The Hard Tackle presents a summary of Matchday 9 of the 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign as Bayern Munich moved up the table while Dortmund dropped points.
Matchday 9 of the 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign served us with a series of surprises, starting with SC Freiburg’s shock 3-1 win over Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday.
Saturday saw TSG Hoffenheim torment bottom club VfB Stuttgart while VfL Wolfsburg bounced back to winning ways with an astounding 3-0 success over Fortuna Dusseldorf.
It was a positive weekend for FC Bayern, as the defending champions secured a narrow 2-1 win over Mainz while league leaders Borussia Dortmund conceded a late equalizer to drop two points against Hertha Berlin.
FC Augsburg, on the other hand, also returned to winning ways with a 2-1 triumph over Hannover. And on Sunday, newly promoted Nurnberg held high-flying Eintracht at home.
As for Schalke, they extended their winless run to three games by drawing with RB Leipzig before Bayer Leverkusen wrapped the matchday with a stunning 6-2 triumph over high-flying Bremen.
Friday: Sturdy Freiburg down in-form Gladbach
Borussia Monchengladbach continued their miserable record Freiburg as they were completely swept aside by Christian Streich’s men on Friday. The Foals were off to a worst possible start when Freiburg were awarded a penalty in the first minute, which was coolly converted by star striker Nils Petersen.
Although Gladbach were dominant afterwards, securing heaps of possession, they produced little of the desired end-product against a sturdy Freiburg defence, who defended in deep-blocks. Thorgan Hazard was the brightest spark in the Gladbach attack, causing a trouble for the opposing defence and scoring the equalizer in the 20th minute with a well-taken spot kick.
However, a resolute Freiburg defence managed to frustrate Gladbach in the second-half while showcasing excellent conversion rate in front of goal. Luca Waldschmidt restored his side’s lead around the hour-mark with an excellent finish before Lucas Holer added further gloss to the scoreline with a stunning long-range effort just while the goalkeeper was out of his line.
Saturday: Dortmund drop points; Bayern edge Mainz; Wolfsburg and Augsburg secure surprising wins
Wout Weghorst starred in Wolfsburg’s 3-0 triumph over Fortuna Dusseldorf as he opened the scoring in the first half before assisting two second-half goals from Josip Brekalo and Daniel Ginczek respectively. The former AZ Alkmaar striker was a livewire throughout the game and extended his scoring tally to four goals in nine matches this season as Wolfsburg secured their first win after six matches.
Defending champions Bayern Munich were also impressive in breaking down a sturdy Mainz defence, who had conceded just eight goals prior to the game. Robert Lewandowski and Thiago Alcantara starred in a game where both Arjen Robben(suspended) and Franck Ribery didn’t feature in the starting lineup.
Although Lewandowski failed to score a goal for himself, he created a lot of opportunities in the final third and his assist to Thiago Alcantara late in the game, takes his assists-count to four this season, which is the same number of assists he managed in the whole of last season.
The win helps Bayern overtake Werder Bremen and Monchengladbach, both of whom dropped points this weekend, with Bayern now trailing league leaders Dortmund by just two points.
Speaking of Dortmund, they were simply unstoppable against Berlin before a nervy second-half display snatched allowed their opposition to make a swift comeback. Marco Reus was the star of the show even though it was Jadon Sancho who scored both of Dortmund’s goals. The German international was untouchable, at times, combining well with the likes of Mario Gotze and Raphael Guerreiro in the final third.
The Black and Yellows were initially leading 2-1 for the most part of the second half but looked extremely vulnerable once Berlin started to make a push late in the game. And the club from the capital were duly rewarded for their efforts when Salomon Kalou scored from close range in the dying embers of the game. The former Chelsea forward netted twice in the game and was the brightest spark in the Hertha attack.
Elsewhere, FC Augsburg registering their third win of the campaign thanks to a narrow 2-1 victory over Hannover. Rani Khedira capitalized on a hideous defensive error from Waldemar Anton early in the game to score the opener before Alfred Finnbogason converted a penalty in the second half to double his side’s lead. The Iceland international has now scored five goals in four Bundesliga matches this season.
However, Ihlas Bebou’s sublime strike later in the second-half did inspire Hannover to make a push for the equalizer. But, Andre Breitenreiter’s men always lacked the firepower up front as both Niklas Fullkrug and Bobby Wood struggled to create anything of note.
And finally, in the topspiel, VfB Stuttgart were all over the place as they were completely outclassed by TSG Hoffenheim during their 4-0 defeat. Ishak Belfodil was simply unstoppable, scoring two second-half goals while Joshua Brenet also impressed by scoring opener as well as providing the assist for Joelinton’s goal early in the second half.
The win takes Hoffenheim to eighth place with 13 points on the board while Stuttgart, on the other hand, have now lost two consecutive matches by a four-goal margin since Markus Weinzierl took over charge earlier this month. They remain at the bottom of the league table with just five points in nine games.
Sunday: Eintracht held by Nurnberg, Schalke remain winless & Leverkusen upset Bremen
Coming on the back of a five-game winning run in all competitions, Eintracht Frankfurt struggled against a resolute Nurnberg side. It was a rather stale affair with Frankfurt failing to find any clear openings while Nurnberg defended in deep blocks.
But, the newly promoted side scored the opener against the run of play through Andre Zrelak in the 78th minute before Sebastien Haller came on from the bench to secure a last-gasp draw for the Eagles.
RB Leipzig and FC Schalke followed with yet another excessively boring 0-0 draw as both sides failed to conjure him any clear goalscoring opportunities. In fact, Leipzig, having scored 11 goals in their last four matches, mustered only two shots on target while none of Schalke’s shots were on target as they extended their winless run to three games.
And finally, just when it seemed like the matchday was going to end with yet another stale affair, Bayer Leverkusen pulled out a massive 6-2 win over Werder Bremen, which served as the highlight of the week. Die Werkself were dominant throughout the course of the game, amassing 12 shots on target with Karim Bellarabi being the star of the show with a goal and an assist.
Kai Havertz also produced a stunning performance, scoring a brace while Kevin Volland was excellent in front of goal. As for Bremen, goals from Claudio Pizarro and Yuya Osako in quick successions inspired them to make a comeback before defender Sebastian Langkamp scored two own goals to seal all three points for Heiko Herrlich’s men.