Week 19 of the Bundesliga saw Bayern Munich remain firmly in control in their quest for a 24th domestic title, while there were also wins for nearest challengers Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund.
Mighty Bayern continue to topple records
Eintracht Frankfurt are not a bad team. They recently beat Bayer Leverkusen and Hertha Berlin but when they came up against the champions their trainer Armin Veh left out Sebastian Rode and Carlos Zambrano, two first team regulars. Maybe he knew that like time and tide this Bayern machine wait for no one and crush everything before them. Veh was proved right as mighty Bayern put on probably their best performance since their 3-1 dismantling of Manchester City at the Etihad.
It was not just the win which was impressive but the records that Die Bayern are setting. They have now scored in 56 consecutive league games, a European record and after this week’s fixtures became the first side in Bundesliga history to win 17 out of their first 19 games. What would have also pleased Pep Guardiola was the performance of Thiago Alcantara, who was a virtuoso midfielder. He set a new Bundesliga record of 185 touches and 148 successful passes. His performance would have also sent a warning message to Toni Kroos that even though he has been a central figure for Bayern recently he is not irreplaceable.
With this win Bayern remain 13 points clear of their nearest challengers – Bayer Leverkusen and the Bundesliga seems all but a formality now. Guardiola might now look at it as a training ground for another European assault.
As for the goals, Bayern had five different scorers in Mario Gotze, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Dante and Mario Mandzukic. It is scary to imagine what Robert Lewandowski might add to Bayern when he joins them next season. But as for now the one question that must be troubling every manager across Europe is how do you stop the Bavarian giants.
Dortmund return to winning ways
Borussia Dortmund CEO Aki Watzke is of the opinion that Bayern Munich are destroying his club and Bundesliga in the process by snatching some of Dortmund’s best players. He recently compared the hegemony that Bayern enjoy over the Bundesliga as something which is not even seen in the Real-Barca domination in Spain but to the scenario in Scotland.
Watzke though had a little to cheer about as his beloved Dortmund returned to winning ways after a closely fought victory over plucky TSV Eintracht Braunschweig. What would have pleased him and trainer Jurgen Klopp even more is the return of talisman Mats Hummels who enjoyed a fine afternoon for the visitors.
Braunschweig started brightly but unlike their opponents did not have any cutting edge up front. They were soon made to pay when a flowing Dortmund move ended with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang heading in following a clever ball from Lewandowski. The home side though did not have to wait long for an equalizer though as Benjamin Kessel scored his first Bundesliga goal following a corner, 10 minutes into the second half.
The match however belonged to Aubameyang who capped off a good display by scoring Dortmund’s second which eventually proved the winner as he hit a clean strike low into the bottom corner. Die Borussen did not look comfortable after the goal and could so easily have been pegged back when Ermin Bicakcic’s header bounced off the inside of the post into Roman Weidenfeller’s grateful arms.
A win is a win though and with rivals Schalke 04 and Bayer Leverkusen also victorious it was important for Dortmund to also get a favourable result. For Klopp this is all he can do and hope that the club can develop more players in the future even if they are ultimately snapped up by Bayern Munich.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga
Hannover 96 3-1 Borussia Monchengladbach, TSG Hoffenheim 3-0 Hamburg SV, Schalke 04 2-1 VfL Wolfsburg, Mainz 2-0 SC Freiburg, FC Augsburg 3-1 Werder Bremen, Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 VfB Stuttgart, Hertha Berlin 1-3 Nurnberg
Random Five (courtesy of www.bundesliga.com)
1. FC Augsburg recorded their eighth victory of the season which equals their total number of wins from the whole of last season.
2. Joo-Ho Park and Ja-Cheol Koo became the first South Korean pair to score in the same match in Bundesliga history in Mainz’s win over SC Freiburg.
3. Bayern Munich are now unbeaten in 44 consecutive league games.
4. Stefan Kiessling joined Gerd Muller and Klaus Fischer as the only men to score in 7 consecutive home games against the same opponent. Kiessling achieved this feat when he opened the scoring against VfB Stuttgart.
5. With their win over Borussia Monchengladbach, Hannover 96 are enjoying their best ever start to the second half of the season.
Goal of the week
Stuttgart may have failed to beat Bayer Leverkusen but this scorcher from Moritz Leitner was enough to put a smile on the Swabians’ faces.