunts’ and Sidney Sams’ for Player of the week.

Flop of the Week

Hamburg’s defense- Hamburg were brought down to earth with a 3-0 thrashing and much of it can be attributed to shambolic defending by the Hamburg backline. Diekmeier allowed Ribery and Alaba to run circles around him all game and was nowhere in the picture for Bayern’s first. Mancienne endured a torrid time trying to mark the elusive Kroos whereas the mix-up between Adler and Jansen led to Bayern’s second. A day to forget for Hamburg’s defense.

Goal of the Week

Match week 10 saw some brilliant strikes all around the league. Aaron Hunt’s powerful brace, Sidney Sam’s delightful chip and Adam Bodzek’s scorcher for Fortuna all come into consideration but Thomas Mueller takes the cake purely based on his curling effort and cheek.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2XyfU-kzJ8]