Bundesliga Saturday Round-Up: Mainz Run Continues At Bayern Munich’s Expense
Today’s matches saw table-topping Mainz travel to Bavaria to take on reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, Frankfurt host struggling Nurnberg, Gladbach travel to Schalke, St. Pauli host Dortmund, Leverkusen travel to Stuttgart, and Werder Bremen host Hamburg.
Bayern Munich 1 – 2 Mainz
Mainz confirmed that their six-in-a-row winning streak is no fluke at all, as they travelled to Bavaria and beat the champions in their own backyard. Danijel Pranjic was brought in at left-back in the place of Diego Contento, and his mistake led to Mainz’s opener as Lewis Holtby skipped past the Croatian and smashed a low cross across the goalmouth, only for Sami Allagui to tuck it away with a sweet back-heel. Bayern Munich recovered quickly and took control of the match as half-time approached, and made their possession count when Mark van Bommel’s ball into the area was knocked into the back of the net by Mainz defender Bo Svensson. The own-goal came just before half-time, but it did not derail Mainz. Thomas Tuchel’s side continued to play some impressive football after the half, and the young manager reaped the rewards of his brave tactics when substitute Andre Schuerrle played the ball to young striker Adam Szalai, who had the audacity and skill to turn and volley home past Hans-Jorg Butt. Six straight wins for Tuchel’s side, who really do look like the real deal. They have now broken the record for the best Bundesliga start of all time. Mainz host Hoffenheim next weekend, while Bayern Munich travel to Borussia Dortmund.
Eintracht Frankfurt 2 – 0 FC Nurnberg
Frankfurt picked up their second win of the season in comfortable fashion against a Nurnberg side who are toppling down into the relegation zone. An early goal from Theofanis Gekas put the hosts in control, and then a late winner from Chris sealed the win for Frankfurt. Nurnberg have done well to pick up unlikely draws recently, but never looked a real threat going forward and were well beaten in the end.Frankfurt travel to struggling Stuttgart next weekend, while Nurnberg host a Schalke side who are picking themselves up after a woeful start.
Schalke 04 2 – 2 Gladbach
The scoreline definitely doesn’t tell the whole story as Schalke were lucky to escape with a point against a very energetic looking Gladbach side. I expected Schalke to control the match and maintain possession, but it was all Gladbach in the first half. Gladbach took an early lead from the penalty spot through Filip Daems, after Raul Bobadilla was taken down in the area by Benedit Howedes, who has been a particular flop for Schalke since the start of the season. Gladbach extended their league just before half-time when USA international Michael Bradley smashed one home after a cross from Thorben Marx. Despite what looked like a comfortable half-time lead, Schalke created a handful of chances in the first-half and were unlucky to be losing at the break. Felix Magath rallied his side in the dressing room at the half, and it showed when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar put the hosts back in the match just before the hour mark after Metzelder lobbed the ball over the defense and into the striker’s path to make it 1-2. With just 12 minutes left on the clock, Gladbach had Roel Brouwers sent off for a bad foul. Three minutes before time, big summer signing Raul scored his first goal of the season to snatch a point from the match. Much improved from Schalke, but their defensive mistakes are still quite obvious. Marco Reus could have had this match won if not for Manuel Neuer between the posts for Schalke.
St. Pauli 1 – 3 Borussia Dortmund
Recently promoted St. Pauli were brushed aside by Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund side, who now occupy second place in the Bundesliga table. A brace from Kevin Grosskreutz and another goal for Shinji Kagawa condemned the hosts to defeat, despite their best efforts. Rouwen Hennings scored in the first half for St. Pauli, but the hosts just couldn’t keep Dortmund out. Klopp has them playing some fantastic football, and let’s hope they can maintain that throughout the season and avoid key injuries. St. Pauli travel to Hannover on Friday, and Dortmund host Bayern Munich next Sunday.
VfB Stuttgart 1 – 4 Bayer Leverkusen
The pressure on Christian Gross continues to grow as his side were thumped by Leverkusen in front of their own fans. Sami Hyypia and Arturo Vidal put the visitors two-nil up after 21 minutes and the hosts look stunned. Ten minutes later, summer signing Mauro Camoranesi was sent off for an awful challenge on Tranquillo Barnetta. The Italian World Cup winner looks well past his best, and he certainly made a bad impression here in front of his new fans. Zdravko Kuzmanovic grabbed an equalizer on 52 minutes, but ten-man Stuttgart could not keep up with Leverkusen who pressed them for more goals. They came, but this time through Hanno Balitsch and Sidney Sam. That 7-0 trouncing of Gladbach will be totally forgotten by Stuttgart fans now, who will only hang their heads and hope that head coach Christian Gross can rectify the poor state of things at the club, and quick. Stuttgart are rooted to the bottom of the table, and host Frankfurt next Sunday. Leverkusen will host Werder Bremen next Sunday.
Werder Bremen 3 – 2 Hamburg SV
Werder Bremen were boosted by the return of Per Mertesacker and Claudio Pizarro, who started the match as well. Thomas Schaaf’s side took an early two-nil lead after a Guy Demel own-goal put them one up, and then Hugo Almeidamade it two just four minutes later after an Aaron Hunt free-kick. Ruud van Nistelrooy continued his good form with another goal just before the hour mark to put the visitors back in the game, Jonathan Pitroipa equalized for the visitors just five minutes later. Hamburg looked full of confidence, but it was Werder Bremen who would come away with the three points. Hugo Almeida scored his second five minutes before full-time after a cross from Wesley who settled in quickly after arriving from Santos in Brazil in the summer. Almeida should have had three, but was wrongly flagged offside after Frank Rost had rushed up the other end of the pitch for a corner. Thomas Schaaf’s side travel to Leverkusen next Sunday, and Hamburg host Kaiserslautern next Saturday.