Matchday 13 witnessed the first ever Frankenderby in the Bundesliga, but fans were given a feisty and uninspiring ninety minutes. To make up for this, Bayern Munich pummeled five past a fatigued Hannover side. All the weekend’s action is analysed in TheHardTackle’s Bundesliga review column, Beer And Bratwurst.
Five of the best for the table toppers
Traveling to the Allianz Arena just 48 hours after a draining Europa League game was always going to be a mammoth task for Mirko Slomka’s Hannover side. The coach made a couple of changes to his side from midweek, bringing in the likes of Stindl and Diouf to bolster the attack.
Bayern Munich had no such schedule problems and given their massive squad, Jupp Heynckes was able to field a full strength and fresh eleven. The only change made to the Bayern side from their Champions League game was Mario Mandzukic’s inclusion in place of Claudio Pizarro.
Bayern didn’t waste any time in showing their superiority as Javi Martinez scored a superb overhead kick in just the third minute. The Bavarians continued to dominate possession and were rewarded in the 24th minute. Toni Kroos unleashed a venomous volley from twenty five yards out, leaving Ron-Robert Zieler with no chance whatsoever. Franck Ribery added to Hannover’s misery with a powerful volley towards the end of the first forty-five.
With desperation kicking in, Slomka brought on Christian Schulz and Mohammed Abdellaoue to help push for a dramatic comeback. Unfortunately for Hannover, Bayern only increased their lead at the hour mark when Dante powered in a low header past a frustrated Zieler. To complete Bayern’s rout, Mario Gomez returned to his scoring ways just twenty seconds after coming on. The burly striker outmuscled Karim Haggui and finished with consummate ease to give the fans what they were so used to seeing.
Hannover will feel somewhat aggrieved since they were the only team to play on Saturday after having participated in the Europa League on Thursday. Although it seems unlikely that they could have picked up any points against a hungry Bayern side, a 5-0 loss surely wasn’t on the cards.
The return of Mario Gomez will be a massive morale boost to Bayern (not that they needed it). With the 40-million-man, Javi Martinez, also opening his account, Bayern only seem to be growing from strength to strength. Stopping them seems an almost impossible task at the moment.
Another shoddy performance proves enough for Dortmund
Dortmund came into the game against Mainz on the back of a convincing 4-1 victory over Ajax in the Champions League. But if their form this season was anything to go by, fans were all set to see another below par performance this weekend.
With their Jekyll and Hyde season only getting more and more unpredictable, Jürgen Klopp hoped that an unchanged squad would help maintain some consistency. On the other hand, Thomas Tuchel made four changes to the side that lost to Hamburg last week. With the lively Nicolai Müller returning to the squad, Mainz reverted back to their more successful 4-2-3-1 formation.
The Coface Arena was given an early treat when Daniel Caligiuri unleashed a deadly left-footed volley to give Mainz a third minute lead. The hosts’ joy was short-lived though, as a vicious Marco Reus cross evaded Robert Lewandowski, Nikolce Noveski and Christian Wetklo to find its way into the back of the net.
This did not deter Mainz in the slightest, as they continued to search for a second goal. Dortmund looked to catch Tuchel’s side on the break but were let down by some poor decision making in the final third. With a minute to go to half time, a quality through ball from Mario Götze found Lewandowski. The Polish striker was somewhat lucky with his first touch but still finished off the move with a delicious lob over Wetklo.
With a narrow 2-1 lead, Dortmund returned to the field the livelier side but the game turned into a far more cautious affair. Andreas Ivanschitz’s third chance of the night could have evened things out but the Austrian was far too slow to pull the trigger. Mainz pushed and prodded but Dortmund’s shaky defense proved resilient enough to ensure the three points were in the bag. A 2-1 victory was enough to see Dortmund move into second place in the table, nine points behind Bayern.
Freiburg dominate proceedings in the Black Forest
Far from the biggest derby in Germany, the Baden-Württemberg derby was expected to be one of the more closely fought games given the position of the two clubs involved. Freiburg’s home form had been satisfactory this season, having lost just two out of their six games. If that was a commendable statistic, Stuttgart’s away form would have had Freiburg fans fairly bothered. With two wins and two draws from six games, Stuttgart had the third best away record in the Bundesliga.
