Hannover just cannot lose at home as they extended their unbeaten run to twenty games. Further south, Bayern Munich made quick work of struggling Hoffenheim thanks to their prized Frenchman. All this and lot more in TheHardTackle’s weekly Bundesliga review, Beer And Bratwurst.
Franck Ribéry Returns To Form Against Hoffenheim
The dynamic duo of Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben had struggled with injuries and failed to live up to their reputation over the first six matchdays of the Bundesliga and in the Champions League. Bayern Munich have been running on Thomas Müller, Toni Kroos and Mario Mandžukić up until they hosted Hoffenheim on Saturday. Also, the Bavarians came into this tie on the back of an atrocious performance against BATE Borisov in the Champions League.
Hoffenheim haven’t been on the same plane as Bayern, currently going through a tough period following the brutal car crash of Boris Vukcevic. On the field, Markus Babbel’s men had begun to show some improvement and sat in ninth position prior to this game. But the gulf in quality was almost surely going to be too hard to handle for them and there were no surprises at the end of the ninety minutes.
But after the whistle was blown, all of this was history. Ribéry was at his attacking best down Bayern’s left flank and threatened as early as the third minute with a tantalizing cross that wasn’t met by any of his teammates. With Hoffenheim on the back foot, Bayern continued to threaten through Ribéry. Their deserved goal came in the 19th minute and there are no prizes for guessing who the scorer was.
The Frenchman continued to haunt Andreas Beck on that flank, but his runs back to help out in defense were the most pleasant surprise to the Bayern faithful. With Hoffenheim’s attack being fairly insipid, Ribéry focused on his attacking and killed the game with another neat finish in the 49th minute. Bayern’s dominance only grew from there and they comfortably held on to their two goal advantage.
Bayern are taking leaps and bounds towards the Bundesliga title, leaving the rest of the pack a considerable distance behind them.
The Hannover hurdle proved to be far too high for Dortmund
Both teams had to return to domestic action after draining mid week continental tests. Dortmund were probably hurt more after their monumental performance away at Manchester City but the momentum generated from that game was going to be a positive for sure. Hannover’s bench strength was going to be tested but they had their solid home form to rest on.
Dortmund started the hungrier side testing Zieler in the early moments of the game through the phenomenal Marco Reus. They built on this good start by taking the lead in the 30th minute as Robert Lewandowski tapped in a cross from Lukas Piszczek. The move that led to this goal was a delight for all those watching the game as they completely obliterated Hannover’s defense with some cracking one touch passing.
The hosts were slapped awake by this goal and began to find their footing in the game from there on. Jan Schlaudraff managed to get past Roman Weidenfeller but Mats Hummels just about managed to keep the ball from hitting the back of his net. Not long after, Didier Ya Konan managed to round Weidenfeller but was denied off the line by Pisczcek.
With lady luck seemingly against Hannover, Dortmund looked for a second goal after the restart. Piszczek rattled the bar and Mario Götze then spurned a glorious one-on-one. The tides began to change from then on as Hannover tested Dortmund’s defense. Mario Eggimann had a goal disallowed for a foul on Marcel Schmelzer. This was followed by a narrow escape for Piszczek as his deflection almost beat Weidenfeller in goal.
Dortmund were finally punished for their lack of bite up front as a Szabolcs Huszti free kick wasn’t deal with and substitute Mame Biram Diouf slotted past Weidenfeller with a cool finish. Hannover’s home run was left intact and Dortmund were once again left to rue their missed chances.
To add to Dortmund’s woes, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Mats Hummels and Sven Bender have all picked up injuries and are now out for at least two weeks. Dortmund couldn’t have asked for the international break to come at a better time.
Gladbach put an end to Eintracht’s remarkable run
Lucien Favre’s side came into this tie with just one win all season, while Armin Veh’s boys were yet to lose this season. On paper, this seemed to be a bit of mismatch with Eintracht Frankfurt expected to take the three points with a fair amount of ease.
But things went a little haywire and Eintracht were taught a lesson very early in the game. A misplaced pass fell unthreateningly for Juan Arango who let loose a venomous bullet from more than thirty yards out, leaving the in-form Kevin Trapp rooted to the spot. Olivier Occean then spurned a simple chance as he failed to hit into an empty goal. Twenty five minutes into the game and Gladbach managed to double their lead through Luuk de Jong. Håvard Nordtveit played a mouth watering ball from deep in his own half to put de Jong through on goal, and the 22-year-old Dutchman finished with an emphatic first time finish to double his side’s lead.
Favre’s tactical brilliance came to the fore from this point on as he made his side sit a lot deeper and absorb all that Eintracht had to offer. Eintracht resorted to playing crosses with the hope of catching Marc-André ter Stegen off guard but even his shakiness wasn’t enough to break down Gladbach.
Favre had won the tactical battle and Gladbach had gotten three immensely important points. Although the Foals would have preferred to carry this form into the next few fixtures, the international break might prove to be a welcome break for some of the players as Gladbach are competing on the European front as well.
Results: Augbsurg 3-1 Werder Bremen; Bayern Munich 2-0 Hoffenheim; Schalke 3-0 Wolfsburg; Freiburg 3-0 Nuremberg; Mainz 1-0 Fortuna Düsseldorf; Greuther Fürth 0-1 Hamburg; Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-0 Eintracht Frankfurt; Stuttgart 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen; Hannover 1-1 Borussia Dortmund
1. Eintracht Frankfurt were finally beaten after six games in the Bundesliga this season.
2. Bayern Munich join Kaisersluatern and Mainz to be the only sides to win their first seven games in the Bundesliga. In fact, Bayern had achieved this feat once before in the 1995/96 season.
3. Augsburg managed to pick up their first win of the season against Werder Bremen on Friday.
4. Prior to Friday’s game, only one team had conceded three goals against Augsburg in the Bundesliga. Coincidentally it was Hertha Berlin last season and they went on to get relegated.
5. With their loss to Hamburg on Saturday, Greuther Fürth are yet to pick up a single point at home this season.
Player of the week
Franck Ribéry: When this man is in full flow, there is not stopping him. Unfortunately for Markus Babbel and his Hoffenheim side, they went up against Bayern with Ribéry in a ferocious mood. The Frenchman twisted, turned and faked away to glory, putting Hoffenheim’s defense to one of their hardest tests this season. Ribéry finally managed to score two trademark goals and could well have had a few assists to his name as well. Also, he was more than willing to help out at the back as well, proving to be one of Bayern’s most tireless workers. All in all an extremely solid performance from Ribéry and one that he will be looking to build on.
Flop of the week
Lukas Schmitz: Werder Bremen put in a pathetic performance against lowly Augsburg and their defense was ripped apart on a number of occasions on Friday night. Of their back four, Lukas Schmitz was by far the worst as he was torn apart a number of times by the duo of Knowledge Musona and Paul Verhaegh. To blame the defeat on him would be far too harsh but any more performances of this kind from Schmitz could easily see him warming the bench for the rest of the season.
Goal of the week
There were only two contenders for this award and Marco Terrazzino’s stoppage time volley just pips Juan Arango’s vicious strike from thirty yards out.