Matchday 12 started slowly with a 0-0 draw in the highly anticipated Lower Saxony derby, but things went ballistic from then on. Bayern Munich broke yet another record, Borussia Dortmund slipped up, while the likes of Bayer Leverkusen, Hertha Berlin and Schalke were involved in thrillers.
Dortmund defeat at Wolfsburg caps off a terrible week
Borussia Dortmund have looked scrappy in most of their Bundesliga fixtures that have followed a midweek Champions League game. After Napoli, came a 1-1 draw against Nuremberg and following the win over Marseille, was their first domestic loss of the season to Borussia Mönchengladbach. Lifting themselves up from a demoralizing loss to Arsenal in midweek was never going to be easy and their woes were doubled by a 2-1 loss at the Volkswagen Arena.
As has been the case for most of this season, Dortmund lacked inspiration in attack. Wolfsburg had no plans of being pegged back in this affair, taking the game to Dortmund and matching the visitors in every aspect of the game. Wolfsburg were unlucky to go into the break a goal down, courtesy an exquisite Marco Reus freekick on the brink of half time.
The hosts returned to the field with their hopes far from dashed, continuing to match Dortmund blow for blow. Minutes before the hour mark, Ricardo Rodriguez whipped in a vicious free kick that eluded players from both sides and found the back of the net. Having drawn level, Wolfsburg piled on the pressure and took the lead just ten minutes later. Ivica Olic cut in from the right flank to brilliantly curl a shot into the top corner, rendering Roman Weidenfeller’s desperate dive completely futile.
Marco Reus managed to rattle the post with a freekick but that was the closest Dortmund would come to an equalizer. Wolfsburg walked away with three hugely valuable points in their bid to return to European football while Dortmund were dealt a crushing blow, leaving them four points behind league leaders Bayern Munich.
“We didn’t concentrate well enough and showed a bit of tiredness,” said Henrikh Mkhitaryan. To compound Dortmund’s troubles, influential center back Neven Subotic picked up an injury that has ruled him out for the rest of the season. The international break once again comes at the perfect time for Dortmund, all the more so because their next fixture is against Bayern Munich.
Son haunts Hamburg in an eight-goal thriller
Bert van Marwijk arrived as coach of Hamburg with the aim of ridding the side of “confusion” and steering the club away from the lower half of the table. Things haven’t panned out as the Dutchman would have liked and an away fixture against a hungry Leverkusen side couldn’t have come at a worse time.
What ensued at the BayArena on Saturday night was nothing short of miraculous. Heung Min Son wasted no time in making his former side rue his sale earlier this year, scoring goals in the ninth and the sixteenth minutes. Hamburg weren’t going to give up and sit back though. Maximilian Beister taking advantage of a Leverkusen error and slotting past Bernd Leno.
Hamburg equalized five minutes into the second half thanks to an impressive Pierre-Michel Lasogga volley. Just when one thought that Hamburg were en route to a remarkable turnaround, Son ensured that hopes were short lived with his third of the night just five minutes later. Stefan Kießling scored Leverkusen’s fourth, continuing to put pressure on national team coach Joachim Löw to call him up.
The entertainment wasn’t done for the night. Lasogga made it 4-3 with 15 minutes to go but Gonzalo Castro dashed all hopes for Hamburg with a goal in the dying minutes of the game. The game ended 5-3 to Leverkusen with Son returning to haunt his former side, scoring his first hattrick for Leverkusen.
“It was a special game for me as I owe a lot to HSV but I’m incredibly pleased to win the game,” said Son after the game. This result puts Leverkusen level on points with Dortmund and four points behind league leaders Bayern Munich.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga…
- Hannover 0-0 Eintracht Braunschweig
- Bayern Munich 3-0 Augsburg
- Schalke 3-1 Werder Bremen
- Hoffenheim 2-3 Hertha Berlin
- Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 Nuremberg
- Mainz 1-0 Eintracht Frankfurt
- Freiburg 1-3 Stuttgart
1. Not only was this Heung Min Son’s first hattrick in the Bundesliga, it was also his first ever career hattrick.
2. Bayern Munich’s victory against Augsburg helped them go past Hamburg’s 36-game unbeaten streak in the Bundesliga. The record now stands at 37 games.
3. For the second time this season Hamburg were involved in an eight-goal thriller.
4. This matchday witnessed four derbies, Bayern – Augsburg, Hannover – Braunschweig, Mainz – Frankfurt, Freiburg – Stuttgart.
5. For the first time in five weeks there were no red cards dished out on a single matchday in the Bundesliga.
Goal of the Week:
When Juan Arango scores it’s almost impossible to beat him to this title but there was one goal that outshone the rest this week – Ivica Olic’s teasing curler that almost puts Arjen Robben’s trademark goals to shame.