Matchday 14 of Bundesliga might not have seen as many goal as its predecessor, but certainly saw plenty of movement in the league table with the top half sides fortifying their positions and Borussia Dortmund moving out of the basement. The Hard Tackle takes a look at the key points that happened on matchday 14.
Bayern earn valuable win against impressive Bayer
Pep Guardiola once again opted for a creative/attacking midfield as Bayern took to the field with a 4-1-4-1 formation. Gotze,who got 2 million for his charity with the sale of his World cup final goal scoring boot played alongside Muller with Alonso sitting behind the duo in midfield. Upfront it was the deadly trio of Lewandowski, Ribery and Robben. Despite the attacking prowess Bayern had on display, Schmidt’s Leverkusen hardly sat back to let Bayern’s attack dictate proceedings on the pitch.
The combination of Son, Çalhanoğlu and Kießling were handful for the Bayern backline early on with Bellarabi’s delightful chip over Neuer being cleared off the line by Bernat. 4 minutes later Son’s cross narrowly missed Kießling as Leverkusen piled on the pressure on the home team. Bender and co kept a tight tab on Gotze and Muller while the backline’s organization ensured Lewandowski got no services. Though Bayern had bulk of the possession, they found it increasingly more difficult to get the ball into Leverkusen’s box and looked more likely to concede when the visitors hit them on the counter.
Pep’s second half substitution though changed the dynamics of the game. Sebastian Rode was introduced in place of Mario Gotze with Bayern shifting to what looked more like a 4-2-3-1. The two man midfield ensured Bayern had better control over proceedings in the middle of the pitch and allowed Muller to join Lewandowski higher up the pitch. The change in tactics brought about the much awaited first goal. Rode’s run to the right flank got him a corner, the resulting kick was played short by Robben to Rafinha. The full back’s cross into the box was badly cleared with the ball falling to Ribery. The French winger’s volleyed effort gave Bayern the lead. The goal led to concentrated Bayern attacks but the visitors held firm. They themselves had their own chances late on as Çalhanoğlu and Bellarabi tried to work around Bayer’s left side.
With Bayern sitting deeper than usual, Leverkusen’s attacker’s found it difficult to break through the home side with the game 1-0. The win ensures Bayern’s unbeaten start to the campaign while Leverkusen sit 4th with 23 points from 14 games.
Dortmund finally win !!
One could have hardly predicted Dortmund’s woeful start to the 2014-2015 campaign. Predicted to challenge Bayern for the championship, Klopp found his side rock bottom after matchday 13. With only one win in ten games (the win coming courtesy of Kramer’s spectacular own goal) the Ruhr side had to get back to winning to have hopes of qualifying for Europe next season.
Klopp made 5 changes to the side that lost to Frankfurt on matchday 13. Hummels came in for Ginter while Ramos replaced Großkreutz with Aubameyang taking his place on the right flank. Gündoğan replaced Kagawa in the attacking midfield role with veteran Kehl partnering Bender in central midfield. Custodian Weidenfeller, who’s dip in form has been of some concern was replaced by Langerak.
The game didn’t start brightly for both defenses as lapses in concentration and mistakes gave the attacking departments of both sides chances. It took 17 minutes to break the deadlock when Aubameyang’s cross was headed at the far post by Gündoğan. The German international was certainly enjoying himself in a more advance position as he orchestrated Dortmund’s forward movement post the goal. The visitors to their credit didn’t let the early set back affect them as Firmino and Polanski combined well to trouble Hummels and Subotic on more than one occasion. Hoffenheim’s lone forward upfront, Schipplock was guilty of missing couple of chances in the first period as his side went in search of an equalizer.
The second period saw some exiting football as both sides went full steam ahead in a bid to stamp their authority. Dortmund’s Aubameyang was twice denied by the referee’s assistant. A 53rd minute free kick resulted in the forward heading in a far post ball only to be deemed offiside. Replays suggested the decision was wrong. He was once again denied 10 minutes before time when he was adjudged to be offside again. Despite the introduction of Modeste for the mis-firing Schipplock, Hoffenheim couldn’t create too many chances and the game ended 1-0 to the hosts. The win sees Dortmund move out of the drop zone to 14th but are only a point away from dropping back.
Wolfsburg and Augsburg continue their surge
Wolfsburg continued their excellent start with a 3-1 win away at Hannover 96. The win sees the side maintain runner’s spot with a 7 point margin between them and Bayern. Wolfsburg made two changes with Gustavo replacing Arnold and Rodriguez getting back to left back. The visitors got off to a excellent start when in the 4th minute Perisic’s cross found ex-Chelsea man Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian made no mistake in converting the chance to give Wolfsburg the lead. The early lead certainly seemed to have motivated the visitors as they kept a constant pressure on Hannover’s goal. But the home side hit back just before the interval as Joselu struck to level things. Bas Dost was introduced just post the hour mark for Olic and the substitution worked immediately with the Dutch front man giving Wolfsburg the lead. Arnold wrapped things up for Wolfsburg 5 minutes before the finish to keep his side in 2nd. Hannover have now fallen to 9th.
Augsburg continued their way upwards with a 2-1 win over new boys Koln that sees them take 3rd position in the table. They went behind quite early to a Ujah strike and ever frustrated throughout the first period. Serbian forward Nikola Đurđić leveled things in the 53rd minute before a last minute goal by former Nurnberg midfielder Alexander Esswein won the game for the Bavarians. Augsburg 3rd place is their highest ever position in the Bundesliga. Koln languish at 12th , 2 points above the drop zone.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga
Meier inspired Eintracht Frankfurt to a resounding 5-2 win over Werder Bremen to keep his side in the hunt for a Europa League spot. Van der Vaart scored Hamburg’s winning goal as they over came Mainz by 2-1. Gladbach returned to winning with a 3-2 win over Hertha Berlin. Paderborn drew 1-1 with Freiburg while Schalke stormed to a 4-0 win over Stuttgart with Eric Choupo-Moting a hattrick. Stuttgart, Bremen and Freibrug are in the drop zone.
Facts from Matchday
- Frank Ribery’s strike was his 100th goal for Bayern
- Ribery also set the record for the highest appearances by a Frenchman in the Bundesliga.
- Bayern have gone undefeated in the first 14 games for a second consecutive season.
- Meier leads the goal scorers list with 10 followed by Choupo-Moting (8) and Okazaki (8). The sides represented by the top scorers don’t feature in the top four in the table.
- Gündoğan’s strike is his first since Dortmund’s German Super cup win over Bayern in July.
Goal of The Week
Marc Stendera’s amazing volley against Werder Bremen