Matchday 6 in the Bundesliga saw Borussia Dortmund lose the Revierderby, VfB Stuttgart get their first win, and Hamburg score their first goal.
Schalke Defeat Dortmund in Revierderby
The Revierderby is one of the fiercest rivalries in Germany, a battle of wills between rival cities in the heart of German coal country. As Schalke and Dortmund have consistently finished near the top of the Bundesliga in recent years, it’s also become an assertion of dominance. But if this year’s Revierderby is anything to go by, BVB are in serious trouble. The loss was not only a dent to their ego, but meant that they slipped further down the table to 12th place after a 2-1 loss in Gelsenkirchen.
Last year, BVB won this fixture, 3-1, thanks to goals from Sahin, Blaszczykowski, and Aubameyang. Two of those three are injured at the moment, and Klopp’s ramshackle side was filled with players newly returned from injury and those unaccustomed to playing together. New strikers Ciro Immobile and Adrian Ramos played together up front, though that partnership shows no signs of yielding positive results. While Ramos was lively (despite a terrible clearance that led to the second Schalke goal), Immobile was invisible, substituted off in the 57th minute for Shinji Kagawa.
Schalke, also without star players Benedikt Höwedes and Julian Draxler, looked the better side from the first whistle, exploiting the space behind BVB’s high line and making dangerous runs. The goals came early, from corners, and Klopp will have to drill his men in the art of defending set pieces. The old center-back pair of Subotic and Hummels appeared together for the first time since last November, but that has yet to return defensive stability to the Schwarzgelben. Aubameyang pulled them within one of the Royal Blues with a lovely 26th minute goal, but despite the pressure, Dortmund were unable to break through in the second half. Schalke’s Ralf Fährmann was excellent in goal, and the often-shaky defense stood firm. Jens Keller should be pleased with how his team has performed in recent weeks, holding Chelsea to a shock draw in the Champions League and stringing together three undefeated matches. They are still only in tenth, but they give the impression of a team on the up.
As for Dortmund, they are in serious trouble. Languishing in the bottom half of the table, they cannot simply blame their injury woes for three straight games without a win. The fixtures are coming in thick and fast: they have more Champions League action midweek, and then a game against bottom-club Hamburg. Should they fail to win again, there would truly be a crisis in Dortmund.
VfB Stuttgart Get First Season Win
It seems like all VfB Stuttgart needed was for Sport Director Fredi Bobic to leave the club. After Bobic was officially sacked on Wednesday, Stuttgart held Borussia Dortmund to a 2-2 draw and on Saturday, claimed their first league win of the season. It’s early days yet, but the win puts them out of the relegation zone, up to 15th place.
Trainer Armin Veh made an unusual change to the team sheet by benching keeper Sven Ulreich after his late miscalculation allowed Dortmund to snatch a point midweek. Hannover came to defend, and for more than a half this approach seemed to work. At the half, Veh made a key substitution by exchanging Gruezo for the more attacking-minded Kostic. VfB increased the pressure, and within 25 minutes, the Swabians made a breakthrough. Defender Daniel Schwaab got on the end of a corner to poke it home for his first-ever Bundesliga goal. It wasn’t pretty, but Stuttgart were thrilled.
Going behind woke Hannover up, and they stringed together several chances in the last minutes of the game. Stuttgart have an unfortunate talent for conceding goals at the death, but they managed to hold on this time, securing a first win that will go a long way in helping them overcome their mental fragility. Hertha Berlin await next week, a game that looks eminently winnable for Veh’s rejuvenated squad.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga…
On Friday evening, Mainz and Hoffenheim settled for a point apiece in a surprising 0-0 draw. The next day, SC Freiburg also managed to hold high-scoring Bayer Leverkusen to a goalless draw, while Bayern Munich made it business as usual by collecting a 2-0 win over FC Köln. Paderborn almost made a comeback but went down to Gladbach, 2-1, and Wolfsburg beat Werder Bremen by the same scoreline. Augsburg edged out Hertha Berlin, 1-0, and finally, Hamburg scored their first goal of the season but couldn’t hold on, falling 2-1 to a last-gasp goal.
- Even though they finally scored, Hamburg set a new Bundesliga record of 507 minutes without a goal.
- Gladbach coach Lucien Favre was full of praise for Paderborn’s Stefan Kutschke, who asked the referee to rescind a yellow card against Christoph Kramer. The referee had punished Kramer for a supposed tackle on Kutschke, but the Paderborn striker confessed that he had merely tripped on his own.
- Classy Spanish passmaster Xabi Alonso set a new Bundesliga record for ball contacts, with 204 touches against Köln.
- Schalke’s derby victory meant that they drew level with BVB historically. In 85 Bundesliga encounters, the two sides each have 30 wins, along with 25 draws.
- Six matches in, Hoffenheim remain unbeaten, the first time this has happened in their Bundesliga history.
Goal of the Week
Hamburg looked to be holding Frankfurt to a 1-1 draw until Lucas Piazon scored this beauty in the 90th minute to win the match.