Club football was back in full flow this weekend and the Bundesliga continued to produce some top notch football. With 32 goals and 32 cards over the weekend, TheHardTackle reviews all the action in the weekly review Beer And Bratwurst.
Wolfsburg’s creative void just keeps growing bigger
Prior to the start of the season, Felix Magath’s Wolfsburg were being looked at as a team with a lot of potential. Their summer activities had put them back on track to return to European football. Unfortunately for Magath, the side has been unable to gel together and have got just four points out of their first three games.
Going up against a struggling Augsburg side this week, the Wolfs were expected to pick up three points comfortably. With Bas Dost on the bench, Magath started with a comparatively weak squad in terms of attacking prowess. Olic and Diego were their only real attacking threats and this was to cost Wolfsburg dearly. Chances were few and far between for both sides and the game rightfully remained goalless. The only positive that Magath can take out of this game is the fact that his side was able to maintain a clean sheet.
Clean sheets are undoubtedly a positive but keeping one against a side that was missing their two most prominent attackers isn’t the most commendable task. Magath has a lot of work to do over the next few weeks, and addressing the lack of goals scored will be of utmost importance.
Dortmund complete a year of unbeaten Bundesliga football
Borussia Dortmund started this season on a bit of a slump, with a difficult 2-1 win over Werder Bremen followed by a 1-1 draw at Nuremberg. Following the international break, fans were hoping that Die Borussen could get back to their free flowing football from the previous two seasons.
And boy did they do just that! Facing off against a shoddy Leverkusen side, Dortmund were back to their dominant best. With Mario Götze replacing Marco Reus in the central attacking position, Klopp’s side seemed a lot more comfortable on the ball and gave the fans the free flowing football that they all love watching.
Mats Hummels headed home off a corner to give the hosts the lead just before the half hour mark and Jakub Blaszczykowski doubled their lead in the 40th minute. The Yellow Wall was in full flow as the players showed off incredible dominance by keeping possession for long periods. The rout was complete in the 78th when Robert Lewandowski headed in off a Reus free kick.
The Dortmund we all know was finally back. Fast paced attacks, brilliant positional interchanges and scintillating passing were all on show as Dortmund romped home with a 3-0 victory over Leverkusen. Sami Hyypiä and his coaching partner, Sascha Lewandowski, desperately need to get their act together and steer Die Werkself back on track for a European spot.
The Mainz curse of last season is no more
Mainz were Bayern Munich’s bogey team last season, picking up a win and a draw, and looked to keep the jinx going on Saturday. Bayern went into the game without any of the members of their famed attacking trident. Jupp Heynckes started with two of his summer acquisitions, Mario Mandzukic and Xherdan Shaqiri, with Thomas Muller completing the attacking three. Toni Kroos was given the attacking midfield role, while Gustavo continued to hold onto his spot in midfield.
The Bavarians got off to a dream start as Mandzukic tapped the ball into the back of the net as early as the 2nd minute. Ten minutes later, Bastian Schewinsteiger doubled their lead with a thunderous header past Christian Wetklo. Bayern seemed to be cruising to victory until Dante brought down Julian Baumgartlinger in the box to gift Mainz a spot kick. Adam Szalai made no mistake and the seeds of doubt were planted in the Bayern camp.
Thankfully for the Bavarian fans, Bayern held onto this slender lead and sealed the deal in the dying minutes of the game thanks to a Toni Kroos volley. Heynckes has every reason to be delighted with his side and their ever growing confidence is almost surely going to land them some silverware this season.
The thriller at the AWD-Arena
Hannover and Bremen met at the AWD-Arena in what was billed as one of the most entertaining games of the weekend. Hannover’s recent goalscoring form has left fans with their mouths watering, and Leon Andreasen and Szabolcs Huszti have been at the center of it all. There are no prizes for guessing who gave Hannover a two goal lead in the first ten minutes. Huszti opened the scoring in the 6th minute and Andreasen headed home to pretty much seal the deal.
Bremen had other plans though. Thomas Schaaf’s side fought back through an Aaron Hunt penalty followed by an emphatic finish from Kevin de Bruyne. The comeback was complete. Or maybe not. Three minutes into time, Huszti rose a few feet into the air and pulled off a remarkable bicycle kick to give Hannover the three points. Huszti was then sent off for taking his shirt off and excessive celebration. Surviving these breathtaking Hannover moments is becoming a very hard job.
Bremen will feel hard done by this result and one can only feel for them. Having started their campaign against Dortmund, HSV and Hannover, they mustn’t be too disappointed with the three points that they’ve earned so far.
Hannover will have to sustain this form for much longer if they are to pull off the unexpected, and given their bench strength it does seem highly possible. It will be most interesting to see Slomka’s side in the Europa League.
Week 5 results: Augsburg 0-0 Wolfsburg, Dortmund 3-0 Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach 2-3 Nuremberg, Bayern 3-1 Mainz, Stuttgart 0-0 Fortuna Dusseldorf, Hannover 3-2 Werder Bremen, Greuther Furth 0-2 Schalke, Freiburg 5-3 Hoffenheim, Eintracht Frankfurt 2-3 Hamburg
1. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, was present at Signal Iduna Park to witness Dortmund’s 31st consecutive unbeaten game in the Bundesliga.
2. Among the top four leagues in Europe, the Bundesliga is the only one that is yet to witness a hattrick.
3. Furth native and former US secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, kept his promise and returned to his childhood club to watch their home game against Schalke.
4. Marco Reus, André Schürrle and Kevin Großkreutz made their 100th Bundesliga appearance when Dortmund and Leverkusen met this weekend.
5. Freiburg are yet to lose at home under Christian Streich, extending their unbeaten run to ten games with their win over Hoffenheim.
Player of the week
Hiroshi Kiyotake: The diminutive Japanese midfielder has looked like an enterprising player so far this season, and his performance against Gladbach justified all the hype surrounding him. He provided two brilliant deliveries from set pieces and then gave his side the win with a wonderful individual effort. Shinji Kagawa 2.0 is here.
Flop of the week
Tim Wiese: Conceding goals in never a good thing for a goalkeeper. And if you’re conceding five, you really should consider giving up the job between the sticks. Wiese’s performance against Freiburg seems just too hard to encapsulate in a few words. Caught out on two corners, he gifted the hosts two crucial goals and was finally rounded in mocking fashion by Sebastian Freis to concede his fifth goal of the night. So much for leaving Bremen with the hope of conceding less than “three goals a game”.
Goal of the week
Takashi Usami did score a super goal to give Hoffenheim a glimmer of hope against Freiburg, but Julian Draxler’s long range bullet steals the show this time around.