Bayern Munich equaled HSV’s 1983 record of 36 league games without defeat thanks to a 2-1 at Hoffenheim. Meanwhile Dortmund kept the race hot with a 6-1 demolition of Stuttgart, and Werder Bremen downed Hannover in a dramatic Nordderby.
Bayern edge Hoffenheim to equal Bundesliga record
It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was just enough. Bayern were seeking their 36th straight undefeated Bundesliga game this weekend at Hoffenheim and, despite a nervy start, managed to get all three points and the record-equalizing result.
A flurry of chances in the first half hour could have had Bayern up by two or three goals. But between the home side’s sheer determination and Bayern’s own wastefulness, the scoreline remained 0-0. Hoffenheim hit back in the 34th minute. Manuel Neuer made a hash of a corner kick and fumbled the ball right into the path of 18-year-old Niklas Süle, who could hardly miss from one yard out.
The lead was to be short lived. Five minutes later, Bayern earned a free kick from a dangerous position. Ribery stepped up, driving hard and low toward the far post — only for the shot to take a deflection off Mandzukic, who had failed to jump aside in time, and Koen Casteels watched helplessly as the ball bounced into his net.
Hoffenheim kept up their spirits after the break, creating opportunities for themselves and defending well despite Bayern’s relentless efforts. With quarter of an hour left, Andreas Beck denied Mario Götze in front of goal with a fine challenge but was then pick-pocketed before he could find the way out of his own box. A few scrambling passes ended with Ribery assisting Müller for the third and final goal of the night.
“We conceded two frustrating goals today,” said Kevin Volland after the match. “We fought with everything we have and made it hard for [Bayern], but unfortunately that wasn’t enough.”
With this win, Bayern have equaled Hamburg’s longstanding record of 36 league matches without loss. They now have a chance to set a new record of 37 matches undefeated against Augsburg at home next week.
Dortmund dismantle hapless Stuttgart
Thomas Schneider’s honeymoon run of unbeaten matches with Stuttgart came to an end on Friday, as the Swabians succumbed to a 6-1 thrashing at Signal Iduna Park.
For the ninth straight time this season, Stuttgart scored from a set piece as Alexandru Maxim’s 13th-minute corner found Karim Haggui for the opening goal. The visitors’ euphoria lasted for all of ten minutes, however, as Sokratis and Marco Reus banged in two goals in quick succession. Timo Werner nearly leveled it for Stuttgart late in the first half when he beat four Dortmund defenders in the box, but ultimately failed to get off a shot on goal.
The match was being played at a frenetic pace, thrilling supporters and neutrals alike. The 4-4 draw from 2012 was on many a mind; but after the break, all such flashbacks were erased as Dortmund ruthlessly exploited Stuttgart’s defensive weaknesses. Robert Lewandowski pulled off a lupenreiner hat-trick (three consecutive goals) to cement Dortmund’s lead, and put himself atop the Bundesliga goalscoring charts with 9 to his name.
Late on, Aubameyang made it six for Dortmund with a fortuitously-deflected lob from a tight angle. If not for Sven Ulreich’s heroics in goal, Dortmund could easily have shattered their record win over Stuttgart (7-1). But six goals were more than enough for Dortmund to secure all three points, and to remain hot on Bayern’s heels at the top of the league.
Werder Bremen defeat Hannover in derby showdown
Before Sunday, Hannover 96 had yet to score goal on the road much less record an away win. Though they failed to take any points from this week’s trip to the Weserstadion, Hannover did break their goal drought — and in style — as the two sides played out a dramatic match worthy of a northern derby.
Two penalties in the first 25 minutes got things underway. First Clemens Fritz felled Szabolc Huszti in the box, and five minutes later, Salif Sane returned the favor when he broke Eljero Elia’s charging stride. With both penalties coolly converted, the game was thrown wide open. Leon Andreasen and Edgar Prib both came close with fantastic volleys, but it was Cedric Makiadi who got the next goal when Junuzovic’s effort fell into his path at the far post. And the first-half drama wasn’t over yet, as just three minutes later Hannover pulled level thanks to a 30-yard screamer from Hiroki Sakai.
The second half brought more fouls than shots on goal, though both teams had their share of chances to pull ahead. The deadlock lasted until the 86th minute, when Aaron Hunt’s free kick found Santiago Garcia: the initial header failed to beat Zieler’s fine reflexes, but the rebound fell right into Garcia’s lap for him to nudge home.
“This is so much more than three points,” said Makiadi afterward. “We won a derby against Hannover, and picked up a win here in the Weserstadion after four games without one. We played like we were free from any worries.”
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga…
Nuremberg 0-3 Freiburg, Hamburg 0-2 Gladbach, Eintracht Braunschweig 1-0 Leverkusen, Hertha Berlin 0-2 Schalke, Eintracht Frankfurt 1-2 Wolfsburg, Augsburg 2-1 Mainz
- Timo Hildebrand kept a milestone 100th clean sheet as Schalke defeated Hertha Berlin, in what was the veteran keeper’s 296th Bundesliga appearance
- In four short matchdays, a resurgent VfL Wolfsburg have jumped from 14th place to 5th.
- Eintracht Braunschweig downed third-placed Leverkusen to record the first home win of their Bundesliga return.
- SC Freiburg finally got a win — and a big one: down to ten men and away at Nuremberg, the Breisgau-Brasilianer scored three goals and swaggered off with a memorable clean sheet.
- Oliver Baumann made 12 saves against Nuremberg, a personal and Bundesliga record this season.
Goal of the Week:
Hiroki Sakai’s equalizer for Hannover is a contender not only for goal of the week, but goal of the season.