The return of Bastian Schweinsteiger, late drama in the Northern derby between Hamburg and Bremen, yet another Marco Reus injury, and an entertaining clash between Schalke and Wolfburg. Matchday 12 of the Bundesliga saw all this and more, in a great week of football that saw some stunning saves, some great goals and some surprise results.
Bayern make light work of Hoffenheim:
Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrated his return to action to competitive football 133 days after lifting the World Cup in Brazil, by assisting his side’s fourth goal in a 4-0 win over entertaining Hoffenheim. Despite the numerous injuries to key players, the result was never in doubt for Bayern and a routine win seemed likely after Mario Götze broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute with a great strike from distance. Robert Lewandowski’s header gave the home side a 2-0 cushion at half time. The second half introductions of Sebastian Rode and Schweinsteiger provided the freshness to finish the game of with style. Arjen Robben and Lewandowski played a great one-two before the Dutchman chipped the keeper, and Schweinsteiger fed Rode, who thumped the ball in from close range in the 88th minute. Minutes later, the former Frankfurt man almost added a fifth when his shot from the edge of the box rattled the crossbar. Manuel Neuer was forced into a reflex save following Adam Szalai shot from close range. The Hungarian man added insult to the defeat when he got sent off for a horrendous challenge late in injury time. Bayern extend their lead at the top of the table to seven points and Hoffenheim have now lost 3 games in a row to drop them to 8th place following a terrific start to the season.
Reus injured and Dortmund fail to win once again:
After last matchday’s crucial win over ‘Gladbach, Borussia Dortmund were keen to continue their ascent to the top of the table, but let a two goal lead slip to drop back into the relegation spot, in what was a hot tempered 2-2 draw at the Benteler Arena in Paderborn. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s early goal after a great Erik Durm cross and a Marco Reus goal put the guests 2-0 ahead before the break in what was a great first half by Jürgen Klopp’s side. A second half Lukas Rupp composed finish and a late Mahir Saglik equalizer meant that the points were shared finally. Controversy was ignited when a Großkreutz goal was ruled out by referee Wolfgang Stark who should also have sent off Marvin Bakalorz after a nasty challenge on Marco Reus. The Dortmund man had to be stretchered off with his fourth ankle injury of 2014 and will miss his side’s next seven games. The absence of Mats Hummels and Sokratis were clearly felt as Neven Subotic was unable to maintain his composure time and again. Shinji Kagawa had a day to forget, with play bypassing the Japanese man completely for most part of the game. Despite the disappointment, considering the other results, Borussia Dortmund are just 9 points behind third placed Borussia Mönchengladbach, and will look to shorten the gap in the coming weeks.
Schalke and Wolsburg entertain:
With an in-form Wolsburg hot behind the trail of Bayern Munich, their encounter against Schalke, a side strong at home, was bound to be interesting. And indeed the match at the Veltins Arena didn’t disappoint. Schalke took a commanding 3-0 lead within 25 minutes following a Coupo-Moting brace and a rather strange Christian Fuchs free kick, but characteristic of their season, the Royal Blues almost messed up when Ivica Olic and Niklas Bendtner’s first Bundesliga goal reduced the deficit to just one. The game ended 3-2 in favour of the home side to leave them just 3 points behind the Champions League qualifying places. Although Wolfsburg remain second, they will be furious with themselves as they are now seven behind leaders Bayern.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga:
The Nordderby saw goal shy Hamburg leave it late to win 2-0 over fellow struggling side Werder Bremen in a frantic last 10 minutes. Leverkusen moved into the top four by beating Hannover 3-1 away from home, Mönchengladbach suffered their first home loss against a plucky Frankfurt side, Mainz held Freiburg 2-2 for their 7th draw of the campaign, Hertha Berlin finally notched up an 2-1 away win at Köln and Stuttgart dropped to last place after a home loss to 6th placed FC Augsburg.
- For the first time in six years, Borussia Mönchengladbach lost a game after leading at half time.
- The last time Hertha Berlin won away was nine months ago on February against Stuggart.
- FC Bayern are the only club not beaten by Hoffenheim in their Bundesliga history, with Saturday’s 13th attempt ending in defeat yet again for the guests.
- Augsburg captain and defender Paul Verhaegh has scored 4 goals this season, all from the penalty spot, from which he is yet to miss.
- Despite positioned 12th in the table, Eintracht Frankfurt have picked up more points than the entire first half of last season.
Goal of the week:
Mario Götze’s perfect top corner finish from outside the box and Arjen Robben’s cheeky chip after a great one-two were great goals, but Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting takes the laurels of GotW after composed finish following a stunning no-look pass from Kevin-Prince Boateng to hand Schalke a 2-0 lead over Wolfsburg.