Unpredictable has been an apt word to describe the Bundesliga over the last few years and this weekend saw both the favourites drop points while at the other end of the table sides hovering around the drop zone gave themselves a lifeline with some impressive results. The Hard Tackle looks at the action that took place on matchday 8 in the German top flight.

Gladbach shock Dortmund with last minute salvos

Two goals in the last 10 minutes, first from a penalty and a Raffael strike following that shocked title favourites Borrusia Dortmund at the Stadion IM Borussia-Park as the home side took the game 2-0 to climb 4th in the table. It was hardly a result Jurgen Klopp would have wanted after his side beat Marseille 3-0 midweek and thrashed Freiburg 5-0 on Matchday 7. The result implies Dortmund have now slipped to second after their formidable start to the campaign.

Both sides fielded their customary 4-2-3-1 as youngster Erik Durm played at left back for the visitors. In what was a crucial game for both sides, the early exchanges did suggest both weren’t taking it lightly as Dortmund’s Reus saw his curling effort just miss the target. At the other end, Gladbach looked lively as Max Kruse, Hermann and Raffael combined well to trouble Hummels and co. But for much of the home sides’ determination to match Dortmund’s attacking strides, their hero of the first half and for a good part of the entire game was their man in between the sticks, Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Ter Stegan widely recognized as one of the leading keepers in the league was much courted by the top sides of Europe during the summer with FC Barcelona being one linked quite a lot. He definitely showed he deserves yet another look from Europe’s powerhouses has he single handedly kept Dortmund’s frontline at bay. 15 minutes into the game, he denied Grosskreutz’s stinging effort while the rebound from six yards out from Hummels was also saved. He was involved again as Grosskreutz stung his palm 7 minutes later. Yet another save from a Nuri Sahin long range effort kept the scores to 0-0 at the break as Klopp’s men reflected upon their missed chances.

The second period started on an even note as Gladbach’s new threat from the left wing, Oscar Wendt missed the target from 15 yards out while Dortmund continued misfiring at the other end. Marc-Andre ter Stegen not to be outdone after his first half heroics pulled off one of the saves of the game with a brilliant effort to tip Reus’s effort over the bar. Such was his dominance in between the sticks that Dortmund ceased to trouble him from distance from open play while concentrating in opening up Gladbach’s backline with some clever movement. But just when it looked like the visitors might sneak in a goal, Mats Hummels, their leader at the back lost his mind and brought Nordtveit to the ground in the box. Max Kruse recently called up for the German national side scored from the spot while Raffael, Gladbach’s most enterprising player this season doubled the advantage for the home side 4 minutes later. Klopp will look back at the missed chances but it is hard to blame his frontline with Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the form of his life.

And then there was Leno

To say Guardiola’s Bayern were simply mesmerizing during their 3-1 win over Manchester City in the Champions League is an understatement. Their movement, understanding and ball control hypnotized everyone who watched them with some of the City fans even applauding their show of class after the game. Bayern looked to have carried that same spirit when they took to the field at the Bay Arena against an impressive Leverkusen side late on Saturday.

Bernd Leno - Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper

Bernd Leno (then with Stuttgart) kept Bayern at bay with a stunning performance

Guardiola stuck to his new found midfielder in skipper Lahm as Schweinsteiger and Kroos kept him company in the middle of the park. Upfront Muller continued in the striker role as Swiss winger Shaqiri got his chance in place of Robben. Playing in their now customized 4-1-4-1, Bayern took no time in getting into their comfort zone, passing the ball around while running the home side ragged. Muller should have put his side in front early on, but saw his effort go uncharacteristically while Ribery’s dribbling effort past a hapless Bender a few minutes later only ended in the Frenchman putting it wide. But there were clear signs that it would be only a matter of time before Bayern found the back of the net. That they did courtesy of a brilliant effort by Kroos after Ribery squared it to him. The visitors had hardly finished celebrating this when Neuer’s blunderous movement off his line saw the ball at Boenisch’s feet. The defender’s shot was well saved but the rebound fell to Sidney Sam who found himself infront of an open goal.

Despite conceding the equalizer, Bayern were quick to get back to controlling the ball and launching waves of attack. But then Bernd Leno happened. Toprak and Boenisch were constantly turned inside out by Bayern’s tricksters but they couldn’t get past Leno who seemed processed in front of goal. Muller once again saw an effort go wide while Ribery’s twin blast towards the net was splendidly saved by Leno. Robben thrown into the mix saw his free kick saved by the man of the moment, Leno who probably had about a second to sight and judge the ball’s trajectory. Having saved another of Robben’s left footed stingers, he did well to deny Muller in the dying embers of the game. Young full back Donati rounded off Leverkusen’s splendid defensive display by clearing the ball of the line from a Schweinsteiger effort to keep the scorers down to 1-1.

Hamburg maul Nurnberg

Hamburg

Van Der Vaart scored one and assisted two

Survival experts Nurnberg were in for a rude day as visiting Hamburg toyed with their non-existent backline enroute to a 5-0 thrashing at the Grundig-Stadion on Sunday afternoon. Despite the scoreline, it was far from a dominating display in the early stages of the game by the visitors as the hosts created plenty of chances for themselves without getting any result. Hamburg came into the game with new gaffer Bert van Marwijk taking over the side from sacked Thorsten Fink and he had talisman Rafael van der Vaart to thank for as the Dutchman unleashed a volley from a Westermann cross to make It 1-0. It was all Hamburg thereafter as Nurnberg struggled to see the ball for much of the half.

Hamburg’s new signing from Hertha, 21 year old Pierre-Michel Lasogga hadn’t done much to justify his pay, but came to life in the second half with a 8 minute Hattrick that knocked out whatever little that was left inside Nurnberg. Van der Vaart’s inch perfect through ball got Lasogga his first while the Dutchman once again assisted him for his second from a corner.

Per Nilsson had to endure a torrid day and it got even worse has his poor pass was intercepted by Lasogga for his Hattrick. Tolgay Arslan rounded off the mauling with his side’s fifth as Hamburg gave their new coach van Marwijk his first win in style.

Bundesliga Matchday 8 Results:

Hannover 96 1-1 Hertha BSC ; Mainz 05 2-2 Hoffenheim ; Schalke04 4-1 Augsburg ; VfB Stuttgart 1-1 Werder Bremen ; Wolfsburg 0-2 Eintracht Braunschweig ; SC Freiburg 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

Random Five

  • Eintracht Braunschweig recorded their first win of the campaign as they shocked Wolfsburg 2-0.
  • The Bundesliga has recorded 174 days without a goalless game
  • Lasogga hit the fastest away Hattrick in 50 years
  • Hoffenheim atleast seem to be scoring this season while also conceding. They now have scored 20 and conceded 20 in 8 games.
  • Freiburg and Nurnberg are yet to win this season.

Goal of the Week

Have a look at Rafael van der Vaart’s scissor kick against Nurnberg.