In light of Stuttgart’s 1-5 mauling of Steaua Bucuresti in the Europa League, Bruno Labbadia stuck to the same starting lineup for the derby. Shinji Okazaki kept his place on the left flank after being most instrumental in their mid week triumph. With Freiburg’s involvement in only domestic football, Christian Streich didn’t have to worry about tired legs and stuck to the same eleven from last week.
Freiburg looked the hungrier side right from the whistle. Stuttgart’s midfield was constantly being destroyed by the lively duo of Cedric Makiadi and Julian Schuster. The attacking quarter of Kruse, Rosenthal, Schmid and Caligiuri was a growing thorn in Stuttgart’s hopes and it was striker, Jan Rosenthal, who opened the scoring with a neat finish in the 22nd minute.
The Swabians continued to look for an equalizer but Okazaki’s inability to get into the game and Martin Harnik’s lackluster work down the right flank weren’t helping by any means. The restart saw Stuttgart come out with a bang, as Cristian Molinaro came close when he hit the side netting.
Once again, Stuttgart’s dominance was short lived and Freiburg clamped down on the visitors. The lead was increased just past the hour mark through center back, Pavel Krmas. Some poor communication between Sven Ulreich and his defenders gave the Czech defender an empty net to tap into. From here on, Freiburg completely dominated the show and got a third goal through Max Kruse.
Fatigue seems to be showing in this Stuttgart side and Labbadia will have to be a lot more cautious with his selection this season. European qualification seems to be getting further and further away from them, leaving a mid table finish as their most realistic goal.
Streich’s Freiburg continues to turn heads in the Bundesliga and have moved into sixth place with this result. Not many would have touted them to be pushing for a European spot but Streich’s magic seems to have made them strong contenders for the final Europa League spot.
High flying Eintracht Frankfurt faced off against big boys Schalke in what was going to be one of the big games of the weekend. Schalke got the first goal early through Klaas-Jan Huntelaar but were pegged back almost immediately by a Stefan Aigner header. A point each saw both these teams slip down by a spot in the table.
In the first ever Frankenderby in the Bundesliga, Greuther Fürth and Nürnberg played out an uninspiring goalless draw. Both sides had a player sent off. Fortuna Düsseldorf managed a 2-0 victory over Hamburg on Friday thanks to goals from Robbie Kruse and Stefan Reisinger.
Werder Bremen and Wolfsburg played out a 1-1 draw at the Volkswagen Arena. Bayer Leverkusen just about did enough to pick up the three points against a spirited Hoffenheim side. Borussia Mönchengladbach were unable to put the lowly Augsburg to sword, earning just one point for their travels.
1. Greuther Fürth and Nürnberg’s woeful disciplinary record only got worse this weekend with the two red cards taking their combined total of cards to 61 yellows and 5 reds.
2. Fortuna Düsseldorf picked up their first home win in the Bundesliga since 5th April 1997 when they beat St.Pauli 2-0.
3. Until the 1-1 draw against Werder Bremen, Wolfsburg hadn’t maintained a three game unbeaten run for sixteen matches.
4. Leverkusen were the only side who could pick up a victory after having been involved in European action on Thursday.
5. Eintracht Frankfurt and Leverkusen are the only teams yet to lose at home.
Player of the week
Toni Kroos: Did the German international put in a single wrong foot against Hannover? Most surely not. Kroos was at his creative best on Saturday, providing two assists and topping of his performance with a sumptuous volley. He provided the corner that led to Martinez’s goal, volleyed home a Philipp Lahm cross and whipped in the freekick to find Dante for the fourth. A ten on ten performance from Toni Kroos.
Flop of the week
Manuel Schmiedebach: The entire Hannover team was hapless against Bayern Munich but the 23-year-old German was the worst of the lot. Schmiedebach was undone in midfield for the forty one minutes that he was on for. To add to his miseries, Schmiedebach’s dallying on the ball allowed Bayern to steal possession and score their third of the night.
Goal of the week
Javi Martinez’s overhead kick, Toni Kroos’ superb volley, Sascha Mölders’ looping header over ter-Stegen? They’re all beaten by Marco Caligiuri’s cracking left footed volley that gave Mainz an early lead over the defending champions.